The magnificent Belém Tower stands out against the sky of Lisbon; a real architectural gem from Manuel I’s kingdom that blends Gothic, Bizantine. and Manueline elements. The symbol of Portugal during the time of the great discoveries, the tower – which is also called the Tower of Bethlehem or the Tower of St Vincent is a 30-meter bastion featuring four small towers.
On a clear day the grey color of the tower enhanced by the light of the sun and the blue of the sky of Lisbon conquers the numerous tourists who come here to visit it. Majestic and elegant, the tower is just fascinating and it is not a surprise if it represents one of the most visited monuments of Lisbon.
Photograph this beautiful tower from far, then come closer and visit it to learn more about its centennial history.
If you decide to visit the interior of the Belém Tower keep in mind that it was built for defensive purposes; do not expect decorated halls and whatnot; the halls are actually functional in order to meet militar needs and do not recall the beauty of the facade.
However, visiting the Belém tower is a charming experience as you will find yourself strolling around century-old halls from where you can enjoy a pleasant view on the river. In order to get to the interior of the tower you need to cross a boardwalk and a drawbridge.
During your visit you will walk along the defensive walls, the Audience Hall, the Governor’s Hall, the King’s Hall, a chapel and a panoramic terrace.
To visit the Belém tower you can choose whether to purchase the ticket that allows you to visit the tower or one of the many combined tickets that include other important monuments of Lisbon, including the Jeronimos Monastery located not too far from the tower.
The admission to the Belém tower is free for Lisboa Card holders, the Lisbon Tourist Card which allows free or discounted access to more than 50 attractions, as well as unlimited public transports.
The Belém tower is located in the Belém district and it can be easily reached by taking a bus, the tram 15 or the metro (stopping at Belém station).
The Belém Tower was commissioned in the 16th century by the King John II who designed a defence system at the mouth of the Tagus river. Construction works started in 1515 and when King John II passed away, they were carried by King Manuel I; works ended in 1521.
The project was designed by military architect Francisco de Arruda and Diogo de Boitaca, who worked also on the project of the near Jeronimos Monaster. Indeed, it is possible to notice some similarities between the two buildings that had different functions.
By the time it was built, the tower was located in the middle of the river, while today it is located near its shore. According to some, the tower was redirected after the devastating earthquake of 1755. According to others, it is a normal consequence of the progressive movement of the riverside towards south.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.