Torre de Belém was built between 1515 and 1521 by design of military architect Francisco de Arruda, who had previously built military strongholds in the Portuguese regions in Morocco.
From the beginning of the 16th century, Torre de Belém has been the starting point for many trade and discovery voyages initiated by Vasco da Gama, a voyage of discovery but also the grandeur of Portuguese power in the era of great discoveries.
UNESCO World Heritage
Torre de Belém is one of the main attractions in Lisbon, so you will find it on almost all postcards. In 1910 it was declared a national monument and from 1987 it is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, together with the nearby Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.
In the river Tagus
Torre de Belém was established as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon, but it also functioned as a defense tower. If you look closely, the Torre de Belém is on an island in the river, you’ll cross a small bridge to get there. In the past this island lay further out, in the middle of the Tagus, but due to the earthquake of 1755 the course of the Tagus changed and with the gradual shifting of the banks, Torre de Belém is now almost on the quay.
View from the tower
It is possible to climb the tower, which offers beautiful views over the Tagus and the surrounding areas. Combine a visit to Torre de Belém with the other attractions of Belém, such as Padrão dos Descobrimentos. This monument is also on the banks of the Tagus and is about 10 minutes walk from Torre de Belém. For the other sights in Belém you take the elevated walkway over the road. This will take you to Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and Pastéis de Belém.
How to get to Torre de Belém
Address: Av. Brasília, Belém
October to May: 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
June to September: 10:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Closed on: Mondays, New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, 1 May, 13 June and 25 December.
You can also get there by ferry, then take the ferry to Belém. The ferry leaves from the other side of the Tagus at Trafaria and stops at Porto Brandão and then crosses to Belém. Within 15 minutes the ferry reaches the other side and the cost of the crossing is 1.15 euros. There is not much to see in Porto Brandão and Trafaria but the route offers a nice view of Belém.