It’s no secret that Lisbon’s district of Belem is an amazing area to explore. Home to one of Lisbon’s most popular tourist attractions, Belem is visited by thousands of tourists each year. However this place is no tourist trap, it is popular for a reason!
Located west of central Lisbon, Belem is slightly out of the city but the energetic and positive atmosphere remains the same. During our week-long adventure in Lisbon, we spent one whole day dedicated to exploring the district of Belem. But you could easily spend days here visiting Lisbon’s iconic sites and informative museums.
Here’s how we explored Lisbon on our tight budget….
Cycle, Walk, or Train: Getting to Belem
There are three ways to reach Belém from the city – one is the quick, easy way, and the others are the long ‘scenic’ way. And which one do you think we went for? Our subconscious desire for a challenge lead to us walking the full hour and a half along the river towards Belém. The walk was an amazingly scenic walk, watching the boats and people on the river go by, but the heat and lack of water posed a pretty big problem. If you are planning on walking from the city centre, be prepared – it is not a quick and easy walk! We later learned that you can take the train all the way to Belém, or part of the way so you only have to walk half an hour!
However, about an hour into our walk, we stumbled upon a cheap place where we could hire some bikes! They set us back about €6 each for two hours. Cycling instead of walking or taking the train all the way was the best decision we made. The bike ride will provide you with some beautiful scenery along the way – there’s also something about the wind blowing through your hair that makes it so enjoyable… There are plenty of bike paths which take you right up to the main attractions in Belém – that is if you can avoid the hoards of tourists!
Padrao dos Descobrimentos
The first main attraction whether you cycle, walk or train is the Padrao dos Descobrimentos. This monument, which celebrates Portugal’s seafaring history, is something spectacular to see. The large statue stands tall, decorated with smaller statues of explorers and key financiers of Portugal.
Entry to this monumental area is completely free and often not too crowded with tourists. There is also a really artsy compass design on the ground beneath this monument – overall it is something that you must see!
Torre de Belém
Further along the river is the famous Torre de Belém, a significant symbol of Lisbon. This tower once stood to defend the city against attacks from the sea, and still stands today despite some erosion. The tower is decorated with beautiful architecture and intricate designs, making it something truly amazing to admire from the outside.
You are able to enter the tower, however, we didn’t because the line was insanely long and extremely slow moving. Entry will cost you €6.00, or on Sundays, entry is apparently free. If you decide not to enter the tower, there is also a memorial next to the tower for those who have died at war and also at sea. There is also plenty of places where you can grab a seat and enjoy one the ice-creams that the street vendors are selling.
The LX Factory
A really modern part of Belém is exciting and interesting LX Factory. Don’t be confused by the name, it is not an actual factory – it is an outdoor space consisting of artsy shops, food stores, bars and live music.
The LX Factory is just a short walk away from the Torre de Belem, and is the perfect place to stop after a long day of exploring. For either lunch or dinner, the restaurants, bars and live music look awesome! We didn’t get a chance to stop for a bite to eat, however we did spend a short time exploring some of the large bookstores and artistic shops. There is artwork all along the walls, and some of them were absolutely stunning.
If you happen to visit here at night, some of the artworks are actually made from lights and light up at night! The atmosphere of this small area of Lisbon was so friendly and amazing, it is definitely something to see in the district of Belem.
Are you craving more inspiration to visit the city of Lisbon? You can read my post – Lisbon: Exploring the City on €10 Per Day – to help inspire you…
Shop the Bag that Got Me to the Otherside Of the World
My BlackWolf 85L Wheeled Backpack got me to the other side of the world and back! From the beginning of my year-long adventure in Ireland to the end of my adventure in Madrid, this bag came with me everywhere…