Visit the Belem Tower  – Torre de Belem in Lisbon, Portugal

One of the most iconic sites in Belem, the Belem Tower or Torre de Belem plays a historic and important role in the defense of the city of Lisbon. The Belem Tower known as Torre de Belem in Portuguese, sits on the waterfront and mouth of the Tagus River as it opens up directly into the Atlantic Ocean.

Known as one of the symbols to Portugal’s expansion into global trade and the Age of Exploration when the Portuguese explorers lead the way to the control and knowledge along with the control over new lands, resources and the people of those new conquests.

The tower of Belem was that first symbol of leaving the old world and discovering new worlds with the master navigators like Vasco de Gama who opened up the world to new trade routes and commerce into India across the Cape of Africa.

When you visit the site, make sure you also get tickets to the inside to check out the elaborate designs and layout, the various rooms and also the spectacular views from the various vantage points and the tower of Belem from above.

You can visit the Monastery of Belem and other attractions with the Lisbon Card here for 1 – 3 days including local transportation.


Visit the Belem Tower in Lisbon, Portugal


History of the Belem Tower – Torre de Belem

The Tower of Belem was created in the 16th century originally as a defense for the city and later turned into a lighthouse, dungeon and prison and then a customs center.  The Tower is also known as the Tower of Saint Vincent, in honor of Lisbon’s patron saint.

Built between 1514 and 1520 the Belem Tower or Torre de Belem was built in the ornate Gothic – Manueline style by the Portuguese architect, sculptor Francisco de Arruda.  This was created during Portugal’s Renaissance and incorporates a four-story tower to the base of the structure. Made with local limestone, a beige colored stone that is called Lioz, the building incorporates the lower bastion or fortress with the four-story tower on the north side.

During the time frame of the Portuguese explorers to the new world routes, the tower was used as a point of embarkation and disembarkation.

Later, the tower was used as a dungeon and prison, a lighthouse and then a customs center. Eventually the Belem tower was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983 along with the Jeronimos Monastery to symbolize the Age of Discoveries.


History of the Belem Tower

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Visit the interiors of the Belem Tower – Torre de Belem


You can enter and explore the Belem Tower and the cool interior rooms and museum collections with an entry of 6 Euro.

When you enter the ground floor, there are 16 windows with openings for cannons which were used for defense of the city.  You can also check out the pits and dungeon area of the tower where the prisoners were placed.

There is a set of spiral staircases that takes you to the upper level with five different rooms that includes the Governor’s Hall, the Kings’ Hall, the Audience Hall, the Chapel and the Roof Terrace. The ceilings are created in an elaborate rib vaulting structure that showcases the crosses of the Order of Christ and twisted rope that was an organic and Manueline design style.

A fascinating Rhino Gargoyle

There is an impressive gargoyle of a rhino on the western façade of the tower. This was made to showcase the first rhino that was brought to Portugal as a gift to the king and initially placed in the dungeon of the Belem Tower to keep it in a protected area.

Tip – take the narrow spiral stair case all the way to the top of the observation area for fantastic views around the Tagus River all the to the ocean and scenic vistas of the Belem district.

Visit the interiors of the Belem Tower


How to get to the Tower of Belem

You can get to the Belem district and visit the Tower of Belem from many points in the historic district via local trams that take about 25 minutes riding around the scenic waterfront area.

Catch Tram 15 from the waterfront area of Lisbon along many stops and the cost for the ride is 3 Euro each way.


How to get to the Tower of Belem



How much is it going to cost to visit Belem Tower and local attractions?

Local tram ride to Belem area 3 Euro

Entry to Belem Tower 6 Euro

A taste of the delicious Pasteis de Belem for one is

A visit to the Church of the Belem Monastery is free to explore inside

A visit to the monastery grounds and cloister of Belem + Belem Tower 12 Euro

You can get a Visit Lisbon Card to explore the many attractions around the city, check out this card here for more information.



How much is it going to cost to visit Belem Tower and local attractions?


Views from above Belem Tower


Views from above Belem Tower



Fun things to enjoy around Belem

Outside of visiting the Belem tower, there are some fantastic attractions, historic sites and other fun hang out spots to enjoy around the Belem area.

This includes:



Pasteis de Belem

Pasteis de Belem

This popular custard tart was created initially at the nearby Mosteiro dos Jeronimos and was later developed into the more circulated Pasteis de nata. The Pasties de Belem has its bakery close to the Monastery and is a huge operation for visitors to visit and enjoy this pasty along with other delicious pastries and local foods at its premiere location in Belem.

Pasteis de Belem






Monastery of Belem

Monastery of Belem

Close to the Belem Tower is the historic site of the Monastery of Belem which combined is certified as a Unesco World Heritage site. The Monastery of Belem was created in the 16th Century in the order of St. Jerome, the patron saint of the city. Funded by the new trade routes and wealth from the new world discoveries, the Monastery of Belem is gorgeous and elaborate in craftsmanship and details.

The gorgeous monastery is elaborate with two levels of open air rooms surrounding the cloister and interior rooms you are allowed to explore. The cloisters are the highlight here with ornately designed and carved stonework done in the beautiful manueline style. Gorgeous carved details on the stonework, elaborate arches, columns and design motifs stand out and makes this a beautiful space and instagram worthy spot to visit.

Check out our post to visiting the Monastery of Belem here for more inspiration and images on this gorgeous historic site.


If you want to have a guided tour of the Tower and Monastery, check out this fantastic tour here for more information and booking the tour.


Monastery of Belem





Church of Santa Maria at Belem

Church of Santa Maria at Belem

Located adjoining the Monastery of Belem, the Church of Santa Maria is also created in the typical Gothic Manueline style of the period and is a free site you can visit. The entrance to the church on the western side (usually with long lines that already start forming mid day morning)

Inside you will find the stone tombs of many previous rulers and a small chapel dedicated to Vasco da Gama. The tomb was sculpted in the 19th century and the remains of his body were moved here in 1880, nearly 400 years after he set off from this spot.

Church of Santa Maria at Belem





Details to visiting the Belem Tower

Details to visiting the Belem Tower


October – April: 10 am to 5:30 pm.
May – September: 10 am to 6.30 pm.
Closed: Mondays, 1 January, Easter Sunday, 1 May and 25 December.

Entry Price

Adults: € 6 (US$ 6) (+ Jerónimos Monastery, € 12 (US$ 12); Jerónimos Monastery + Ajuda Palace: € 16 (US$ 16))
Senior (over 65 years old): 50% discount.
Youth Card: 50% discount.
Children (less than 12 years old): free entrance.

Another option is to take a group tour of Belem that let’s the group cut into the line so there’s no long wait to enter. Check out these tours offered below to visiting the Monastery and saving your time instead of waiting in line.

Walking tour of the Monastery and Belem Tower

Half day tour of Belem attractions including Monastery of Belem

Monastery, Belem Tower and LX Factory visit

You can visit the Monastery of Belem and other attractions with the Lisbon Card here for 1 – 3 days including local transportation.



Check out these other fun places to explore in Lisbon

Check out these other fun places to explore in Lisbon

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Visit the National Tile Museum of Lisbon

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8 traditional Portuguese foods

Feira da Ladra at Alfama


Conclusion to visiting the Belem Tower

Conclusion to visiting the Belem Tower – Torre de Belem

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