Belem Tower (Torre de Belem), Lisbon

Belem Tower (Torre de Belem), Lisbon (must see)

Belém Tower, officially the Tower of Saint Vincent (Portuguese: Torre de São Vicente) is a 16th-century fortification, composed of a bastion and a four-storey tower on the north side, which served as a point of embarkation and disembarkation for Portuguese explorers and as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon.

Built during the height of the Portuguese Renaissance, the tower, commissioned by King John II, is considered one of the principal works of the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style. The beige-white limestone used for its construction is local to the Lisbon area and thereabouts called Lioz.

The tower stands 12 meters (39 ft) wide and 30 meters (98 ft) tall. The first-floor interior contains the Sala do Governador (Governor's Hall). On the second floor, the Sala dos Reis (King's Hall) opens to the loggia overlooking the river, while a small corner fireplace extends from this floor to the third floor fireplace in the Sala das Audiências (Audience Hall).

It has been incorrectly stated that the tower was built in the middle of the Tagus and now sits near the shore because the river was redirected after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. In fact, the tower was built on a small island in the river near the Lisbon shore right away.

Since 1983, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the nearby Jerónimos Monastery. The tower is often portrayed as a symbol of Europe's Age of Discoveries and as a metonym for Portugal or Lisbon, given its landmark status.

Tip:
The biggest draw here is climbing to the top via a very narrow spiral staircase.
Unless you're lucky to arrive at a short line, it's best to admire from the outside garden versus investing too much time in line to enter. If you insist on getting inside, though, buy your ticket online or at a kiosk, in the adjacent park, to bypass the lengthy queue. A Lisbon Card will have you queuing with everyone else (but, at least, you won't have to pay the entrance fee!).

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am–5pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Lisbon. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Belem Tower (Torre de Belem) on Map

Sight Name: Belem Tower (Torre de Belem)
Sight Location: Lisbon, Portugal (See walking tours in Lisbon)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Lisbon, Portugal

Create Your Own Walk in Lisbon

Create Your Own Walk in Lisbon

Creating your own self-guided walk in Lisbon is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Belem Walking Tour

Belem Walking Tour

Also known as Santa Maria de Belem, the district of Belém is one of the most visited in Lisbon. Situated not far from the city center, it lines the Tagus River and is the original location of Lisbon's port – the starting point of the many great voyages of discovery by Portuguese explorers, such as Vasco da Gama – departed from here for India in 1497, and Pedro Álvares Cabral – for...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Lisbon Introduction Walking Tour

Lisbon Introduction Walking Tour

Legend goes that Lisbon's name has derived either from Allis Ubbo, meaning "safe harbor" in Phoenician, or from the pre-Roman name of the River Tagus, Lisso. Nestled at Europe's western edge and featuring numerous architectural styles, it ranks as the world's 10th oldest city and traces its roots back to the Phoenician Civilization, who settled it approximately three...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Alfama Walking Tour

Alfama Walking Tour

Alfama is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon, spreading downhill between the medieval former royal Castle of São Jorge and the Tagus river. Under the Islamic rule, Alfama constituted the largest part of the city, and was increasingly inhabited by fishermen and the poor. The reputation of being a poor area still lives on. The name Alfama derives from the Arabic al-ḥamma, which means "hot...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Sao Jorge Castle to Lisbon Cathedral Walking Tour

Sao Jorge Castle to Lisbon Cathedral Walking Tour

This self-guided walk takes you from the breathtaking Sao Jorge historic castle to the city's oldest church, the Lisbon Cathedral, while taking in the picturesque Alfama district – where it is said Fado originated – along the way. Included also are several unique museums, as well as two viewpoints from where you can look out over Alfama and the Tagus River. A classic Lisbon walk!

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles

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