Belem Tower is the lonely sentinel of the city of Lisbon. Built on the right bank of the Tagus as a defensive structure, it has been welcoming during the last 5 centuries those who enter and leave Lisbon by sea.
Built between 1514 and 1519 (architect Francisco de Arruda) it is the jewel in the crown of Portuguese architecture. The style of construction is Manueline as can be seen from the exuberant decoration in elements of nature.
Belem Tower is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Despite its candid air, it could fire 16 cannons simultaneously. When the tower lost its military importance, it was successively used as a prison, lighthouse, border post and is currently one of Lisbon’s main tourist attractions.
Belem Tower was classified as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1983, together with Jeronimos Monastery.
When visiting the Tower, be sure to look for Ghanda (outside the Tower), which is possibly the oldest artistic representation of a rhino, made in Europe.
Opening hours: 10am – 5:30pm from October to April and 6:30pm from May to September (last admission 30 minutes before closing).
Closed: Mondays and January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, June 13th and December 25th
Entrance fee : 6€ (free up to 12)
Self-guided visit. Recommended duration: 30 minutes