Visit Lisbon’s Belém Tower: tickets, prices, opening hours

On vacation in Lisbon? Be sure to visit the famous Belém Tower, a symbol of the Age of Discovery!

A European capital in a class of its own, Lisbon’s appeal lies in its climate, the friendliness of its people and the many historic sites it boasts. If you’re just passing through, there are plenty of monuments to visit.

The Tower of Belém, or Torre de Belém in Portuguese, is without doubt Portugal’s most emblematic landmark. Built in the 16th century, between 1514 and 1519, on the banks of the Tagus to control the city’s entrance from the sea, today you can visit the Tower of Belém in the homonymous district.

Are you planning to visit Lisbon’s Belém Tower? Find out all the information you need in this article!

History of the Belem Tower

Belem

The idea of building a fortress near Belém was launched in the 15th century by King João II, who commissioned the construction of a tower over the Tagus River as part of a larger defensive rampart. Just as the plans for the tower were being completed, the king died, and the project was abandoned.

The project was revived in 1514, during the reign of his successor, King Manuel I of Portugal. A new design for the fortified tower was drawn up by Francisco de Arruda (a military architect) and construction began the following year (1515) near the port of Belém, the point of departure for many Portuguese explorers during the Great Discoveries.

The tower was completed only six years later, in 1521. At that time, the tower was known as Torre de São Vicente (St. Vincent’s Tower), as the king had placed it under the protection of St. Vincent, Lisbon’s patron saint.

What to see and do at Belém Tower

Belem

If you come to visit the Tower of Belém, you won’t be able to miss the elegance of the tower, which is the result of the new Manueline-style architecture, named after King Manuel I. The Manueline style is a Portuguese variant of the Gothic architecture found in Northern Europe, but with exuberant decorations and nautical-themed ornamentation.

The style reflects the confidence and wealth of Portugal that resulted from the period of the Great Discoveries, when explorers settled colonies and created new trade routes that brought wealth from India and other far-flung destinations to Lisbon.

For a fortress, the Belém Tower boasts a surprisingly rich exterior, with beautiful balconies and ornaments carved in limestone, testimony to the wealth Portugal enjoyed during the Manueline style.

The tower has a hexagonal base with Moorish-style turrets at each corner. On this terrace stands a statue of Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Succès, intended to protect sailors. Inside, in the basement, the vaulted room was once used as a prison.

The tower’s upper floors housed the arsenal and private residences. The tower also features a beautiful Italian-style loggia with sculpted columns and several balconies with intricate carvings. At the top of the tower, there’s another terrace, offering a magnificent view of Belém and the Tagus River.

The Torre de Belém was once entirely surrounded by water, but over the centuries the Tagus receded. A footbridge has been built to allow visitors access directly from the riverbank.

How do I get to Lisbon’s Belém Tower?

The Belem Tower is located in the district of the same name: Belem. Nearby is the Hieronymites Monastery, also worth a visit.

You can also visit the Belém Tower:

  • By bus: Routes 714, 727, 728, 729 and 751
  • By streetcar: Take tram no. 15 from Place Figueira
  • By train: Get off at the Belém stop from Cais do Sodré station.
  • By car: If you’ve opted to rent a car from the airport, or if you’ve come with your own vehicle, there are several paying parking lots close to the Belem Tower.
  • By ferry: Get off at Belem River Station, a good 15-minute walk from the Belem Tower.

Belem Tower opening hours & rates

Belem

SCHEDULES

  • October to May: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (last admission at 5 p.m.)
  • May to September: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (last admission at 5 p.m.)

Closed: Mondays, December 25, January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1 and June 13

RATES

  • Single admission (12 to 64 years old): €6
  • Combined ticket (Tour of Belém + Hieronymites Monastery): €12
  • Students: €3

More information on discounts can be found on the official Belém Tower website.

Good to know: If you have the Lisboa Card, a visit to Belém Tower is free!

Accessibility is limited to the first floor for visitors in wheelchairs. Visually impaired visitors will nevertheless be able to get a feel for the Tower’s architecture thanks to a tactile model located near the entrance.