Visit the Hieronymites Monastery in Lisbon: tickets, prices, opening hours

Visiting Lisbon’s Belém district? Visit the Hieronymites Monastery, one of the capital’s star attractions!

Located to the west of Lisbon, in the Belém district, a visit to the Hieronymite Monastery promises a trip back in time to the 16th century. The site was even listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for its historical and architectural importance, and as one of the greatest examples of art and architecture in Portugal during the time of the Great Discoveries.

Many important figures from Portugal’s rich past are buried in the monastery, making it one of the most important buildings in the Lusitanian country. These include King Manuel I, as well as other members of Portuguese royalty, the explorer Vasco da Gama and several literary figures, such as the poets Herculano and Fernando Pessoa.

Now perfectly restored, a visit to the Monastery of the Hieronymites while in Lisbon is a must. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Monastery of the Hieronymites in Lisbon!

History of the Hieronymites Monastery in Lisbon

The Hieronymites Monastery dates back to the early 16th century. It was built when King Manuel I asked the Pope for permission to build it as a way of thanking the Virgin Mary for the success of the great explorer Vasco da Gama’s voyage to India.

Construction began in 1501 on the site of a hermitage founded by Henry the Navigator, where Vasco de Gama and his crew spent their last night in Lisbon and prayed before setting off on their historic voyage. The Mosteiro dos Jerónimos was designed by the architect Diogo de Boitaca, who was responsible for the revolutionary Church of Jesus in Setúbal. As the project progressed, he was replaced first by Joao de Castilho from Spain, then by Diogo de Torralva from Portugal and finally by Jeronimo de Ruão (Jerome of Rouen).

The Hieronymites Monastery was inhabited by monks of the Order of St. Jerome, whose mission was to celebrate a daily mass for sailors and for the king’s soul. These monks also had the task of confessing and giving spiritual advice to intrepid sailors setting out on their voyage of discovery from Belém, here in the heart of Lisbon.

Sadly, much of the monastery was decimated by the great earthquake of 1755, which damaged whole sections of the town. Fortunately, however, it was not completely destroyed, and has benefited from a number of restoration projects in the 250 years leading up to the present day.

Following the dissolution of the monasteries in 1833, the building reverted to state ownership, after which it was used by Lisbon’s children’s charity until the Second World War. It is now open to the public and well worth a visit, both for its historical importance and its charming Manueline architecture.

What to see and do at the Hieronymites Monastery in Lisbon

Monastère des Hiéronymites

There are many wonders to discover if you come to visit the Hieronymites Monastery in Lisbon:

The entrance

The main entrance to the Hieronymites’ monastery is via the south portal, designed by João de Castilho. Here, the central pillar (trumeau) is adorned with a statue of Henry the Navigator, and other pillars inside the building are decorated with figurative sculptures, forming vaults over three naves.

The cloister

Monastère des Hiéronymites à Lisbonne

Then take the west door to admire the cloister, whose stonework is even more impressive than that of the main church. The cloister is two storeys high and 55 metres square! You’ll notice that virtually every surface is adorned with elaborate, Manueline-style carvings.

The lower floor of the cloister, built by Diogo Boitaca, features wide arcades inspired by Gothic and Renaissance styles. The upper storey was built by João de Castilho in an equally attractive but much more sober style.

In fact, if you come to visit the Hieronymites Monastery, you’ll be able to discover Fernando Pessoa ‘s tomb, which has been located in a corridor of the cloister since 1985. You can also see the tomb of the writer Alexandre Herculano in the cloister’s chapter house.

Santa Maria church

Monastère des Hiéronymites à Lisbonne

This magnificent church contains the tombs of the four kings of the Beja branch of the House of Aviz, as well as other members of the family. But the best is yet to come: when you enter the church, don’t miss the Porte Occidentale, another of the monastery’s treasures, where among the many details hidden inside are King Dom Manuel I and Dona Maria kneeling in prayer, as well as Saint Vincent.

The blend of Manueline, Gothic and Mannerist art in the Capela-mor (the main chapel) gives this church an unmistakable originality. The latter features paintings depicting scenes from the Passion and a magnificent polychrome marble decoration.

Archaeological museum

mosteiro dos jeronimos

Photo credit: Flickr – Sophia Chang

Located in the wing built in the 19th century, you can discover objects from different periods, such as pottery, weapons, jewelry and steles.

If you visit the Hieronymites Monastery in Lisbon and venture into this part of the city, you can also learn more about the different stages of Portuguese history.

Naval Museum

Located to the west of the Monastery, you can discover a large collection of model boats from different eras.

How to get to the Hieronymites Monastery in Lisbon

Just like the Belém Tower, you can come here :

  • By bus: Numbers 727, 28, 729, 714 and 751
  • By streetcar: With n°15
  • By train: Get off at the Belém stop from Cais do Sodré station.

Timetable and prices for the Hieronymites Monastery

mosteiro dos jeronimos

Photo credit: Flickr – Max Bashyrov

RATES

  • Single admission: €10
  • Combined ticket (Belem Tower + Hieronymites Monastery + Archaeological Museum): €12

To find out about possible discounts, visit the official website of the Hieronymites Monastery.

Good to know: The Hieronymites Monastery is included in the Lisboa Card.

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 6 p.m.)
  • Closed: Mondays, January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1 and December 25

GOOD TO KNOW

Visiting the Monastery of the Hieronymites requires careful preparation. We have selected a few important points for you:

  • The best time to visit the Hieronymites Monastery is in the early morning or at the end of the day.
  • People with reduced mobility can visit the Hieronymites Monastery
  • It will take you at least 1h30 to visit the Hieronymites Monastery.
  • It is not possible to eat inside.