Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Torre de Belém

On Tuesday I ventured by tram to Belém. I had read so many amazing things about this part of Lisbon and I was very much looking forward to trying its famous pastry. The tram journey does not take very long but I was not sure where to get off for the Torre de Belém so when I got off I had to walk a little to get to it. I arrived just after it opened so the line I joined moved rather quickly. I suggest getting there early or as it opens for when I reached the top there was a much longer queue formed. 

Torre de Belém as it is known in Portuguese is a fortified tower completed in 1519. The tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It is one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal alongside neighbouring Jerónimos Monastery. It was commissioned by King John II to be part of a defense system at the mouth of the Tagus River and also as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon.

I recommend going to the Tower first and purchasing a combined ticket to the Torre de Belém and Jerónimos Monastery. The combined ticket is €12. For just visiting the tower it is €6 and a ticket for just the monastery is €10. You save €4 with the combined ticket and I think both monuments are well worth a visit. With your combined ticket, once you have visited the tower you can head over to the monastery and avoid the long queue for tickets as you have already purchased yours at the tower.

I had a lot of fun exploring the tower. It could get a bit crowded in some parts but they are only able to let a certain number of people into the tower at once. Since there is only one stairway between each floor of the tower, they have a stop light system to allow you to climb up and then you must wait until people come down before you can climb up to another floor.

The weather could not have been any better for a day of exploring. The view over the Tagus River was beautiful. Above you can see the 25 de Abril Bridge as well as the Christ the King statue inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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