What to do in Belém, an iconic neighborhood in Lisbon?

Camila Lafratta

Bruno Barata, Getty Images

Belém is one of the most charming regions in Lisbon, and while exploring the neighborhood, you’ll easily understand why. It’s just a few miles from the historic city center and home to classic and contemporary tourist attractions. Another highlight is its cuisine marked by the traditional pastéis de nata, a gem of Portuguese pastries – it’s no coincidence that they are named after the Lisbon neighborhood.


The pastéis de nata
Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT)

Where to go?

The importance of Belém is connected to the Portuguese Empire era, when navigators like Vasco da Gama and Pedro Álvares Cabral sailed from the Tagus to explore overseas. This achievement is immortalized by monuments like Padrão dos Descobrimentos, which has an overlook with an incredible view of the region. Incidentally, for anyone who likes panoramic views, a can’t-miss activity is a visit to the Belém Tower, dating from 1514 – the tower and the Monastery of Jerónimos, dating from 1502, are known as the golden duo of 17th-century Lisbon.


But, even with all this tradition, present in its charming tiles, the region hasn’t been immune to the modernizing wave that has hit the capital in recent years. Now it’s home to modern structures like the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT), in addition to hip spaces, like SUD, a bar/restaurant whose pool overlooks the river. The same Tagus that has been seeing, for over 500 years, a Belém ahead of its time.


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