We realized some time ago that we didn’t have many photos of our beautiful city of Lisbon, a huge flaw that demanded immediate action… So we started a family program: to enjoy spring good weather and spend some afternoons in “photo tours” , to show you the places you can’t miss on your next visit here.
We took a vote (this is a very democratic family), and we decided that the first of these tours would be in Belém, a really lovely place, with a very special light and brightness complemented with the deep blue color of the Tagus River, equally visited by tourist and locals, who love to spend time here.
Here are some suggestions of places to visit in the area:
These monument were both built during the 16th Century at King D.Manuel I’s request to celebrate Portuguese Maritime Discoveries, during a period of great wealthness (mostly coming from overseas conquests). They are both classified as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO and are definitely not to be missed.
The Jeronimos Monastery was dedicated to Infante D.Henrique (Henry the Navigator)’s memory, as he was the main and most important patron of the portuguese expansion and the main driving force for the first maritime adventures and discoveries. Luís Vaz de Camões (the most important portuguese poet) and Vasco da Gama (one of the most important navigators, who lead the expedition in which the maritime way to India was discovered) are both buried here, and their sculpted tombs in the church are worth a visit.
The Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos) is one of our favourite places in Lisbon. He was also built to honour Portuguese Maritime Discoveries, and is shaped like a caravel (portuguese sailing ship) with Henry at its prow and several navigators, cartographers, kings, mathematicians, missionaries, etc… all major figures of those times who played important roles in the discoveries, placed on both sides of the mast. Camões is there with is masterpiece “Os Lusíadas”, where the great achievements of that epoque are depicted in an epic poem – considered as one of the most important national literary pieces.
On the floor you will find a gorgeous world map with all the discoveries routes – unfortunately we still weren’t able to take a full picture of it because there are always loads of people on it, but we will keep trying!
This is a biomedical research facility, as well as a clinic and a beautiful building just by the river. It has a very nice restaurant with outdoor tables, very pleasant stop.
The controversial Centro Cultural de Belém
Built between 1988 and 1993, this is probably one of the most controversial structures in Lisbon and could not miss our list. Misunderstood by Lisboners because of its architecture (that most will say has nothing to do with the surroundings) and its costs (which ended being way higher than expected), it has been the target of much criticism, but it is a place where many conferences, concerts and exhibitions presently take place, and where you’ll be able to visit the Berado Museum (modern and contemporary art). Locals are now used to go to CCB due to the high number of events that take place there, it has become a cultural reference and we kinf of got used to it…
The vary famous and sweet Pastéis de Belém
At the end of this great afternoon around Belém, this is a stop you won’t want to miss, these are one of the most famous pastries in Portugal! The queues at the door are always long, and there are several rooms with beautiful tiles where you can sit to enjoy the Pastéis – as with the queues at the door, you may have to wait a little bit for a table, but usually not to long, so be patient. These pastries are made since the beginning of the 19th century, and the confectionary was founded in 1837. The recipe is secret and has not changed since 200 years ago…
Walking by the river you’ll find nice cafés, with very nice esplanades. In a sunny afternoon this is a lively place, with families spending time together, children playing, people sitting to read a book or a newspaper, others walking or jogging… It is one of our favourite places, there’s nothing like a walk here to fill us with energy and good vibrations… You can also visit the interesting Museum of Electricity, and if you stay after dark, you’ll be able to enjoy a very nice dinner at the Docas (by the boat marina).
So when will you come for a visit?