The Belém Tower (Torre de Belém) was built between 1514 and 1520 in a Manuelino style by the Portuguese architect and sculptor Francisco de Arruda. It was classified as a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO.
Constructed on the northern bank of the Tagus River, this tower was used to defend the city. Years later, it was transformed into a lighthouse and customs house. It is situated very close to the Jerónimos Monastery.
Inside Belém Tower
The ground floor of this architectural jewel has 16 windows with cannons. The visit also includes a tour of the pits and holes where the prisoners were thrown into.
The tower has five floors which lead to a roof terrace. Each story is connected by a small and narrow spiral staircase, which, on the busiest days is a little overwhelming, having to wait your turn to climb and descend.
The floors are, from bottom to top: The Governor’s Hall, The Kings’ Hall, the Audience Hall, the Chapel and Roof terrace.
The rhinoceros gargoyle
On the western façade of the Tower of Belém, you’ll find a curious gargoyle in the shape of a rhinoceros. Interestingly, the first rhino to set foot in Portugal was in 1513 from India.
October - April: 10 am to 5:30 pm.
May - September: 10 am to 6.30 pm.
Closed: Mondays, 1 January, Easter Sunday, 1 May and 25 December.
Adults: € 6 (US$ 6.30) (+ Jerónimos Monastery, € 12 (US$ 12.70); Jerónimos Monastery + Ajuda Palace: € 16 (US$ 16.90))
Senior (over 65 years old): 50% discount.
Youth Card: 50% discount.
Children (less than 12 years old): free entrance.
Free entrance with the Lisboa Card.