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Lisbon Belém Tour with Jerónimos Monastery

Delve into the Age of Portuguese Discoveries
From US$284 privately
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Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
  • Jerónimos Monastery
  • Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries)
  • Belém Tower (exterior)
Photos & Highlights
  • Detailed explanation of the Portuguese Age of Discovery from early settlers to present day
  • Led by a local historian
Tour Description
Nestled on the banks of the Tagus river, away from the hustle and bustle of the city center, is the charming and historic district of Belém. Thanks to its coastal location and abundance of iconic monuments, Belém serves as a fascinating microcosm of the evolution of Lisbon, from early settlers to the age of the explorers, to the present day. On this 3-hour Belém tour, you will travel through time to learn how the area transformed from a maritime village to a powerful symbol of Portuguese expansionism. You will wander the winding hills, cobblestone streets, and hidden alleyways while experiencing the fascinating history of Lisbon. 
  • Jerónimos Monastary
  • Vasco de Gama's tomb
  • Monument to the Discoveries
  • Belém Tower (exterior)
  • 3 hours with a Ph.D. or MA-level historian
  • Tickets to the Jerónimos Monastary
You will begin your Belém tour experience outside the impressive Belém Tower, which along with the monastery forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage site and the 7 Wonders of Portugal. You’ll learn how and why it was conceived for defensive purposes, and the important battles to which it bore witness.  By pointing out hidden details, your guide will describe how the Age of Discovery influenced the appearance and use of this grand building.

From there, you will head towards the immense Padrão dos Descobrimentos, or the Monument to the Discoveries. With its grand exterior situated right on the water’s edge, you’ll get an idea of just how close Belém is to the sea and why it was of such strategic military and navigational importance. Your expert may give an in-depth explanation of the explorers depicted on the monument and the routes they pioneered, or perhaps delve into the social history of Lisbon’s maritime culture and how embarking upon these often treacherous journeys affected those who were left behind.

While it is easy to mistakenly think that this monument is centuries old, it was completed in 1960. Your expert will reveal how it came to be, as well as Belém's importance to Lisbon’s progression, particularly under authoritarian Prime Minister Salazar (1889-1970) who used its legacy as a means of propagating Portuguese superiority.

Before heading to the last stop, you will pass by the legendary Pastéis de Belém bakery, where people come from far and wide to try their delicious signature custard tarts. Here you will be introduced to your guide and the origins of Belém, learn the relationship between these pastries and the Jerónimos Monastery and try to figure out what’s in the secret recipe that makes them so delicious. You are highly encouraged to head back after the tour and try one of these legendary pastries. 

And finally, you will end your visit to Belem at UNESCO World Heritage site, the Jerónimos Monastery where, with pre-paid tickets in hand, you will set out to explore one of the most prominent examples of Manueline (ornate, 15th-century maritime style) gothic architecture in Lisbon. As you wander through the monastery halls, you will learn about when Vasco de Gama and his men spent the night here ahead of their first voyage to the Orient, cementing Belém and the Monastery as key sites in the age of exploration and Portuguese colonial history. You will take a peek at Vasco de Gama’s tomb and find out more about the monastery’s other illustrious inhabitants over the years.

This voyage of discovery will leave you with a deeper understanding of Belém and its role in key periods of Portuguese history, as well as Lisbon’s relationship with the sea and how that has affected the city’s development.

For more on Baixa and central Lisbon, consider our Baixa Walking Tour of Lisbon including Bairro Alto & Chiado. If you wish to see the older side of Lisbon, we also offer a Lisbon Old Town tour of the Alfama district.

For more information about Context tours, please visit our FAQs.

Book with confidence — see Context's flexible cancellation policy here.
Will you purchase skip-the-line tickets for me? 
We pre-purchase tickets to Jeronimos Monastery to ensure the smoothest possible experience but it is not possible to skip the line entirely at the moment. If you have flexibility with your schedule, we recommend an afternoon tour to avoid the worst of the cruise ship crowds in the high season. We don't typically go inside the Belém tower as they have a restricted capacity and the lines can get long (plus there is a lot to admire and discuss in its exterior!). 
Is this tour wheelchair-accessible? 
In the Monastery, the Church and Lower Cloister are accessible to persons with reduced mobility. The Tower is partially accessible. Please contact us to discuss in more detail your mobility concerns so that we can best advise.
Is this tour appropriate for children? 
This walk is not a part of our official family program. That said, we may be able to arrange a visit with a family-friendly guide. Please contact us for options and advice.
Can we go to Pastéis de Belém during the tour?
Though we used to meet for pastels here, it has gotten too busy and reduces the time of the tour. Instead, we share its fascinating history and encourage you to return outside of tour time.
Why doesn’t the tour go inside the Belém Tower? 
They limit their capacity and it's not possible to skip the line which means a long waiting time. The interior is also not overly impressive, we choose to focus on the exterior with its immense facades and interesting carvings. 
Where You'll Start
84 Reviews (4.78)

Reviews can only be left by Context customers after they have completed a tour. For more information about our reviews, please see our FAQ.

Tiago was an amazing guide! He went into great detail about the history of the area and of the country, and was incredibly easy to talk to. He had an answer for every question we had and went above and beyond to ensure we’d enjoy our tour.
Raquel was l delightful - funny, knowledgeable and generally a great companion for our first day in Lisbon.