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Daytripping from Lisbon: Belém in Photographs

One afternoon, I took the tram from Lisbon to nearby Belém, about 15-20 minutes from the city center. The location from where Portuguese voyagers set off to explore the world, Belém packs a lot of history—and grand sights—within its borders. My day trip, in photographs:

BelemThe Padrão dos Descobrimentos, a statue celebrating Portugal’s Age of Discovery, along Belém’s waterfront. (Note the Ponte 25 de Abril, the bridge connecting Lisbon to Almada, in the background. I still can’t get over its resemblance to the Golden Gate Bridge.)

Monasterio de los Jerónimos de BelémFor a dose of Portugal’s intricate, sumptuous Manueline architecture, head to Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the monastery fuses late Gothic, Plateresque, Renaissance, and classical elements, reflecting Portugal’s exploration of the world in the time of seafarers like Vasco da Gama.

Monasterio de los JeronimosThe Mosteiro dos Jerónimos drips with lavish details; the inner cloister incorporates Manueline, Moorish, and eastern elements.

Monasterio de los JeronimosIt was hot when I visited, but these open, airy walkways were shady, and its walls and benches were cool to the touch. Above, a shot from the ground.

Monasterio de los JeronimosAn interior view within the main chapel.

Monasterios de los JeronimosA close-up within the cloister.

Monasterios de los JeronimosA shot taken from a dark stairwell, looking out into an open-air cloister.

WordsWords on the concrete in a parking lot near Belém’s waterfront.

Pasteis de Belem In the 1800s, people of the monastery began to sell sweet pastries in a small shop. These round pastries, pastéis de nata, are crisp, flaky, and golden on the outside, with creamy, rich centers. Today, you’ll find pastelarias throughout Lisbon, though Pastéis de Belém—not far from the monastery on Rua de Belém—produces the original pastry using the ultra-secret recipe. Above, a snapshot while waiting in line.

Tower of BelemThe compact but ever-so-mighty Tower of Belém, a stroll from the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. The tower, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built for defense purposes in the early 16th century.

Tower of BelemThe Tagus River and a wall of the Tower of Belém.

Tower of BelemA bulbous lookout of the Tower of Belém.

For more photographs from my trip to Portugal, check out Flickr: Lisbon.

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Categories: culture photography travel

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Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Writer at Writing Through the Fog. Editor at Automattic.

11 replies

  1. I’ve been in India for a few months and it was sooo nice to see some pics from Lisbon, where i actually live! Hope you enjoyed pastéis de nata, as they are my fav for breakfast every morning :) Btw, the message written on the floor is beautiful!

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  2. Cheri, your pics are gorgeous! Brings back good memories from my visit to Belem a few years back…did you have their famous pastries? Love your work – just beautiful.

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    1. Hey Stacey! So nice to see a note from you. I loved Belem. And yes, I tried the pasteis de nata there, but also stopped at many pastry shops throughout Lisbon whenever I could. Didn’t even take a photo of one, as I quickly shoved each into my mouth upon purchase.

      And it always amazes me when I think about our run-in on the train en route to Interlaken. Oh, what a (small) world.

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