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Belem Tower
Holiday Travel Guide

Lisbon constructed a fortification along a waterway to defend its riches. Now access the structure from the shore for lovely views. 

Belém Tower is an impressive structure on the shore of the Tagus River in Lisbon. The ornate fortification was built here over 500 years ago to fight off any hostile craft that came up the river. Gaze straight across the river from the top of the Tower Terrace to see St. Sebastian’s Fort, another fortification on the opposite shore. With the two towers in place, enemy warships could not achieve success in attacking the city.

Built between 1514 and 1520, Belém Tower has a storybook charm with a heavy influence of Moorish design. Notice how the structure incorporates the two features of a medieval tower and a military fortification.

Enter the building from the drawbridge that connects it to the shore. The carved rhinoceros at the base of one turret is believed to represent a live animal sent as a gift to Lisbon by an Indian governor. Cross the drawbridge to stand in the bulwark with 17 cannons pointing out to the river. Their strategic placement allowed cannon balls to skip across the water to extend their distance. Below this floor were the dungeons.

Climb the staircase to the bulwark terrace to see six turrets with lookout windows and a central opening to view the floor below. Admire the river-facing exterior from this terrace as it has the most detail to impress seafaring crews approaching Lisbon.

Go up another staircase to the Governor’s Room. Despite its name, governors stayed at a palace nearby. Notice the octagonal structure that collected rainwater for storage in a tank below. This room has access to turrets and another staircase leading to the top of the building.

Ascend to the King’s Room, which features a balcony with a commanding river view. The room’s other walls have Venetian-style balcony windows. The remaining rooms of the Belém Tower are the Audience Room and Chapel. Notice the holes in the balcony floors that allowed heavy objects to be dropped on the heads of attackers.

Top Trending Hotels Near Belem Tower

Altis Belém Hotel & Spa
Altis Belém Hotel & Spa
5 out of 5
Doca Do Bom Sucesso, Lisbon
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Located in Belem, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery. Belem Cultural Center and CCB Cultural Center of Belem ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (325 reviews)

"The property is an ideal location as its not too far from the city but a pretty sight with the harbour. The room service was not efficient as they would forget to put towels etc but the staff were very helpful and polite. I would say its a bit pricey for the hotel in itself as I’ve stayed in hotels ..."…"

Reviewed on 19 Aug 2020

Altis Belém Hotel & Spa
Palácio do Governador
Palácio do Governador
5 out of 5
Rua Bartolomeu Dias, 117, Lisbon
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Located in Belem, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery. Berardo Collection Museum and CCB Cultural Center of Belem ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (295 reviews)
Awesome!

"Fantastic hotel, fantastic location, fantastic service. We will return!"…"

Reviewed on 21 Sep 2020

Palácio do Governador
Cosy Studio with Decorated interior in Lisbon
Cosy Studio with Decorated interior in Lisbon
9 Beco Ré, Lisbon, Lisboa
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Located in Belem, this apartment building is within 1 mile (2 km) of Berardo Collection Museum, Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery. CCB Cultural Center of Belem ...

Cosy Studio with Decorated interior in Lisbon
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Top Hotel Deals

Altis Belém Hotel & Spa
Altis Belém Hotel & Spa
5 out of 5
Doca Do Bom Sucesso, Lisbon
Altis Belém Hotel & Spa
Palácio do Governador
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5 out of 5
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Cosy Studio with Decorated interior in Lisbon
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The price is €69 per night from 28 Jan to 29 Jan
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Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.