Torre de Belém

sights / Architecture

Torre de Belém information

Location
Lisbon , Portugal
More information
www.torrebelem.pt
Prices
adult/child €6/3, 1st Sun of month free
Opening hours
10am-6.30pm Tue-Sun, to 5.30pm Oct-Apr
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Jutting out onto the Rio Tejo, this UNESCO World Heritage–listed fortress epitomises the Age of Discoveries. You'll need to breathe in to climb the narrow spiral staircase to the tower, which affords sublime views over Belém and the river.

Francisco de Arruda designed the pearly-grey chess piece in 1515 to defend Lisbon’s harbour and nowhere else is the lure of the Atlantic more powerful. The Manueline show-off flaunts filigree stonework, meringue-like cupolas and – just below the western tower – a stone rhinoceros.

The ungulate depicts the one Manuel I sent Pope Leo X in 1515, which inspired Dürer’s famous woodcut. Crowds can be intense on weekends (especially Sunday) – a warning to claustrophobes.