You can’t visit Lisbon without going to Belém, where you’ll find buildings not to be missed, great walks and a very interesting museum.
For this second day, after visiting the city center the day before, I headed for Belém. There’s a very practical reason for this: whereas the day before I was able to do everything on foot, Belém is more than 5 km away, so it’s necessary to take public transport or, in my case, an Uber.
The Jerónimos Monastery
This 16th-century Gothic monastery is Portugal’s most visited monument. It took over 100 years to build!
I had planned to arrive as soon as it opened, but even so, I was surprised to discover an impressive queue on my arrival.
A little more than an hour’s wait, according to the staff, and if there’s one thing I hate, it’s waiting! I’m thinking maybe I could do what I did yesterday at Castelo de Sao Jorge: buy my ticket online and overtake everyone!
No such luck: although you can buy your ticket online, you still have to queue with everyone else, and there are no line-cutters or priority queues for ticket-holders.
I skip my turn and tell myself that I’ll have time to come back another time during my stay, with a greater margin of safety.
As for the church, which can be accessed independently, it will be used for a service. Bad luck.
It is located in the cultural center of Belém, a few meters from the monastery, in this modern building.
This museum of modern and contemporary art boasts a fine collection covering the major movements from surrealism to pop art, hyper-realism, minimalist art and conceptual art, complemented by temporary exhibitions.
The museum’s collection is made up of the personal collection of the businessman and collector José Berardo, who entrusted his collection to the State, the latter assuming the museum’s operating costs, with a purchase option of 316 million euros which can be exercised after a period of 10 years.
A fine museum that I’m delighted to be visiting for the second time, even if not everything about modern art is to everyone’s taste.
The Belem Tower
Erected in the 16th century as part of a defensive system to protect the city from sea attacks, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can also enjoy the immense gardens surrounding the tower.
The Padrão dos Descobrimentos
Also known as the Palace of Discoveries, this monument was erected in the 1960s to commemorate the Portuguese navigators of the 15th and 16th centuries. You’ll reach it by leaving the Belém Tower and walking along the Tagus towards the city, which makes for a pleasant stroll.
Its summit offers one of the finest views of Lisbon.
You may decide to stay and stroll around Belém all day, in which case there are plenty of other things to do, such as..:
– The Ajuda Plant Garden.
– The Palácio Nacional da Ajuda, the last residence of the royal family until the end of the monarchy in 1910, and the only palace in the city that can be visited.
– The naval museum.
– The National Museum of Archaeology
– Pastéis de Belém: visit the patisserie where this local speciality has been made according to the original secret recipe since 1937.
But also… the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
This visit has absolutely no place here in terms of geography, but I had to put it somewhere… I actually made it another morning and had to interrupt it before it was finished. I received an alert informing me that my return flight had been cancelled, so I left the museum to call TAP customer service…and seeing how difficult it was to deal with the problem and how long it took, I reluctantly returned to my hotel. Which is why I didn’t go back to visit the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, as I spent part of the following morning continuing to sort out the problem.
It’sone of the world’s largest private art collections, with a highly varied spectrum , ancient Egypt, art from the Islamic world, China and Japan, as well as French decorative arts, jewelry by René Lalique and paintings by masters such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Monet, Renoir, Manet, Edgar Degas and Turner.
I had spent hours there a few years earlier, and it was with regret that I not only had to interrupt my visit, but also gave up on resuming it.
Articles about this trip to Portugal
|#1||Diary||Preparing my birthday trip to Portugal|
|#2||Flight||Paris Orly-Lisbon – TAP – Business Class – Embraer 195|
|#4||Restaurant||Zunzum Gastrobar, Lisbon|
|#5||Restaurant||Solar Dos Bicos, Lisbon|
|#7||Restaurant||O Frade, Lisbon|
|#8||Restaurant||100 Maneiras, Lisbon|
|#10||Diary||Lisbon day #1: downtown|
|#11||Diary||Lisbon day #2: Belem and beyond|
|#12||Hotel||Four Points by Sheraton Sesimbra|
|#13||Restaurant||O Batel Sesimbra|
|#15||Lounge||TAP Premium lounge Lisbon|
|#16||Flight||Lisbon-Paris Orly, TAP, Business Class, Airbus A330Neo.|
|#17||Diary||Debriefing of the trip to Lisbon and Sesimbra|