Belém Palace

Once the official residence of the Portuguese Royal Family, Belém Palace is now the house of the President.

TravelCurious Tip

Eyes open: when the President is the building, a green flag with the national arms is hoisted

Fit For Kings

Once the official residence of the Portuguese monarchs, since the installation of the First Republic after the 1910 revolution Belém Palace has been home to the Presidents of the Portuguese Republic. When it was first built in the sixteenth century it offered King Manuel I of Portugal some peace and quiet, set apart from the chaotic confines of the city centre, for his gentleman scholar pursuits.

Today it is much the same: its soft pink façade sits high up on a gently sloping hill, facing onto the Tagus river. Strolling through its beautifully manicured gardens is a perfect respite from city life. You won’t miss the statue of Afonso de Albuquerque, standing atop a 20 metre pedestal. As a masterful 15th century Portuguese general and empire builder he was instrumental in Portugal’s ascendance as a global power.

All in the Timing

Within the palace the Presidency Museum tells the story of the Portuguese Republic and its leaders using a fascinating collection of photos, portraits and gifts received from other world leaders. The palace itself opens only on select days, but its well worth timing your visit to coincide with them: its luxurious rooms have been furnished by Portugal’s finest artisans for centuries.

Another thing worth coinciding your visit with is the ceremonial changing of the guards. Next to the Pátios dos Bichos ramp every 3rd Sunday of each month at 11 o’clock the Belém National Palace guard of honour conduct this stately ceremony. With horses, rifles, frilly outfits and a martial band, you can enjoy a bit of pomp and pageantry, even if the Royals no longer live here.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Lisbon
Discoveries Monument
A monument celebrating the Portuguese Age of Discovery during the 15th and 16th centuries.
Jerónimos Monastery
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a prime example of the exuberant Manueline architectural style.
Calouste Gulbenkian Planetarium
This planetarium in the Belém quarter projects stunning astronomical shows inside its 25-metre dome.
Electricity Museum
A magnificent building that hosts exhibitions about the evolution of energy.
National Coach Museum
The most popular museum in Lisbon proudly displays one of the world's finest collections of historical carriages.
Cultural Centre of Belém
The largest cultural complex in Portugal, hosting opera, ballet, symphony concerts and much more.

Related Tours

Private guided tour of Beautiful Belém from Lisbon with skip the line tickets
Visit Belém to see some of Lisbon’s most famous delights, from UNESCO World Heritage-listed towers and monasteries to monuments, museums and famous custard tarts.
  • Visit the 17th century Belém Palace, home to the Portuguese monarchy for centuries
  • See the UNESCO-listed Torre de Belém, a seafront tower
  • Tour the Gothic Jerónimos Monastery for grand Manueline architecture
  • Marvel at the sail-shaped Discoveries Monument
  • Explore cultural treasures at the National Carriages and Maritime Museums
  • Try a delicious Pastel de Belém, Portugal’s famous custard tart
Set on the waterfront, beautiful Belém is symbolic of Lisbon’s seafaring past, once home to Lisbon’s shipyards and docks. It was from here that 15th-century voyages launched, blazing a trail of discovery across oceans to India, East Africa and Brazil. Discover Belém with an expert local guide on this four-hour tour, which takes in the area’s most historic landmarks.
Golden Age of Discovery
Belém is the perfect place to learn about Portugal’s Golden Age of Discovery, where the 15th-century explorers set sail to discover new worlds. Today their voyages are commemorated by the sail-shaped Discoveries Monument. These discoveries gave rise to incredible wealth from Portugal’s new colonies, which funded Belém’s grand buildings, parks and leafy plazas. Take in views of the 17th century Belém Palace, home to the Portuguese Royal Family for centuries and a prime example of English Baroque design.
Belém is famed for its remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the 16th century Torre de Belém, a thin, stone tower which has become one of Portugal’s most photographed monuments. The gothic Jerónimos Monastery also claims UNESCO credentials, with its stunning Manueline architecture. To delve deeper into Belém’s history, you’ll spend some time perusing the Maritime Museum and Cultural Center of Belém as well as the National Carriages Museum, which boasts the biggest collection of royal carriages in the world.
Portuguese Sweet Treats
After your fill of Portuguese history, you can unwind by tasting a Pastel de Nata, the traditional Portuguese custard tart. These originated in Belém and have been sold on the steps of Jerónimos Monastery by the same bakery since 1837. Enjoy one of these delicious, iconic Portuguese treats for a small extra cost, while savouring the views of Belém’s beautiful monuments.

No visit to Lisbon would be complete without visiting Belém and this compact tour is the perfect way to get to grips with this historic neighbourhood and its ornate landmarks. 


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