Belem#2 in Best Things To Do in Lisbon
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- 4.0Food Scene
The waterfront Belém is a historic neighborhood that houses some of Lisbon's most important monuments, museums and one very popular Portuguese tart place, the Pasteis de Belém. Here you'll find the Jerónimos Monastery, the Belém Tower, the Discoveries Monument, the Belém Palace (the official residence of Portugal's president), the Coleção Berardo Museum as well as a number of scenic gardens. As the Discoveries Monument beautifully illustrates, Belém is important in that it was a popular departure point during the Age of Discoveries. Some notable adventurers that have embarked from Belém include Vasco da Gama, who was the first person to sail directly from Europe to India, and Ferdinand Magellan, who was aboard the first ship that successfully circumnavigated the world. In addition, Christopher Columbus also made a stop here on his way back to Spain from the Americas.
Recent travelers enjoyed all that Belem has to offer, especially the stunning Belem Tower and the Discoveries Monument. Most visitors, however, expressed disappointment with the amount of tourists that are seemingly always at the sites. Because of this, some travelers instead recommended simply grabbing a pastel de nata (Portuguese egg tart pastry) at Pasteis de Belem, taking a nice long stroll along the Tagus riverfront and admiring the waterfront attractions outside instead of waiting in long lines to go inside. Keep in mind: If you've come to Belem to see its top attractions, including Belem Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery, these monuments are not open on Mondays.
Belem is located about 6 miles west of central Lisbon and is accessible via a metro stop of the same name. You can also reach the area via tram – nos. 15 or 127 make stops here.
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#1 Tram 28
San Francisco has its cable cars, London has its red double-decker buses and Lisbon has its trams. Tram 28, which extends from Martim Moniz to Campo Ourique, in particular takes riders on a tourist-friendly route. Not only does it pass through some of the city's most notable neighborhoods including Graça, Baixa and Bairro Alto, but it also travels by popular attractions, such as St. George's Castle and Alfama. Along with a scenic route, the cars themselves are also considered to be part of the experience. Many of Lisbon's trams, including some used on the Tram 28 route, are the same that were used in World War II, so don't expect air conditioning, or a smooth trip up and around the area's hills. But don't worry, recent travelers said it's all part of the tram's charm.
Some visitors recommend taking the tram up the steep Alfama hill and then walking back down to explore the neighborhood. Due to the tram's popularity, the tram cars tend to get crowded quickly, so make sure to arrive early or later in the day to avoid long lines. Also, because of the tram's popularity with tourists, it's a target for pickpockets. Remember to keep an eye on your belongings, especially cameras.
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