A day in Belém, or should I say… a day at the in a living museum. Belém quarter will always remind me my childhood. I used to spend my weekends at my grandparents’ and I lived here for a year. I had great memories from the best years of my childhood: Grandma’s food, the national creamy cakes Pastéis de Belém, a nice walk at Monsanto Forest Park and Sunday afternoon match days at Restelo supporting my club, Belenenses.
Besides the old monuments and the most visited ones, like the Belém Tower and the Hieronymites Monastery, old Lisbon can still be felt in some old squares and narrow alleys. There are abandoned factories and ruins from the industrial times, and small churches like Memória Church. Behind the obvious, there’s a lot to discover. Up the Ajuda hill, there’s the hidden Palácio Nacional da Ajuda, once a royal residence where our King D. José used to live.
Near the Monastery, there’s the Belém Cultural Center and by the riverside, there’s a promenade inviting you to stroll along the Tagus towards the 25th of April bridge — built in 1966, it seems to be a copy of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. End your visit at the rich quarter of Restelo and enjoy the best croissants I’ve ever tasted: The “Careca’s” Croissants (check Pastelaria do Restelo article).
Explore the quarter as a local, do what locals do and enjoy your stay. (Get there earlier to avoid the queues!) :).