Neighbourhood of Belém
What is today the Lisbon district of Belem used to be the heart of the epic Portuguese Maritime Discoveries. Sailing ships sailed from those shores to discover the world, new civilizations and peoples. Famous navigator Vasco de Gama set sail from Belem for his decisive trip that led to the discovery of the maritime route to India, in 1498. In honour of such an event and acknowledging the enormous potential of it for both the economy and Portuguese national power, King Manuel I ordered the construction of Jerónimos Monastery and Belem Tower. Today, both monuments have been declared World Heritage by Unesco. When visiting these monuments we will see excellent examples of Manueline architecture, a Renaissance and Gothic style inspired by the namesake King and that can only be found in Portugal.
The National Coach Museum, a collection of carriages, possibly the most numerous in the world, can be visited nearby. Next to it stands the National Palace of Belém, the official residence of the President of the Portuguese Republic, where there is also a museum. And up the road, you will find the magnificent Ajuda National Palace and gardens, a great place for a visit. In Rua de Belem there is the hyper-famous Fábrica dos Pasteis de Belém where you will find the nowadays ubiquitous Natas, the delicious custard pies made from a very old, top-secret recipe that is said to have been created by monks of the nearby Jeronimos Monastery.