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Belem

The Pastéis de Belem

There can’t be many visitors to Portugal who don’t at least once gorge themselves on a pastel de nata, the small, flaky, buttery custard pie found in every bakery in the land. To watch them be made, we visited the famous Pastéis de Belém, which has been cranking out the treats since 1837.

A Christmas Gala at the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art

The Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre is one of just a few institutions worldwide which aim to preserve the art of classical dressage. Once a month, the school’s riders perform for the public in Belém. We were invited to attend the Christmas Gala.

The Tower of Belém

Erected in the early 16th century to as a bulwark against incoming threats from the Atlantic, the Tower of Belém is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the city’s most famous and popular landmarks.

The Royal Palace and Gardens of Ajuda

After the earthquake of 1755, the Royal Palace was moved from Praça do Comércio to more stable ground. The neoclassical Palácio da Ajuda would be the occasional home of Portugal’s royalty until the end of the monarchy. We visited the palace, and also the neighboring botanic gardens.

The Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

We’ve only been here for a couple days, so it’s hard to be definitive, but one of the most unforgettable sights in Lisbon must surely be the Jerónimos Monastery, in the western neighborhood of Belém. Construction began in 1501, during the height of Portuguese power, and the complex has remained in incredible condition. UNESCO inscribed it as a World Heritage Site in 1983.