Pastéis de Belém

Today, we traveled to the suburb of Belém which is only a few miles away.  We traveled there by tram, tram number 15.  This tram is very popular as it carries tourists and locals alike. Belém is an important part of Lisbon history because it is the location from where the great Portuguese explorers sailed to find new discoveries.  You’ll soon see the monuments that honored those explorers.

But first, the most important reason to come to Belém – the Pastéis de Belém.  This famous dessert was created initially by monks at the nearby monastery.  Apparently the monks used the egg whites to stiffen their collars but needed to do something with the egg yolks.  You got it….they used them to create this delicious custard that they then poured into puff pastry cups.  They are indeed delicious and the original recipe and bakery since 1837 is Pastéis de Belém.  Lines form every day to get these warm, delicious pastries.  We have become quite the connoisseurs of these wonderful delights.

The monastery responsible for creating these pastries is very close – Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.  I have some photos of the exterior which alone is impressive but the lines were extremely long this morning.  We agreed to come back another day to visit the interior.

And then there is the Monument of the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos) honoring Prince Henry the Navigator and the numerous Portuguese explorers who explored Brazil and Asia.  What an incredible monument its is!  I had seen photos of it beforehand but seeing it in person was overwhelming.  We did go to the top and were able to take advantage of the breathtaking views.

We then walked to the nearby Belém Tower which was built between 1514 and 1520 as the launching point for all of the explorers.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a required photo opportunity.  Because of its popularity, the lines are very long to get inside.

Back to Lisbon

After all of these wonderful sites, we decided to take the tram back to our starting point.  At that point, we had another plan in mind.  We had seen a program on Netflix called, “Somebody Feed Phil”, featuring Phil Rosenthal, the comedian, visiting key interests in Lisbon.  He visited a small neighborhood street where he tasted incredible gelato from Italy and delicious sausages from Austria.  On the program he interviewed the owners and tasted their goods.  So why not go there – right?  So we did.  It was a long walk but a very worthwhile endeavor.  Although we didn’t meet the gelato proprietor, we did meet Maria, who owns the sausage shop.

We walked a total of 8.5 miles and around 20,000 steps – and yes, we were tired.  But there were a few more opportunities for photos as we made our way back to the hotel.  

Alas, we come to the end of our second full day in Lisbon.  The wonders of this city never cease!  Every block and corner provides yet another surprise and delight.  The people of Lisbon are also friendly and engaging.  Most people in the city not only speak English but speak it incredibly well.  It’s a delightful city to visit and enjoy.  

So for now, Boa Noite… and good night.  Thank you for following.


Travel photography blogger based in Pasadena, CA.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. I love your blog. Interesting places and great pics.

  2. Marc and Rich:

    Love, love, love your photos, the dessert looks wonderful! So nice to see Rich, where are you Marc? Looking forward to your next blog, enjoy your new discoveries.


  3. Looks like your having a wonderful time. Your pictures are great. Love your post.

  4. How did the Austrian sausages taste and the Italian gelato? You walked so far to find them. Was it worth it? I just read a recipe how to make the Pasteis de Belém so I could understand the flavors. Sounds totally yummy!! Will you try to bake them when you get home? 🙂

    1. Once you’ve had the original, it will never be the same. We get them at every hotel but never quite like the original. The sausages were great. We split an order of spicy sausage stuffed with cheese. Yes it was worth the walk.

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