Padrão dos Descobrimentos Monument
The Padrão dos Descobrimentos monument, sculpted in the shape of a ship and resting on the edge of the Tagus River, celebrates some of Portugal’s most famous explorers and monks. Henry the Navigator heads this memorialized historical group, along with Magellan and Vasco da Gama. The monument features a stunning mosaic depiction of a compass, as well as an observation room accessible by elevator. Venture up the monument to find spectacular views of Lisbon and the glittering Tagus.
Praça do Comércio
Framed by vivid yellow walls and the magnificent Rua Augusta Arch, the Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square) is one of the most recognizable and popular attractions in Lisbon. The historic trading center for Portugal’s explorers and sea-faring merchants, the square remains a lively and bustling spot for travelers, the perfect place for taking memorable photos and eating authentic cuisine. Accessible by tram and by foot, go to the Praça do Comércio to indulge in one of the square’s many restaurants, visit the Joseph I statue, sit on the steps leading to the Tagus river, or explore a museum.
Tower of Belém
This sixteenth-century fortress located on the bank of the Tagus river has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a must-see stop for tourists exploring the monuments of Lisbon. The elaborate carving and embellishments which adorn the tower make it a beautiful specimen of Portuguese manuelino and Arabic architectural styles, and the tower’s multiple interior halls provide access to views of the river and the iconic Jeronimos Monastery beyond.
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
Located steps from the Tower of Belém and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, the Jerónimos Monastery is perhaps the finest and most ornate monument in Lisbon. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this grand monastery is flanked by verdant trees and a garden fitted with an opulent fountain. Constructed during the sixteenth century’s “Age of Discovery,” this monastery once housed monks belonging to the Order of Saint Jerome. Built in honor of Vasco da Gama, the explorer’s body remains entombed in the monastery to this day. Step inside to wander the monastery’s expansive and elaborate halls, or sit within the vast and vaulted Church of Santa Maria.
Estádio Sport Lisboa e Benfica
International football fans will be eager to take a guided tour of the Estádio Sport Lisboa e Benfica, the home of Portugal’s S.L. Benfica football club and the site of the Champions League final match in 2014. Able to hold over sixty thousand fans per match, the stadium is a colossal monument to Lisbon’s love of football. Be sure to visit the Benfica Museum within the stadium, or take a VIP tour of the field and locker rooms.