Belém is a municipality of Lisbon, a short cab ride (or train) away. It was suggested we spend a few hours here as a day trip from Lisbon for a few sites, but more importantly for the pastel de nata!
Here are some of my favourite parts of our day trip…
Tower of Belém
The tower was built in 1519 and used as fortification of the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belém. It is stunning, and so beautiful to walk through, with different passageways and old cannons ready to protect.
Tip: Try to go early in the day. The line gets long when big tour groups arrive.
The monastery is for the Order of Saint Jerome, completed in 1601 and closed in 1837. It is believed that the original recipe for pastel de nata was developed here by a nun. Both the monestary and tower are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Tip: Closed Mondays, as well as the first of January and May, as well as Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.
Casa Pastéis de Belém
This bakery was the first in Lisbon to sell Pastel de Nata. These pastries are crispy on the outside, creamy custard on the inside and topped with icing sugar and cinnamon – my mouth is watering just thinking about them. This is definitely the best place to eat them! The story goes, there are five bakers in Lisbon, who are hand picked by the Casa Pastéis de Belém, who know the recipe. These men have the recipe memorized, and can never travel together (in the car or otherwise) or eat at the same restaurant.
Tip: Don’t wait in line to get the pastries to go. Walk inside (the place is huge) and get a table.
This municipality has so much to offer and is so close to Lisbon! Be sure to take a little trip and (at least) try the pastel de nata!