There is a large concentration of free monuments and sights in Lisbon. Sadly since were only there for 7 days, two of which were walk around days since everything was closed for Christmas, we didn’t get to do everything we wanted.
One of the things I wanted to do was go up to the top of the “Monument to the Discoveries” or “Padrão dos Descobrimentos” for those that speak Portuguese.
The statue was built in 1958 through the efforts of the Ministry of Public works in order to commemorate anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. The monument sits on the banks of the Tagas River in the Santa Maria Belem area of Lisbon.
When we visited it was getting late so we made the decision to just walk around it rather than go to the top. It was also under construction or cleaning of some sort so it was difficult to make out the entire structure. However it was still quite impressive. If the scaffolding hadn’t been blocking my view, you could see going up the stairs from the bottom to top 18 prominent leaders and discovers from Portugal as well as 16 more on the other side.
The area that the monument shares an area of town that also houses the Jerome Monastery, the Belem Tower, the Maritime Museum and one of two Military Museums in the city.
To get there from the Baixa area (which was our home base for Lisbon) catch the 15E street car at the Praca Dos Comercio and exit at the Belem stop. You can’t miss the monument it is visible from the street car stop itself, but you will need to get past the highway to walk around the waterfront area it sits on. Walk through the gardens outside the Jerome Monastery toward the water and you will see a staircase down underground that looks like a subway station, instead it is just a walkway under the highway that comes out right behind Padrão dos Descobrimentos.
If you are feeling homesick and hungry while in the area there is a McDonalds and a Starbucks at the Belem street car stop. You can also get the famous Belem pastries at the Pasteis de Belem also at the street car stop. We however chose to eat at the cafeteria at the end of the Maritime Museum and quite enjoyed ourselves.
Address and additional links:
Padrao dos Descobrimentos Avenida Brasilia, Lisbon 1400-038, Portugal