Our Bike Tour from Downtown Lisbon to Belém
If you are in Lisbon for a few days or a weekend, you must maximize your time and stop running everywhere. Our company RideLisbon team has designed a bike tour to show you the different districts of Lisbon from the city center to Belem.
Why choose these 2 districts during your holidays? These are the most emblematic districts of Lisbon, places full of interesting stories and tales.
Why take a bike tour with us?
We have been guides for 3 years. Just like you, our team comes from abroad and we know how difficult it can be to find your way in a city that we do not know. We then created a cycle tour that serves as a perfect introduction to the city. A morning or afternoon tour when you arrive in Lisbon will allow you to make your mark, to soak up the local culture. By choosing our tour, you will find the answers to your questions about Portuguese culture, what to do, what to see, or eat, or go out, etc.
The interest in riding a bicycle meets several needs. First of all, from an ethical point of view, it is a means of transport that we favor a lot. Then it’s a fun way to explore the city. Unlike other means, it is very easy to go to several places quickly. In our opinion, cycling is like exploring a city on foot but covering longer distances. This is why we offer a tour connecting downtown Lisbon to Bélem by bike.
What is Downtown Lisbon?
When we talk about downtown Lisbon it can be the Chiado district, Baixa but also Alfama. It is precisely in this area of Alfama that we will begin our tour. You should know that this district formerly built and fortified by the Moors remains a symbol of the Portuguese reconquest. Indeed it is in Alfama that the Moors from North Africa settled there for hundreds of years. It was only in 1147 that the Portuguese were finally able to recover their land from the hands of the Moors. Today, there are few traces of Moorish influence but the visit is worth it. Inside this district built over one of the 7 hills of Lisbon, the atmosphere is very special. As the locals say here, Alfama is a village and it is a reality. Everyone knows each other here, everyone shakes hands. This is something quite atypical for a district located in the downtown of Lisbon, a European capital of 2 million inhabitants. Appreciate this particular atmosphere which is not found anywhere else.
We are now joining the Comercio Square, one of the largest in Lisbon. This place is called in homage to its first function: trade! It was here that spices and other items from the “new world” were sold. The square has also known tragic fates. An earthquake in 1755 razed almost the entire Baixa district and in 1908 it was in this same place that King Carlos I was assassinated in the presence of his son. This place steeped in history is today the rallying point for demonstrations and other events in the city. Take a moment to enjoy the view from the square, from here you can see the imposing São Jorge Castle overlooking Alfama. It is also time to get some energy before the rest of the bike tour which will take us to Belém.
How to reach Belém by bike?
We are now leaving downtown Lisbon to get to the bike lane which will take us to Belém. This 7km long cycle track created in 2010 connects the city center (Cais do Sodré) to Belém. By comparing all the options to get to Belém, whether it is the overpriced tramway 15 (count 3€ a ticket per person) or the crowded buses (imagine the nightmare in summer), getting there by bike is the best solution. In addition, the track is reserved exclusively for bikes and is not on the road, so it is the safest way. During this 7km you will be able to contemplate the beauty of Lisbon along the Tagus and feel the sweetness of life there. Let’s stop by the river near the April 25 bridge. This bridge looks like the Golden Gate Bridge doesn’t it? So which one do you think was built first? To find out, just take a look. This stop will be the perfect time to take photos and tease your friends. Back on the road to Belém, our next step!
What to do in Belém?
You should know that unlike Alfama where the Portuguese were dominated by the Moors, Belém represents the Portuguese domination over the world from the 15th century. Today there are many monuments that testify to the power and importance of Portugal in Europe. Indeed the XVth and XVIth centuries represent the golden age of Portugal, where the numerous conquests launched around the world made it possible to finance the construction of buildings such as the Monastery of Jeronimos or the Tower of Belém, both registered UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This district is today the cultural center of Lisbon. There are currently dozens of tourist sites. Here are those to discover as a priority:
- Monastery of Jeronimos (UNESCO)
- Tower of Belém (UNESCO)
- Pasteis de Belém
- Discoveries Monument
- Berardo Museum
Please note that our bike tour which leaves from downtown passes through these sites. Indeed the cycle path allows us to access the cultural sites of Belém and it is also near the Tower of Belém that the bike lane stops and allows us to enjoy a magnificent view of the Tagus.
The return journey is the ideal time to exchange between travelers on tips and good places to eat. You can also ask our guides who will be happy to provide you with information.
The bike tour finally ends at the same starting point in Downtown. Do not hesitate to ask our guides for advice on nearby restaurants (because avoid restaurants in Baixa for instance).