Padrao dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries) is a large monument which stands on the banks of the river Tagus in Lisbon. On the outside there are sculptures of the many Portuguese explorers who took the country’s message to other continents. The sculptures overhang the water at the front so visitors can only really see three sides, unless you’re on a boat. On the inside, there is a lower level with a museum and exhibition space and also a lift which takes you to the viewing area at the top.
Most visitors are only really here for the view to be honest, but the monument itself is striking and the statues are impressive if you take the time to look at them closely. Once you’re at the top floor of the lift, there is a small stairway which takes you up to the viewing platform at 170 feet (52m) off the ground. You’ll have unrestricted views in all directions, but the wall is quite high so it’s unlikely that children will be able to see over it. We ended up carrying our 3 year old in our arms so that he could get some kind of experience up there.
The best view from the top is undoubtedly the one towards the Jerónimos Monastery and the garden areas in front of it. There is a stunning fountain in the Jardim da Praca do Imperio which constantly changes its water formation and you can see its various displays quite clearly from the top of the monument. To the right of that is the Jardim Vasco da Gama and then the Jardim Alfonso de Albuquerque.
Looking to the west (pictured above) you can see the river walkway leading to the historic Belem Tower. The tower is one of Lisbon’s most visited attractions and dates back to the 16th century. It’s open every day except Monday and adult admission is 6 Euros (2019 prices). We’d recommend booking ahead and admission is free with the Lisbon Card. Other sights in Belem that you can make out from the tower include the Botanic Gardens, the very modern MAAT museum where you will see people on the roof and the National Palace where the president lives.
Padrao dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries) is open daily from 10am, closing at 7pm in the summer months and 6pm in the winter months. Adult admission for the viewing area is 6 Euros (2019 prices).
LOCATION & MAP
Address: Padrao dos Descobrimentos, Av. Brasília, Lisbon, Portugal
Tel: +35 121 303 1950
Most of Lisbon’s hotels are in the more central areas and as such you might need to use public transport to get to Belem. We’d recommend hoping on tram E15 which runs from Praça da Figueira. Purchase a Viva Viagem card and load it with ‘zapping’ credit to get the best price on the tram, but you can also just purchase a ticket on board if you’re happy to pay more. You only need to zap once on entry. You can also get there by using the Hop On, Hop Off Yellow Bus Tour.