One of my favorite places to visit while I was in Lisbon was the Jeronimos Monastery. The Monastery is best done in conjunction with your visit to the Belem Tower and Monument of Discoveries. The walk itself from Belem Tower to the monastery takes approximately 15 minutes and much of the walk can be done along the Tagus River. Unfortunately it was windy and pouring rain outside during our visit so we just decided to grab a cab to the monastery from Belem Tower.
Visiting the church itself is FREE of charge, while the adjacent museums and monastery cost 10 Euros. However, if you group Belem Tower and Jeronimos, both can be done for 12 Euros altogether. Lines at the monastery and Tower are known to be long during the summer travel months so be prepared to wait. We went in March around midday and there was hardly anyone there.
The Monastery is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 am to 5:30pm during the winter and spring months of the year (October thru April) and 10am to 6:30pm for the summer months (May – September).
Brief History of the Monastery
The beginnings of this monastery date back to the beginning of the 16th century and it took almost 100 years for the existing structure to be built. The monastery miraculously escaped the extensive damage done to Lisbon in the 1755 earthquake and is now one of the oldest continuously standing structures in the city. It is said that the famous Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama prayed here for an entire night before his expeditions to the Far East. He alongside many other Portuguese explorers alongside members of the royal families were eventually buried inside the monastery.
Photographing the Monastery:
The Gothic architectural style of the Church of Sante Maria makes it an interesting subject to photography with its magnificent stained glass windows, intricate sculptures, and ribbed vaults. In my opinion the Church is the highlight of the monastery and so you could just get away with seeing the church and the outside of the monastery if you don’t want to spend the 10-12 Euros.
If you do get to see the monastery, it is quite grand especially in the inner courtyard with its intricate shaped arches. The exhibits themselves didn’t have too much to offer in my opinion, but the hallways look like something out of Harry Potter (especially in the second movie where he is walking through the corridors hearing the basilisk).
Anyway, Jerónimos Monastery is definitely among my favorite attractions within the Portuguese capital and there are certainly some photography compositions here to be had. I thoroughly enjoyed my time visiting the place and would certainly go back (especially considering the fact that the church was free to enter).