Length 8 km (5 miles), terrain flat
Lisbon Running Routes:
Elegant Lisbon Downtown
Belem World Cultural Site
Cool Bairro Alto
For other running routes, see the Route List
One of my favorite Lisbon neighborhoods is Belém. It's home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Hey, how many of your running routes can claim that?) as well as the presidential palace, a tropical botanical garden, monuments, forts, and has a great, flat running trail right next to the Tejo River.
Most of the Tejo riverfront is fairly industrial, lined with loud streets, railway lines, warehouses and factories. But the city has reclaimed some fairly long stretches of riverside land in recent years, converting it into parks with marinas, cafés and museums. And the Tejo around Belém makes up one of the best stretches of nice riverfront. It has become one of the city's most popular jogging trails, full of runners, bikers and sight-seers.
|The Tejo riverfront, with Belém lighthouse and Torre de Belém in distance|
Today Belém is just one of Lisbon's western suburbs. Getting there will be your logistical problem for this run: it's located a few kilometers west of the downtown, the Baixa. I would recommend taking the 15E tram line. You can get on at Rossio square, or at Praça do Comércio or at the Cais do Sodré train station right at the river. Riding the tram is a must-do thing anyway in Lisbon, with those ancient wooden cars screeching down the tracks. It costs about €3 a trip.
|One of the older Lisbon trams: gotta take a ride!|
After exiting the tram, turn south (left from the tram) and run down Travessa de Guarda past the Congress Center. After a block, it runs into the wall of Avenida da India, a loud highway divided by a train line. It's impossible to cross at ground level. But no problem, just take the metal pedestrian bridge to the promised land -- the Tejo River -- on the other side.
|Ponte 25 Abril|
After the Belem ferry station, you have to turn inland to run around a small marina harbor before turning back to the riverside.
Now, you suddenly notice that you've arrived in Belém: you can see the exquisite stonework of Jeronimo monastery across the busy road, to the right, behind a beautiful park. We'll get over there later, don't worry.
But now, to the left, you'll come to the impressive Discoverers' monument at the water's edge.
|The Portuguese Discoverers|
Before reaching the tower, you have to run around another marina basin, then go by the yacht club. There is a wider park around the tower, and an aviation monument marking the first Southern Atlantic flight in 1922, which took off from here and ended in Brasil.
|The Torre de Belém|
|The fort and war memorial|
Take the pedestrian bridge to the north side of the road and keep running north the two blocks to Rua Bartolomeu Dias, with its tram tracks.
Turn right here, running eastwards, and pass the modern Centro Cultural de Belém, which has some free art exhibits.
|St. Jeronimo detailing work: amazing craftsmanship|
|Praça do Imperio fountain|
|Turn left here, before the line of restaurants|
|Pasteis de Belém|
|Jardim Ultramar, a tropical paradise|
|The presidential palace entrance|
Here, again, is a pedestrian bridge back to the other side, where you'll come to the Belém ferry station again.
Now, just turn left and follow your trail back to the starting point at the Junquiera tram stop again, and take the 15E tram back home.