The best independent guide to Lisbon
The best independent guide to Lisbon
Sunset is a magical time of day, and sunsets are especially stunning in Lisbon.
The city is renowned for its amazing sunsets, thanks in part to Lisbon's hilly terrain and panoramic viewpoints. As dusk approaches, many of these viewpoints take on a vibrant atmosphere, where friends gather to socialise, and couples share romantic moments.
Most of the viewpoints have cafés and traditional drinks kiosks, where you can sit with a drink in hand as the day fades into night. Lisbon’s outdoor and progressive culture means it’s equally acceptable to bring your own drinks to these viewpoints.
Along with the viewpoints, Lisbon contains many trendy bars and restaurants positioned on the rooftops of hotels or other tall buildings, which are equally stunning at sunset. These rooftop or terrace bars include the Rooftop Bar (Hotel Mundial), Lost in, TOPO (Chiado and Martim Moniz), Sky Bar (Tivoli Hotel), Park Bar, and Zambeze - details of all are given later in this guide.
A unique evening activity in Lisbon is to join one of the many boat cruises and watch the sun setting over the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean from the unhindered view of the mouth of the Tejo estuary. These boat tours are an enjoyable activity, where you can view the many famous sights of Lisbon heading out, and seeing the city by night on the return journey. This is an especially romantic activity for couples or raucous fun on one of the party boats.
Sunset from the River Tejo
Another option is to watch the sunset from Almada and the southern banks of the Tejo Estuary. Here, you can watch Lisbon bathed in the golden glow of the late sun from the top of the Cristo Rei statue, the riverside Jardim do Rio, or the ‘Ponto Final’ restaurant.
Outside Lisbon, there is no better location than watching the sunset from one of the many lounge and beach clubs along the Costa da Caparica coastline, such as the fantastic Leblon São João.
For a more natural and dramatic sunset setting, consider the Serra de Sintra coastline. Here you could watch the sunset from the Cabo da Roca cliffs or the pretty cliffside village of Azenhas do Mar, but a car will be needed for these trips.
This article will help you get the most from Lisbon’s magical sunsets by detailing the best places to watch them and suggesting activities.
Related articles: Lisbon’s best viewpoints
The Miradouro de Santa Catarina - A wonderful viewpoint overlooking the Santos and Cais do Sodré districts, which comes alive at sunset. As the sun starts to descend the terrace fills with a mix of tourists and locals, all coming to admire the view and enjoy the atmosphere. The Miradouro de Santa Catarina is the best place to experience Lisbon’s sunset ambiance, and is the highlight of many people's holidays.
There is a drinks kiosk with seating (The Quiosque do Adamastor), but you need to arrive early to get a good table – often, it is better to bring your own drinks and sit on the stone steps.
The Jardim do Rio – The perfect location to watch Lisbon bathed in the golden glow of the setting sun, and view the sunset along the Tejo Estuary. This small park lies on the southern banks of the Tejo Estuary, at the base of the Alamanda cliffs, and is just a short walk from the Cacilhas ferry terminal. Close by is the Boca do Vento lift for cliff-top views, while along the waterfront is the much-famed ‘Ponto Final’ restaurant.
The Jardim do Rio is a beautiful setting to watch the sunset
The historic centre of Lisbon bathed in the setting sun
The Ponto Final restaurant sist on the edge of an abandoned dock
Miradouro da Senhora do Monte – This is the highest viewpoint of central Lisbon and provides spectacular views over Lisbon at sunset. The high vantage point means you will see more of the sun before it is obscured by Monsanto hill, and there is no better location to watch the lights of the city come on.
The downside is that Miradouro da Senhora do Monte viewpoint is relatively small, as it lies with the terrace of a chapel. This setting also means there are no permanent bars or cafes here. An evening visit to the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte is purely for the view and not the social ambience, as with other viewpoints.
Miradouro da Graça – The more relaxed and enjoyable version of the Senhora do Monte, and is a favourite with tourists to watch the end of the day. The viewpoint has a magnificent view over central Lisbon and there is a traditional drinks kiosk where you can sit to enjoy the sunset. The Miradouro da Graça has a great ambience in the evenings, which is very similar to the Miradouro de Santa Catarina.
The view and dying sunset as seen from the Miradouro da Graça
The Miradouro da Graça in the evening
Ribeira das Naus – There is no more pleasant place on a hot summer day than watching the sunset from Lisbon’s waterfront. The Ribeira das Naus is the charming riverside promenade that connects the Praça do Comércio to Cais do Sodré, and is lined with pop-up cocktail bars and drinks stalls. Here you can sit on the steps along the water’s edge or relax on the grassy bank that covers the historic shipyards of Lisbon. Closser to Cais do Sodré the atmosphere becomes livelier, with drinks stalls playing music and DJs frequently performing on summer evenings.
A pop-up cocktail bar along the Ribeira das Naus – Before rushing to get drinks at the first one you see always check prices – the best one is Pitcher Cocktails.
The Quiosque Ribeira das Naus is always a popular setting for evening drinks
Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara – This is Lisbon’s most visited viewpoint, but it faces an easterly direction. At dusk, the fading sun illuminates the hill and castle on the opposite side in golden light - and is almost as beautiful as watching the sunset. The viewpoint is on the edge of the Bairro Alto district, and it always has a vibrant atmosphere.
Cristo Rei – The statue of Christ stands on the southern banks of the Tejo estuary, and the viewpoint at the top of the cliffs provides stunning views over Lisbon and the suspension bridge. As this is a religious site there are no bars or jovial atmosphere, but the view is truly spectacular at sunset.
It is relatively easy to travel here from Lisbon by taking the ferry to Cacilhas and then catching the 3001 bus – a detailed guide is here.
The view of the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge from the Cristo Rei viewpoint at dusk
The Rooftop Bar (Hotel Mundial) – There are countless rooftop and terrace bars from which to watch the day transition into night, but the best is ‘Rooftop Bar’ at the top of the Mundial Hotel. It offers a magnificent sunset view over the Baixa district from the top of its ninth-floor location, along with a classy vibe, where DJs often play in the evening. The only issue is that food and drinks are at hotel prices. TOPO on the opposite side of the Martim Moniz plaza is a great alternative for a younger vibe.
MAAT – The curved roof on top of the MAAT (Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia) is a fantastic location to watch the sun set over the Tejo estuary and suspension bridge. The ultra-modern design of the museum sits on the banks of the Tejo and the elevated roof top is a popular viewpoint. Close by is the excellent ‘SUD Lisboa’, a high-end restaurant and terraced bar with a roof top pool.
The following interactive map details the location of all of these points along (green) with the most popular rooftop bars and restaurants (blue). Note: Zoom out to see all of the points.
Viewpoints: 1) Miradouro de Santa Catarina 2) Jardim do Rio 3) Miradouro da Senhora do Monte 4) Miradouro da Graça 5) Ribeira das Naus 6) Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara 7) Cristo Rei 8) MATT 9) Cabo da Roca
Bars and restaurants: 10) Ponto Final 11) Quiosque Ribeira das Naus 12) Rooftop Bar (Hotel Mundial) 13) Lost in 14) TOPO (Martim Moniz) 15) TOPO (Chiado) 16) Sky Bar (Tivoli Hotel) 17) Park Bar 18) Zambeze 19) SUD Lisboa 20) Leblon São João (Costa da Caparica)
For a large part of the year, from February through November, the actual sunset is obscured in Lisbon. The hills surrounding the city, especially those in Bairro Alto and Monsanto Hill, block the view of the sunset's final moments.
However, if you’re fortunate to visit during the winter, the situation changes. The sun sets further south, offering breathtaking views from the Baixa, Cais do Sodré, and Belem waterfronts. To watch the sunset during the rest of the year, you would need to either travel to the southern banks of the Tejo Estuary or join one of the sunset boat cruises.
A stunning sunset in late November
A sunset boat tour is a memorable and unique experience while in Lisbon and is highly recommended for your visit. There is a huge range of boats and styles, varying from romantic traditional boats and sailing yachts, through to party boats with unlimited drinks.
Our favourite tour is from Nosso Tejo on one of their traditional boats that depart from Terreiro do Paço - link here.
The best party boat is ‘Lisbon Boat Party’ - lisbonboatparty.com/
Blue Cruises offers larger boats with dining experiences - bluecruises.pt/
Insight: When booking boat trips always confirm the departure location of the boat. Some of the docks (such as the Doca do Bom Sucesso, Doca de Belém and Doca de Santo Amaro) are a long distance from central Lisbon, and you may wish to book one closer to your accommodation.
We have worked with GetYourGuide for the last seven years and some of the best sunset river cruises they offer include:
The Nosso Tejo sunset cruise
Park Bar is concealed at the top of a six-storey parking garage is a trendy and terraced bar that offers wonderful views over Bairro Alto district. It can be challenging to find the entrance, but the vibe and view make up for it. Prices reflect the view and the limited seating is taken well before sunset.
The Sky Bar is what you’d expect from the rooftop bar of a 5-star hotel; a chic atmosphere with lounge music DJ, signature cocktails and divine customer service, however prices reflect the setting and client. The bar sits at the top of the 9th floor of the Tivoli Avenida.
Sud Pool Lounge takes sunset drinks to another level, with its infinity pool, signature cocktails, and magnificent views of the Tejo Estuary.
Lost In is a bohemian and laid-back bar and restaurant, with a terrace that provides stunning views over northern Lisbon. This is one of the hidden gems of the Príncipe Real district, with heavenly food and wonderful drinks. Highly recommended.
Topo overlooks Martin Moniz Plaza and has a chilled atmosphere that is less pretentious than many of the rooftop bars attached to hotels. This is where young Portuguese meet up in the evenings and has a casual, friendly atmosphere. The bar has a second location at the base of the Carmo church, but Martin Moniz is better at sunset.
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