The best independent guide to Lisbon
The best independent guide to Lisbon
Lisbon is a beautiful and intoxicating city that extends over an undulating landscape of seven steep hills. From these natural vantage points are many wonderful views over the historic city, or out across the cooling waters of the Tejo Estuary.
Some of these viewpoints, such as the Portas do Sol, are well known by tourists, but many are away from the common tourist routes, needing local insight to find. This article will show you the best viewpoints of Lisbon and explain why you should visit them.
Related articles: Lisbon top 10 - Undiscovered Lisbon
Below is an interactive map of the best viewpoints in Lisbon
The best view points of Lisbon 1. Elevador de Santa Justa 2. Miradouro das Portas do Sol 3. Miradouro Padrao dos Descobrimentos 4. Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte 5. Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara 6. Miradouro da Graça 7. Miradouro do Castelo de São Jorge 8. Miradouro de Santa Catarina (Adamastor) 9. Miradouro do Arco da Rua Augusta 10. Miradouro de Santa Luzia 11. Miradouro do Parque Eduardo VII 12. Cristo Rei 13. MAAT
Best time to visit: Early evening or at night
Access: Narrow spiral staircase
Main sights: Castle, Rossio Square and Central Lisbon
The Elevador de Santa Justa viewpoint is located on the roof of the beautiful Santa Justa lift in the centre of Baixa. This viewpoint may not be the highest of Lisbon, but its prime location provides stunning views over the avenues and plazas of the Baixa district, and up to the castle. The viewpoint has an admission fee of €1.50, is open from 7:00 until 23:00 (7:00 to 21:00 winter), and is an amazing location to view Lisbon by night.
The viewing platform is accessed from the top level of the Elevador de Santa Justa, either by a ride up it (€5.30 return) or from the Largo do Carmo, which is the square behind the top of the lift. The viewpoint can only take 29 visitors, therefore during the day there can be a long wait to access the viewing roof.
Insider tip: While at the top do not miss the ruins of the Carmo Church, which is to the rear of the platform. This church was left as a haunting ruin to act as a permanent reminder to Lisbon of the devastation of the 1755 earthquake.
Related articles: Elevador de Santa Justa - Baixa guide
Best time to visit: Anytime
Access: Direct access from street, no difficult slopes
Main sights: Roofs of Alfama and the Tejo Estuary
The Miradouro das Portas do Sol is the most photographed viewpoint of Lisbon, and is the one visited by the majority of tourists to the city. This popularity is in-part due to its location, on the main tram route through Alfama and close to the Se Cathedral and castle.
From the Miradouro das Portas do Sol there are wonderful views over the haphazardous tiled roofs of Alfama and out to the cooling waters of the Tejo Estuary. The plaza behind the Miradouro das Portas do Sol is a great location to take a break from sightseeing, as there are numerous, kiosks, cafes and restaurants, all set in a pleasant touristy atmosphere.
Insider Tip: For a much more peaceful setting with the same view, head to the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, which is located in the Jardim Júlio de Castilho gardens.
Related articles: Alfama guide
Best time to visit: Early in the day
Access: Lift and stairs
Main sights: Belem, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, the Torre de Belem and the Tejo Estuary
The Miradouro Padrao dos Descobrimentos is at the top of the 52-meter-high monument and provides outstanding panoramic views over the entire Belem district. There is an entrance fee of €5, but the stunning 360 degree view is worth the admission fee. The Padrao dos Descobrimentos viewing platform is reached via a lift, but there is a short staircase to reach the roof.
Insider Tip: As with everything in Belem during the tourist season the Padrao dos Descobrimentos will be very busy, and as the number of visitors is limited, there can be a slow queue to enter. Our advice, is to visit early in the day.
Photographer tip: This location can provide the wonderful photo opportunity of a cruise ship passing beneath the suspension bridge, with the Christ Statue clearly in view; an amazing photo.
Related articles: The Padrao dos Descobrimentos – Belem guide
One of the best ways to discover Lisbon and to meet fellow travellers is to join a guided tour. We have worked with Getyourguide.com for the last six years, and some of the best tours of Lisbon include:
Best time to visit: Morning or early evening
Access: Street access, but it is a steep street!
Main sights: River Tejo and suspension bridge
In our opinion, the Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte is the best viewpoint of Lisbon. It is located on the highest hill of Lisbon, has a delightful setting and is virtually unknown by foreign tourists. From the summit, there are amazing views over the castle and central Lisbon, while the setting is beneath the shade of trees and next to a charming little church.
Historically this was where young Portuguese couple would meet up for romantic liaisons, without the interference of parents or gossiping neighbours. The Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte still retains this romantic ambience, but sees many more visitors since the influx of the Tuk-Tuk tours.
Insider tip: The Nossa Senhora do Monte was popular with young lovers because it is difficult to get to. The best method to travel there is to catch the number 28 tram and exit at the Rua da Graça tram stop and then walk up the Rua da Senhora do Monte, which is a steep street.
Best time to visit: Late afternoon or evening
Access: Direct access from street
Main sights: Rossio square and Baixa
The Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara is located in the Bairro Alto district, close to the upper terminus of the Elevador da Gloria Funicular. The viewpoint is split over two charming terraces and provides wonderful views over central Lisbon and the castle. This is another pleasant location to simply sit and admire the city, especially during the evening as the fading sunlight illuminates the castle and late as the city lights are switched on.
Update: Unfortunately, as of July 2019, there is major construction work to reinforce one of the supporting walls. This means the lower terrace is completely fenced off and the upper is partially restricted. Hopefully, this will be repaired soon as it is one of our favourite places to watch the city by…
Best time to visit: Morning
Access: Street access, no steep climb from Graça
Main sights: Lisbon Castle and Baixa
The Miradouro da Graça viewpoint (also known as the Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen) is popular with tourists as it offers some of the best views of the castle and is situated in a pleasant section of the city, which is relatively easy to travel to. The viewpoint is in front of the imposing Igreja e Convento da Graça complex and on the edge of the tree-lined Jardim Augusto Gil park, which provides shaded seating and drinks kiosks.
The Miradouro da Graça can be reached by travelling on the number 28 tram and exiting at the Graça tram stop, from which it’s a level walk around the Convento da Graça to the view point.
Insider Tip: Don’t forget to explore Graça after visiting the viewpoint; although the district has few noteworthy tourist attractions, it is authentically Portuguese with cafes, bakeries and family run shops.
Best time to visit: All day
Access: Flat, once in the castle complex
Main Sights: Central Baixa
The position of the ancient castle was always going to be one of the best defensive and vantage points of Lisbon, with a clear sight down the Tejo Estuary and steep slopes descending from its walls. From the battlements, there are stunning panoramic views over the entire city and out to the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge. The castle is one of the best tourist attractions of Lisbon and is open 9:00 to 21:00 (9:00 to 18:00 winter), while the admission fee is €10.00.
Related articles: Castelo de São Jorge – Alfama guide
Best time to visit: The evening - for a social drink
Access: Street access, no stairs
Main sights: River Tejo and the suspension bridge
The Miradouro de Santa Catarina viewpoint is one of the greatest viewpoints of the Rio Tejo, the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge and the Cristo-Rei statue. This location is popular with Portuguese students, who come here in the evenings to socialise, play music and drink cheap beer, before their big night out in Bairro Alto or Cais do Sodre. At the weekends expect a diverse and vibrant atmosphere!
During the day, there is a kiosk for drinks, and though the area may be a little scruffy the view cannot be beaten. Also found at the Santa Catarina viewpoint is the popular Noobai restaurant, this restaurant boasts one of Lisbon’s most romantic settings for dinner with a panoramic view over the Tejo estuary.
At the centre of the Jardim do Alto de Santa Catarina is a stone monument dedicated to the explorers who conquered the seas surrounding the Cape of Good Hope. The monument personifies the dangerous seas as a demon, the Adamastror, who the early explorers overcame.
Inside Tip: Close by is the delightful Elevador da Bica.
Best time to visit: Early or late in the day
Access: 70 Narrow spiral steps and lift
Main sights: Rua Augusta and Praça do Comércio
The Miradouro do Arco da Rua Augusta is the viewing platform at the top of the neo-classical arch that connects the Praça do Comércio to the busy shopping street of the Rua Augusta. This vantage point provides a bird’s eye view of the bustling streets and one of the best views of the Se Cathedral. The Miradouro do Arco da Rua Augusta is open 9:00-19:00 and the entrance fee is €2.50. The small size of the viewpoint and narrow stairs means that it can only accommodate 35 people, so availability may be limited during the peak hours of the summer months.
Insider knowledge: The three statues of the arch represent Glory in the centre, Genius (on the left when viewed from the rear of the statue) and Valor on the right.
Related articles: The Praça do Comércio – Baixa guide
Best time to visit: Anytime
Access: Direct access from street, a few steps
Main sights: Roofs of Alfama and the Tejo Estuary
The Miradouro de Santa Luzia is close to the Miradouro das Portas do Sol and has the same vista, but is in the more peaceful setting of the Jardim Júlio de Castilho gardens. The view is over the tiled roofs and churches of Alfama and out over the Tejo estuary. On the exterior of the small baroque Santa Luzia church and in the gardens are some beautiful examples of Azulejo tile images.
Best time to visit: Daylight hours
Access: Perfectly flat road access
Main sights: Marquês de Pombal square and the Eduardo VII Park
The Miradouro do Parque Eduardo VII provides a very different view over Lisbon. The viewpoint is located at the northern end of the ornamental gardens of the Eduardo VII Park, from where it looks down over the Marquês de Pombal square and the Avenida da Liberdade, all the way to the Tejo Estuary 3km away. The Parque Eduardo VII is refreshingly open and green when compared to the narrow maze of Alfama or the hecticness of Baixa. Close by is the El Corte Inglés, Lisbon’s best department store.
Inside tip: There is an enjoyable walk from the Miradouro do Parque Eduardo VII to the Rossio square, which is all downhill and much of it tree-lined!
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