The best independent guide to Lisbon
The best independent guide to Lisbon
Lisbon is a beautiful city that extends over seven hills and sits at the mouth of the Tejo River.
The undulating landscape of Lisbon may be challenging while sightseeing, but it offers many stunning viewpoints from which to admire the historic city.
These 'miradouros' (Portuguese for viewpoints) are beloved by the city, with friends coming together to socialise, tourists watching the sunsets, and couples sharing romantic moments.
Some of these viewpoints, like the Portas do Sol, are along the well-walked tourist routes and are busy throughout the day, while others are hidden away and only known by locals.
The Nossa Senhora do Monte viewpoint
Three of the most famous viewpoints of Lisbon are Portas do Sol, which overlooks the maze of ancient streets in the Alfama district; São Pedro de Alcântara, with its eastward views that take in the historic Baixa district; and Miradouro da Graça, a peaceful setting overlooking the castle and River Tejo. Another of the most popular viewpoints for visitors is from the battlements of Lisbon Castle, known as the Miradouro do Castelo de São Jorge.
The Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte sits at the highest point of central Lisbon, and is a favourite destination for tuk-tuk tours.
All of these points can get crowded with tourists, for some peace and serenity, there is the Miradouro de Santo Amaro that overlooks the Tejo Estuary; the Miradouro do Parque Eduardo VII, at the top of Lisbon's central park, or the Miradouro do Recolhimento, the unknown viewpoint of Alfama.
Sunset is a truly magical time in Lisbon and the atmosphere and view at the Miradouro de Santa Catarina can't be beaten.
Another sunset option, which is best seen in winter (December to January) is from the curved roof of the MAAT museum, where you can watch the sunset along the Tejo Estuary. A romantic viewpoint location at night is at the top of the Elevador de Santa Justa, with its views over Rossio plaza.
There are also some excellent paid viewpoints throughout the city, including the ‘Amoreiras 360 Panoramic View’ (€5) at the top of the Amoreiras shopping centre - arguably the best viewpoint of Lisbon. There is a magnificent outlook from the Arco da Rua Augusta (€3) over the Praça do Comércio, while the Discoveries Monument (€5) in Belem offers the best views of the area.
The tallest building in Lisbon, the Torre Vasco da Gama, has a viewpoint (€10) over the Parque das Nações, which can also be seen by the cable car (€8) that extends along the waterfront.
For the best view of the city, you could cross the Tejo River by ferry to the southern bank and admire it from the top of the Cristo Rei statue.
From this brief introduction, it is hoped that you can appreciate that there are many varied and wonderful viewpoints throughout the city. Details of each of these are provided in the following section.
Below is an interactive map marking all of the best viewpoints in Lisbon. (Note: zoom in or out to see all of the points)
Legend: 1) Miradouro das Portas do Sol 2) São Pedro de Alcântara 3) Miradouro da Graça 4) Miradouro do Castelo de São Jorge 5) Miradouro de Santo Amaro 6) Miradouro do Parque Eduardo VII 7) Miradouro do Recolhimento 8) Miradouro de Santa Catarina 9) Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte 10) MAAT museum 11) Elevador de Santa Justa 12) Amoreiras 360 Panoramic View 13) Arco da Rua Augusta 14) Padrao dos Descobrimentos 15) Torre Vasco da Gama 16) Cristo Rei 17) Miradouro de Santa Luzia
Best time to visit: Late afternoon or evening
Access: Direct access from street
Main sights: The Baixa district
Locaction: GPS: 38.71511, -9.14422
The Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara offers stunning views over central Lisbon from its charming split-level terraced gardens. Sitting atop the hill of Bairro Alto the view overlooks the historic Baixa district and up to the castle.
This is a lively and social location, with musicians and pop-up bars during the day and a romantic atmosphere at sunset.
The Jardim de São Pedro de Alcântara is also the meeting point of three very different neighbourhoods of Lisbon; historic Baixa, affluent Príncipe Real, and vibrant Bairro Alto. This junction gives the garden a jovial yet refined atmosphere, which is reflected in the diverse range of attractions nearby, including the high-end Solar do Vinho do Porto wine tasting experience and the Galeria de Arte Urbana.
Related articles: Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
The lower terrace of the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, with its views over Baixa towards the castle
The shaded garden is pleasant stop on a hot summer’s day
Best time to visit: The morning on a clear day
Access: €5 entry and access via lift
Main sights: The whole of northern Lisbon
Location: GPS: 38.7236, -9.1613
The paid viewpoint at the top of the Amoreiras Towers has arguably the best view of Lisbon. This is a truly panoramic vista from one of the tallest buildings of Lisbon, which itself was constructed on a high area of the city.
From its commanding position you can see Monsanto Forest, Lisbon Airport, the Estrella district and everything south down to the Tejo Estuary. This is a truly impressive view and well worth the €5 entry.
The business district of Amoreiras may seem a little way out from the popular tourist areas, but it is served by the quaint 24E tram that departs from the Praça Luís de Camões in Bairro Alto. This tram and viewpoint trip is an enjoyable activity if you have more time in Lisbon.
Related articles: The 24E tram
The viewpoint from the top of Amoreiras Shopping Centre is one of the best in Lisbon
The Amoreiras Towers
Best time to visit: Anytime
Access: Direct access from street, no difficult slopes
Main sights: Alfama and the Tejo Estuary
Location: GPS 38.7124, -9.1303
The Miradouro das Portas do Sol is the most popular and photographed viewpoint of Lisbon. Its popularity is in part due to its location, on the main route through Alfama, close to both the cathedral and castle.
This vantage point overlooks the labyrinth of terracotta roofs and narrow streets that make up the Alfama district, as well as the banks of the Tejo Estuary and the massive cruise ships that moor there.
Portas do Sol is the largest plaza in Alfama, where you will find a selection of restaurants and cafes, including a traditional drinks kiosk, the Quiosque das Portas do Sol.
The Miradouro das Portas do Sol is busy throughout the day, but it always has an enjoyable tourist atmosphere.
Insider Tip: For the same view but in a much more peaceful setting, head uphill to the Miradouro do Recolhimento.
Related articles: Alfama guide
The Miradouro das Portas do Sol overlooks Alfama and the cruise terminal
One of the best ways to discover Lisbon and meet fellow travellers is to join a guided tour. We have worked with Getyourguide.com for the last six years, with some of their best tours of Lisbon including:
Best time to visit: Early morning
Access: Via a very steep hill
Main sights: Baixa district
Location: GPS 38.7191, -9.1328
The Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte sits atop the highest hill of central Lisbon and provides stunning views westwards across the Baixa district.
Historically, this was where young Portuguese couples would meet up for romantic liaisons, free from the prying eyes of parents or gossiping neighbours.
Outside of peak times, the Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte still retains this romantic ambience, but this can often be ruined by the crowds of tourists ferried up by the endless stream of tuk-tuk tours. Sunsets are spectacular from here, but the small viewpoint can get very crowded. This is a viewpoint to visit early in the day.
The Nossa Senhora do Monte was popular with young lovers because it is difficult to reach. The best way to travel here is to catch the number 28 tram and exit at the Rua da Graça tram stop, then walk up the Rua da Senhora do Monte, which is a very steep street.
Related articles: Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte
The view from the Nossa Senhora do Monte is one of the best in Lisbon
But expect the small viewpoint to be packed through the majority of the day
Best time to visit: An hour before sunset
Access: Street access
Main sights: River Tejo
Location: GPS: 38.7095, -9.14764
The Miradouro de Santa Catarina faces southwards and provides views over the Tejo Estuary, but the real magic here occurs at sunset.
As the sun starts to descend, the viewpoint becomes one of the most social and vibrant places in Lisbon, with a mix of visitors and locals enjoying the sunset and embracing the area’s vibe. It is a popular activity to bring your own drinks and sit on the stone seats while listening to musicians and watching the sun go down over Lisbon.
Watching the sunset from the Miradouro de Santa Catarina is one of the best evening activities in Lisbon, and you should go if you get the chance.
Behind the viewpoint stands a stone statue of the mythical sea monster ‘the Adamastor’, who personified the treacherous waters sailors faced rounding the Cape of Good Hope.
Miradouro de Santa Catarina at sunset
The Adamastor statue
Best time to visit: Morning
Access: Street access
Main sights: Lisbon Castle and Baixa
Location: GPS 38.7162, -9.1315
The Miradouro da Graça (officially known as the Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen) is one of the most popular viewpoints of Lisbon. It lies on the boundary of the Graça and Alfama districts, and from this high vantage point you can enjoy superb views over the castle and central Lisbon.
The Miradouro da Graça is a favourite with tourists, having a peaceful and calm ambience, while the traditional drinks kiosk makes it a popular location to take a break from sightseeing.
The viewpoint is situated at the entrance to the sprawling Graça convent and church, which are both free to enter.
Insider Tip: After visiting the viewpoint, don’t miss exploring the Graça district, with its authentic Portuguese atmosphere and many urban art murals.
Related articles: Guide to Graça
Miradouro da Graça provides one of the best views of Lisbon Castle
The Miradouro da Graça is a popular location for both tourists and locals
Best time to visit: Late afternoon
Access: Steps or steep hill
Main sights: Ponte 25 de Abril bridge
Location: GPS 38.7019, -9.1823
The Miradouro de Santo Amaro is barely known by tourists, but provides one of the finest views of the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge and the Tejo Estuary. The viewpoint lies within the terrace of the Capela de Santo Amaro, a unique circular chapel that contains beautiful 17th-century Azulejo tile paintings.
The Miradouro de Santo Amaro is close to LxFactory and is just up the hill from the Museu da Carris tram museum.
Related articles: The Alcântara district
The view from the terrace of the Capela de Santo Amaro
The outer foyer of the Capela de Santo Amaro
Best time to visit: Early evening or at night
Access: Narrow spiral staircase
Main sights: Rossio plaza and central Lisbon
Rising 45 metres above downtown Lisbon, the Elevador de Santa Justa provides a unique vantage point over the city. Built in 1902 by Raoul Mesnier de Ponsard, this neo-Gothic iron elevator has become an iconic landmark, while the upper level and walkway provide wonderful views over Rossio Plaza and central Baixa. This is a very romantic setting in the early evening.
The amazing view from the top of the tower with the castle in the distance
The top of the lift is a romantic location at night
Best time to visit: Early in the day
Access: Lift and stairs
Main sights: The waterfront of the Belem district
Location: GPS 38.6936, -9.2055
The Miradouro Padrão dos Descobrimentos was constructed to celebrate the Portuguese 15th-century explorers, and this colossal monument dominates the waterfront of the Belem district.
At the top of the 52-metre-high monument is a platform offering the finest views of Belem. To the west, it overlooks the Torre de Belem and the mouth of the Tejo River, while looking eastwards, you can see all the way into central Lisbon.
The view from the top of the Padrao dos Descobrimentos looking westwards to the Torre de Belem
And the view eastwards into Lisbon
The Padrao dos Descobrimentos, as seen on an evening boat cruise
Best time to visit: Outside of peak hours
Main Sights: Central Baixa
Location: GPS 38.7123, -9.1339
The spectacular view from the ramparts of Lisbon's ancient Castelo de São Jorge makes it easy to understand why both the Romans and Moors selected the site as their defensive stronghold. From this natural high point of Lisbon, there are uninterrupted views over the entire city and out along the Tejo Estuary.
The castle viewpoint is better than the Miradouro da Graça and Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte, except to visit it, you must pay the castle entrance fee of €15. The castle is the most popular tourist attraction in Lisbon, and there can be long queues to enter during peak hours (10am-3pm), so visiting outside of these hours is recommended.
Related articles: Castelo de São Jorge
The view from the Castelo de Sao Jorge
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
Location: GPS 38.70830, -9.1368
The Arco da Rua Augusta stands as the triumphant gateway into the city. From the top of the neo-classical archway is a magnificent view of Praça do Comércio and along the busy shopping street of Rua Augusta. This vantage point also provides one of the best views of the Se Cathedral.
The Arco da Rua Augusta viewing platform costs €3, but the small size of the viewpoint and narrow stairs means it can only accommodate 35 people at a time.
Insight: The three statues on the front of the arch represent Glory in the centre, Genius on the left and Valor on the right.
Related articles: The Praça do Comércio
The grand Arco da Rua Augusta
The view from the top of the Arco da Rua Augusta across the Praça do Comércio
Best time to visit: Early in the day or at sunset
Access: Direct access from the street
Main sights: Roofs of Alfama and the Tejo Estuary
Location: GPS 38.7116, -9.1302
On a quiet day, the Miradouro de Santa Luzia is one of the most romantic locations in Lisbon, offering views over Alfama and set within the delightful Jardim Júlio de Castilho. This is a delightful location for portrait photos, but the curse of social media means it will be packed all day long with visitors vying to take the perfect image.
The Miradouro de Santa Luzia is close to the Miradouro das Portas do Sol and offers a similar view. Within the gardens is the Baroque Santa Luzia church and some beautiful examples of Azulejo tile paintings.
The view from the Miradouro de Santa Luzia
The curved roof on top of the MAAT (Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia) provides fantastic views 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.
Best time to visit: Early afternoon
Access: Road access from the São Sebastião metro station
Main sights: Marquês de Pombal square and the Eduardo VII Park
Location: GPS 38.7305, -9.1546
The Miradouro do Parque Eduardo VII is located on the northern side and highest point of the Eduardo VII Park. From this vantage point, there are views along the length of the park and down to the Praça Marquês de Pombal square and even out to the Tejo Estuary, 3km away.
The Parque Eduardo VII is refreshingly open and spacious compared to many of the other crowded viewpoints listed in this guide. After seeing the viewpoint, there is a pleasant 2.5km downhill walk through the park and along Avenida de Liberdade to the Baixa district.
At the viewpoint is the largest Portuguese flag (20m by 12m) that is routinely hosted, and the high point of the park means it can be seen throughout the city.
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