THE BEST VIEWPOINTS IN LISBON
Visiting Lisbon and not going to a viewpoint is like going to New York and not passing through Time Square. It's absolutely a must to go see the sights in the city of the Seven Hills. If you are short on time or don't want to get tired climbing up hills, you can rent an electric tuk tuk. Actually, this is the easiest and most fun way to see the city. It's worth reserving a day of your time in Lisbon just to visit the best viewpoints:
1 – Senhora do Monte
It's impossible not to let out a cry of exclamation when you get to the Senhora do Monte viewpoint in the Graça neighbourhood. It has the best and most extensive panoramic view of Lisbon and is the perfect place to go to see the sunset, but also for a wedding proposal or a toast among friends. Senhora do Monte is not a viewpoint that will cross your path, since it is located in a residential neighborhood, outside the historical and commercial center. Since tuk tuks arrived in the city in 2013, the the belvedere is no longer a well-kept secret, but it is still worth every meter of Portuguese cobblestone you have to climb to get there. The first king of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques, made this hill his military headquarters when he conquered the town from the Arabs in 1147, and a small church dedicated to São Gens, a bishop martyred by the Romans before the Empire was converted to Christianity, was built on the same spot. Just one more detail: inside the chapel there is a marble chair that is said to have belonged to Saint Gens; it is where pregnant women sit, asking for a good birth!
2 – Santa Luzia
Want that photo that will impress on Instagram? Then this is the place to go. On foot, by tuk tuk or on the famous 28 tram, go up the castle hill, the highest and the first in the city to be occupied, pass the Lisbon Cathedral and continue up until you find, to your right, the Santa Luzia viewpoint. There is no mistaking it. The proliferation of blue tiles, the flowerbeds with gardens, and the beautiful terrace with columns, in the best lovers' stories style, immediately make you stop. And you will enjoy a privileged view over the river and the historical Alfama neighborhood, the oldest in Lisbon, with its narrow and labyrinthine streets. Be sure to pay attention to the many tile panels there, you will see how the city was before the 1755 earthquake, but also scenes from the country's history. If you are in Lisbon in spring or summer, you will also be lucky enough to be dazzled by pink and lilac bougainvillea. Let's take some pictures?
3 – Portas do Sol
The small church of Santa Luzia separates the belvedere with the same name from the Portas do Sol square, where you can see part of the old city wall, also called the Moorish Wall, the primitive defensive wall of Lisbon. It is right next to the old stone wall that you will find one of the most popular viewpoints, usually full of tourists, street artists and souvenir sellers. The view extends over the river, you can even see the Vasco da Gama bridge in the eastern part of the city. And, of course, Alfama! If you want to explore the historic district on foot, getting lost in its stairways, streets and alleys, this is a great starting point. It's also a great place to quench your thirst at one of the terrace bars, while watching the movement around you. And why the name Portas de Sol (the sun's door)? Because here, more precisely on the curve next to the wall and adjacent to the church, in an east-west orientation, was located one of the access doors to the interior of the town, before the conquest of the city to the Moors by D. Afonso Henriques, first king of Portugal, in 1147.
4 – Elevador Santa Justa
This spot is also known as the Carmo Elevator. And you don't have to take it to visit the viewpoint at the top. There's often a long line of tourists waiting to take the elevator. Go up through Chiado to Largo do Carmo and there, besides finding several monuments of historical interest and one of the most pleasant and refreshing areas of the city, you will have access to the upper part of the elevator, which will offer you a fantastic view over Baixa and São Jorge Castle. The Elevador de Santa Justa was inaugurated in 1902, at a time when wrought iron not only served as a building material, but was also an elegant art form that we are sure you will enjoy very much. There is a walkway that connects Largo do Carmo to this former industrial wonder that was an important part of the city's public transport service at the dawn of the 20th century.
5 – São Pedro de Alcântara
You may come across the São Pedro de Alcântara garden and viewpoint by chance, as it is located between two of the city's trendiest neighborhoods, Bairro Alto and Príncipe Real, and is right up against the top of the famous Elevador da Glória. From here you have a fabulous view of the hills to the east of the city, where you can see the Castelo de São Jorge, the Sé de Lisboa, and the districts of Graça and São Vicente. You can also see, in the valley, the Avenida da Liberdade, the Baixa Pombalina and, of course, the Tagus River. With many trees and park benches, it is possible to relax here, looking at the landscape and listening to the parrots, habitual inhabitants of the viewpoint. At night, the place serves as a meeting point for young people, before heading to the bars and clubs of Bairro Alto.
6 – Castelo de São Jorge
It was on a hill overlooking the Tagus River that Lisbon was born as a population cluster. On its top, the Romans built the first defensive structure of the city, the Arabs the alcazar and the Portuguese the Royal Palace. The Castelo de São Jorge is the only one of the viewpoints where you will need to pay a ticket to enjoy the views, because you will enter a national monument, which includes several other attractions such as the Núcleo Museológico, the Núcleo Arqueológico or the Câmara Escura (darkroom), an optical system of lenses and mirrors to observe the city in detail, with a 360º view. The medieval castle that can currently be seen from the outside is, let's say, "fake", since it is actually the result of major restoration work done in the late 1930s. Inside the walls, however, you will find the vestiges of ancient times. From the castle's belvedere you can see the silhouette of Palmela, Arrábida, the coastline of Almada and even the fields of Ribatejo.
7 – Miradouro da Graça
This viewpoint is next to Senhora do Monte, but offers a more intimate view of the castle and the Mouraria neighborhood. In addition, it has an inviting terrace with coffee service, very popular on summer evenings. The beautiful balcony overlooking the city has several trees that provide shade, park benches, and is sheltered by the Graça Church and Convent, a monument that stands out in the Lisbon landscape high above the neighborhood of the same name. Since 2009, the viewpoint has been renamed Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen to honor, five years after her death, one of the most important Portuguese poets of the 20th century. Sophia lived for many years in the Graça neighborhood and spent many of her days here, admiring Lisbon.
8 - Miradouro de Santa Catarina
Close to Bairro Alto and the Bica Elevator, passing by the Pharmacy Museum, you will find the Santa Catarina Viewpoint, located on a hill with the same name, currently belonging to the Misericórdia parish. This viewpoint, facing the river and its south bank, has a young, relaxed and busy atmosphere, where tourists and locals mingle with musicians and street artists. It is perhaps even one of the most frequented viewpoints in the city, being extremely popular among foreign students living in Lisbon. Very important: the place is also known as Miradouro do Adamastor, because there is a statue there in honor of the Greek mythological character, referred to by Camões in Os Lusíadas to symbolize the giant monster destroying ships when passing the Cape of Storms, later named the Cape of Good Hope.
9 - Alto do Parque Eduardo VII
It is an excellent viewpoint for an introduction to the city of Lisbon, as it offers a privileged perspective over the entire historical center, located by the river. From here you can admire the Tagus and its south bank, but also the castle, the Sé de Lisboa,the Avenida da Liberdade, the Bairro Alto and the Marquês de Pombal traffic roundabout, built at the end of the 19th century and currently considered the center of the city. The Parque Eduardo VII Eduardo VIIwith its large grassy boulevard, was named in 1903 in honor of the King of England, who had visited Lisbon to reaffirm the alliance between the two countries. At this viewpoint , you will find a monument celebrating 1974 April 25th, the date of the Carnation Revolution, which put an end to dictatorship in Portugal. The sculptural ensemble, designed by João Cutileiro, was the subject of controversy when it was inaugurated in 1997, due to its phallic shape. Very close to this viewpoint are the modern Corte Inglês department stores, a paradise for shopping lovers.
10 – Jardim do Torel
It is a viewpoint and a garden at the same time, where you can lie long on the grass, smell aromatic herbs, read poetry inscribed on the benches or do some outdoor exercise. The Miradouro do Torel is on Santana hill, just opposite Bairro Alto and the more touristy São Pedro de Alcântara, and to get there you can take the Lavra elevator, also much less crowded than the Glória elevator. For those who like to appreciate palaces built in the revivalist style of the 19th century, this is also a place not to be missed. Besides the green spaces and the unobstructed view over the old part of Lisbon, Torel has several artificial lakes that give freshness to the place. A few years ago, it was used as an urban beach in the summer, for bathing and with artificial sand, but the project has since been deactivated.
11 - Monte Agudo
If you don't like meeting other tourists and prefer quieter places, this is the viewpoint to visit. Hidden in a residential neighborhood of Lisbon, Bairro das Colónias, in Anjos, Monte Agudo is located inside a small forest park and has a beautiful balcony with whitewashed stone columns that, besides the excellent 180º panoramic view, will also offer you shade, peace and tranquility. It is the perfect viewpoint to escape the urban hustle and bustle, with the advantage that you can also go for a water, a refreshment or a beer at the kiosk on site.
12 - Miradouro Panorâmico de Monsanto
It is the only one of the viewpoints on this list that is outside the city center, more specifically in Monsanto Forest Park, considered the lung of Lisbon. Imagine a luxury restaurant, with a bingo room, in a building shaped like a UFO. A unique architectural project, with beautiful tile panels, in a privileged location, that never really got off the ground, eventually becoming one of the biggest failures - and mysteries - in the history of 20th century Lisbon. Today it's a ruin transformed into a viewpoint, in charge of the City Hall, that lets modern urban artists paint and install their graffiti or street art. It also offers a unique landscape of the Tagus estuary, the Águas Livres aqueduct and the many suburban settlements.