Top 5: Viewpoints
Lisbon’s terracotta roofs and azulejo facades are one of the city’s most drawing features, so it is only natural that one has to look for the best viewpoints in the city from which to admire such beauty. The architecture, Tagus river and the old town, along with the Castle, Christ the King statue and the 25th of April Bridge are also worth hiking up a viewpoint for their magnificence, so there really is no shortage of things to see from up above.
To help you out, we’ve come up with a list of our 5 favourite viewpoints in Lisbon:
Miradouro de Santa Luzia
High up above the narrow, cobblestoned streets of Alfama and the old town, just on the way to St. George’s Castle, is a charming, bougainvillea-lined viewpoint with unbeatable views over the Tagus River and the old town, as well as Alfama – a perfect spot for anyone visiting the Castle and served by the 28 tram, it’s just one of those spots you really have to check out when you’re in town.
São Pedro de Alcântara
Marking the end of the Príncipe Real district and the beginning of Bairro Alto, the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara is perhaps one of the city’s most sought-after and busy viewpoints, and for good reason – the views over Alfama, the Castle and the Tagus River and unparalleled, and make it an almost compulsory stop along the route from Príncipe Real to Bairro Alto. With a delightful kiosk serving visitors and locals alike, it’s a fantastic place to refresh and relax during a day of sightseeing. At night, the viewpoint comes alive as party-goers from the hip Bairro Alto district flock to the viewpoint’s benches and delightful nighttime views. A map, made of azulejos, marks some of the city’s landmarks and attractions, and the geometric garden below has statues of Greco-Roman gods and heroes, such as Minerva and Ulysses. The Gloria elevator is just beside it – a funicular that has been transporting passengers from the Restauradores Square all the way up to Bairro Alto since 1885.
Castelo de São Jorge
One of the city’s main attractions to be seen from a viewpoint is also a viewpoint in itself. As the Castle is, first and foremost, a military structure, the view from behind its walls is unlike anything else you’ll find in Lisbon – perched atop a hill in the centre of Lisbon, it allowed for monitoring of the whole city, from the old section of Alfama, all the way through Sé, Chiado, Bairro Alto, Príncipe Real and of course the Bridge and Christ the King Statue, there is very little you cannot see from the city’s keep. The strongly fortified citadel dates back to the Portuguese medieval era, and is one of the most visited sites in town.
Arco da Rua Augusta
One of Lisbon’s most recent viewpoints, the top of the Arch in Rua Augusta – one of the city’s most famous landmarks – has been transformed into one of our favourite spots in town. Walking down the tree-lined Av. da Liberdade, past the historic Rossio Square and through the wide and sprawling Rua Augusta, that leads to Terreiro do Paço and the River, you can climb up the iconic arch to get one of the most, most unobstructed views of the city – facing north you can see from downtown to the Castle and everywhere in between – and the river and Terreiro do Paço square if you face south. It’s especially terrific for sunsets.
Portas do Sol
The “Doors of the Sun” – as it literally translates from Portuguese – viewpoint is perhaps one of the best known in town, and for good reason. It has maybe the best view over Alfama and the River you can ask for, is just next door to the Castle and is on the route of the 28 tram. It is served by the famous Zambeze Restaurant, which serves Portuguese and Mozambican food and is worth it for its outside terrace alone – perfect for a summer afternoon in the sun. Just a few steps away from the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, the balcony opens up to the river and is a very popular spot for photographers, with its stunning view of the S. Vicente de Fora Monastery. There is also a statue of S. Vicente, Lisbon’s patron saint, holding a boat with two ravens – the city’s symbols.
If you’re staying at Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon, the Hotel’s rooftop is also one of the best vantage points in the whole city, being one of the tallest buildings in town and offering a 360º, unobstructed view of Lisbon. From there, you can check out the map below to find your way through all of the viewpoints on the list: