A perfect guide of Lisbon’s TOP view spots for free!

A perfect guide of Lisbon’s TOP view spots for free!

Lisbon, which is also called “City of 7 hills” never stops fascinating the visitors with its great views of old houses expanded on hills, as its nickname says.

We can enjoy this city with many ways: walking around, tasting great food, drinking, having a party… but do you know we can find many viewpoints throughout the city? When you go up, you will arrive to a view point!

Almost all the viewpoints in Lisbon are outside so generally they are free of charge. Of course, there are many tourists, but also local people come there to take an “imperial” (small glass beer) on the terrace of Kiosk, or just to be relaxed with magnificent view of the city.

In Lisbon, the viewpoints are the place for everybody, not only for tourists: musicians playing guitar and singing, young people talking, an old man sitting on the bench and looking the scenic without doing anything else…

In this article, I’m going to show you the view spots I like very much in Lisbon, from those of really popular to those which are hidden. Each spot has a unique view and different vibe, so you can choose which ones to go and discover Lisbon from different angles. (However, it’s hard to do many view spots for just one day because of the steep hills)

*In the end of this article, you will get some useful tips to get around the viewpoints, the map, and a model route!

1  São Pedro de Alcântara view point

To start, it’s always better to visit a “Must go” spot, which shows us a popular and symbolic view of Lisbon. I think you can find this hyper famous viewpoint in all kinds of guidebooks of Lisbon. It’s situated on the top of the steep slope on which famous funicular of Grolia runs up from the Restauradores Place, where many tourists come and go all the day and the night. So, there’re many people at this viewpoint, as well.

From here, we can see everywhere of Lisbon’s downtown: Baixa district, which is expanded from the Rossio station and which consist the downtown, São Jorge castle found on the top of the other hill, Alfama – the oldest district in Lisbon, and the Tagus river.

You can find some fast food stands and a kiosk on the viewpoint, but their price is really crazy! Really expensive compared to the other places, because only the tourists come to visit here. That’s better to grab a beer later, in another place. There are many viewpoints that have beautiful view and kiosk which costs really less.

Better to go in the afternoon to take a photo because the sun goes up in front of you in the morning.

2  Santa Justa Lift

Next, I recommend enjoying the beautiful view from the semi-top of Santa Justa Lift, which is one of the landmarks in Lisbon. You can see how beautiful its retro-style architecture is – this lift was constructed more than 110 years ago – and of course you can see old houses and their orange roofs below.

You will appreciate so much this place because it lets us see the city much closer than other viewpoints, because this lift is situated just above the Baixa district.

One problem though: there is always a waiting line to take the lift to go up. If you come from the Baixa district, the area under the lift, you will be surprised at the numerous people waiting in a long line.

To avoid this crazy waiting line, I recommend going directly to the top part of the lift, passing by Calmo church which is situated a 5-min walk away from São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint, that I talked about above. I don’t know why, but there are really a few people on the top part of the lift, and you couldn’t believe how many people are still waiting below.

In addition, you don’t need to pay entrance fee to get access to this zone because you don’t take the lift to get there. (To go up to the top of the lift costs €1.50 additionally for everybody, even for the passengers having taken the lift. )

Just from next to the entrance for the top part, there’s a staircase to go down. In the middle of this it, you will see this small place (photo above) which is relatively quiet. You can feel the lively atmosphere on the street below, as well as enjoy a view of old houses in front and the old lift above. When you get tired after a walk, this is a great place to take a rest. (There are many people who sleep deeply on the deck chairs)

Better to go in the afternoon to take a photo because the sun goes up in front of you in the morning.

The ticket price to take the lift is really expensive (€5.15) if you buy it on the spot. Lisbon’s public transport cards such as Viva Viagem or 7 Colinas can be also used for Santa Justa Lift and obviously it is clever to use them because that’s cheaper.  (Only 1 euro and some cents)

Going up by lift, forget that! There are a thousand of people waiting so you have to wait incredibly long time. On the other hand, the lifts which go down have a few people waiting so normally you can take it in a short time.

3  Santa Catarina view point

So, the next one is a bit more local than the other view point I have shown you above: Santa Catarina view point. You will get a beautiful panorama view of the Tagus river and Lisbon’s symbolic red bridge: April 25th Bridge.

Even though this amazing view point is situated at the end of the full touristic Chiado district, you won’t see as many as tourists that you find the other hyper popular view spots. The people coming to this place are mostly young locals, so the vibe is a bit different from other places but it’s always lively with musicians, performers. There are also hippies and artists gathering so you will feel a free vibe there.

On the viewpoint, there’s a kiosk where you can get some snacks and drinks for a reasonable price, considering it’s in Lisbon’s city center (a small glass beer for 2.5€), so why not a small break here with beautiful view?

You can enjoy its panoramic view whenever you go, but the sunset is really worth seeing.

The sun going down to the Atlantic ocean and the city changing its color to red-orange… That will be an unforgettable moment in your life.

Better to go in the morning to take a photo because in the afternoon, the sun shines in front of you. The sunset is also a beautiful time to take photos.

 

You wouldn’t feel comfortable on the small street which goes to the view spot: there are some peculiar guys selling drugs even in the afternoon. The same thing on the view spot, sometimes there are totally drunk people, drug dealers. Don’t go there alone!

4  Santa Luzia view point

The next viewpoint is small but famous one: Santa Luzia view point, situated in the heart of Alfama. This is the oldest district in Lisbon, which didn’t suffer so much from the earthquake in 1755, so we can find the old houses decorated with Arabic motifs because of the Islamic occupation period in Portugal about 800 years ago.

Today, Alfama attracts more and more visitors and this small view point as well.

You can see whole Alfama district from the top, with the medieval streets and traditional houses. This is one of the landscapes which represent Portugal, with the atmosphere nostalgic and tranquil.

There’s not only this beautiful view that you must see on this viewpoint, but also the “Azulejos” (Portuguese tile art with motifs) aren’t to be missed!

That’s a pity most of the tourists come to this spot only to take photos of its panoramic view and go away. If you turn your head back, you will realize there are some hidden Azulejos there and you will be impressed with their beauty.

Better to go in the afternoon to take a photo because the sun goes up in front of you in the morning.

5  Portas do Sol view point

Just a 2 minutes walk from Santa Lucia view point takes you to this bigger view point: Portas do Sol, which means “The gates of the sun”. From this place, you can also admire a panorama view of the Alfama district.

Let’s take your beer or Mojito from the kiosk and take a seat on the terrace. A beautiful landscape is just under your foot!


The famous tramway no. 28 and TukTuks for tourists pass by right next to the viewpoint. I think this is a typical landscape of Lisbon as well, with old houses around.

Better to go in the afternoon to take a photo because the sun goes up in front of you in the morning.

6  Graça viewpoint (Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen)

Even though we call this beautiful viewpoint “Graça viewpoint”, its official name is “Belvédère de Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen”, which is too long so no one cares.
To get there, that’s a real sport: as it is situated in the heart of Graça area expanded on the high hill, you have to go up, up and up again the steep slope to enjoy a great view, but that’s worth.
From this viewpoint, you can see the city from the East. You’ll surely want to take pictures of the panoramic view: from residential areas in the North to the Tagus River flowing south of downtown.

If you are tired of tourists, you can go down the stairs and you’ll find yourself in a small park very relaxing and quiet. You can take Portuguese Sun shower, and spend a quiet time of reading or some nap. You don’t need to rush here in Portugal!

Better to visit in the morning to take photos, because in the afternoon, the Sun is so bright that you can’t even let your eyes open. The sunset is also a must-see.

7  Nossa Senhora do Monte viewpoint

If you look toward the North from the viewpoint of Graça, you can see a small space at the top of another Hill, surrounded by trees. That is the viewpoint of Nossa Senhora do Monte.
As the other viewpoints, it is at the top of the Hill so you have to go up the slope again, but well worth. In my opinion, it’s the place where you can see the best view of Lisbon!

The hill of São Jorge Castel, downtown districts like the Baixa and the Chiado, the Bairro Alto – famous night life area of Lisbon on the other hill, and Tagus river by far… You can see everything in Lisbon.

When we’re facing such a beautiful view, we cannot find a word but just a sigh. They say “See Naples and die” but I want to replace this phrase to “Go the Nossa Senhora do Monte viewpoint, and die” (in fact, you could be dead after you reached this viewpoint because the slope is really killing)

Better to visit in the morning to take photos, because in the afternoon, the Sun is so bright that you can’t even let your eyes open. The sunset is also a must-see.

8 Penha de França viewpoint

After the tour of touristy and popular lookouts, why not try a more local viewpoint?
From this viewpoint, Penha da Franca, we can see the new city of Lisbon on the North and the other bridge on the Tagus River: Ponte Vasco Da Gama.
The landscape is beautiful here, with the houses of orange roofs. You could discover another face of Lisbon.

After enjoying a nice view, it’s nice to discover neighborhoods nearby like Arroios or Anjos, located just downside of the viewpoint. I like these local neighborhoods because you can see the daily life of locals. Yes, there are really few tourists!
Restaurants and bars there are really not expensive compared to those of downtown, and they are, without explanation, authentic. So just try!
Better to visit in the afternoon to take the photos, because the Sun is in front of you in the morning.

9  Eduardo 6 Park’s viewpoint

This is the last viewpoint in this article, which is in the Edouardo 6 Park, located in the North of Lisbon.
The Park is very clean and beautiful, so worth a visit. From its less visited viewpoint, you can see downtown Lisbon and the Tagus River from a different angle.
Locals come to this park to spend their afternoons and there is a peaceful atmosphere. Sometimes events are held on weekends.

Better to visit in the morning or late in the afternoon to take photos, but the Sun is always in front of you because of the exposure of the viewpoint to the South.

To finish

Thanks to the many hills, we can admire various landscapes in Lisbon.
Honestly, it is really hard to go up and down the steep slopes, but the view you will have after that will become an unforgettable memory.
Stay at your favorite viewpoint, with a glass of beer or Sangria in your hand and the beautiful view in front of you. Some Portuguese-style music, which is a bit nostalgic, comes from somewhere and the time passes without any stress… It’s really great to spend a day like that!

Helpful tips for visiting the viewpoints in Lisbon

・Use tramway and subway

If you want to visit many viewpoints on foot in a day or two, it’s really hard physically. It’s better and more effective to use public transport.

You have some options for the means of transport: the tram 28 linking many tourist sites from the West to the East of the city, the tram 24, which goes to North from the Camões square located in the center of the Chiado, the subway blue line that connects the Baixa, the Restauradores square and the Park of Edouardo 6… The public bus is also useful, but it’s a bit tricky stuff for tourists because they don’t know where the destination is and where the bus stops.

Above all, the tram 28 is so useful when you make a viewpoint-running trip in one day: it stops at the entrance of Santa Clara viewpoint (3) situated on the west hill, goes to east side passing by the Alfama where you can find two beautiful viewpoints -Santa Luzia (4) and Portas do Sol (5), and it finally reaches to the stop near the Graça viewpoint (6)

However, this line is HYPER touristy that is always filled with tourists, and they all want to go to the terminal stop. So unluckily, it’s almost impossible to take it as a means of transport from point A to B.

If we talk about the tram 24, it departs from Camões square and is bound to Campolide, where the big shopping mall Amoreiras is located. It passes by near the entrance of the top part of Santa Justa Lift (2) and just by the São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint (1). This line of tram is not for tourists, so you can surely find a free space to get in.

To take pictures, think of the hours and the Sun exposure.

When I talked about each viewpoint above, I added some small comments as well,  concerning the recommended hours for a visit. I think it’s important to make a plan.

True, you could be impressed with a lovely view despite the cloudy sky, or strong back light in front of you, but if you wish to leave this view in beautiful pictures, it would be better to think about the direction of the Sun of each viewpoint…

Better to go in the morning:
Viewpoints on the east hills (6) (7)
Santa Catarina (3)

Better to go in the afternoon: 
Viewpoints on the west hill (1) (2)
Viewpoints in the Alfama (4) (5)
Viewpoints in the north of the city (8)

Better to go for the sunset:
Santa Catarina (3)
Viewpoints on the east hills (6) (7)

Here, I’d like to suggest you an itinerary to be able to visit as many as viewpoints possible in one day.

Morning: Go to east hills’ viewpoints (7) (6)

Noon: Take a walk toward the Alfama and get a lunch

Afternoon: Visit the viewpoints in the Alfama (4) (5)

End of the afternoon: Take a tramway 28 and 24, then visit west hill’s viewpoints (1) (2)

Evening: Go to Santa Catarina viewpoint (3) to enjoy the sunset

Oh Yeah! That’s a perfect plan! You move from the east to the west in one way, so no need to go and back the same route. And you could arrive to each spot in the best moment for photography.

I hope it helps your sightseeing in Lisbon!

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