Also known as the Elevador de Carmo, this extraordinary 147-foot (45-meter) tall structure was built at the turn of the twentieth century by French architect Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard to connect downtown to Bairro Alto, the high neighborhood. The top of the cast iron, Neo-Gothic tower offers spectacular views of the red-roofed city, the Castelo de São Jorge and the Tagus River beyond. Ponsard was an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel, which explains the elevator’s similarities to the Eiffel Tower in Paris
At the top of it there's a restaurant with great views over the city of Lisbon.
Lisbon has three working funiculars; Elevador do Lavra, Elevador da Glória, and Elevador da Bica. Two of them run from Avenida da Liberdade, very close to Praça de Restauradores, and I have tried both of them.
Elevador do Lavra runs from the eastern side of the avenue to the Torel district. The line opened in 1884 and was the first street funicular in the world. Not a very long ride – actually only 180 meters long – but with a 25% gradient it is a quite interesting ride.
The Elevador da Glória was opened to the public in 1885. It runs from the western side of Avenida da Liberdade to Bairro Alto (and Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara with its great views). The ride is a little longer than Lavra, 265 meters with an average gradient of 18%.
The funiculars are now designated a National Monument, and still transports annually around 3 million people.
When standing on Praça do Rossio, you will without doubt spot the 45 metre high tower that rises above the square. It is actually a lift - called Elevador de Santa Justa or Elevador do Carmo - and it connects the lower streets of downtown Lisbon with the higher Largo do Carmo. The lift was constructed in the beginning of the 20th century by an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel (the Eiffel Tower), and the iron construction in Lisbon has some similarities to the famous tower in Paris...
The main attraction of the lift is the viewing platform on the top. There are amazing views of the Lisbon Castle, Praça do Rossio, River Tagus, and the historical city centre…
Lisbon is quite a steep city so getting around can be a bit of a problem. The solution? Build some mechanised lifts to take tired locals and tourists from one city level to another! This lift/elevator is the most iconic in Lisbon and was built by a pupil of Eiffel called Raoul Mesnier de Posnard. Therefore, similarities between the design of the Elevador de Santa Justa and the Eiffel Tower are not coincidental!
The lift operates between the lower level at Baixa to the upper level near the ruins of the Carmo Convent. The lift affords good views over the city from the top. There is an admission charge for the lift, however, day tickets for the public bus/tram system are valid as is the Aerobus ticket.
The Santa Justa Elevator was built at the beginning of the 20th century by French architect Raoul de Mesnier du Ponsard. Du Ponsard was once an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel. The elevator is 45 meters high. From the top there are wonderful views over Rossio Square, the castle, the River Tagus. The top of the elevator is near Carmo convent. We were able to use the elevator on our day ticket without paying any extra fee.
It functions both as a lift and as viewdeck, but more than its functionality, the Elevador de Santa Justa is better known for its beautiful and unique structure. Located at the historic center, it towers above the old buildings and can be easily seen. It connects through a bridge, the lower streets of the Baixa area (the shopping streets) with the Largo do Carmo in the upper area, or about 30 meters above. The bridge on top is adjacent to the dramatic ruins of the Convento do Carmo, left as it was after being destroyed by the great Lisbon earthquake in 1755.
The structure was built by Raul Mesnier de Ponsard, an apprentice of Eiffel, in 1882 to help ease access in the hilly and steeper parts of Lisbon. It was originally powered by steam, and in 1907 converted to electric power.
At the top, one gets an unbeatable view of historic Lisbon, the Castelo Sao Jorge, and the wide expanse of the Tagus delta just beyond. There is a ticket to use the lift -- if you have a Metro pass with credit, then it is worth the equivalent of one trip by Metro, otherwise it costs a bit more to buy the ticket on board. At the top floor is a kiosk which sells the usual snacks and souvenirs. It gets quickly full there as the area is small, but the stunning views it affords especially on a sunny day more than makes up for the tight space.
As a "seven hills" city, Lisbon has some steep areas. By the end of the 19th century, several lifts were made. Some of them disappeared, but four were kept and modernized, still being useful to make the visits descending, and some of them even transformed in national monuments.
That's what happened with Santa Justa elevator and Lavra, this one sharing with Bica the circumstance of staying a little "out of the beatten path", thus not so useful for tourists as the other two.
Gloria elevator starts right in central Restauradores square, and it is very useful to go up to "Bairro Alto"
Built following Eifell's style by another french engineer, this elevator is still in use, allowing a quick and convenient ascension to Carmo's level.
Most people limit themselves to admire the construction, but, since you need to go uphill, it's a good idea to use it. However, if you want to save the time lost in the long lines, you may use the trick I describe in my Local Secrets tip
Santa Justa lift was designed by Raul Ponsard, engineer born in Porto in 1902. Lift was converted to electrical operation in 1907 and in 2002 the elevator with the three cable railways of Lavra, Gloria and Bica were classified as National Monuments. This iron lift is 45 meters tall. The top storey is reached by helicoidal staircases and has a terrace that has views of Lisbon Castle, Rossio Square, Baixa. There are 2 wooden lift cages for maximum 20 passengers.
An image of Lisbon will not be complete without its beloved funiculars, iconic symbols of the city. These striking ochre-coloured means of transport is as much a character of the city as its many narrow, steep steps and no visit to Lisbon will be complete without a ride in one of them.
Operational since 1892, this funicular connects Rua do São Paolo and Largo do Calhariz, and was built (as with the other funiculars in the downtown area) to facilitate transport of people and goods in Lisbon's steeply sloping terrain. This one has a length of 283 meters with an incline of 16 degrees. Together with the other funiculars, it was declared a national monument in 2002.
For visitors, the easier access to the Elevador is from its higher end, which is just a short distance from the Chiado area, a few short blocks behind the Largo do Camoes. Ticket for a one-way trip is the same as for the bus or metro, and 7-Colinas card can be used for it, provided it has enough credit otherwise buying the ticket on board will cost more. A two-way ticket costs 3 euros.
This funicular was the last to be built in Lisbon and was opened on 28 June, 1892. It climbs the Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo for 245 metres connecting the Calçada do Combro/Rua do Loreto and the Rua de S. Paulo. The lower station of this funicular railroad is almost hidden behind a facade on the Rua de S. Paulo with the inscription "Ascensor da Bica". It was electrified in 1927 and classified as a national monument in 2002.
I believe every major city should have something that little bit on the quirky side and, with that in mind, Lisbon offers the visitor this. Located in downtown Baixa, this elevator was designed by a follower of French engineer Gustav Eiffel and connects the lower streets of the Baixa with the higher Largo do Carmo (Carmo Square).
It was designed by Raul Mesnier de Ponsard, an engineer born in Porto to French parents. Construction began in 1900 and was finished in 1902; originally powered by steam, it was converted to electrical operation in 1907. The iron lift is 45 metres tall and is decorated in neo-gothic style, with a different pattern on each storey. The top storey is reached by helicoidal staircases and has a terrace that offers views of Lisbon Castle, Rossio Square and the Baixa neighbourhood. One tip, don't bother going right to the top as the views from where the lift stops are just as go plus you don't have to pay.
This is one of those most-do-things whilst in Lisbon like so many major tourist destinations have (like riding on open-top buses etc). Tram (or "Eléctrico" in Portuguese) Line 28 is one of only three traditional tram lines that still operate in Lisbon. These trams, which until the late-1980's ran all through-out Lisbon, were manufactured between 1936 and 1947. Tram 28 winds its way through the "Old Town" of Lisbon beginning in Graça then down to Alfama and to Baixa then up through Chiado to Bairro Alto and then down to Campo Ourique, taking you by many of Lisbon's most famous and interesting sites including monuments, churches and gardens. The trip is hilly, noisy and hectic but it affords many beautiful glimpses of the city. And, although the tram can sometimes be overrun with tourists, you will definitely get a flavour of the locals, as many "Lisboetas" commute daily on these historical trams. Tickets cost €1.45 per journey and can be purchased on-board at a vending machine (note that these machines do not accept notes, and are sometime even out of change, so make sure you have the correct change!)
This Neo-Gothic tower was built at the beginning of the 20th century. The architect was Raoul de Mesnier du Ponsard, an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel, hence the similarity.
The tower is 45 metres high and connects Baixa and Bairro Alto. After a ride up in the lift you reach a cafe. There are spectacular views of Lisbon from here.
Lisbon's Elevador de Santa Justa in the Baixa (lower town) is a unique and picturesque feature of the city's varied personality. It is a peculiar-looking structure but one which clearly generates constant curiousity and interest to the visitor of this city. It is a funicular or elevator of a different elk. First of all, it is an elevator within a tower in the open space and visibility of a crowded street...as tho it had been planted there like a giant iron-rod right into the ground towering and seeming to be so formidable against natural forces.
Lisbon has four funiculars or elevadores which were designed and built to provide a measure of convenience and ease for the residents in this superbly hilly city ferrying them to the top-of-the-hill neighborhoods from the Baixa. And they afford a comfortable, scenic and memorable ride. There are the Elevador da Gloria, the most popular of all which runs up to Bairro Alto from Praca dos Restauradores, the Elevador da Bica, at the lower end of Bairro Alto near the Praca do Camoes just off the fashionable Chiado which takes passengers down to the riverfront area around the Cais do Sodre train station, the Elevador da Lavra on the opposite hill up the steep Mouraria district of Lisbon. And there's the Elevador de Santa Justa, the most eccentric-looking of them all which provides the quickest way for one to reach Bairro Alto at Largo do Carmo on the grounds of the fabled ruins of Convento do Carmo (Convent of the Carmelites destroyed in the 1755 earthquake) from the shopping streets of the Baixa. Of course, these days when this very elevator has so gained the status of a celebrity, only mostly tourists take the ride up to obtain a most breathtaking panoramic view of the city as well as to experience the cafe located at the very top upon a vertigo-inducing setting.
The Elevador de Santa Justa built during the late1800's is the work of the French architect Raoul Mesnier, an apprentice of the famous Alexander Gustave Eiffel of the Eiffel tower fame of Paris. A neo-gothic style made of heavy wrought-iron and embellished with intricate feligrees, the funicular is a fantastic work of engineering rising up to a height of 105 feet. Another of its principal attraction are its two wood-paneled elevator cabins complete with brass fittings which carry passengers up and down.