Miradouros (overlooks), Lisbon
Spreading over seven hills, and usually with a bright sun, Lisbon has lots of wonderful sights.
Each hill has a couple of privileged spots, but the castle tops them all. The lift of Santa Justa is another special place, with good views over the castle.
The Jardim de São Pedro de Alcantara, or the Jardim de Alcantara for short, is a two-tiered garden at the edge of the Bairro Alto. While the gardens themselves are unremarkable, the views from them are not. On both levels, you get tremendous views of the Baixa, the Alfama, and São Jorge Castle. When we visited on a Sunday morning, the views were beautiful, but we had to be careful to keep Minifrosch away from some broken glass left over from the festivities of the previous evening. Other than that, the garden provides one of the best overlooks in the city, and is definitely worth a visit with camera at the ready.
Just a few steps away from Miradouro das Portas do Sol is the next one, Miradouro de Santa Luzia. Despite its proximity, this viewpoint offers different views of the Alfama. This is mainly due to the fact that it opens to a different direction (directly towards the river) and lies a bit sheltered behind a church. In parts, Miradouro de Santa Luzia may appear a bit run-down, but it's a nice place to visit nonetheless. Sit in the garden behind the church, admire the many azulejos there or just relax while enjoying the great view before continuing with more Lisbon adventures.
One of Lisbon's best viewpoints is Miradouro das Portas do Sol (Viewpoint of the Sungates). It's actually more like a square with a view than just a nice viewpoint. There's lots of space for artists to sing their songs or street vendors to try to sell their kitschy souvenirs, but most people seem to completely ignore them and are simply overwhelmed by the panoramic view: the uncountable roofs of the Alfama, the Tagus River, the dazzling white Sao Vicente de Fora monastery and the dome of the National Pantheon. If you look closer, you'll discover those details that to me make visits to high structures unforgettable: laundry flapping in the wind, a few workers on the rooftops, a lonesome palm tree between the houses. While I came here in the afternoon, the Miradouro must be even more lovable in the evening with the soft light giving the houses of the old town a very special look. Check out my other Miradouro tips for more.
If you have to choose just one of the many overlooks in Lisbon, this should be the one.
Facing the castle, with Bairro Alto in your back, this is a mandatory stop for picture.
After or before the picture don't forget S. Roque church, only a few meters distant.
A few steps along the road from the Miradouro das Portas do Sol is another wonderful viewpoint, the Miradouro Santa Luzia. Its low stone wall is decorated with azulejos and overlooks the winding streets, rooftops and churches of the Alfama district, and below these the River Tagus.
The little square takes its name from the small church to one side of it, Santa Luzia. There has been a church on this site since the 12th century, but this one dates from the 18th century and was extensively rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake. On its south wall, facing the viewpoint and a pretty little garden, are two tiled panels. One depicts the Christians attacking St George’s Castle in 1147 and the other shows Praça do Comércio as it looked prior to the earthquake.
On the last morning of our latest visit to Lisbon we took a taxi up the hill towards the castle and got out on the Rua São Tome. Perched above the Alfama district is a little square, the Largo Portas do Sol, with a small stall selling drinks and snacks. This is a perfect place to enjoy a coffee and pasteis while soaking up the sun and admiring the views. This for me is a quintessential Lisbon experience!
From this viewpoint you can see several churches, including the large São Vicente de Fora ("St. Vincent Outside the Walls" - in photo three and behind Chris in photo four), the white dome of the Pantheon or Church of Santa Engracia (photo two), Santo Estêvão (in my main photo) and all the houses and other buildings tumbling down the slopes of the Alfama to the river below.
In the centre of the square is a statue of São Vicente (photo five), the city's patron saint. He is holding a boat with two ravens on it, the symbols of Lisbon.
Lisbon has a lot of viewpoints, but for me this is the most spectacular. The view gives you a sight for lots of different stuff:
- Castelo de São Jorge (St. George's Castle)
- Lisbon typical rooftops
- Rio Tejo (Tejo River)
- Avenida da Liberdade (Liberty Avenue)
- And so on
Plus, on the viewport itself, you have a little garden, a fountain, and lots of artists.
This is very near Bairro Alto, so you can go up to this viewport by the "Elevador da Glória" and experience this old Lisbon elevator.
Go up to the "Miradouro de Santa Catarina" to have beautiful views over the City of Lisbon!
This viewpoint is usually crowded with students drinking beer, young artists playing music and painters.
There, you have some bars to sit and enjoy the beautiful view. There's also an Adamastor statue there!
Metro - Baixa-Chiado Station or Tram 28
Lisbon has many hills and logically many belvederes. It is used to say there were 7 hills like Rome but the truth is that there are much more. These are great places to stop a bit, relax and take some pictures.
Here are some of the places you can find:
A) Top of the Santa Justa Elevator - In the top of the XIX century elevator you can find a beautiful view over the downtown, the castle and the river. The place is quite small and has an esplanade so it can be difficult to get to. If you don't want to pay the ride in the elevator you can access for free through the Carmo square.
B) The castle is another wonderful place to check the view in particular at the end of the day when the sun sets over the landscape. You will have to pay to enter. The Ulisses tower allows you to explore in more detail the view and is open from 10h and 16h30.
C) São Pedro de Alcântara – A beautiful overlook with some statues and fountains and filled with people day and night. You can see all the downtown and central area of the city.
D) Santa Catarina overlook, or Adamastor (since it has the statue of the mythical being) is a nice small belvedere overlooking the river and set of the nice Noobar bar.
E) Torel garden has a beautiful overlook to the Bairro alto hill, there is a small secluded bar in the place where you can sit and relax and is often empty.
F) Senhora do Monte – For me the favorite overlook in the city. With the small chapel and the wonderful view over castle, river and central city. Next to it you have a small hotel with a nice bar in the top. The service is not excellent but the views amazing.
G) Graça – Next to the old convent this small overlook has wonderful views over the city and a small café.
H) Portas do Sol/Santa Luzia – The nice overlook over the area of Alfama and the river. There are many monuments around and a bar with great views.
Lisbon is known as the city with the 7 hills and when walking around the city you’ll pass many beautiful viewpoints, for instance Miradouro de Santa Luzia and Miradouro das Portas do Sol.
Miradouro de Santa Luzia has nice views of the River Tagus and the Alfama neighbourhood... Miradouro das Portas do Sol also has views of the river and Alfama, and furthermore it has a balcony perfect for photo shooting. There is also a small square with a statue of São Vincent (the city's patron saint)...
Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara is a small park and also one of many viewpoints around Lisbon. There is a great view of central Lisbon - and a map made of tiles helps you identifying the buildings you see on the horizon...
The park is divided into two levels. The upper level has a small fountain, a café/kiosk, and a monument dedicated to Eduardo Coelho, who was the first chief of the famous newspaper ‘Diário de Noticias’. The lower level contains some flower beds and several busts of heroes and gods from Greco-Roman mythology, for instance Ulysses. In the evening people gathers at Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara for a beer, a drink, or a glass of wine…
From Portas do Sol viewpoint you can enjoy Lisbon’s old neighborhoods. Narrow steep streets from one of Lisbon’s most iconic places: Alfama. Old worn houses that contrast with rehabilitated ones. You can also see the Tagus River and the other side of Lisbon.
Next to the viewpoint there is a restaurant with a big promenade where you can enjoy the landscape and eat some light meals or drink natural juices.
To get there: There are to trams that go there: 12E (departure from Praça da Figueira and 28E departure from Martim Moniz)
This garden is located near the top of the Gloria Elevator and offers some staggering panoramic view across the city to St. George's Castle and central Lisbon. A map made of tiles marks all the distinctive buildings, and the lower geometric garden contains busts of heroes and gods from Greco-Roman mythology, such as Minerva and Ulysses. A memorial was erected in the garden in 1904, dedicated to the first chief of the famous "Diário de Noticias", Eduardo Coelho. Eduardo Coelho (1835-89) founded the daily paper in 1863 and led it for its first 25 years.
The Miradouro de Santa Luzia is a very popular look-out point from the Alfama area of Lisbon. Next to the Mannerist Santa Luzia Church, this look-out provides visitors with spectacular views of the Tejo and the neighbourhoods along the river, while the various small gardens along the edge of the walkway are filled with beautiful local flowers during the spring and summer months.