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Front View Seating for Sunset Performance
If you're into watching and enjoying the sunset, the city of Lisbon has several hills, seven prominent ones, from which you can situate yourself with a 'bica' or tea with a 'pastel de nata' or 'bolo de arroz', my favorite and proceed to find a moment's contentment under a cool protective dark goggles to watch the sun go down.
One of city's great spots to do this is high up in the Castelo de Sao Jorge upon its craggy ramparts, battlements and highly evocative grounds set among ancient olive trees and aleppo pines overlooking the westerly and southerly skies of the city into which the paling ball of fire sets itself free to retire. Down beneath lies the old city with her jigsaw puzzle of a uniquely Portuguese architectural expression, orange tile roofing of houses. From this magnificent vantage can also be enjoyed Lisbon's ambitious suspension bridge - the Ponte 24 de Abril -and nearby the sky-touching statue of an open-armed Christ seeming to be the city's protector with hills cascading down towards the vast expanse of the River Tejo.
Best time to get here is from early afternoon onwards til gate closing.
Some of the best views of Lisbon
Just inside the main entrance to Castelo de Sao Jorge there is a shady terrace which is home to a couple of statues of ancient kings; rusting canons which hint of the part played by the castle in defending the city in past conflicts; some even older gnarled olive trees and some of the best panoramic views of Lisbon.
We were there on a very warm, sunny morning in October and there was quite a haze but with the help of binoculars and the Ceramic map of the panorama we were able to see nearby housing , the Baixa and Bairro areas and out to the river and the famous suspension bridge - Ponte de 25 Abril.
It's onlty to be expected that, with all those hills, there are fabulous views to be had over Lisbon. You'll catch lovely glimpes of the city through gaps between the buildings and down the narrow streets (photo 5) but for the best and widest views you need to make your way to the specially built miradouros to see over the whole panorama spread out before you.
You'll find the miradouros at the highest point of the hills, their wide balustrades allowing for a clear view out over the city. They're not just the haunt of photo-snapping tourists however; there's bound to be a few locals there. During the day they'll be gossiping with friends or neighbors, taking time out for a coffee over a newspaper if there's a cafe, playing dominos. Come evening, the miradouros are a favourite haunt of the more romantically minded. Whatever the time - the views are spectacular.
Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara is a lovely tree-shaded space at the top of the Elevadore de Gloria in the Bairro Alto. From here you look straight across to the castle and down on the Baixa.
There are wonderful views from the castle of course, but if you walk down the hill a little way, you'll come to the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, a long shady balcony that looks out across the Alfama to the river beyond. There are a couple of lovely old tiled panoramas of the city on the back wall of the balcony.
Miradouro de Graça
The Miradouro de Graça is a beloved meeting point for the inhabitants of Lisbon, especially early in the evening, when they sit at the tables under the pinetrees overlooking the city.
Established on the square is the great monasterychurch Igreja da Graça
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
Miradouro das Portas do Sol - Viewpoint
Just a few steps away from Miradouro de Santa Luzia, a balcony opens onto the river offering truly spectacular views over Alfama.
Faced by soft-toned buildings and the Decorative Arts Museum, this is a popular stop for photographers, with its stunning view from São Vicente de Fora Church to the river.
There is also a statue of St. Vincent (the city's patron saint) holding a boat with two ravens, the symbols of Lisbon.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Historical Travel
Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
I was originally confused between the part and outlook here and the park of Príncipe Real. It is located right at near the entrance to the upper part of the Elevador de Glória and allows you good views over the northern part of the historic lower city. But the draw of the Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara is not just the view. There is also a beautiful park here with some very interesting sculptures and a great tree that is screaming "photograph me!".
- Arts and Culture
Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara
The Miradouro de Sao Pedrode Alcantara is located at the top end of Gloria's funicular route.
From here you have a magnificent view of Lisbon. This wonderful vantage point will give you a unique chance to take some of the best photos of your trip.
Miradouro de Santa Lucia
When you travel, don't you too pick a spot and decide "this is my spot. I will make this my emotional base, and I will orient myself from here"? Well, this miradouro (outlook) was my spot in Lisbon. Only minutes from my hotel, with a good view of my beloved Sao Vicente monastery, a stop of tram #28, a cheap cyber-cafe and a plain good restaurant nearby (Kome Ka - Rua Das Escolas Gerais 57). I came back here every day, and a little like with a multiple choice water slide, I found a new way down to the Alfama every time.
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
The View Over Lisbon
Castelo de Sao Jorge was built where it was because it has a commanding view of the area and, it still does! This is the view out over the Baixa toward the Tejo (Tagus) River and its opposite shore.
On the distant far right is one of the supports of the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge, which was modelled on San Francisco's Golden Gate bridge. Completed in 1966, this 2-km double deck bridge was modified in 1999 so its lower deck could carry rail traffic across the mighty Tejo River. This was made possible by the opening in 1998 of Europe's longest bridge, across the Tejo just north of Lisbon, the 17-km Vasco da Gama.
To the left of the suspension bridge tower is another tall structure, this one being 'Cristo Rei', an 82 m (270 foot) pedestal supporting a 28 m (90 foot) figure of Christ. This answer to Rio de Janeiro's 'Cristo Redentor' was built between 1949-59 by Spain's dictator Francisco Franco at the behest of Portugal's dictator Salazar.
- Family Travel
- Castles and Palaces
Miradouro St. Lucia
Since Lisbon was built on seven hills, you have quite a few places with spectacular sights. One of our favourite ones was the miradouro St. Lucia, halfway between Sé Cathedral and the Castello S. Jorge.
We went there in the morning on our way to the castle and in the evening to enjoy the sunset - couldn't say which one was nicer!!!
See the whole of the city from above
Since Lisbon is built on 7 hills, there are quite some overlooks (miradouros) from which you have great views of the city.
I am not going to write a different tip about every single one of them, here you have an overview of the ones that I saw:
1/ Castle of Sao Jorge: probably the most beautiful and complete one. You can see very, very far and I just couldn't stop looking, it's amazing!
2/ Jardim de Torel: when taking the Elevador da Lavra, going left, from there it's signposted. Wonderful views over Baixa and Bairro Alto from a small park. Especially fantastic during sunset!
3/ Miradouro de Santa Luzia: pretty close to the castle, next to the church. From here you have an overview over the roofs of Alfama. Pretty charming.
4/ Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara: views over Baixa and the Castle. Just to your right when you get out of the Elevador da Gloria.
5/ View from Elevador da Santa Justa. If you get out of the elevator, take the steps towards the terrace. Beautiful views of Rossio and the river Tagus.
6/ Miradouro de S. Catarina: views over the Tagus, the least impressive one, in my eyes.
7/ McDonalds, indeed the fastfood restaurant. :-)) I entered in the one on Rossio, which offers a great view over the square. And from the McDonalds terrace in Vasco Da Gama shopping centre, you have a great overview of the Parque das Naçoes! ( no, I didn't eat in this one too, don't worry:-))
You MUST go to Capo Espichel
Perhaps the most amazing trip I made in Lisbon is to Capo Espichel. There is a pagan fisherman festival on the last Sunday of September which we tried to go to but just missed- the aftermath looked amazing though so I still recommend it!!
To get there you can get a bus to Azoia from Sesimbra (get to Sesimbra for all sorts of day trips, you can reach it by ferry from the rest of Lisbon, costs about 35p and very quick!). From Azoia you have a 3Km walk approx to Capo Espichel, when I went we met a lovely old shepherd herding his sheep along who gave us some water- it is a walk along a deserted track so bring supplies!!!
The place itself is basically a clifftop with an old deserted church really close to the edge. It's breathtaking seeing the atlantic stretching away into infinity from the top.
HArd to put into words but really 100000% highly recommended. Bring some rolls and some chorizo and eat while watching the sea. Brave people who want to stick their heads over the edge will see car crashes on the way down. It's pretty empty too, barely another tourist in the 3 hours I was there.
A pic of looking off the end of the world in off the beaten track section.
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
- Castles and Palaces
Santa Luzia and its Azulejos
If you're walking to the Alfama or Castelo de São Jorge you will pass the Santa Luzia's Church with its miradouro. Although you can overlook the huddle of Alfama's roofs down to the Tejo river, there are more beautiful outlooks in Lisbon.
This miradouro is special for another reason: There are several artistic wall-paintings consisting out of azulejos at the facade of the church. The most exceptional is one depicting Lisbon before the great earthquake in 1755 in a very vivid scene.
Park benches will also invite you to rest a little in the shadow before you continue your arduous walk through Alfama or to Castelo de São Jorge.
Castelo de São Jorge
You'll encounter a fabulous view of Lisbon from the Castelo de São Jorge.
If you don't have a chance to go to many miradouros (view points) in Lisbon, I would recommend this one.
You can do two in one...see the castelo and view the city at the same time.
Daily 900-1800 (Nov-Feb), 900-2100 (Mar-Oct).
Castle and Gardens Admission: Free.
Miradouro de Sao Pedro Alcantara
Lisbon is famous for its seven hills, and at the top of almost every one, you can catch some great views of everything from the river Tagus and the 25 de Abril bridge to cluttered red-tiled rooftops, people hanging up laundry, and the big yellow umbrellas of the cafes.
There are terraced lookouts, called miradouros, all around the Bairro Alto, which are frequented by locals and visitors alike.
The Miradouro de Sao Pedro Alcantara is one of these parks overlooking Lisbon.
Take the, Elevador da Glória (Avenida de Liberdade-Restauradores to Bairro Alto-São Pedro de Alcântara; 7am-12:55am daily) to get to this commanding view of the city from which you can get one of the best views of eastern Lisbon, including the restored St George's Castle. The castle can be seen in the photo directly in the middle on top of the green hill. Elevadors are technically trams designed to take pedestrians up the steepest of the hills
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