Picture Perfect: Lisbon's Top 7 View Points
The Pombaline-style architecture, the terracotta rooftops and azulejo facades, the glorious Tagus river and the old town, along with St. George’s Moorish Castle, Christ the King statue and the 25th of April suspension bridge are some of Lisbon’s most drawing features, so it seems only natural to hike up one of the city’s numerous viewpoints to gaze at the magnificent views, enjoy Lisbon’s unique light and take the perfect picture.
So that you may head straight to the city’s top view points,
You can attempt to check all seven view points off your list in a day, and on foot. If you do, you are braver than Luis Miguel, who suggests you hop on a vintage moto sidecar alongside a professional photographer, immersing yourself in the city’s unique vibrancy from the ground up – the authentic way to discover the city’s many fascinating twists and turns, hotspots and history.
1. Eduardo VII Park View Point
Take a stroll from the Hotel up to Eduardo VII Park viewpoint for a jaw-dropping view of Lisbon and a first glimpse of the river. Named after Britain's King Edward VII who visited the city in 1903, with its 26 hectares (64 acres), it’s the largest park in central Lisbon. It stretches uphill from Praça Marquês de Pombal and is divided into three sections: a central grass area with neatly clipped geometrically patterned hedges and two landscaped gardens on either side.
2. Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
Marking the end of Príncipe Real district and the beginning of Bairro Alto, the Mirador de São Pedro de Alcântara is one of the city’s most sought-after view points, and for good reason – the views over Alfama and the Castle are unparalleled, and make it an almost compulsory stop. A map made of azulejos marking some of the city’s main landmarks and attractions will also help you get your bearings. With a delightful kiosk, it’s a perfect place to unwind during a day of sightseeing and enjoy a cool lemonade. At night, the view point comes alive with party-goers from the hip Bairro Alto district, and wonderful nighttime views. The Gloria elevator is just beside it – a funicular that has been transporting passengers from downtown Restauradores Square all the way up to Bairro Alto since 1885.
3. Arco da Rua Augusta
One of Lisbon’s most recent view points, the top of the Arch in Rua Augusta – one of the city’s most famous landmarks – has been transformed into one of Luis Miguel’s favourite spots in town. A lovely walk from the Hotel down tree-lined Av. da Liberdade, past the historic Rossio Square and through the wide Rua Augusta that leads to Terreiro do Paço, you can climb up the famous Arch to get one of the most unobstructed views of the city and the River Tagus. Facing north you can see downtown’s cobblestoned streets all the way up to the Castle and everywhere in between.
4. Elevador de Santa Justa
Also known as the Elevator of Carmo, this impressive 45 metre (147 foot) iron structure links downtown Baixa with the higher Largo do Carmo. Opened in 1902 and originally powered by steam, it was built by the Portuguese-born French architect Raoul de Mesnier du Ponsard, apprentice to Gustave Eiffel (note the similarities to the Eiffel Tower!). Take the ride to the top for great views and pictures of the river, castle and Praça do Rossio, or ascend higher still, via the spiral staircase to the top storey café for a bite with serious city views. You probably won’t resist taking a picture of the actual structure itself, either.
5. Castelo de São Jorge
One of the city’s main attractions to be seen from many a view point in the city, is also a view point 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, and its seven hills. There is in fact 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.
6. Miradouro de Santa Luzia
High up above the narrow, cobblestoned streets of Alfama, where Fado was born, and on the way to St. George’s Castle, is a charming, bougainvillea-lined view point with unbeatable views over the Tagus River, the old town and Alfama’s colourful facades – 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 tick off your list when you’re in town.
7. Portas do Sol
The “Doors of the Sun” – as it literally translates from Portuguese – view point is another very popular place in town, and for good reason. It has yet another breathtaking view over Alfama and the river. It’s a stone’s throw from the Castle and is also on the route of the 28 tram and is worth a visit for its terrace alone – perfect for a summer afternoon soaking in the sun and enjoying a ginginha or ice-cold imperial (draft beer). 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 and Instagrammers alike, looking to capture the city’s unique light, a perfect shot of the river and a 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.
Luis Miguel can’t help but squeeze in a bonus suggestion:
Taking refuge sky-high, safe in the knowledge that the best way to experience the City of Seven Hills is with a bird’s eye view – and a cocktail in hand, head for sunset drinks at Park. Simply called park, it was built atop a car park, and will let you gaze out over a sea of red-tiled houses, the 25 of April suspended bridge in full splendour, and you’ll feel like you can almost touch one of Igreja de Santa Catarina’s domes, which dates back to the 17th century.
Back at the Hotel’s very own rooftop, where the fitness and outside running track are located, is also one of the best vantage points of the whole city. Set on top of a hill and being one of the tallest buildings in town it offers a 360 degree, unobstructed view of Lisbon, and from there, you can check all of the view points on Luis Miguel’s list from afar.
Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon