Cities are meant to be seen up-close and explored inside out. Through unravelling secrets, noticing details and experiencing customs and traditions. And also by standing back, viewing them from above, from a little further away, in order to truly grasp their beauty. Here are eight perfect spots from which to contemplate the best views in Lisbon.
Recommended: Make sure to hit all of Lisbon's best attractions
The best viewpoints in Lisbon
One of Lisbon’s meeting points, it has great views and a vibrant atmosphere (especially when the weather is good). It can be a great starting point and an even better finish line for your neighbourhood explorations. Interest points include Vila Berta, the bars Botequim and Damas and the educational assistance and social support society Voz do Operário – there is no shortage of places to show your foreign friend who just landed in Lisbon. And you get the stunning views of the city to boot: from the castle all the way up to the river, including Mouraria and Baixa Pombalina (downtown Lisbon).
Calçada da Graça. Free.
Settle yourself into a beanbag, relax and let your gaze rest upon the Tagus river, slowly tracing Alfama’s intricate landscape. The viewpoint’s terrace bar is part of a building designed by the Portuguese award-winning architect Aires Mateus. On weekends, there is a DJ, who invariably gets Lisbonites and tourists grooving by the statue of São Vicente de Fora, Lisbon’s original patron saint.
Rua de São Tomé, 84. Free.
With kiosks popping up on most of Lisbon’s squares, the city gained new life. This is especially true for the São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint (real name: Jardim António Nobre). The square has a double dose of kiosks, one at the top and another at the bottom that is usually busiest in late afternoon. Liveliness is guaranteed and the beautiful castle views will keep sensitive souls staring awhile.
Rua de São Pedro de Alcântara. Free.
It is Lisbon’s highest point and its tile panel where you can locate all of the main monuments is infinitely better than a city map. From here, you can see all the way to downtown Lisbon and up to Avenidas Novas. It’s one of the less visited viewpoints, and also one of the most romantic. Are you about to have a baby? If you get the chance, say a prayer in the chapel – it allegedly guarantees tranquil childbirths.
Largo Monte. Free.
The 25 de Abril Bridge was built so we can cross over it, by car or by train. The idea is now to go under it, on foot. By Pilar 7, there is an interpretive centre documenting the bridge’s construction process, which finished in 1966. It includes the original scale model, the history of all the proposals for linking the Tagus river banks that were considered and a 190-metre-high virtual reality experience. But our true focus is the viewpoint. Right at the top, alongside the bridge road, 80 metres above the river and partially made of glass, it offers a staggering view of Margem Sul (the south bank).
Avenida da Índia. Mon-Sun 10am-6pm. General admission: 6€. Virtual Reality Experience: 1,5€.
Lisbon’s most recently opened viewpoint is actually almost half a century old. It has lived many lives: as a luxury restaurant, a bingo club, a nightclub, an office building and a warehouse. Originally designed by Chaves da Costa, the building resembling a stranded spaceship now leads a much quieter life as a viewpoint, which has frankly always been its calling. With 360-degree views of the city and primely located in Alto da Serafina, this derelict building is arguably the best lookout point in Monsanto. Let’s be honest – in the whole of Lisbon. Abandoned since 2001, it used to only occasionally welcome urban explorers, tourists, snoopers or people equipped with spray paint cans who went there to do what people equipped with spray paint cans do. It can be legally and safely visited since 2018 – the council removed much of the rubble, fenced some areas off and will soon address the scribbled walls, currently displaying statements such as “I can’t live without you, Albino”. The space has also been used for events and gigs (keep an eye out for upcoming events).
Alto da Serafina. Open daily: 9am-7pm. Free.
If you want to see the Lisbon from above, this might be the perfect spot. From the top of Amoreiras shopping centre, 174 above sea level, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the city. The viewpoint is equipped with free long-range focus monoculars and informative leaflets mapping out Lisbon’s historical landmarks.
Amoreiras Shopping Center, Av. Eng. Duarte Pacheco. Tickets 5€; concessions for over-65s and under-16s; free under-5s. Mon-Fri: 10am-12.30pm, 2.30pm-6pm. Sat&Sun: 10am-6pm.
One of the best places from which to view Lisbon is actually outside it. This stiff echo of Rio’s statue of Christ the Redeemer was officially opened in 1959 – seven years before the 25 de Abril Bridge, which is located right beside it – stands atop a hill on the south bank, overseeing the city. Taking the lift up 75 metres to the observation deck at the 28-metre statue’s feet is worth the trip. The ground-floor chapel, remodelled in 2006, is a site of pilgrimage.
Avenida Cristo Rei, Alto do Pragal, Almada. Mon-Fri 9.30am-6.30pm; Sat & Sun 9.30am-7pm (last entry 15 mins before closing). Ferry Cais do Sodré – Cacilhas, then bus 101. General admission: 4€, concessions 2€, free under-8s.
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