Unfolding over seven hills, the Portuguese capital spoils its visitors with viewpoints aplenty. The rugged landscape has you wandering from secluded courtyards overlooking medieval quarters to terraces where you can take in the whole city.
This list of spots to see Lisbon from above includes some of the locals’ favourite places as well as less-known sites and locations that might not initially promise to offer a classic vantage point. All, though, will reward you with a spectacular view.
The whole city from the top of a shopping mall
The classic miradouros (viewpoints) in the old part of the city are the most sought-out for capturing the postcard-perfect image of Lisbon. But from the Amoreiras 360 Panoramic View (amoreiras360view.com), on the rooftop of the Amoreiras Shopping Mall, you have the whole Portuguese capital at your feet. Get whisked up for 15 minutes and enjoy a completely unobstructed view that takes in old and new Lisbon.
A garden overlooking Baixa
The Jardim do Torel (Rua Júlio de Andrade) is a former 19th-century private garden with a playful, quirky personality. Its unusual chaise-longue-style park benches make the most of the soft slope, becoming an open-armed invitation to sit and relax in one of Lisbon's quietest green spaces. It offers a lovely view of the Praça dos Restauradores in the Baixa quarter, just a couple of minutes from the Ascensor da Lavra.
A peaceful spot for romantics
Slightly hidden from plain sight in Penha de França, a quarter that is usually left out of tourist routes, the Miradouro do Monte Agudo (Rua Heliodoro Salgado) is one of the most romantic, underrated viewpoints in Lisbon. What it lacks in publicity, it compensates for with warmth and quietness, perfect for contemplating sunsets over the city and the Ponte 25 de Abril.
A breath of fresh air atop the Museu do Aljube
Set in the former political prison of the old dictatorship, the Museu do Aljube displays blunt records of recent Portuguese history. Considering the sobering environment of the museum, the cafe on the top floor is a much-needed breath of fresh air: white walls and floor-to-ceiling windows let in the light, and the city. From the narrow balcony that wraps around the building’s facade, you are gifted with a rarely glimpsed view of the back of the Sé de Lisboa.
An unexpected viewpoint inside the castle's walls
Inside the walls of the Castelo de São Jorge, between the main entrance and the ticket office, medieval cobblestone streets wind their way to an unexpected viewpoint. The Miradouro do Recolhimento (on Rua do Recolhimento) is a hidden little square that makes you wonder if you’ve inadvertently barged into someone's private courtyard. A couple of olive trees provide shade as you take in the views of the Graça quarter and the River Tejo.
An intimate connection with Alfama
Alfama, famous for its labyrinths of narrow streets and hidden water fountains, is the Lisbon quarter that people visit to get lost. With any luck, you’ll happen upon the Miradouro de Santo Estevão (Beco do Carneiro). Unlike most viewpoints perched upon hills, this one is the yard of a whitewashed church. The view is intimate, over sunbathed patios and terracotta rooftops.
Refuge from busy Baixa
Rising above one of the busiest parts of town, the Miradouro Chão do Loureiro (Calçada do Marquês de Tancos) is located on the rooftop of a former market that was repurposed into a car park. None of that would be hugely appealing if it wasn’t for Portuguese-Mozambican fusion restaurant Zambeze (zambezerestaurante.pt), with its inviting open-air space offering wonderful views. This spot is among locals’ favourites for drinks at dusk.
A hidden view in industrial Lisbon
Towards the west side of the city, a stretch of industrial landscape between Cais do Sodré and Belém hardly grabs your attention beyond Golden Gate lookalike Ponte 25 de Abril. Hidden within, though, next to the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, is the Jardim 9 de Abril with its views of a bustling and colourful Lisbon and the placid River Tejo. Toast the golden sunset with a cocktail at nearby Le Chat (lechatlisboa.com).
Old and new Chiado at Terraços do Carmo
Since it was partially ravaged by a fire in 1988, the Chiado quarter has been reinventing itself by adding a contemporary vibe to reconstructed old buildings. Terraços do Carmo and TOPO Chiado (facebook.com/TOPO) are the most recent examples. Leaning against the back wall of the Gothic Convento do Carmo, the terraces offer views to Rua do Carmo and the Castelo de São Jorge, while TOPO pairs Portuguese-inspired cuisine with creative cocktails.
Picnic with a view at the Parque Keil do Amaral
Easily accessible from anywhere in the city, the Parque Florestal de Monsanto is lisboetas’ place of choice for outdoor fun. The area is divided into smaller parks and gardens designed for activities varying from light strolls to advanced training circuits. At the Parque Keil do Amaral (Estrada de Montes Claros), the rustle of leaves muffles the city hubbub and views over the Ajuda quarter on Lisbon’s west side abound. Picnic tables and barbecue grills set the mood for lazy afternoons with the family, with the Ponte 25 de Abril and the Tejo’s south bank on the horizon.
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