The best views in Lisbon aren’t from some remote building where you sneak past the guards or enter a museum to find that perfect window located on the 4th floor. Neither are they world famous monuments with pricey tickets, long queues, and people jostling for that spot from where they can take the perfect selfie. Sadly, some of our favourite views of Paris are guilty of these. But Lisbon, has an entirely different perspective. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the Portuguese are navigators to the core. Or that the city’s terrain is dotted with hillocks. Whatever the reason, Lisbon’s history is intrinsically tied to lookouts (or Miradouros) carefully constructed at vantage points across the city, making it the perfect tourist attraction.
The 7 Best Views in Lisbon
1. Miradouro das Portas do Sol
This was the first Miradouro we happened upon. We were headed towards the São Jorge Castle, and mistakenly got off the tram one stop prior. But what a fortunate mistake it was! Looking out on medieval Lisbon, this miradouro features a balcony that offers spectacular views out over Alfama. The gorgeous soft coloured buildings offset against the red terracotta roofs let us gaze out all the way from the São Vicente de Fora Church across to the river. The terrace also features a statue of Lisbon’s patron saint- São Vicente holding a boat with two ravens (Lisbon’s symbols).
2. Miradouro De São Pedro De Alcântara
This was the first destination on our first day in Lisbon. We began the half hour’s walk from our Airbnb with a spring in our step, until the road began sloping (read: uphill) and as I huffed and puffed, red in the face, sweaty from the morning summer sun, I cursed under my breath, saying it better be a brilliant view for all this effort. And it certainly was. Located within a beautiful park, this wide, airy terrace looks out from Bairro Alto, encompassing the Sé Cathedral, the castle ramparts and the new city. Charles and I enjoyed a beautiful breakfast at the café and strolled around the pretty bird magnet of a fountain.
3. Miradouro Da Graça
Jostling for attention beside the gorgeous Baroque interiors of the Graça church, this miradouro is on the hill above São Vicente de Fora Monastery. With panoramic views of the castle as well as central Lisbon, this terrace also features an open air cafe that was always bustling with locals.
4. Miradouro Da Nossa Senhora Do Monte
Lisbon’s highest point, on our lady of the hill is calm, quiet and serene. The most romantic spot imaginable, this lookout has extensive city views, especially of the castle and also features a small sculpture of the Virgin Saint Gens who watches over the city.
5. Miradouro De Santa Luzia
Trudging up from the Miradouro das Portas do Sol, we chanced upon the tram stop for the Castle that we intended to get off at. We deduced that from the gorgeous blue tiles and creepers-with-flowers-lined terrace with sweeping views of the harbour that the photos we’d seen did no justice to. Among the smaller miradouros we visited, this one had the most character.
6. Miradouro de São Jorge
Welcoming us to the São Jorge castle, just beyond the turnstiles lay what is perhaps the largest of the miradouros, and the best of the best views in Lisbon. Across the river Tagus, we spotted the Cristo Rei statue at the end of the 25th of April bridge (the one that looks like SF’s golden gate). Beyond that would have been Belém Tower and the Monument to the Discoveries (but it was too hazy that day). This cobble stoned terrace features a statue of Afonso Henriques, the founder of Portugal. A perfect orientation with which to begin exploring the Castel São Jorge.
7. Miradouro De Santa Catarina
This beautiful terrace view hides behind Camões Square. Featuring a gorgeous garden, this terrace overlooks the river. There’s also an interesting Museum of Pharmacy on the other side, and a chance to spot the famous Elevador da Bica as it chugs along.
The best views in Lisbon does of course, feature splendid views from some sights such as the Elevador da Santa Justa, Belem Tower, the Cristo Rei statue, the Monument to the Discoveries and more, but since they aren’t Miradouros, we’ve left those for another post!