The essence of Lisbon city is mirrored in its terrain. It has lots of “ups” in its stairs and hills to climb, as well as some “downs,” which you as a traveller visiting Lisbon for a short time might realise only exceptionally, or potentially not at all.
The capital of Portugal totally embraces you in its narrow alleyways and tall buildings. It grasps you in its steep streets and old decorated walls with blue and white azulejos tiles hidden behind long rows of parked cars.
The voices and music from radio programmes coming out through the open windows, the smell of grilled meat, roasted potatoes, and other delicious Portuguese food will bring you back to reality while you walk silently, immersed in your thoughts and counting the never ending steps.
Souvenir sardines might overwhelm you. They can be made from wood, wool, ceramic or cotton. You’ll see a sardine as a magnet, a pillow, a bookmark, and a sticker, on a badge, on a mug, on a bag, in a can. Luckily, you can turn to any side street, and take a break from all piscine shop windows and enjoy a coffee or a meal in one of local taskas where TVs play football matches all day long. Try out the Mouraria district, or one of many tiny squares in Alfama neighbourhood.
Lisbon is definitely getting more attention among travellers for a good reason. Its rich history full of multicultural impacts and recognisable contemporary culture mix together very well.
In this article, we’ll take you around the places that we found the most captivating while visiting Lisbon, and where we felt the spirit of the city intensively when we escaped crowds of tourists.
See Lisbon from the top
It’ll help you understand the layout of the city. You can see how it stretches from east to west; which direction the river flows in and out of the city, and how many streets you need to cross to the center from your hotel (if you can spot it from atop!)
Following the suggestion of our dear friend and great photographer Emanuele Siracusa we climbed to the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte on our first day in the capital. Well, the photographer’s eye didn’t disappoint!
We arrived at the highest viewpoint in Lisbon with serene atmosphere, free from cafes or pubs (if this is what you’re looking for,) and its path was lined with benches under big pine trees where we got some of the best views of the city.
How to get to Miradouro da Senhora do Monte:
You can walk there from the Alfama neighbourhood, which can take about twenty minutes, or take tram #28 and get off at the Graça stop. From there it’s only a five-minute walk to the viewpoint.
Miradouro de Santa Luzia
Located in Alfama, this view point will show you red roofed white houses of Lisbon from above, as well as some landmarks of the city: the São Miguel and Santo Estâvão churches, and the dome of the National Pantheon with the river Tagus.
If you’re visiting Lisbon during a hot summer, there’s a small pool near the lower level of the miradouro, just behind the colonnaded pergola, where you can refresh your feet.
How to get to Miradouro de Santa Luzia:
Walk from the Baixa district to the Church of Santo Antonio, head up via Rua do Limoeiro, direction to the Saint George’s Castle. The route is quite steep, so if you don’t feel fit, take the tram #12E or #28E and get off at the Largo das Portas do Sol and walk back a bit, or take the bus #737 to the Largo do Contador Mor bus stop.
For more viewpoints in the Portuguese capital, check this helpful list of some stunning spots in Lisbon.