Europe · Travel

Lisbon, Portugal – City of Seven Hills

I really wish I had the time to blog more often (heck, to even blog at all), but moving internationally is really no joke.  After we returned to the US from the 2-month Europe trip, It was a mad dash to get everything done in two short weeks before the big move.  Then once we arrived in Taiwan, there also seems to be a million things that we need to do to get settled in.  At this rate, I will probably still be blogging about this Europe trip two years later. 😂  Anyway, bear with me while I share a bit more about Lisbon here…

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One thing that Lisbon is famous for is its many steep hills and the seemingly never-ending stairs at every other corner.  It sure made walking around the city quite a work out for us me most days. 😂  On the other hand, with its many hills come with many viewpoints, or what they call the ‘miradouros’ in Lisbon, that offer some of the best views of this charming city.  Therefore, visiting these viewpoints was one of my favorite things to do during our stay, because there is just something magical about seeing the sea of red tiled rooftops with the Tagus River in the background.

Miradouros Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen

Most people probably would default to Castle of St. George for seeing Lisbon from higher up, as it is located on top of the highest hill in the city and has great sweeping views.  However, on top of the hill just to the northeast of the Castle sits the viewpoint ‘Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen’ that pretty much has the exact same view, minus the entrance fee that’s required to enter the Castle.  In fact, the locals would tell you (and we also concur) that this viewpoint is actually a better option as you also get to include the Castle itself as part of the beautiful panoramic view!  It’s also the perfect spot for enjoying the Lisbon sunset! 😍

Miradouro das Portas do Sol

The lookout at Portas do Sol “Gateway to the Sun” gives you the view of the eastern Alfama district and the Tagus River.  At the front of the viewpoint we saw a statue of St. Vicent, the patron saint of Lisbon, holding a ship with ravens which is the symbol of Lisbon.

Miradouro Santa Luzia

Literally just down the road from Portas do Sol is another viewpoint that offers pretty much the same view, but probably with a little less crowd.

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Another interesting character from being such a hilly city is that there are several lifts (elevators/funiculars) around town to help transport its residents (and tourists) from the bottom of a hill to the top, saving them from having to climb those many, many stairs.

Elevador Santa Justa

Elevador Santa Justa connects the Baixa and Barrio Alto districts.  Its distinct appearance really stands out in the mix of traditional Lisbon buildings.  The top of the elevator is adjacent to the ruins of Convento do Carmo (Carmo Convent), which is now the Carmo Archaeological Museum.  At the top of the elevator you can also enjoy the beautiful view of the city and the river beyond from the observation deck.

(The top of the Santa Justa Elevator and its observation deck can be seen from afar)

Elevador de Castelo

An easier way to travel from the Baixa district up to St. George’s Castle is via Elevador de Castelo, although it only takes you halfway up.  You will have to switch to another elevator located inside the Pingo Doce store (see the picture below).  Unfortunately sometimes the queue for the elevator inside the store can get pretty long, like the day we were there, so we opted to take the stairs up instead.  Upon exiting the elevator, there is a restaurant/cafe with a lookout point that looks to be a great spot to enjoy some lunch or refreshments.  And from this point there is only a short walk to the castle.

(Castle On The Hill)

Elevador da Bica

The ‘newest’ of the three funiculars in Lisbon, was classified as the national monument in 2002.  It connects Cais do Sodré and Bairro Alto and ascends one of Lisbon’s steepest hills.

Elevador/Ascensor de Glória

Lisbon’s second-oldest funicular has been shuttling residents from Praça dos Restauradores to Rua São Pedro de Alcântara since 1885.  From the praça (town square), it climbs up to a fantastic viewpoint atop one of Lisbon’s seven hills, Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, and is a less tiring way of getting to Bairro Alto.

We did not actually ride the funicular and instead walked up the hill alongside the tracks.  We got to see the funiculars going up and down, as well as some pretty incredible street arts along the way.

Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara

The viewpoint in Bairro Alto can be reached by catching a lift with the Elevador de Glória, or walking the steep Calçada da Glória from downtown Lisbon.  It provides a superb view of the São Jorge Castle on the other side of the city.

 

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