Panoramic shot of Lisbon in the early evening

Hidden Gems: Secret Spots for Breathtaking Views in Lisbon

25 Apr 2019 By Ryan Burton
Panoramic shot of Lisbon in the early evening

When it comes to staggering scenery – it doesn’t get much better than Lisbon. Facing out towards the Tagus River and spread across seven hills, this coastal capital lends itself to Portugal’s premier views. And with a wealth of ‘miradouros’ (viewpoints) to savour them from, this enchanting city knows how to leave a lasting impression.

But as the reputation of this leading city break destination continues to grow, so does its visitors. While ticking off well-known scenic spots is a must, we recommend taking to more secluded areas for exceptional vistas without the hustle and bustle. Our guide to Lisbon’s hidden viewing gems puts you one step ahead of the rest.

Miradouro da Senhora do Monte

 

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Our search for Lisbon’s best-kept secrets starts from the highest peak of the city. We must confess, this hillside triumph wouldn’t qualify as a hidden gem. In fact, it’s a well-known vantage point but crowds favour visits to other miradouros across the capital – giving it the same exclusive feel you’d expect from an undiscovered spot.

Just one glance at its glorious views and you’ll be left scratching your head as to why its overlooked. But their loss, is your gain. As well as less crowds and a romantic ambience to savour, you’ll get to enjoy the best panorama of Lisbon – especially during a sunset!

How to get the best Instagram shot: With so much to fit into one picture, a 360-degree shot is a must. Wait for the sun to set, get right up against the railing and you’ll capture the majesty of what lies beneath.

Where is it? Graça neighbourhood

How do I get here? Hop on the 28E tram and get off at the Graça stop. You can buy a return ticket (€3.00) at the on-board ticket machine. However, purchasing one is easier said than done. As Lisbon’s most popular route, carriages are often crowded.

To avoid any stress, we recommend getting the 24-hour ticket. At €6.40, it not only provides great value, but can only be purchased at the metro station – meaning you can make your journey all about the scenery!

Did you know? Lisbon has been named the ‘World’s Leading CIty Destination’ for two consecutive years by the World Travel Awards.

It has also been shortlisted for the 2019 prize, meaning a third award in a row is on the cards.

Jardim do torel

 

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Lisbon may not be loaded with green spaces, but you do have a couple of options when it comes to park life. While the vast majority of city breakers are heading off to Parque Eduardo VII for gentle garden strolls, this secluded spot is on hand with verdant surroundings and hushed tones.

After a relaxing walk around the park, you’re invited to grab a spot in the shade and immerse yourself in dazzling views over Downtown and the Tagus River.

How to get the best Instagram shot: This laid-back park is at its best when the sun is shining. Head to one of the benches on its terrace and take a snap of the city – making sure you have plenty of greenery to give your photo a calm, natural feel.

Where is it? Rua de Júlio de Andrade on Santana hill

How do I get here? Dropping you off right outside its gates, Ascensor do Lavra Funicular is the best way to reach the garden. Set close to the bustling Restauradores Square in central Lisbon, you’ll have no trouble finding it.

Lasting just a few minutes, your uphill cable car journey not only presents convenience but a little piece of history. First opened in 1884, this is the city’s oldest railway line.

Surrounding streets of São Jorge Castle

 

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Holidays to Lisbon are all about losing yourself in an endless network of streets and alleys – where you’ll uncover this majestic city’s traditional roots. São Jorge Castle not only offers one of the capital’s most iconic attractions but its surrounding neighbourhoods of Alfama, Sé and Mouraria flaunt a mass of authentic sights.

As you wander through the cobblestone alleys, a kaleidoscope of colours are laid out by the storied houses and time-worn buildings. Even the graffiti exudes a particular charm. With so much to take in, the best thing to do is find a spot in one of the quaint cafes or restaurants, sit back and get lost in its beauty.

How to get the best Instagram shot: With many buildings packed into its narrow passages, there’s plenty of colour and character you can get into one snap. Find a spot at the top of some stairs and make sure you raise your arms high so you don’t miss anything.

Where is it? São Jorge hill

How do I get here? Take your pick from the tram (line 28) or bus (737) for drop-offs at the castle’s doorstep. But due to its central location and clear-cut figure overlooking the city, you could easily make your way here on foot.

Of course, the journey is mostly uphill but a 20-minute walking time makes it very manageable – even during the hotter months.

Top tip: “From live music venues perched close to the water’s edge to cosy wine bars tempting you in with their extensive bottle collections and busy clubs hosting international DJ sets, there’s something to suit all generations.”

After a long day of unearthing Lisbon’s premier views, evenings are all about letting your hair down. Our Ultimate 2019 Guide to the Best Nightlife in Lisbon is here for some night out inspiration.

Miradouro do Monte Agudo

 

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Private and undisturbed – this hidden miradouro is one of Lisbon’s secret treasures. Unless you’re a local, the ravishing vistas of this view point mostly fly under the radar. As there’s no nearby tourist attractions around, this hidden gem’s delights are usually stumbled upon by accident.

One downside – the nearest transport stops are about a 25-minute walk away. But with

natural surroundings and sights of the entire western side of Lisbon calling your name, we assure you that it’s worth the trip. And with a small kiosk located onsite, you can reward yourself with a refreshing drink to enjoy the view with.

How to get the best Instagram shot: This is another place where the sights are that bit more special when the evening sets in. Find a prime spot at the railings and as the sun descends below the cityscape – capture this magical moment, forever.

Where is it? Nestled between the Graça and Anjos neighbourhoods

How do I get here? Jump on the 28E tram and get off at the Rua Da Conceição stop. We’ve already mentioned that trams can get quite busy, so try planning your journey for early in the morning or later in the day, to avoid the crowds..

Then it’s a 25-minute walk uphill. Make sure you have Google Maps on hand to help guide you to this hidden spot.

Miradouro de Santo Estevao

 

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Alfama’s inviting mix of historic buildings and winding alleyways make it an urban wanderer’s paradise. No maps are required in this enchanting district, getting lost is all part of the fun! But when you do find your bearings, keep a look out for this wonderful marvel in Santo Estêvão Square.

The observation deck not only offers a dazzling perspective of the Tagus’ waters but a peaceful atmosphere to go with it. The river reflections flaunted on a balmy summer day amplify the sublime views even more. Meanwhile, the district’s 12th century National Monument, Santo Estêvão Church, can also be spotted from here.

How to get the best Instagram shot: This vantage point was made for summer holiday snaps. Simply stand on the river facing terrace and capture the sun’s rays on the gleaming waters. For a bonus point, see if you can capture a passing cruise ship!

Where is it? Santo Estêvão Square, Alfama.

How do I get here? To go with its fantastic tram network, Lisbon also boasts a well-run metro system. You’ll get on at Baixa-Chiado in the city centre before disembarking at Santa Apolónia, just a couple of stops away.

It’s all on one line (blue) and a return ticket costs around €3.00 – making it equally handy and cost-effective. Then it’s just a brisk ten-minute stroll to the square.

Did you know? The nickname for Lisbon residents is ‘Alfacinhas’, this translates to little lettuces.

The most popular and plausible theory behind this tag is that the city’s hills were loaded with the plant – meaning its people not only ate it, but used it for medicine and perfume.

Ribeira Do Cavalo Beach

 

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Okay, we might be pushing our luck with this one. Why? Because it’s about an hour away from Lisbon. However, as one of the best natural beaches in the country, we’re happy to make an exception. With white sands and cobalt-blue waters, this little piece of paradise wouldn’t look out of place in a Caribbean brochure.

Hidden among vegetation, it use to be a secret hideaway for locals. But once it was discovered, this beach nirvana has quietly gained a cult following amongst excursion seekers. Despite being uncovered, this beautiful place has managed to maintain its mysterious aura. With no stalls onsite, make sure you bring your own drinks and snacks.

How to get the best Instagram shot: The best views are reserved for the top of the hill. It’s about an half-hour uphill walk, so you’ll need to ditch the flip-flops for trainers. But with sparkling ocean views and a powder white doorstep as your reward, it’s worth the hike.

Where is it? Serra da Arrábida Natural Park

How do I get here? A mix of land and sea. First, you’ll take the 207 bus from Lisbon to Sesimbra – with a return ticket costing about €9 each. Journey times can vary, depending on traffic, but you’re looking at a one-hour trip.

You’ll then head to the port, where you’ll be whisked off to the beach by boat – costing around  €10-15 per person.

Top tip: Going up and down the hills of Lisbon can be thirsty work – especially during the red hot summer months.

So, make sure you always have plenty of water in supply. A 1.5l bottle can cost as little as €0,30 from a local supermarket.

Eat, drink and unwind: Our top picks

Lisbon city and Tagus River during sunset

In Lisbon, Instagrammable spots aren’t just reserved for the miradouros. WIth world-famous monuments and stirring architecture around every corner, you can enjoy a striking view from almost anywhere – especially with a drink in hand.

Rooftop bars with a view

  • Lost in Esplanada Bar: Overlooking the stylish Príncipe Real district, this quirky bar showcases an invigorating terrace area decked out with bright furniture. The overhanging trees spread across the courtyard exudes an air of exclusivity.
  • Topo: This trendy hangout spot has bagged an enticing spot in central Lisbon. From its sophisticated terrace, you can see São Jorge Castle and surrounding districts while you savour the taste of the best cocktails in the city.
  • Park: Set on the top floor of a parking garage, this isn’t your typical cocktail bar. But with its offering of 360-degree panoramic sights, experiencing a sunset view of the capital from Park’s chic and cool garden terrace is a must.

And of course, you can’t beat the feeling of savouring a mouth-watering meal with an equally delicious view to match.

Restaurants with a view

  • Chapitô à Mesa: Contemporary Portuguese cuisine is served alongside captivating views over downtown Lisbon. Book in advance and request a place on the terrace for dinner – where you can enjoy spell-binding scenery with a Fado serenade.
  • Bellalisa Elevador: Set on the top of the Santa Justa Elevator, you’re treated to some of the best panoramas the city has to offer. A fantastic spot for both lunch and dinner, this Portuguese-Italian fusion eatery serves equally delightful dishes.
  • À margem: Housed inside an old shipping container (yes, you read that right), this trendy food joint not only presents a menu made up of local treats but sparkling vistas along the river’s edge.

Now you have the low-down on Lisbon’s picturesque eating and drinking, all you need is an elegant hotel with postcard-worthy views to match.

Hotels with a view

  • Memmo Principe Real: With balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows scattered across the hotel, this 5 star hotel is all about showing off its unspoilt vistas. Nestled on a hillside, the best views are reserved for sun-drenched days by the pool and romantic nights on the terrace.
  • Hotel Do Chiado: This boutique property puts you at the epicentre of Lisbon’s glistening scenery. Iconic landmarks can be spotted from the rooftop restaurant and bar – the perfect place for candle-lit dinners. Book a premium room for the added luxury of a private balcony.
  • Altis Belem Hotel & Spa: Set along the Tagus River, a luxury feel is exuded by this 5 star hotel’s super-sleek glass facade. Premier views of the harbour can be enjoyed from all angles – with its terraces, restaurants and outdoor pool flaunting glistening waterfront spectacles.

With romance in the air and views to take your breath away – Lisbon will not only steal your heart but a large chunk of your camera roll!

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