Lisbon is every photographer’s dream, with something amazing to capture around every corner. From iconic views of the No.28 tram to hidden doorways in Alfama, the photo ops are endless. The city is very walkable and the best way to explore is by foot. That’s how you will discover charming alleyways and an endless array of colourful facades. If you are like me, you will pretty much be stopping every 5 seconds for photos. At least that makes the hills manageable, right?
Here are my top 8 picks for the most photogenic spots in Lisbon:
1. Bairro Alto
Head to Bairro Alto to get your fix of endless tiled facades and cobblestone alleys. Plenty of cute doors too. While you’re here you might as well stay for dinner and drinks because after dark is when these streets really come to life.
2. Ascensor da Bica
Probably one of the most iconic sights in Lisbon. This tram heads up and down the steep street of Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo and attracts tons of visitors at all times. The view from the top of the street is pretty spectacular and feels like you are looking at a postcard of Lisbon. If you want to avoid the crowds come here early in the morning.
3. Santa Justa Lift
Basically the Eiffel Tower of Portugal, this ornate iron lift can be seen from various points in the city. There is a viewing platform at the top which offers panoramic views of the city. You can ride the elevator up or you can access the platform directly if you are already in the upper city level, the entrance is just by the Carmo Convent.
Alfama is the oldest district in Lisbon and is a charming maze of narrow and steep cobblestoned alleys. Give yourself lots of time to wander and admire the colourful houses and festive decor that line the streets. Eventually if you keep heading uphill you will find yourself close enough to visit the Castelo de São Jorge. Don’t worry too much about directions – this is the best neighbourhood to get lost in.
5. Miradouro das Portas do Sol
Lisbon has no shortage of “miradouros” or lookout points, but this one is my favourite and probably one of the most scenic. It provides stunning views over Alfama and the river, and offers a huge terrace with a bar/cafe where you can lounge and recover from the hills you had to climb to get here. If you are searching for the perfect sunset spot in Lisbon, look no further.
6. Castelo de São Jorge
Sitting at the top of a hill and overlooking Lisbon, this is worth a visit just for the spectacular views. You have a clear sight of the central neighbourhoods and also the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge. The castle itself is also quite a sight and fun to explore for a few hours.
7. Rua Augusta Arch
This arch is at the end of Rua Augusta, one of the main streets in the popular Baixa neighbourhood. There is a viewing platform at the top of the Arch, from which you get the best views of the famous Praça do Comércio and the bustling streets of Baixa.
8. Belem Tower
The Belem neighbourhood is a bit further west of central Lisbon and is probably best known for this tower and also delicious custard tarts (at Pasteis de Belem). Let the queue at the tower be a lesson that you should head there early, especially if you want to go inside. The walk along the Tagus River leading up to the tower is quite scenic and offers uninterrupted views of the Ponte 25 de Abril (aka the Golden Gate’s doppelgänger).