So you want to find the best photo spots in Lisbon? You’re in the right place! Lisbon is a city that is totally full of Instagrammable places! There are literally hundreds of photo-worthy spots in Lisbon, so to make life easier for you I put together a compilation of the most popular photography spots. During your time here you’ll soon discover that you won’t just be taking photos of tourist landmarks and viewpoints, but rather everyday life such as the trams and beautiful streets Lisbon is known for. And the great thing is that you can explore the majority of these places on foot as the city centre is quite compact!
Let’s take a look at the best photo spots in Lisbon:
One of Lisbon’s most iconic photo spots is at the top of Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo in the Bairro Alto neighbourhood. Here you can take pictures of the famous yellow tram at the top of the street. The tram runs up and down the steep street roughly every 10 minutes and stops at the top for a minute or so, so it’s easy enough to get a photo on the tram without having to actually take a ride on it.
Bica is a really picturesque street and from the top you can even see the ocean in the background. This is a busy spot so arriving earlier will give you a better chance to get a photo without people in. My picture was taken at about 7pm – a really busy time, but actually I quite like that people are in the background as it really looks like everyday life in Lisbon!
Bairro Alto (‘Upper City’) is the bohemian quarter of Lisbon. This area has many picturesque cobblestone alleyways, brightly coloured tiled facades and doorways. Many of the houses here are centuries old too! Bairro Alto is a good area to go in the evening as it attracts a young and diverse crowd. Here you will find the Bica Funicular (pictured above) and many bars and restaurants that have the traditional Fado playing, which you have to experience at least once during your time in Lisbon!
For photography, it is best to visit here early in the morning as some streets are quite narrow and can get pretty crowded during the day.
Number 28 Tram
Trams make up an essential and historical part of Lisbon but nowadays there are only 5 tram lines left in Lisbon. Previously there were a lot more but the metro replaced them. The remaining lines survived as they go up hills (it would be difficult to construct the metro to go uphill and downhill!).
Out of the 5 remaining lines, the yellow number 28 tram is without a doubt the most famous one! This is due to it’s route as it passes many popular touristic and photography spots and charming neighbourhoods in Lisbon, making it essentially the perfect sightseeing route of Lisbon! Not only this but it makes for some great photos!
If you’re only going to get on one tram during your time in Lisbon, the number 28 is the one to go on! Hop onboard and enjoy as it rattles along the narrow streets of Lisbon. It passes through the touristic central neighbourhoods of Baixa and Alfama and connects them to Estrela and Graca neighbourhoods.
Even though the tram arrives every 10 minutes, be aware you’ll be sharing the tram with a lot of people due to every tourist wanting to experience this route! Get on EARLY if you want a more pleasant experience, also because sometimes the queues can be really long – up to 2 hours in peak time! Only about 20 people can sit and there is space for about 30 people to stand. It is actually a shame for the locals that want to use this route to commute that this tram is so popular with tourists. With a ticket onboard only costing €2.90, naturally many tourists will want to experience this cheap way to see the city.
Santa Justa Lift (Elevador de Santa Justa)
Built in 1902, Santa Justa is a 45 metre tall iron lift that connects the lower streets of Baixa with Carmo Square higher up. It is the fastest and most convenient way to get from Baixa to Bairro Alto and was a huge success when it opened as previously it had been difficult for people to get from one neighbourhood to the other.
The outside of the lift is very detailed and ornate and it is a popular attraction in Lisbon so the queues are always big to access it. At the top of the lift is a viewing platform that offers great views over Baixa and the Tagus. This viewing platform can be accessed either by going up the lift at Rua de Santa Justa, just off Rua Aurea, or from Rua do Carmo on the upper level.
The lift is open daily from 7am til 11pm in summer, and til 10pm in winter. A return trip on the elevator costs €5.15. If you would just like to access the viewpoint only, this costs €1.50.
Alfama is Lisbon’s oldest and most charming neighbourhood. It is full of colourful houses and hidden doorways up steep alleyways. Spend time getting lost in this area and taking pictures. Castelo da Sao Jorge is up at the top of Alfama – visit here for some stunning views
Miradouro das portas do sol
The miradouro (viewpoints) of Lisbon are famous for their beautiful views out across the Tagus River and the colourful houses of the city.
Miradouro das portas do sol is a really beautiful lookout offering views onto the Tagus and Alfama. It is a popular spot in Lisbon for photography and therefore gets extremely busy here! It is a good place to watch either the sunrise or sunset. If you come at sunset you’ll be sharing the view with a lot of people, but if you arrive at sunrise you’ll have the place to yourself. Therefore sunrise is when I advise you to come if you don’t want to share the view with the crowds!
Another beautiful but also popular viewpoint is Santa Luzia viewpoint, right next to miradouro das portas do sol. With both of these viewpoints, naturally you’ll have a bit of a steep climb up to get to these viewpoints (Lisbon is quite a hilly city remember!).
If you would like to visit more of Lisbon’s viewpoints, there are two more that are further away but they both have amazing panoramic views. They are also a lot less crowded but are a fair walk uphill! If you’re up for the challenge, head to Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, the highest viewpoint in the area (located inside a churchyard). Or head further to the secluded viewpoint of Monte Agudo to enjoy spectacular views without the crowds. Both viewpoints are located in the north east part of the city.
Arco Da Rua Augusta
In Baixa neighbourhood where Rua Augusta and Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square) meet lies the Arco da Rua Augusta. This stunningly ornate arch was completed in 1875 and you can visit the viewpoint at the top (open 9am-7pm) and look out onto Praça do Comércio: Lisbon’s main square.
This square was built in 1755 after an earthquake destroyed the Palace that laid here, therefore it is often also referred to by locals as the Palace Yard (Terreiro do Paço). The square is surrounded by lovely yellow buildings and is a really nice large open space that is a popular meeting place.
Both Praça do Comércio and Rua Augusta themselves are also beautiful places to photograph and wander around. They are very busy in the day, so as always if you would like photographs without other people in, be prepared to wake up early! I would suggest to visit the two miradouros above for sunrise, then take the ten minute stroll to Arco da Rua Augusta afterwards to enjoy it without the crowds.
About 8km west of the centre of Lisbon is Belem neighbourhood, where Belem Tower is located (Torre de Belém in Portuguese). If you want to go inside or get pictures on the bridge without anybody in you need to visit first thing in the morning before the tower opens as the queues get really big here. The tower opens at 10am, so arrive a little before this to get some pictures. There will be a roped barrier across the bridge so nobody will be on the bridge. The bridge is the only way in and out of the tower so it gets full during the day (see the picture below left!) so take this opportunity whilst you can!
If you arrive late though you can still get a picture without other people in -just walk across to the other side of the tower by the grass and sit along the walls by the water so nobody will be behind you – see the two pictures I got below in the middle of the day.
It is easy enough to get here by public transport: take tram 15 or tram 127 from Praça do Comércio and get off once you go past Jeronimos Monastery.
Whilst you are here at Belem make sure to try the Pastéis de Nata pastry! This place is famous for them!
Officially known as Rua Nova do Carvalho, but more commonly known as Pink Street as it is painted flourescent pink! Pink Street was once the red light district of Lisbon but these days it is a place for drinking, socialising and partying, with lots of lively and unique bars.
As it gets very busy at night (and in the day too!), if you want a picture at Pink Street without others in you’ll need to be awake nice and early!
One bar you must absolutely visit one evening is Pensão Amor. It translates as ‘brothel’ due to it’s history as a cheap hotel where rooms were booked by the hour by prostitutes. The interiors here are intriguing – it is decked out like a burlesque joint – burlesque paintings on the walls but there are also beautiful ceiling frescoes. Plus the vibe and clientele here is really good.
How long should I spend in Lisbon?
You can cover the sights of Lisbon in a couple of days – take more if you really want to relax and soak up the atmosphere here!
Day trip from Lisbon to Sintra
Make sure to head to Sintra for a day trip if you have the time! The train takes about 50 minutes from Rossio Station and after you get off the train you’ll need to take the 434 bus. This will drop you off at the gates of Pena Palace. Pena Palace opens at 10am so you’ll want to get here when it opens as it get very busy!
After visiting Pena Palace head to Quinta da Regaleira: take the same 434 bus and it will drop you off at São Martinho. A 15 minute walk will bring you to Quinta da Regaleira. Quinta da Regaleira is famous for the circular step well, again a very popular photo spot.
Click here for more information on Sintra and to book tickets online.
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