Admiring candy coloured buildings, walking down festive city streets, tasting mouth-watering seafood, and indulging on heavenly sweets are only some of the outstanding experiences one can have in Lisbon, Portugal.
After living in Europe for over 2 years, I finally made my way to Portugal’s capital. After finding my favourite bakery, my favourite restaurant, my favourite UNESCO site, and basically, my favourite EVERYTHING in Lisbon, I couldn’t stop asking myself: why did it take me so long to get down here?
I visited Lisbon almost 9 months ago, and I still think about this today. If it isn’t completely clear yet, I will state is as simply as I can: I am completely obsessed with Portugal’s capital. And I hope that after reading this post, you might start becoming a little Lisbon-crazy too.
In this post, I’m going to focus on the visual impression the city makes (for all of us photography lovers of course). If you’ve read some of my other posts, such as my Munich post or Warsaw post, you’ll know that I always explore cities with my camera in my hand. I’m always on the hunt for phenomenal views, especially bird’s-eye views (who isn’t?). Fortunately for all of us photo-hungry individuals, Lisbon is the city of exceptional, mind-blowing views. Better yet: for any of you bloggers and aspiring influencers, Lisbon is the city of endless “Instagram-worthy” views.
So without further ado, here is my list of 8 of Lisbon’s most “instagrammable” places.
Let these spectacular locations leave you reaching for your passport, packing your suitcase, and charging your camera!
Added Bonus: For all of you budget travellers out there – all locations listed below are reasonably priced or absolutely free.
1. Portas do Sol (Free)
Why buy a postcard when you snap that postcard view yourself?
Portas do Sol is a viewpoint in Lisbon’s Alfama district. The viewpoint gives you the opportunity to look out over Alfama, which is Lisbon’s oldest district, and the Tagus River.
Let your eyes and camera get lost in the maze of orange rooftops and pastel homes.
That postcard-worthy view from Portas do Sol.
2. Painted arch just off of Rua Norberto de Araújo (Free)
Just to the right of Portas do Sol, (if you’re facing the river), you can find a staircase leading down to the Southeastern area of the Alfama district. This staircase is the beginning of Rua Norberto de Araújo. After a handful of steps down, you will see an archway on your left. The inside of the arch contains vivid paintings highlighting important moments from Lisbon’s history. Through the arch, you can catch sight of a handful of Alfama’s beautiful buildings and the 17th Century church of São Vicente de Fora.
The arch is the perfect frame for a perfect view (guaranteed to also look perfect on Instagram).
3. Castelo de S. Jorge (Adult Entrance Fee: 8.50 Euros/Student Entrance Fee: 5 Euros)
Wherever you are in Lisbon’s downtown core, Castelo de S. Jorge (St. George Castle) captures your attention. Its strategic location on one the city’s hilltops makes it impossible to miss. Its elevated location also makes it a great spot for catching those bird’s-eye views. Just take a look at the photos below!
View from Castelo de S. Jorge.
Stone benches along the castle walls are the perfect place to take a break from the Mediterranean heat and take in the view.
4. Escadinhas de São Cristóvão – Fado Graffiti Wall (Free)
Lisbon is paradise for fans of street art. Artists have been adorning the city streets with their work for decades, and today, some works are even funded by Lisbon’s City Council. There are hundreds of works worth seeing, but I suggest popping by the Fado Graffiti Wall along the Escadinhas de São Cristóvão (the stairs of São Cristóvão). These stairs are found in Lisbon’s Mouraria neighbourhood, which is just north of Alfama and west of St. George’s Castle. Street art in the area, including the Fado Graffiti Wall, was completed in an effort to help restore some of the neighbourhood’s neglected buildings. If you’re planning on walking from the Baixa district to the Castle, you can take these stairs on your way up.
The Fado Graffiti Wall celebrates Portugal’s Fado music. Some speculate that this Portuguese genre of music developed in Lisbon – possibly in Mouraria. I recommend visiting this mural due to its cultural value and location. Fado is on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The mural is also found along a stunning, quiet stairwell away from traffic and bustling city streets.
The Fado Graffiti Wall.
5. Praça do Comércio (Free)
Praça do Comércio is Lisbon’s largest city square. It’s located at the edge of the Baixa district right by the Tagus River.
In addition to its historical significance, the square is notable for its rather expansive size and surrounding architecture.
Praça do Comérico
The elaborate Rua Augusta Arch (found along the northern side of the square) is pretty fascinating to look at too. It was built to honour the city’s restoration after the earthquake of 1755. Behind the arch, you can enter Rua Augusta, which is Lisbon’s major pedestrian street.
Rua Augusta Arch on the righthand side.
6. Terraces behind the Carmo Convent (Free – 5.00 Euros)
As mentioned earlier in the post, Castelo de S. Jorge’s prominent location gives it a pretty strong presence in Lisbon’s downtown core. While you can catch some mesmerizing panoramic views from the castle, you may also want to catch some equally mesmerizing views including the castle.
The terraces behind the Carmo Convent in the Baixa district are the perfect place to do just that. To find these terraces, head up to the Carmo Convent and stand facing it (as a side note, the convent is definitely worth visiting too). Then, walk over to the right side of the convent and take the path/steps down around the back of the convent. There, you will find the terraces.
The view from the terraces.
In the same location, you will also find the entrance to the Santa Justa Lift’s viewing platform, which is a popular tourist attraction. If you don’t want to use the elevator and just want to access the viewing platform, it only costs 1.50 Euros to do so (there may be a line). However, you can opt to use those 1.50 Euros towards a drink at one of the terrace bars.
The view from the terraces with an Aperol Spritz.
7. Rua Nova do Carvalho/The Pink Street (Free)
Lisbon is pretty famous for a lot of things: music, seafood, pastries, decorative tiles, street art, etc. The Portuguese capital really has a lot going for it, and the city definitely doesn’t disappoint when it comes to nightlife. If you’re looking for a city to party in, Lisbon is the place to go. Bairro Alto, Alfama, and Cais do Sodré are some of the districts that really wake up when the sun goes down.
As Lisbon’s oldest district, Alfama is more than easy on the eyes during daylight hours (Remember: Portas do Sol). However, if you’re keen on checking out another party area before the sun goes down, head over to Rua Nova do Carvalho, also known as the Pink Street.
Located in Cais do Sodré, Rua Nova do Carvalho used to have a less than stellar reputation (it used to be the city’s red light district). That has changed. Just over five years ago, the area was transformed. This transformation included painting the street pink (as proposed and planned by a local architecture firm).
Photo courtesy of my awesome friend Laura. Check out her adventure-filled Instagram by clicking here.
8. Belém Tower (Free to Admire or 5 Euros to Enter)
The Belém Tower stands in Lisbon’s Belém district, which makes it the furthest “instagrammable” site from Lisbon’s downtown core. Fortunately, the neighbourhood is easily accessibly by tram or bus, and has many other sites and attractions worth exploring.
The Belém Tower (Torre de Belém) was built for defence purposes at the start of the 16th century, and today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built according to the decorative Portuguese architecture style of the time – the Manueline style.
The tower before the storm.
Lisbon provides endless opportunities to catch breathtakingly mesmerizing views. All in all, I’m not sure who was more pleased with my trip to Lisbon: my camera or me?
To make your hunt for these locations as effortless as possible, here’s a map marking all of the “Instagram-worthy” views described above:
My list covers a handful of Lisbon’s most iconic views on a budget with an added touch of my personal favourites too, such as the painted arch. There are hundreds more jaw-dropping views for visitors to discover. So…
Do you have a favourite view that’s not on this list? Tell me about it in the comment section below!
In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be publishing more posts about Lisbon! Stay tuned if you’d like some more tips about visiting various sites and attractions in the city. Those heavenly sweets mentioned at the start of this post will definitely be discussed.