Situated on the shores of the Atlantic, Lisbon was gradually built on the coastal hills more than 2,000 years ago. Today, visitors can discover the history of the city on foot, by climbing up to one of several different viewpoints. They are easy to find and are the best way of seeing how the city has developed.
Begin at the Castle, where Lisbon first came into being, and enjoy the magnificent view over the river. Walk along the narrow streets that form an amphitheatre as they wend their way down through the traditional old quarters of Mouraria and Alfama, and immerse yourself in the busy everyday life you see around you.
From the downtown area known as the Baixa, it is worth taking a ride up to the top of the Elevador de Santa Justa, a lift built by a student of celebrated architect Eiffel. Over a century old, it still carries people up to the best viewpoint in the heart of the city.
In Restauradores, choose between the two funiculars: on one side is the Elevador do Lavra, which will take you up to the Jardim do Torel; on the other side is the Elevador da Glória, which climbs up to the Jardim de São Pedro de Alcântara.
Two different perspectives of the city.
From São Pedro de Alcântara, carry on to Chiado, the area of Lisbon preferred by Portuguese poets. Don’t be surprised to see Fernando Pessoa join you for a drink, as he can still be seen sitting outside the Brasileira café. Very close by is the Jardim de Santa Catarina with its view over the port of Lisbon, where the giant Adamastor, who personifies the dangers that the Portuguese discoverers had to face, still watches over the Atlantic Ocean.
You can take a tram tour round the hills of Lisbon from Praça do Comércio. Discover the city’s historic quarters and see how the city has grown in modern times.
As for the seven hills, which smack of the mythical city of Rome, locals often climb up to a summit to try to count them, only to end up getting lost. Come to Lisbon and try it for yourself.