All cities have views. However, I don’t think I’ve visited a city with as many phenomenal views as Lisbon, although I’m sure its designation as one of the cities built on seven hills has something to do with it. Here is a list of my favorite views in Lisbon (and Sintra-the two cities are so close I simply couldn’t leave it out):
-Castelo de Sao Jorge
One of the first things we saw in Lisbon was Praca do Comercio. About an hour after arriving we proceeded to walk, enduring scorching sun and extreme temperatures, to the Castelo de Sao Jorge, a Moorish castle that overlooks the city and is located on the highest hill in the city’s historic center. When we finally made it to the entrance of the castle, I was hot, tired, and irritable. I became even more so when I discovered we had to walk even further uphill to gain admittance to the castle. However, my feelings of irritability, fatigue, and heat wariness evaporated (at least temporarily) when I saw the gorgeous views before me. Where we had just stood in the Praca do Comercio only a short time before, looked like a mere blip in the distance when gazing down at it from such an immense height. The first traces of civilization in Lisbon are believed to be where the Castelo now stands, and it was mind-boggling to imagine looking down on the city and seeing no buildings but rather, simply the earth and the Tagus River.
-Moorish Castle (Sintra)
While most of the Moorish Castle in Sintra lies in ruin, the views we had of the region from the castle’s ramparts were stunning. I couldn’t really imagine when the castle was fully functioning, although I’m sure its occupants felt the same as I did when gazing down with sheer awe at the impressive natural beauty of the land below. While nearby Pena Palace is located even higher up than the Moorish Castle, I felt that the views at the latter site were more impressive; not only could you easily see Pena Palace, but you could also spot the cylindrical cones from the kitchen of the National Palace and, of course, the coastline.
-Santa Justa Lift
Compared to many sights in Lisbon, the height at the Santa Justa Lift lookout is not that staggering. However, it offers visitors a 360 degree view of the city, including everything from the Tagus River to the Castelo de Sao Jorge to the Se, to lastly, gazing down at Rossio Square. One of the favorite pictures taken on my trip to Portugal might just be my sunset snapshot of the Se off in the distance.
-Quinta Colina Flora
Just as it was important to Mr. Emerson for Lucy Honeychurch to have her view at the Florence pensione in the E.M. Forster novel A Room with A View (since according to him, men don’t care about such things), I was lucky enough to have plenty of spectacular views during our stay at the bed and breakfast in the Sintra area. To see such stunning flora, the Atlantic Ocean and the dazzling hillsides, it was indeed a “room with a view.”