“Over seven hills, which are as many points of observation whence the most magnificent panoramas may be enjoyed, the vast irregular and many-coloured mass of houses that constitute Lisbon is scattered.
For the traveler who comes in from the sea, Lisbon, even from afar, rises like a fair vision in a dream, clear-cut against bright blue sky which the sun gladdens with its gold. And the domes, the monuments, the old castle jut up above the mass of houses, like far-off heralds of this delightful seat, of this blessed region.
The tourist’s wonder begins when the ship approaches the bar, and, after passing the Bugio lighthouse (…), the castled Torre de Belém appears (…). As the ship moves forward, the river grows more narrow, soon to widen again, forming one of the largest natural harbours in the world, with ample anchorage for the greatest of fleets. Then, on the left, the masses of houses cluster brightly over the hills. That is Lisbon.”
What the tourist should see by Fernando Pessoa
I couldn’t describe Lisbon better…
First things first, Happy New Year! I couldn’t think of a better way to start 2017… After god knows how long I finally done it, I have my own website! I think it’s the first new year’s resolution that I actually accomplished and stick to it…
I decided the oficial first post in World’s Architecture will be about the best viewpoints in Lisbon for one simple reason…
When you start a project you begin with a general idea. Only after that idea it’s more consistent you can focus on the details. I have the same approach when visiting a city. Start with the bigger picture, see how width is the city, where does it end, what colors stand out in the skyline, which buildings pop in the middle of all the others constructions, does it have a rigid organized structure or is a maze of streets… Take your time. As I have it on one of the print and as Mr. Corbusier said, don’t have the “eyes which do not see”. Every city as a vibe to it, try to find which one it is.
I think this initial part is just as much important as knowing if that church is from the 12th century and has a Gothic style. After this you can start to get to know all the different layers that composed a city.
As I mention in the previous post I was living to Lisbon not that long ago. Although I’m back in Porto now I visited some viewpoints in Lisbon while I was there. So here the 6 Miradouros that are my personal favorite, at least for now.
I found this one by basically getting lost, that happens more than I would like to admit… In a nutshell my phone broke and I didn’t have any directions. I just started walking and saw a sign saying Miradouro. When I got there I thought it was Miradouro da Graça because I knew that I was in the Graça area. Turns out it wasn’t and it’s the Miradouro that I will talk about next. As I was going to the Castle São Jorge I found another sign saying Miradouro, so deciced to take a look. This time it was the right viewpoint. I had no idea what it was until I got home and started searching the places that I had visited. Only to found out I was completely wrong.. That’s what happens in a city that has about 50 different viewpoints.
Miradouro da Graça has a beautiful view to the city, the river and the bridge making this place a favorite for tourists and locals to relax in a sunny afternoon. A popular hangout for young groups, thanks to its open-air café and fantastic views that go from the castle down to the river.
Everyone calls it Miradouro da Graça, but the official name is Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. A poet who died in 2004 and if attend a Portuguese school you have to read her books in classes. Rumors said that one of her poems can be read on a wall facing her bronze bust, which is seen looking out to the city. However I don’t know if I’m more blind than I thought but I didn’t saw any bust while I was there. Only noticed it when looked at the pictures later that day. Standing behind it is an 18th-century church, Igreja da Graça, one of the city’s oldest, built in 1271 with a Baroque interior and 17th century tiles.. It’s a cool church but I will write about in another post
The famous viewpoint that I thought it was Miradouro da Graça, lovely… Even though it wasn´t on my plans to go to this place, I’m glad I did. It’s one of the highest viewpoints in the city so brace yourself to go up A LOT. This viewpoint is Located in front of the Igreja da Nossa Senhora do Monte. Known to be visited by pregnant women who ask for divine protection for their children, at least it’s what I heard. From here you can see Castelo de São Jorge, Mouraria, Tejo, Convento do Carmo, Monsanto, and pretty much all Lisbon’s center.
I had with me a chocolate chip muffin and a coke, that I bought for 1€. There was a guy playing acoustic guitar. This is my kind of entertaining.
This shaded terrace on a hill directly across from the castle allows you to look down on all of downtown towards the waterfront.
With it’ privilege location, the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara has become one of the most famous viewpoints in Lisbon. Between Baixa/Chiado and Príncipe Real and the fact that is near to the nightlife area of the city Bairro Alto. However the view is the main attraction, you can see in all full extension the São Jorge’s Castel hill, the Martim Moniz, Downtown, Mouraria and Alfama. It’s probably one of the biggest viewpoints in Lisbon with two different levels. A lower one with a more strutured garden and an higher one with some benches and a Café (my favorite). I went here in there December and there was a Christmas Market. So I suposed Miradouro de Alcântara has ocasional markets. The best thing about being so big is that even though there was a lot of people you don’t feel like you can’t move. There’s space for everyone.
Found not far from the castle, this terrace offers one of the best photos of Lisbon. It overlooks the domes and rooftops of the city’s oldest historic neighborhood, Alfama. It’s very special to me because when I lived in Lisbon you could almost see my house from here. I used to lived in Alfama and I have to say it’s definitely one of the best neighborhoods to live in Lisbon. The name Portas do Sol is more than appropriate, basically Sun’s Doors. Just look at that sunset.
Located in Portas do Sol square, it’s a privileged balcony above the São Vincente Hills . From there you can see São Miguel and Santo Estêvão churches, the São Vincente de Fora Monastery and Church and Alfama with its little streets and courtyards which extend till the Tejo River. Although is a very special viewpoint I have to confess it’s more one those places to take a picture and go. Always full of tourists and I don’t find the spot very inviting to stay like other Miradouros.
Since Miradouro do Recolhimento only opened in 2015 it’s perhaps the least known viewpoint in the city. However, I have to confess it’s my personal favorite from all the viewpoints that I visited in Lisbon.
It’s found not far from the castle, in Rua do Recolhimento. For this Miradouro you must have your eyes open since it’s really easy to miss it. One day I woke up very early and decided to go for a walk. Eventually I got lost – I bet you are not surprise by now – and that’s how I ended up finding this place. Getting lost is the best way to find hidden gems. With the shade of olive trees and the contrast of white walls you have a beautiful view of Alfama, Panteão Nacional, São Vincente de Fora Church and also the Miradouro das Portas do Sol that I talked previously. What make its so charming for me? The tranquility that you feel there, there wasn’t a single soul there!
This last one is very special to me. Miradouro do Adamastor was the first viewpoint that I went to when I first moved to Lisbon. It was a very sunny day, my friend and I had the day off from work. We decided to take a walk and she showed me this place. It was lovely… We spent the rest of the afternoon just chilling, catching up with other friends, soaking up the sun, listening to street musicians. The best part for me was that every one there was doing the exactly same thing. No troubles, just people with their friends enjoying a National Holiday and a beautiful view over Lisbon. However at sunset prepare to an overflow of people trying to get that perfect photo.
Although the official name is Miradouro de Santa Catarina most people call it Miradouro do Adasmastor. The name comes from the statue sculpted on a rock representing Adamastor. It’s a mythical creature of “The Lusiads” by the epic poet Luís de Camões. Again also an author you have to study in school. However the main attraction is definitely the view. It’s the perfect Miradouro overlooking the the 25 de Abril bridge and the Cristo Rei at the other side of river, in Almada.
It was definitely one of the moments that made fall in love with Lisbon.
So… Hope you liked the very first official post in World’s Architecture. Now tell me, have you ever been to Lisbon, if so what is your favorite view in this city?
Let me know your opinion down in the comments or in my social media!
See you next Sunday… Have a great week!