Portas do Sol

The Ultimate Portas do Sol Viewpoint Guide 2024

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In Lisbon, we soon discovered the magic behind any place named ‘miradouro’, translating to ‘viewpoint’. Portas do Sol viewpoint stands as the most photographed of them all. This spot, whose name means “Gates of the Sun”, is a historical treasure offering an amazing view of the city and a gateway to the enchanting Alfama district. 

Alfama is not just the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon, but it also holds the distinction of being the second oldest in Europe. Remarkably, its winding, tiled streets withstood the earthquake, fire, and tsunami of 1755, preserving their original format and continuing to tell tales of resilience and history to this day.

The Journey to Portas do Sol Viewpoint

The famous Tram 28, along with Tram 12, which both depart from Praça Martim Moniz, will get you there, offering a scenic ride through the city’s hills and valleys.

On your way to the Portas do Sol viewpoint, you’ll encounter several iconic landmarks. Castelo de São Jorge, standing majestically on a hill. The Lisbon Cathedral, with its imposing façade and serene interior, is another must-visit. And for music enthusiasts, the Fado Museum is a gateway to Portugal’s soulful musical tradition.

Tram 28 - Portas do Sol viewpoint
Tram 28

While the trams offer a picturesque journey, it’s actually faster to walk from Baixa (downtown), following the tram tracks. It’s just a five-minute uphill stroll from the cathedral. Alternatively, you can hop on bus 737, which departs from Praça da Figueira and stops a few feet away from the viewpoint, before its final stop at the castle gate. 

Bonus tip: You can ride the trams and the bus for free with the Lisboa Card, making your journey to the Portas do Sol viewpoint not only scenic but also economical!

Looking for parking? Why not check out Cheap and Free Parking in Lisbon: The Ultimate Guide

The Viewpoint Experience

Once you reach the Portas do Sol viewpoint, brace yourself for a breathtaking experience. The panoramic views of the entire city, with its red rooftops and the shimmering Tagus River, are truly magical. 

This viewpoint is essentially one huge balcony overlooking the ancient Alfama neighborhood, showcasing what looks like a colorful Mediterranean village cascading down to the waterfront. It’s a mandatory stop for anyone eager to capture the best photos of old Lisbon, with the towers of the Monastery of St. Vincent and the dome of the Panteão Nacional punctuating the skyline.

The view from the Portas do Sol deck
The view from the Portas do Sol deck

Photography enthusiasts, this is your playground! The viewpoint offers countless angles and spots to capture the perfect shot. Whether you’re aiming for a panoramic cityscape, a candid moment, or a detailed architectural marvel, the Portas do Sol viewpoint is a photographer’s dream and one of the best places for you. 

Bonus tip: Timing is everything at Portas do Sol. Sunrise and sunset is the best time (the golden hours), painting the city in warm hues and offering a panoramic view that’s nothing short of magical. 

Local Eateries and Cafés

I’ve visited numerous restaurants in Lisbon, and the ones listed below have earned my recommendation based on my own personal experience. The suggestions are based on their authenticity, value, service, and quality of food.

Casa da Tia Helena 

A 4-minute walk from Portas do Sol, 250 meters

4.6 stars from over 1100 Google ratings

Dourada at Cada Da Tia Helena
Dourada at Cada Da Tia Helena

This eatery embraces a no-frills philosophy, focusing on delivering traditional flavors in a cozy setting. From the moment you step in, you’re welcomed with a variety of mixed starters – think amazing bacalhau croquettes, chorizos, octopus, carrots, and a delightful mix of bacalhau with chickpeas and olives.

Main courses feature popular and inexpensive options like the tasty and straightforward grilled dourada (my personal favorite), and for those who have a preference for it, the equally delicious grilled sardines. From personal experience, while the variety of dishes is generally commendable, I would advise against the octopus – my last encounter with it found it swimming in oil. 

The ambiance at Casa da Tia Helena is warm, with attentive and English-speaking staff ensuring a pleasant and seamless dining experience. However, it’s worth noting that at the time of writing, the restaurant does not accept card payments, so be sure to have some cash handy.

Sat, Sun, Mon, Thu, Fri: 12–3pm, 6:30–10pm; Tue-Wed: Closed

+351 21 886 1180

Directions to Casa da Tia Helena Restaurant

Farol de Santa Luzia 

A 1-minute walk from Portas do Sol, 40 meters

4.5 stars from over 700 Google ratings

The grilled Octopus at Farol
The grilled Octopus at Farol

Farol de Santa Luzia welcomes guests with its cozy yet classy ambiance, offering a traditional and authentic Portuguese dining experience at a great price. The restaurant is a hidden gem, not overcrowded with tourists, which adds to its charm and appeal.

The grilled octopus paired with mashed potatoes and the Cataplana of fish are standout dishes, reflecting the freshness and quality of the ingredients. For those with a sweet tooth, the rice pudding comes highly recommended, serving as a delightful conclusion to the meal.

Despite the language barrier, the staff at Farol de Santa Luzia are exceptionally accommodating and kind, ensuring guests have everything they need for a memorable dining experience. 

For those seeking an insider tip, asking for the sole window table is recommended for an enhanced dining experience. 

Sat, Mon-Fri: 6–11pm; Sun: Closed

+351 21 886 3884

Directions to Farol de Santa Luzia 

Lisbon Tu e Eu 

A 3-minute walk from Portas do Sol, 160 meters downhill  

4.5 stars from over 2900 Google ratings

The cosy yet intimate Lisbon Tu e Eu
The cozy yet intimate Lisbon Tu e Eu

Nestled in a cozy alleyway, Lisbon Tu e Eu is a very small and traditional Portuguese restaurant that offers a delightful dining experience. The establishment is known for its delicious, affordable, and authentic Portuguese food, making it a popular spot among both locals and visitors.

One of the highlights of the menu is the sardines – served in a generous portion of five for just 11,50€, they are a testament to the restaurant’s commitment to quality and value. The white sangria complements the meal perfectly, enhancing the dining experience with its refreshing taste.

Other notable dishes include the octopus salad, shrimp a bras, and chocolate mousse. However, it’s the sweet rice that truly stands out, earning the title of the world’s best and leaving a lasting impression on the palate.

Given the restaurant’s popularity and intimate setting, it doesn’t accept reservations and tables for more than five persons. Arriving early is advisable, as the wait time for a table can range from 20 to 60 minutes, especially during peak hours around 19:30. It’s recommended to book in advance. 

Every day: 12:30–4pm, 7–10pm

+351 939 927 339

Directions to Lisbon Tu e Eu 

Bar Terraço de Santa Luzia

Within 10 meters from Portas do Sol

4.0 stars from over 200 Google ratings

The view from Bar Terraco
The view from Bar Terraco

With direct access from Portas do Sol and only nestled just a few steps away from Miradouro de Santa Luzia, Bar Terraço de Santa Luzia is a charming, albeit small, locale that stands as an ideal scenic spot for those in pursuit of a refreshing break.

While the bar is understandably touristy, it maintains a pleasant atmosphere with polite staff. Among the beverages, the Porto Tónico comes highly recommended, serving as a refreshing companion to the panoramic views.

In addition to the scenic environment and delightful drinks, Bar Terraço de Santa Luzia offers free wifi.

Sat-Thu: 11:30am–8pm; Fri: 11:30am–6:21pm

Directons to Bar Terraço de Santa Luzia

Tips and Recommendations

  • The Portas do Sol viewpoint is a popular spot, and it can get crowded. Early mornings and late evenings are usually quieter.
  • Before departing, make sure to explore the hidden tunnel and the Santa Luzia viewpoint. Nestled below the lookout, the tunnel boasts a vibrant mural narrating Lisbon’s history through playful cartoon panels (just find the stairs to the right of the statue). 
  • Adjacent to the lookout is Santa Luzia, offering another scenic viewpoint around the back of the church. While less expansive, it provides a unique perspective, made all the more special by the stunning blue and white azulejos tiles adorning the panels.
  • For those puzzled by the skyline’s features, here’s a helpful guide: the statue gracing the view is St Vincent, Patron Saint of Lisbon; the imposing structure on the skyline is the monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora; the distinctive white dome belongs to the Pantheon (or the church of Santa Engrácia); and the distant white church is the Baroque masterpiece of Santo Estevão (St Stephen).

Nearby Attractions

Below I’ve created an interactive map that showcases all the nearby attractions.

Where to Stay by the Portas do Sol Viewpoint

Santiago de Alfama Boutique Hotel is not only a charming gem but positioned in a great location – in the heart of Lisbon’s historic Alfama district.

A double room at Santiago de Alfama Boutique Hotel
A double room at Santiago de Alfama Boutique Hotel

This family-run hotel, masterfully restored by renowned architect Luís Rebelo de Andrade, effortlessly combines historic authenticity with modern luxury. The 19 unique rooms, though varied in size due to the preservation of 15th-century walls, offer an elegant ambiance with soothing colors and luxurious beds.

The hotel’s Café Audrey is perfect for delightful breakfasts, while Restaurant Audrey serves quality Portuguese cuisine. Manny’s Bar is a great spot for nightcaps.

With reasonable rates, starting at €190 (£162) in low season and €230 (£197) in high, and complimentary Wi-Fi, Santiago de Alfama provides excellent value.

The staff’s passion and concierge service add to the warm atmosphere, making it a popular choice, especially for those seeking privacy.

The beautiful terrace at Santiago de Alfama Hotel
The beautiful terrace at Santiago de Alfama Hotel

Guest Experience

This is a gorgeous hotel with a deep history where updates exhibit exquisite design details and respect the rich past. Not only was our room gorgeous, it boasted a semi-private courtyard and a fully modern bathroom. It is worth spending time in the hotel bar, where Bruno and other staff take wonderful care of you (even going out to get cigars!) and we had the best sangria to be had in Lisbon … and the best beer! This hotel is worthy of exploration, not just sleeping (though the bed was downright scrumptious).

Moe, a former guest
Check Santiago de Alfama’s Availability

I hope you found this article on the Portas do Sol viewpoint and the recommended spots in Lisbon helpful in planning your visit to Lisbon’s oldest neighborhoods.

Do you have any tips or hidden gems around the Portas do Sol viewpoint that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear your insights and discoveries! Please share in the comments below!

Recommended reading:

Lisbon Hotels with Rooftop Terrace: Curated Top 11

Top 9 Lisbon Thrift Store Gems!

The Ultimate Miradouro de Santa Luzia Guide

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