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Discover the Seven Lisbon Hills with ease
A quick overview
What to see? Discover the Portuguese capital and find out how to navigate the Lisbon hills.
Costs? Many routes in the city are freely accessible, there is no need for a car, and a day pass for public transport costs €6.60.
Where? Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.
Worth it? Walking uphill might sound tedious, but many ways exist to discover Lisbon and all the sights without exhaustion.
The seven hills of Lisbon
The Portuguese capital city was built on seven hills. This results in incredible viewpoints, such as Miradouro de Santa Catarina, São Pedro de Alcântara and Miradoura da Graça, but also some steep stairs up the hills. And although Lisbon might not be the most walking-friendly city at first sight, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to get around without exhaustion! Thanks to the fantastic trams and buses, we can easily explore the seven hills of Lisbon.
The seven hills that the city is famous for are São Jorge Hill, São Vicente Hill, São Roque Hill, Santo André Hill, Santa Catarina Hill, Chagas Hill and Sant’Ana Hill. The seven hills were first mentioned in a book by São Nicolau de Oliveira (O Livro das Grandezas de Lisboa), but the writer made one tiny mistake.
He should have mentioned the 8th hill! The hill of Graça lies just behind Castle São Jorge and is even the highest of them all! The hilltop of Graça is 200 meters tall, and Miradouro da Senhora do Monte is the highest viewpoint in the city. You can also find the beautiful Capela de Nossa Senhora do Monte on the top. All hills provide stunning views over the capital, as well as the Tagus River.
Get around by public transport
Thankfully, when you come to Lisbon, you can use the excellent public transport system, which makes it super easy to move between the highlights, and you´ll be en route before you know it! As a matter of fact, the city situated between hilltops is pretty famous for its trams, funiculars, and elevators. They became top tourist attractions, and most tourists will take a ride with Tram 28, one of the funiculars, or the Santa Justa Elevator. Public transport lets you easily explore the seven hills of Lisbon!
The public transport system is the easiest way to get up and down the hills, mainly in Alfama and Mouraria. Especially in the summer heat, a walk uphill on cobblestones can be challenging. Before you know it, you’ll spot another massive set of stairs to conquer, which is far from ideal! A downside is that the trams and buses can get very full. Specifically, Tram 28 and the Santa Justa Lift are often fully packed, and you’ll have to wait for quite some time to enter. It doesn’t take away the fact that riding these modes of transport is very iconic, unique, and memorable!
Which tram or bus to take to the highlights on the hills?
- To see the famous castle Castelo de São Jorge, you can take bus 737, which will take you all the way to the top of São Jorge Hill.
- Tram 28 has stops close to Miradouro da Graça, Miradouro de Santa Luzia (from here, you can also head over to the castle Castelo de São Jorge), Lisbon Cathedral, Igreja de São Vicente de Fora, the flea market Feira da Ladra in the area São Vicente, and the National Pantheon. Tram 28 is perfect for visiting the São Jorge Hill and the São Vicente Hill (but it does get VERY busy onboard and can be a spot to encounter pickpockets.
- Take Elevador de Santa Justa to explore Bairro Alto and enjoy a trip on a historic elevator. The lift is close to Rua Augusta, and from the top of Elevador de Santa Justa, you have an amazing view over the Tagus River.
- Ascensor da Bica will travel to Bairro Alto and let you explore Santa Catarina Hill. Here, you can find Miradouro de Santa Catarina, for example.
- Ascensor da Glória travels up towards Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara and Príncipe Real.
Using public transport in Lisbon
All trams, funiculars, and buses are part of the Lisbon Public Transport system. But when you enter a Tram 28, a funicular, or the Santa Justa Lift, you’ll pay a higher fee (€3.80 one way or €5.80 return). To avoid this, you can purchase the Lisboa Card, which also gives you access to over 39 museums, monuments and famous sights in the city.
Another way is using the Viva Viagem travel card, which costs only €0.50. You can top this card up (zapping) to pay for public transport. You can also buy a 24-hour ticket with Viva Viagem for only €6.60. For more information about using public transport in Lisbon, click here.
A Tuk-Tuk Tour in Lisbon
A favourite way to explore Lisbon’s hills is by tuk-tuk. It’s a fantastic way to see the city, especially if you’re short on time. All tuk-tuks in Lisbon are electric, which makes them even more climate-friendly and sustainable! A tour guide will drive you to all the major sights in a tuk-tuk, saving you a lot of walking!
There are even special interest tuk-tuk tours, such as street art tuk-tuk tours and tuk-tuk tours with snacks. You will be able to easily see the city without having to claim or navigate public transport. Enjoy fabulous views along the way and see the Tagus River up close.
Lisbon Hills Tramcar Tour
Another fabulous way to discover the town by tram is by taking the Lisbon Hills Tramcar Tour. This allows you to explore the city at your own pace, as the ticket is valid for 24 hours. The best thing? It’s not overcrowded, and you can get on and off whenever you want. Remember, Tram 28 is part of the public transport system, whereas the red Historic Hills Tram is an actual tour.
So, although you pay more, you also enjoy more comfort, an actual seat, and fewer waiting times for the tram. Besides, audio guides are available in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish!
A ticket for the Historic Hills Tram also includes the following:
Valid for 24 hours
Free access to the Santa Justa elevator
24-hour access to Bica, Glória and Lavra funiculars
24-hour access to the red ‘Yellow Bus’ trams
Free access to the regular yellow Carris trams
Free ‘Yellow Bus’ discount book
Please note: Tram 28 is NOT included on this ticket.
Free escalators and lifts in Lisbon
Lisbon is also very walkable; the seven hills shouldn’t scare you off! Good walking shoes are, however, advisable. Especially if it rains, the Portuguese pavements (Calçada Portuguesa is the typical walkway with a black and white pattern on the streets) get pretty slippery. Thankfully, there is an entirely free way to navigate through the city!
On the hills are, after all, many sights to visit that shouldn’t be missed, including the wonderful views over the city. You can conquer the heights without too much effort using escalators and lifts. Below are the entry points of the escalators and elevators, including Google Maps links. The cable cars are also included, but these are paid.
At Martim Moniz Square, an escalator will take you all the way to Moreira. Escadinhas da Saúde 2 is close to the Tram 28 boarding stop.
As the name suggests, Elevador Castelo will bring you pretty much all the way to the castle Castelo de São Jorge. The first elevator will take you from Rua dos Fanqueiros in Baixa halfway up to Rua da Madalena. When you exit the elevator, it’s only a short walk to Elevador da Baixa on Largo Chão do Loureiro, which will take you very close to the castle. The lifts are next to the supermarket Pingo Doce.
From Lift Castelo, you reach the castle Castelo de Sāo Jorge in 5 to 10 minutes, but don’t forget to look at the panoramic view over the city! The castle has an entrance fee, but it’s well worth a visit! Besides, the camera obscura is a giant periscope which allows you to discover Lisbon from all angles! You can use the elevators daily between 7 AM and 9 PM.
The Elevador de Santa Luzia will take you from a lower point in Alfama to the famous Santa Luzia viewpoint, and Portas do Sol. It might not be the longest walk, but it’s definitely a shortcut, and you won’t be out of breath. This wonderful view is one to take advantage of!
Baixa is one of the lower-located neighbourhoods, and getting to the top can be a challenge. The easiest way is to enter the Metro station Baixa-Chiado and take the escalators inside to the top. You don’t need a metro ticket to cross the station, which will save you many steps!
Between Rossio and Restauradores Metro station, you’ll find a stunning building where a Starbucks chain is located. Within Estação do Rossio is also a set of escalators which will take you to Calçada do Carmo. A quick but sweet shortcut that gets you halfway up! On the top, you can see sights such as the Carmo Convent, which is located only a short walk from here.
Please let me know in the comments if I need to add any missing shortcuts!
Summary of elevators to take in Lisbon
- Take Escadinhas da Saúde from Martim Moniz Square to explore the neighbourhood of Mouraria.
- At Rossio Station, take the escalators towards Calçada do Carmo to visit Bairro Alto. You can also take a shortcut at Baixa Chiado metro station.
- Take Elevador Castelo plus Elevador da Baixa on Largo Chão do Loureiro to see Lisbon Castle.
- Elevador de Santa Luzia in Alfama to reach Portas do Sol.
Take a taxi
Does all this sound like too much walking and too much hassle? Getting around town by taxi is super easy. Uber and Bolt are widely available but can only drive in some places. For example, when you want to be dropped off at the castle Castelo de São Jorge, they will drop you off close, but they can´t enter the car-free zone in Alfama. Taxis are relatively cheap and easy to get, especially with the apps.
What to do on the seven hills
Walking up the seven hills may not be worth it if there isn’t anything to see or do. But wow, is it worth getting up and down to see the sights! Let’s take a look at what you can expect during your stay.
São Jorge is probably the most famous hill, and here you’ll find sights like São Jorge Castle, Portas do Sol and the Cathedral Sé. The districts Alfama and Mouraria are fantastic to walk around, and you’ll discover plenty of small streets and fado restaurants. Discover all the tiny streets, visit the Fado Museum or enjoy the fabulous views from one of the miradouros.
Behind the castle, you’ll find Santo André close to the Graça district. Santo André is the perfect spot for a lovely sunset over Lisbon. The Graça district is full of excellent restaurants, street art and parks. Check out Jardim da Cerca da Graça for a chill moment in nature, or discover the azulejo tiles in the church Igreja Paroquial da Graça. Miradouro da Graça is a must-see during your holiday, and currently, a new cable car is being built here to make it easier to reach.
The official name is Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, named after the poet who died in 2004. Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen was the first woman to win the prestigious Camões price in 1999. Right now, Tram 28 will be the easiest way. Tip: Santo André is also the name of a restaurant!
São Vicente (formerly Santa Engrácia) lies on Alfama’s outskirts; famous sights are the Monastery São Vicente de Fora and the National Pantheon. You can visit the flea market Feira da Ladra every Tuesday and Saturday. You can find all these highlights around Campo de Santa Clara. São Vicente is named after the patron saint of Lisbon, “Saint Vincent”. This area stretches out into Alfama and Santa Maria Maior.
São Roque is the opposite hilltop close to Elevador da Glória, and taking the cable tram is the easiest way to reach São Pedro de Alcântara and the surrounding areas. On top of São Roque Hill, you find the fabulous neighbourhood Príncipe Real with plenty of concept stores, restaurants and bars. There is even a cafe called São Roque, famous for its beautiful architecture.
It’s also worth visiting the Botanical Garden in Lisbon, a little oasis within the bustling city. São Roque is the central area in Lisbon, and one view not to miss is Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. In the evening, São Roque becomes a fun place with wine bars and fabulous places to eat.
Chagas is the home of the Carmo Convent, and it’s where the Santa Justa Elevator will take you. If you want to skip the queue, you can take the escalators in the metro station Baixa-Chiado as mentioned above. From Chagas, you have a great view of the opposite hill where the castle is located.
Further west, Santa Catarina is a hilltop with a lovely view from Miradouro Santa Catarina. Around the viewpoint are plenty of restaurants, and the bustling nightlife is one of the highlights of Bairro Alto. At the bottom, you’ll find Pink Street and Cais do Sodré. You can travel further west from this station to places like Belém and Cascais. Don’t forget to check out Green Street, a lovely street filled with restaurants (and plants!).
Sant’Ana might be less known and a perfect hideaway if you want to chill. Here in the parish of Santo António, you’ll find hidden gems like Jardim do Torel for a fanatic view or discover the lovely and quiet restaurants in the parallel streets of Avenida da Liberdade. Some favourites are Zenith for brunch and Sr. Lisboa for dinner. A beautiful park to visit is located on Campo Mártires da Pátria.
Yes! The city is built on seven hills, but thankfully, Lisbon is easy to navigate by public transport and elevators.
You can find the highest point in Lisbon, Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte. It´s a climb, but you´ll be rewarded with the best view! The Graça is the highest top in Lisbon.
It depends a little on your fitness levels, but good shoes are definitely recommended. You can reach most hilltops by public transport or taxi. There are also cable trams and elevators to some of the tops.
When you visit Lisbon, you’ll inevitably come across the hills! But as you can see, there are many ways to get around in town. Even when you cannot walk far, you can easily find all the highlights. Hopefully, this post will help you navigate the hills of Lisbon. As you can see, many free ways exist to get to the top. If you like, you can take some iconic trams or funiculars that will make your city trip to Lisbon complete.