Miradouro de Santa Luzia, Lisbon

Lisbon's particularly hilly topography gives the city plenty of wonderful lookout spots. One of the most well known of these is Miradouro de Santa Luzia. Of the many miradouros, or overlooks, in Lisbon, this is considered by many to be the most romantic and beautiful. Breathtaking views of the Alfama district and the Tejo River beyond make the Miradouro de Santa Luzia a worthwhile stop for any visitor.

This miradouro takes its name from the nearby Santa Luzia church. The oldest portions of the church date back to the 12th century when the first Portuguese king was on the throne. In the 18th century, the church was largely rebuilt because of the massive 1755 earthquake. Today, it makes a picturesque backdrop for the miradouro, which usually takes center stage for tourists.

The Miradouro de Santa Luzia is a lush and gorgeous place for busy tourists to rest their feet and enjoy the impressive views. A long colonnade covered in bougainvillea provides a shady oasis, and plenty of comfortable seating is available. Carefully tended gardens range behind the colonnade, providing another pretty aspect to contemplate. A set of stairs takes visitors to a lower terrace where they will find a wading pool and have another opportunity to enjoy the view through iron windows.

Whether enjoying the view from the upper or lower terrace, visitors will gain an unsurpassed perspective on the historic Alfama district. The white painted buildings with their red tiled roofs look particularly picturesque when contrasted with the vibrant blue of the Tejo below. From the miradouro, it's possible to glimpse the National Pantheon and the church of Santo Estêvão.

Also of note at this miradouro are two azulejo panels found on the walls of the Santa Luzia church. This painted ceramic tile work is a famed product of Portuguese artisans. For the last five centuries, azulejo artists have worked at mastering these techniques. The two panels found on the exterior walls of the Santa Luzia church are particularly fine examples. One depicts the Terreiro do Paço as it looked prior to the major earthquake of 1755. The other shows a scene from 1147 when Portugal routed the Moors.

To add a bit more refreshment to this stop, a café is available on site. It's the perfect place to get a cool drink or light snack to be enjoyed on the colonnade. This is an especially popular place to stop for a drink for visitors who will be continuing to climb to nearby Saint George's Castle.