Santa Justa Elevator (Elevador de Santa Justa)

#4 in Best Things To Do in Lisbon
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Key Info

R. do Ouro

Details

Sightseeing Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
4.5scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

For some sweeping views of Lisbon – particularly St. George's Castle, Rossio Square and the Baixa neighborhood – you might want to take a ride on the Elevador de Santa Justa. Designed by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard (a former student of Gustave Eiffel – creator of the Eiffel tower), this neo-Gothic elevator is more than a century old and used to be powered by steam. The structure is more than just a means to meet a vista's end, but rather a convenient shortcut for commuters looking to get to Bairro Alto without having to work up the sweat climbing the hill. While the exterior is almost entirely wrought iron, inside visitors will find two old-fashioned cabins that take riders up to the nearly 150-foot-tall vantage point.

Although visitors were more than pleased with the views, some visitors found the attraction to be a rip-off, especially since are so many free viewpoints throughout Lisbon thanks to the city's many hills. Travelers also complained of the long lines throughout the day and suggested going either very early in the day or very late at night, but even that isn't a guarantee. Plus, because the elevator's capacity is limited, lines move slow.

A great way to skip the lines is to enter the tower from Bairro Alto and pay 1.50 euros (less than $2) to access the observation deck. To ride the elevator up to the observation deck and back down, it'll cost you 5 euros (about $6). You can find the Santa Justa Elevator in the Baixa neighborhood, situated between the Baixa-Chiado and Rossio metro stops. The elevator is open every day from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and until 9 p.m. in the winter.

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Tram 281 of 15
Alfama2 of 15
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Tram 28

San Francisco has its cable cars, London has its red double-decker buses and Lisbon has its trams. Tram 28, which extends from Martim Moniz to Campo Ourique, in particular takes riders on a tourist-friendly route. Not only does it pass through some of the city's most notable neighborhoods including Graça, Baixa and Bairro Alto, but it also travels by popular attractions, such as St. George's Castle and Alfama. Along with a scenic route, the cars themselves are also considered to be part of the experience. Many of Lisbon's trams, including some used on the Tram 28 route, are the same that were used in World War II, so don't expect air conditioning, or a smooth trip up and around the area's hills. But don't worry, recent travelers said it's all part of the tram's charm.

Some visitors recommend taking the tram up the steep Alfama hill and then walking back down to explore the neighborhood. Due to the tram's popularity, the tram cars tend to get crowded quickly, so make sure to arrive early or later in the day to avoid long lines. Also, because of the tram's popularity with tourists, it's a target for pickpockets. Remember to keep an eye on your belongings, especially cameras.

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