Go early to have the viewpoint to yourself, and then wander around the streets of Alfama to catch the morning markets
Along with the nearby Santa Luzia Viewpoint, Portas do Sol offers some of the finest views of Lisbon, one of Europe’s most picturesque cities. It is found in Alfama, which is one of the only districts which was not reduced to ash and rubble by the 1755 earthquake. As such, Portas do Sol is more than just a tremendous vista: it’s a vision of medieval Lisbon too, with its red rooftops and pastel-coloured houses scaling down towards the deep blue Tagus River.
In fact the viewpoint was one of the original Moorish gateways to the former city of Santarém, before it was seized back by the Portuguese during the Christian ‘Reconquista’ in the 12th century. The section of the wall here is one of the only and best preserved parts remaining; much of the rest was destroyed in the course of the city’s expansion. Some of the city’s other ancient monuments can be admired from here though, such as Saint George’s castle and Lisbon’s cathedral.
If you can tear yourself away from the view, there are a number of bars to enjoy too, as well as a statue of St. Vincent, Lisbon’s patron saint, holding a boat with two ravens, the symbols of Lisbon. Alongside is the Decorative Arts Museum and also the route for the famous 28 tram, which you can hop on to take you on a rattling but charming route through Lisbon’s old town, from Baixa to Alfama.
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