Santa Justa Lift

This urban elevator from 1902 connects the lower street of Baixa with Carmo Square.

TravelCurious Tip

This is one of the most popular attractions in Lisbon, and the carriages can only take twenty nine passengers at a time, so head there early to beat the crowds!

The Santa Justa Lift connects the lower streets of Baixa to the higher Largo do Carmo. Lisbon, like a number of ancient cities, is built across seven hills. Ups and downs are therefore a fact of life, and there are a number of other elevators in Lisbon. However, they are furnicular railways, whereas the Santa Justa Lift is the only remaining vertical lift. You only need to experience Lisbon during summertime to understand why the lift was necessary.


Energy Source

Beforehand, animals were used to pull carriages up the inclines. The Santa Justa Lift was built to harness the marvel of the industrial age: steam power. Although now powered by electricity, it still does the same job, whisking the two polished wood carriages forty five metres upwards. Apart from the Largo do Carmo, at the top there is also a café with a glorious view of Lisbon, over Rossio Square, the castle and the river.


The French Connection

The lift was designed by the French architect Raoul de Mesnier du Ponsard, who was an apprentice to Gustave Eiffel. This goes some way to explaining the structural similarities to Paris’s Eiffel Tower which, along with the elegance of its metalwork and its status as an iconic landmark of Lisbon, have led to the Santa Justa Lift being described as the Eiffel Tower of Lisbon. It may well be the most beautiful lift in the world, with its regal neo-Gothic, wrought-iron exterior, and its sumptuous wood and brass interior.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Lisbon
Rossio Square
One of Lisbon's main squares since the Middle Ages, Rossio was destroyed and reconstructed after the great 1755 earthquake.
Largo do Carmo
A small, tree-lined picturesque square at the back of the Convento do Carmo.
Figueira Square
Placed in the re-urbanised area of Lisbon Baixa, Figueira Square is today one of the main hubs of the city's transport system.
Baixa Pombalina
A particularly elegant district of Lisbon, the Lower Town was among the world's first earthquake-resistant constructions.
Rossio (praça dom Pedro IV)
Commence your tour at the Pedro IV Square in the city of Lisbon.
Igreja do Carmo
The final traces of the medieval Carmo Convent, which was almost entirely destroyed after the 1755 earthquake.

Related Tours

Welcome to Lisbon: Chiado, Baixa & Alfama Private Walking Tour
Dating back to 1200 BC, Lisbon has always been one of Europe’s key seaports, a powerhouse to rival London, Paris and Rome. Home to winding cobbled streets, wide piazzas, UNESCO treasures and vibrant yellow trams, this introduction tour will take you to the best spots in a short amount of time. 

On your private walking tour, you will:

  • Start in Chiado, known for its elegant buildings, great shopping, restaurants and cafes, and see the famed Convento do Carmo;
  • Learn how the magnificent medieval Carmo Convent - today roofless - survived Lisbon’s devastating 1755 earthquake, followed by a tsunami and fires;
  • Enjoy panoramic views from Lisbon’s 45-meter-high ornate iron lift, the Elevador de Santa Justa - inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris it has been one of the city's most famous sites since its inauguration in 1902;
  • Descend into the "downtown" of Lisbon, Baixa neighbourhood and see the city's most famous square, Praça do Comércio;
  • Learn why this neighbourhood has a unique grid pattern layout, and how Lisbon was rebuilt with distinctive Pombaline architecture after its infamous earthquake;
  • Climb up to Alfama, past the Sé de Lisboa, the city’s grand cathedral which dates back to 1147;
  • Stroll through the steep streets of trendy AlfamaLisbon’s oldest district, famous for its narrow cobblestone streets, boutiques, and home to Portuguese Fado Music;
  • Admire the view from Miradouro de Santa Luzia, Lisbon's most famous viewpoint decorated with Azulejo tiles;
  • End your tour in Alfama, where your guide can give you suggestions on where to eat, drink and enjoy some traditional Fado music.

On this walking tour, an expert local guide will introduce you to Lisbon. Dating back to 1200 BC, Portugal’s capital has always been one of Europe’s key seaports, a powerhouse to rival London, Paris and Rome. On this half-day tour, you’ll get a flavour of Lisbon’s past, visiting some of its most iconic historical and cultural sights.

Your private tour begins at Largo do Chiado, where you will journey back to the Middle Ages to uncover the city’s Jewish and Moorish heritage. Hear about the impact of one of Lisbon’s defining moments, November 1st 1755, when a magnitude 9 earthquake— one of the strongest ever recorded— hit the city, followed by a wave of tsunamis and fires. The Convento do Carmo is a testament to this historical turning point; its nave remains roofless after caving in on that fateful day.

In Baixa, Lisbon’s downtown, commercial centre, see how the ruined district was revived by the Marquis of Pombal, who designed a revolutionary new grid pattern for Lisbon, filling the streets with neoclassical architecture and earthquake-resistant buildings. Walk through the grand Arco da Rua Augusta in Commercial Square and stand atop the 450-metre-tall Elevador de Santa Justa to appreciate Lisbon’s iconic street plan from an aerial perspective.

The tour ends with a walk around the Alfama district, once a poor area set outside the city walls but now a popular arty district with labyrinthine streets. Wander the steep alleyways where yellow trams wind up to St George’s Castle, past ancient houses, Fado bars, and colourful shopfronts. The district is home to Sé de Lisboa, the 1147 Romanesque cathedral that has miraculously withstood the city’s many quakes.

If you’re looking for a quick, informative introduction to Portugal’s multicultural capital, then this express tour is the perfect option. 

Please note: this tour does not enter any of the attractions
The City of the Seven Hills: Private Tour of Lisbon Highlights
Known as The City of The Seven Hills, Lisbon is a city of contrasts, with winding streets, colourful buildings, hilly terrain and a history as rich as it is fascinating. Lisbon is also famous for its rich culture, year-round sunshine, hilly terrain, breathtaking vistas, surprising delicacies, and historical yellow trams.

On your private tour, you will: 

  • Enjoy a fully guided tour of Lisbon Castle, the highest point of Lisbon city, the site of some of its earliest 8th century BC settlements and a fortress that for centuries played a key part in the history of the city; 
  • Learn of Lisbon's tumultuous past, take in the spectacular views over the city and walk the walls of the medieval fortress;
  • Then, walk down streets lined with artisanal shops and learn about the craft of the colourful Portuguese azulejo tiles;  
  • Stop at one of Lisbon's most beautiful viewpointsthe Miradouro de Santa Luzia, decorated with magnificent tiles, this is a favourite spot for lovers and local street musicians; 
  • See the Sé Cathedral, often just known as Sé—one of the city’s oldest and most well-known sites, which has withstood several natural disasters, including the 9.0 earthquake of 1755;
  • Admire the Praça do Comércio, where the royal palace stood for over two hundred years until 1755, and today one of the city’s most recognisable squares;
  • Walk through the Baixa neighbourhood, Lisbon's downtown,  and see the city's most famous squares and landmarks, including Rua Augusta and the historic Santa Justa lift! 
  • Enjoy time at Praca Dom Pedro IV, one of the iconic sites in the city where your guide departs.

Lisbon has been the capital of Portugal since the 12th century and has been a centre of art and learning since the 15th century. It was once the hub for the Age of Discovery as well as a major trading centre for goods from Africa and Asia. As such, it boasts an impressive collection of churches and monuments from around the world.

The city's name comes from its seven hills, which are still visible today—the highest is St. George's Castle Hill, at 213 meters (700 feet)

On this half-day private walking tour, your guide will give you an overview of the city's history from its foundation to the present day. You will visit the famous São Jorge Castle, which dates back to the 11th century with breathtaking views over the city, as well as the Se' Cathedral and the historic downtown area of Baixa where you can find many of the city's most famous landmarks: Rossio Square, the Elevador de Santa Justa, Rua Augusta, and of course, the majestic Praça do Comércio, the riverfront commercial hub of the city. 

Lisbon & Belem: Private Full-Day Tour with tickets and Boat Trip
Portugal's capital city of Lisbon is built upon seven hills known as the seven giants — São Jorge, São Vicente, São Roque, Santo André, Santa Catarina, Chagas e Sant'Ana — all of them visible when arriving in Lisbon by the river. This private walking tour of Lisbon & Belém will take you through the city, past its iconic landmarks, castles, and gardens and will include a River Cruise to boot. 

On your private tour, you will:

  • Enjoy an all-inclusive and fully guided private tour with an expert, licensed guide;
  • Enjoy a  tour of Lisbon Castle, and enjoy the spectacular views over the city (tickets included);
  • See the top sites of the city centre, from the city's highest viewpoint to the waterfront pier in the historic commercial centre;
  • Brief stop at Sé Cathedral, often just known as Sé—one of the city’s oldest and most well-known sites, which has withstood several natural disasters, including the 9.0 earthquake of 1755;
  • Walk down streets lined with artisanal shops and learn about the craft of the colourful Portuguese azulejo tiles;
  • Enjoy time in the old harbour and Praça do Comércio, where the royal palace stood for over two hundred years until 1755 and one of the city’s most recognisable squares;
  • Learn of Portugal's rich Naval history and its age of world exploration in the Belem neighbourhood;
  • See the UNESCO-listed Torre de Belém and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (from the outside);
  • Enjoy a fully guided tour of Jerónimos Monastery Church and Cloister (tickets included);
  • Enjoy a Cruise along the Tagus River - see the 25th of April bridge and the Cristo Rei statue - accompanied by your tour guide (tickets included)

From the imposing São Jorge Castle, the view encompasses the old city’s faded pastel-coloured buildings, Tagus Estuary and Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge. Arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Lisbon is a city of colourful balconies and views, trams and cobbled streets. Belém is a laid-back area of Lisbon on the Tagus River, known for its colourful houses and breathtaking landmarks that recall Lisbon’s seafaring history, like the 16th-century Tower of Belém. Your tour will end after the cruise back to central Lisbon. 
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