Inaugurated in 1902, the Santa Justa Lift is a landmark of Lisbon. It is a unique experience to ride it!
Located at its heart, the Lisbon elevator (Elevador de Santa Justa) offers splendid views all around over the rooftops.
Below is my guide to help you plan your visit.
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Why take a ride in the Santa Justa Lift in Lisbon?
Is the Santa Justa Lift worth it?
Yes, it is worth it, if you can avoid the crowded moments.
The Lisbon elevator is one of the best attractions in the city for a couple of reasons:
- for the surprising architecture as it was designed by Raoul Mesnier, a student of Gustave Eiffel (the architect of the Eiffel tower...). You recognize the metal work.
- for the practicality as it avoids climbing one more hill, in this hilly city
- for the views at from the viewing platform - you can most of the main monuments in all directions including the castle and the National Theater
More photos and details after the planning tips.
Planning tips - Santa Justa Lift, Lisbon, Portugal
How to get to the Santa Justa Lift?
- In the heart of historical Lisbon
- It connects the lower neighborhood of Baixa with the higher area of Bairro Alto
- The bottom entrance at Rua Santa Justa
- The top entrance is near the Carmo Convent, at the end of Tv. Dom Pedro de Menezes
- Better to explore around on foot
It is included in my travel guides that help you easily plan your itinerary around Portugal:
Be overwhelmed by the beauty, not the planning!
Riding the Lisbon Elevator
- Santa Justa Lift price: 5.30€ including lift both ways and access to viewing platform
- Included in the one-day metro ticket, Lisbon card and the Yellow hop on hop off busses - however note that some of the tickets don't include the viewing platform entrance, just the lift, which is not the best part
- Lisbon elevator opening hours: 7am to 9pm - or to 11pm in Summer
- The viewing platform is accessed via a narrow staircase (photos in the article)
- See the best rated accommodations in Lisbon
How to avoid the crowds at Elevador de Santa Justa
The queues are really long in Summer, so, I recommend going early!
There can only be 29 visitors on the viewing platform and in the lift.
So lines, can be very long...
Option 1 -
Avoid the peak hours from 10 am to 3pm.
Visit as early or late as you can
Option 2 - cheaper or free
Admire the structure from the bottom street.
Climb the hill on foot, it takes 5 to 10min (walk up the steps behind the lift and turn left onto Rua do Carmo, then right on Rua Garett and right on Calçada do Sacramento towards the Carmo convent).
Just before the convent, take the path down to the right towards the top of the lift.
Access the bridge is free and already very nice.
And if you want more, you can pay just 1.50 euros to get to the viewing platform (see pictures later).
Option 3 - ride the lift down
There are always longer queues riding up rather than riding down.
The Lisbon Elevator from the bottom entrance
The elevator can be reached from the top or the bottom.
The bottom access is in the heart of Lisbon. I missed it on my way from the sea. I don't know how I missed it.... It is quite a structure!
Anyway, I turned around and spotted it between the buildings.
As you approach the entrance, you can see the details in the iron structure:
Other transportations are called elevators in Lisbon: Elevador da Gloria and Elevador da Bica. But they are funiculars.
Whereas Santa Justa is vertical. But they all help with the steep hills of Lisbon!
Santa Justa Lift history & facts
Before I show you photos of the amazing views, below are a few facts for those interested:
- Construction started in 1900
- Opened in 1902
- Height of 45m (148ft) (equivalent to 7 stories)
- It was built for public transportation, but is now mostly used by tourists
- It is a National Monument in Portugal
- It connects the lower street of the Baixa neighborhood (from Rua Santa Justa) to the Carmo square where you can find the Carmo Convent
- Its capacity nowadays is 29 people
- The structure is in iron, decorated in Neo-Gothic style
- It was designed by Raoul Mesnier (a student of Gustave Eiffel - the one from the Eiffel tower...)
- Originally it had a steam engine (installed in 1901). But it was soon changed to an electrical motor (in 1907).
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Inside the Santa Justa Elevator cabin
After that you enter inside the cabin of the Santa Justa Lift, which is also called the Carmo lift. Everything is wood.
Most people have to stand up inside for the short ride.
As you exit at the top, the view is blocked by a net. But don't worry!
Access to the viewing platform
After the lift, you can climb a few steps to reach the open viewing platform with 36O° views!!!
So, here we go. We are now at the viewing platform of the Lisbon elevator.
Even on a rainy day, the view is amazing!
The viewing platform that we see today was the location of the original steam engine that was powering the lift.
The engine was used to pump water into 2 tanks that were below the cabins.
Panoramas from Elevador de Santa Justa viewpoint
I tried taking a panorama to show you the whole thing, but failed miserably.
Below are 5 shots in the various directions.
This is the view towards the sea:
Then the view just straight in alignment with the lift.
This is the view towards the Lisbon Castle:
And if you zoom you can see:
Below is the view towards the Praça Dom Pedro 4 and the National Theater.
And towards the back are the ruins of the Carmo Convent:
And if you zoom you can also see Parque Eduardo in the distance.
What I loved most compared to the other viewpoints in Lisbon is that you are in the center and just above the roofs. So, you can get a better feel for the architecture of the buildings.
And you get great views of the street decorations:
And keep track of your own trip!
Upper exit of the Carmo Lift
There is also an upper access to the Lisbon Elevator.
It is just close by the ruins of the Carmo Convent.
A 25m long beautiful corridor with sculpted iron takes you from the ground to the top of the elevator.
This is where you go, if you just want to access the platform without paying for the lift.
Want to see more of the best Portugal has to offer?
- 30 Most beautiful landscapes in Portugal - read article
- Best things to do in Portugal - read article
- The best beaches in Portugal - read article
- The best villages in Portugal - read article
- Lisbon vs Porto - where to go? - read article
- Driving in Portugal - read article
- The best of the Algarve region - read article
- The highlights of Sintra and the Sintra-Cascais Nature park - read article
Planning a trip to Portugal?
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