To put it simply, Lisbon is photography heaven. Shutterbugs can’t get enough of the pastel facades, panoramic vantage points at seemingly every corner, vibrant street art and of course those famous sunshine-yellow trolley cars. Here’s a guide to the most Instagrammable places in Lisbon, to capture the city from all the right angles.
Torre de Belem
This historic tower in the Belem district is one of the best Lisbon photo spots, as it rises dramatically out of the Tagus River. The wide shoreline in front makes it easy to get different perspectives, and the public is also welcome to go inside which makes it one of the top things to do in Lisbon. At the top of the tower, you’ll find sweeping views of the river flowing into the Atlantic Ocean.
Top tip: To capture photos without anyone on the bridge, visit on a Monday when the tower is closed to tourists.
Padrão dos Descobrimentos
Continue your tour of Lisbon photography spots just down the boardwalk from the tower, where you’ll find the gorgeous Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument of Discoveries). It was built to honour the ships that departed Lisbon’s shores to explore and trade with the far east, and features more than thirty models of historically significant figures. The blindingly-white sculpture is actually a tower, and visitors can head to the top for a panoramic view of the surrounding Belem district. Be sure to look down to see how the patterned pavement depicts a map of the world.
A cool walkway in the Belem district
This uber-cool spot is a hidden gem of sorts that you won’t find on a tourist map, meaning you’ll likely get Lisbon pictures that no one else has. Formerly an industrial area, the warehouses have been converted into space for artists whose work is proudly displayed on every wall in the district. The vibrant street art mixed with the clean cobblestone streets makes for great photo-ops, and there are some fabulously designed restaurants and boutiques to pop into.
Don’t miss the swoon-worthy Ler Devagar bookstore, which is considered one of the world’s most beautiful.
Just around the corner from LX Factory—and even more hidden—is Village Underground. Fashioned out of brightly-coloured shipping containers stacked on top of each other, the eclectic space houses eateries, offices and is also used for events. Safe to say you’ll never look at a container (or port-a-potty) the same way again.
Elevador de Santa Justa
Look up…way up…to the top of Elevador de Santa Justa. This neo-Gothic, wrought iron lift has been around since the 19th century, to save residents from having to climb up a steep hill in the heart of the Baixa district. Today it’s more popular with the tourist crowd, thanks to the addition of an observation deck with panoramic views of the city below. Needless to say, a ride up means plenty of photo-ops and is one of the most fun things do in Lisbon.
Photographers get tickled pink at the sight of Rua Nova do Carvalho, nicknamed “Pink Street.” The pedestrian-only thoroughfare is found in the Cais do Sodré neighbourhood, which is very popular with creative types. While the pink pavement is the focal point, there are also interactive billboards along the corridor which serve as an outdoor art gallery, making Pink Street a top spot for Lisbon photography.
Miradouro das Portas do Sol
To capture that iconic shot of whitewashed, orange-topped houses tucked into the hillside as the sun sets behind them, head to Miradouro das Portas do Sol. Found near the castle, the terrace offers sweeping views of the sparking blue river, domed cathedrals and the 25 de Abril suspension bridge. Best of all, it’s so large that despite being extremely popular you won’t have to elbow anyone out of the way to get your shot.
For a grittier backdrop than the fairytale-like views you’ll find in most of the historic city centre, navigate the steep stone staircases that wind through the Alfama district towards the castle. Many artists consider the walkways a blank canvas, and have transformed them into murals of all types, including some that are a nod to Portuguese heritage. If you’re tired of walking around, book this segway tour through Alfama.
Lisbon day trips that are good for photography
There are some fantastic places just outside the capital that are a photographer’s dream, including charming Obidos, the swirling sidewalks in Cascais, and the colourful palace and Moorish castle in Sintra.