Elevador de Santa Justa

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by billmoy on December 29, 2002

This lift in the center of Lisbon's popular Baixa district has been a welcome transport device for locals, but now it is basically a tourist attraction. But what an attraction it is, as the views from the top are breathtaking and you can see practically all of Lisbon from here. You can buy an individual ticket here, but as long as you are bopping about town, buy an all-day Carris-Metro transit pass good for the metro, buses, trams, and even lifts and this elevator.

On first glance, this device looks like some gloomy, top-heavy automaton. Raul Mesnier du Ponsard, a protege of Gustave Eiffel, engineered its Gothic wrought-iron design in 1902. It is not nearly as graceful as the famous Eiffel Tower, but its function and the city views from the top outrank its own visual appearance. The top level has a walkway that connects to the Chiado area, but this area has been closed, so the true function of the Elevador has been negated, at least for now.

The lift holds a good number of people, and there are a few benches, too, though it is more fun to stand and look at the views as you go up and down. Once you get off the elevator, there is a lower deck that you can walk around. Climb the metal stairs to the upper deck, and the views are truly spectacular, day or night. The vistas range from the Parque Eduardo VII to the north, the Castelo de Sao Jorge to the east, the basin of the Rio Tejo (Tagus River) to the south, and the ruins of the Convento do Carmo to the west. There is also a cafe occupying most of the center of the upper deck, but it is not necessary to make a purchase here.

I happened to be in town during the running of the Lisbon Marathon on Portugal Independence Day (December 1). I did not see any of the elite runners, but it was interesting to see the slower jogging dots scamper by from my vantage point in the upper level.

Elevador de Santa Justa
Rua do Ouro at Rua de Santa Justa
Lisbon, Portugal


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