Lisbon: Higher Ground

Lisbon: Higher Ground

Lisbon leaves a bit to be desired in the accessibility department, but it makes up for it with bursting city vistas, or 'miradouros' on every hill and rooftop. My parents, who love the city like a second home, shared their pro tip: take the tram (or bus) to the top of a hill and spend the rest of the day zig-zagging your way down on foot.

Below, some hangouts that are really worth the hike, even with a chubby infant strapped to you.

I'm glad we climbed to Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara on day one because from its majestic terrace nearly every notable landmark in Lisbon is visible. You could use this vantage point to plot the rest of your day, week... year? 

Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, is another inspiring public space, named after the poet who wrote much of her work here. The entire city spreads as if on a platter here. If you need to make your way down in a hurry, there is a winding staircase dotted with street art, just at the start of the terrace.

A few streets away, tucked inside a Theatre is Cafe Garagem. It might be the most charming cafe I’ve ever visited. The eclectic decor—from birdcages to binoculars—was chosen by a set designer, there are tasty sandwiches on offer, but it all takes a back seat to the panoramic view. Once you’ve tucked into an armchair facing the window, it’s a mighty hard place to leave.

If you take the infamous Santa Just a Lift (to rest your legs) up to Bairro Alto,  Convento do Carmo will be a mighty reward. The remnants of this beautiful convent are also a reminder of the worst day in Lisbon's history when an earthquake almost levelled the city.

Praça Flores and its surroundings are a gastronomer's best kept secret in the  High Bairro. Try organic pizza at In Bocca Al Lupo, craft brews at Cerveteca, traditional pastries at Pao de Canela, coffee at Copehangen Lab, brunch at The Mill or wander and find your own quietly hip spot. We stayed a few streets away so it technically wasn’t much of a climb for us.

Eventually, you’ll probably be heading to the famous Castelo, but if you’re looking for something a little more unusual afterwards you might also want to wander over to the Graffiti Ruins, where street art adorns a ramshackle clearing, with yet another stellar view.

Bus stop shenanigans, Praça Flores as backdrop

Bus stop shenanigans, Praça Flores as backdrop

Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara

Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara

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Cafe Garagem

Cafe Garagem

Jardim De Lisboa Antiga

Jardim De Lisboa Antiga

Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen

Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen

Graffiti Ruins

Graffiti Ruins

Convento do Carmo

Convento do Carmo

Baby vs. Lisbon

Baby vs. Lisbon