One of the most popular tourist attractions in Lisbon is the Santa Justa Lift (Elevador de Santa Justa) which connects the lower streets of the Baixa area to the higher Bairro Alto neighborhood.
While the lift features on many people’s must-do lists while in Lisbon, it is not worth the long wait as the line can often get incredibly long (often an hour or more) especially if you have limited time in the city. However the view across the city from the observation deck at the top is amazing and you can access this with no wait and without having to use the lift and you can also save money in the process!
The best way to get to the observation deck is simply to walk to the top! There are stairs which lead to the bridge to get across the top of the Santa Justa lift. The views of the city from the bridge area are free, but if you want to get to the observation deck for an even better view, follow the sign for “Viewpoint Access” and you can just pay €1.50 and there is a small spiral staircase up to the platform.
The view of Lisbon from the observation deck is beautiful. You can see the Carmo Convent ruins, São Jorge Castle, Rossio Square, Lisbon Cathedral, Rua Augusta Arch, Eduardo VII Park as well as across the Tagus River towards Cacilhas and beyond.
Since you have already paid for the Viewpoint Access you can use that same ticket to ride the elevator down, which there was no wait since everyone is waiting to go up!
While the Santa Justa Lift itself is a little bit of a tourist trap, the view from the top of Lisbon is definitely not. So my advice to everyone is to save both your time and your money and walk to the top yourself to enjoy the view – it’s definitely worth it!