The Santa Justa Elevator offers one of the nicest views over Lisbon – and using a simple trick, you can save a lot of time and money!
However, if you have been already walking in the streets around Rossio square, you probably noticed there is also a metal construction resembling something between elevator and mining tower – it is Elevador da Santa Justa and trust me, when looking for an impressive viewpoint over the city, you definitely should take this one into account.
What is it? Well, this popular attraction (maybe too popular, considering the waiting line – but we will get to it later, dont’t worry) is a lift from the beginning of the 20th century, connecting two parts of the city with very different altitude – street at Baixa, on the level of the Tejo river, and a square Largo do Carmo, which is 40 metres higher.
It was designed by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, a student of famous french architect Gustave Eiffel – and some similarities with the looks of the Eiffel Tower can be definitely seen.
How to get there without queing? What is actually most attractive about the Elevator of Santa Justa is in my opinion the terrace on its top, which offers a beautiful view over the city. To access the cabin of the lift, you usually have to wait in a long waiting line all around the lower platform of the lift, then pay few Euros and for that, you will get a few moments in the cabin going up to the upper part of the tower.
However, what most of the tourists probably doesn’t know, is that you can access the upper platform without using the lift at all. The secret goes like this: If you don’t mind missing the opportunity to use the cabin, you can get on the top platform just by walking up the hill a bit (see the map below).
Funny thing is that this way, you will be able to get to the top of the elevator not only without waiting, but also for free! The top platform of the lift is open for anyone, it doesn’t matter that you didn’t use the lift itself. So without any
queing, you will get to the same part of the tower as those who used the cabin.
This is a nice shortcut, however, since the very top of the Elevador de Santa Justa – the terrace with the splendid view – is even one level up above the exit from the lift, you have to take the short spiral stairs from the upper platform to fully enjoy the view that this nice attraction offers.
And yes, in order to access the roof terrace, you will have to pay about 1,5 Eur to the guy who sits next to the stairs. But that is still a lot less than for the lift and there is no queue for the stairs, so definitely go there, the view is awesome!