Walking through the Baixa-Chiado district in downtown Lisbon, you will soon discover the historical Santa Justa Lift, an elevator lifting people from the lower part of Lisbon to the upper district of Bairro Alto.
The lift conveniently allows people to bypass the steep hill from the Baixa district to the ruins of the Carmo church.
Santa Justa Lift
The Santa Justa Lift was inaugurated as one of the city’s public transport systems on 10th July 1902.
Lisbon’s residents were so excited to try this novelty, that over 3000 tickets were sold on this day.
Since then, the elevator has not just been used as a convenient method of transportation but is now a hugely popular tourist attraction.
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Santa Justa Lift: Location, Price, and Opening Hours
How to get to the Santa Justa Lift
You will find the Elevador de Santa Justa on Rua Santa Justa in the Baixa district. Nearby landmarks include Rossio Square and Praça do Comércio, each within 5-minutes walking distance of the Lift.
If using public transport, the nearest metro stations are Baixa/Chiado (blue and green lines) and Restauradores (blue line).
Read more about our tips for transport in Lisbon here.
Ticket Prices for the Santa Justa Lift
A return ticket at the entrance costs €5.15. If you have a 7 Colinas or Viva Viagem card it will cost just €1.45 each way. You can also buy the Lisbon Card, which will give you access to 23 different museums and several landmarks for only €20.
Insider tip: Since the Lift is part of Lisbon’s transport network, Carris, it is included in the cost of a 24-hour ticket, which can be purchased from any metro station. This 24-hour ticket also includes the Glória Funicular, the number 28 tram, and the tram to Belém, so is ideal for tourists exploring the city.
Schedule of the Santa Justa Lift
The schedule changes from the winter and summer months so keep this in mind:
- From May to October: 7am – 11pm
- From November to April: 7am – 10pm
History of the Santa Justa Lift, a Parisian Affair
The Elevador de Santa Justa is an impressive 45-meters high and you might notice some similarities with the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris. These similarities are not a coincidence! The architect Raoul Mesnier de Ponsard, who designed the Lift, was an admirer of Gustave Eiffel.
Ponsard applied many of the same techniques used in the Eiffel Tower, to the Santa Justa Lift, such as its iron structure and the great neo-gothic arches and geometric patterns.
By the end of its first year running, the Lift had carried more than half a million passengers, making it almost as popular as Paris’ Eiffel Tower.
Fun Facts about the Santa Justa Lift
- The Lift was originally powered by steam until 6th November 1907, when an electric motor replaced this.
- The Lift can carry up to 29 people.
- Funding was provided by the royal house.
- Construction took two years, beginning in 1900 and finishing in 1902.
- In 2002, it was classified as a National Monument, along with the remaining cable railways of Lavra, Gloria, and Bica.
The Viewing Platform of the Santa Justa Lift
Beautiful by day and by night.
The Lift has a stunning observation deck at the top with panoramic views of Lisbon, and a site that should not be missed. Since it opened to the public, it has quickly become one of the city’s most popular viewpoints, and it is easy to see why!
The viewing platform is the perfect location to admire the city’s architecture by day but also one of the most romantic locations to see the city at night.
The platform can be accessed from the top exit of the lift and reached by a narrow spiralling staircase. The view costs €1.50 – this fee is included in the return ticket fee but not the 24-hour transport ticket.
Local Tip: You can reach the top floor of the Lift without paying for the viewing platform or Lift admission. Nearby the Carmo Convent, you can follow a path to the right of the ruins and enter through the Bellalisa Elevador restaurant. Here you can witness the same breathtaking views of Lisbon, just from a meter or 2 below the top viewing platform.
Five Nearest Hotels to the Santa Justa Lift
- Corpo Santo Lisbon (from €270/night) – Located near the riverside and in very close proximity to Bairro Alto and Chiado. This is a 5-star historical hotel with 79 rooms, including 2 suites. Guests can enjoy room service, a bar and lounge, fitness centre, and breakfast included.
- My Story Hotel Tejo (from €145/night) – Residing in a 19th-century building, this hotel is both elegant and modern; in prime location near Praca da Figueira in the downtown Baixa district. Guests can enjoy the luxury of being steps away from plenty of cafes, museums, restaurants, boutiques and more to explore.
- Hotel Santa Justa (from €169/night) – Sharing the namesake of the Santa Justa Lift, this boutique hotel offers guests one of the best locations in Lisbon. It combines modern comfort with the charm of a well-designed hotel.
- Browns Downtown Hotel (from €113/night) – A trendy hotel found in a building from the 18th century, completely rebuilt with a cosy contemporary interior. They pride themselves on being an “in design” and “hi-tech” hotel. Stay here for a hip, informal guest experience in the centre of downtown Lisbon.
- Hotel da Baixa (from €175/night) – Found in the heart of Lisbon, between Praça do Comércio and Praça do Rossio. This hotel offers a charming location, excellent service, and pombaline architectural elements. They also offer room service, airport transfers, free breakfast, and babysitting for families.
Five Best Restaurants Near the Santa Justa Lift
- Nova Wine Bar – This is a Mediterranean and Portuguese wine bar in the Chiado district. They serve tapas and meals, and of course excellent wine. The smoked pork, codfish cakes and chocolate mousse are popular choices.
- Allchiado – An Italian and Portuguese fused menu, welcoming guests into a cosy well-decorated restaurant serving both lunch and dinner. The shrimp, cod, duck, and hamburger are each excellent choices.
- Palácio Chiado – One of my favourite restaurants in the city, the palace of gastronomy is beautifully decorated and very grande. The food is just as divine, with a menu that specializes in everything from tapas, to fish, meat, vegetarian, and more. The duck risotto is a dish I’ve indulged in several times and the signature cocktails are also very special. Be sure to make a reservation here.
- Casa Lisboa – For those wanting to dine in the beautiful Praça do Comércio, this restaurant is one of the better spots to feast yourselves. Besides an excellent view, the food is genuinely marvellous, and the service pleasant. Try the bacalhau for something traditional and make a reservation to avoid disappointment.
- Popular Do Capelo – A hidden gem in the centre of downtown, serving traditional local meals and cheap beer. Dine here and receive large portions of beef with fries and egg or grilled chicken with potatoes.
Want to know more about eating in Lisbon? Read our guide for the best restaurants in the capital city.
Should You Visit the Santa Just Lift?
So, there you go!
The Santa Justa Lift is an impressive elevator in Lisbon, even on a rainy day! The viewing platform at the top deck is one of my favourite viewpoints in the city, and a site not to be missed when visiting Lisbon.
And if you want to visit more monuments in Lisbon, be sure to read our other guide for the Best Monuments in Portugal’s capital city.
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I'm a freelance copywriter and free-spirited traveller from Australia. I fell in love with Portugal when I arrived here and hope to share with you all the reasons why.