From the Castelo de São Jorge to the Belem Tower, discover seven of the best sunsets in Lisbon – my ancestral city – with us.
Welcome to my guide to sunsets in Lisbon, and the best places to enjoy them.
Lisbon really comes into its own around sunset, the late light playing on the ancient buildings. And as the sun sets, the famous miradouros – lookout points – command breathtaking views. It’s a beautiful city by day, but at sunset it’s magical, as the sun sinks behind the River Tagus and the hills to the west.
Lisbon is my ancestral city, and I’ve found seeking out the best Lisbon sunsets a wonderful way to appreciate it. I advise the best times of year to visit each of these Lisbon sunset spots, as well as what you can expect to see. I hope you get to enjoy some of them as much as I have.
Sunsets In Lisbon – Good to know
Lisbon is a spectacular city, set on several hills close to the broad River Tagus (Rio Tejo) and its estuary.
Its setting is partly what makes sunsets in Lisbon so special, with several hilltop vantage points (miradouros) around the centre.
Many of the best places to watch the sunset in Lisbon are situated along the riverfront. You could almost pick any spot between the Praça do Comercio and the Ponte de 25 Abril bridge, behind which the sun sets for much of the year.
Further along the riverfront and away from the centre of the city, the suburb of Belem is another great Lisbon sunset spot.
Some of our sunset locations in Lisbon work better at certain times of year – and we advise on these where necessary.
I’ve included some of these sunset views in Lisbon for the late sunlight on buildings. Others are direct sunsets, where you watch the sun sink over the horizon. In others you just get to see the sunset colours in the sky with the afterglow around the horizon. This is at its best around dusk 20-30 minutes after sunset.
TOP TIP: Wherever you watch sunsets in Lisbon, get there half an hour or more before sunset time. And stay at least half an hour after the sun has set, through dusk until the ‘blue hour’ of twilight.
Lisbon Sunset Time
Lisbon sunset times vary considerably, as is the case everywhere else in Europe.
On the longest days of the year, around 21st June, the sun sets around 9.05 to 9.06 pm (2105 to 2106).
By the autumn equinox around 21st September, the sun sets around an hour earlier, at 8.04 pm (2004).
The shortest days of the year are in December, when daylight saving measures kick in. On December 22nd the sun sets by 5.19 pm (1719).
Compared to London, the winter days are considerably longer. Lisbon winter days have well over 10 hours of daylight compared to a measly eight in London.
Sunsets In Lisbon – Our Top 7 Locations
Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte
Lisbon is famous for its miradouros, which are fantastic viewpoints over the hilly city. The furthest away from the main sights, the Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte, offers some of the best sunsets in Lisbon.
A 10-minute uphill walk or tram ride takes you to this hilltop vantage point with a small shrine. Many views of sunsets in Lisbon include the Ponte de 25 Abril suspension bridge over the river Tagus, as does this one.
This miradouro commands an extraordinary panoramic view, which also takes in the castle just to the south, and Baixa district below.
Tip: There are two alternative viewpoints nearby. The first of these is the Miradouro da Graça, also known as the Sophie de Mello Breyner Adresen viewpoint. It’s a busier viewpoint than Nossa Senhora do Monte, with a café keeping everyone refreshed through the evening.
The ramparts of the Castelo de São Jorge also make an amazing vantage point for sunset over the river.
Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara
This viewpoint in Bairro Alto has one of the best views in Lisbon, albeit facing the opposite direction from the sunset.
From here, above Rossio station, you have an amazing view across the Baixa district towards the Castelo de São Jorge (St George’s Castle). Just before sunset, with the last rays of the day lighting up the castle walls and buildings below, it’s a magnificent sight.
It gets even better as dusk falls over the city and the lights are turned on, the pink sky reflected in the buildings below the Castle.
Tip: You can reach this viewpoint via the Elevador da Gloria tram near Rossio station.
See Also: Lisbon 3-day Itinerary – how to spend three wonderful days in the Portuguese capital
Praça do Comércio
This square is the arrival point in Lisbon for anyone travelling by train from the south of the country. It’s a wonderful introduction to the city, with the yellow trams trundling past the Rua Augusta arch. And it’s also a splendid Lisbon sunset spot.
This location is best for the sunset afterglow, rather than a direct view of the sun going down. I’ve visited Lisbon a few times during the springtime, a time of year, with quite long, late evenings.
The square – also known as Terreiro do Paço – is especially beautiful at dusk, as the pink afterglow fills the evening sky behind the statue of Dom Jose I and the Arco da Rua Augusta.
The Belém riverfront has some of the best sunset spots in Lisbon. It was where I gravitated on my first trip to the city over 20 years ago. If you’re seeking out sunsets in Lisbon I’d look to spend at least one evening there.
The World Heritage Torre de Belém is one of the most famous Portugal landmarks, and the obvious place to begin. It’s a beautiful building, one of the finest examples of Manueline architecture in the world. One of my 19th-century ancestors used to pilot a boat back and forth past it every day.
The Tower – which is almost white – looks gorgeous in the late evening light. It glows orange and pink with the shadows of the palm trees cast onto it, a wonderful sight.
I’ve always felt it looks better at dusk than at the actual sunset, when it’s a rather large, clunky silhouette. At dusk it’s illuminated, looking spectacular against the blue and pink after-glowing sky.
Monument to the Discoveries – Padrão dos Descobrimentos
The dictatorship-era Monument to the Discoveries is one of the big three things to do in Belem, and the least attractive of them. However, it’s one of the best locations for sunsets in Lisbon.
The late sunlight gives the light stone monument a warm, orange glow, and it’s impressive from up close or afar, reflected in the nearby pond.
I’ve always been drawn to this Monument at sunset, when the figures of explorers on the ramp are lit up against the dusk sky. If pushed to name one, I’d say this is where you should go for the best sunset in Lisbon.
Jeronimos Monastery – Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
The stunning Manueline monastery – and World Heritage Site, along with the Belem Tower – is a magnificent sight at any time of day.
It’s especially beautiful around sunset as the warm late light cloaks the buildings before sinking below the horizon. Then the lights are turned on and, in the right conditions, you’re treated to the glorious afterglow.
Tip: If it’s an early sunset, stop by at Pasteis de Belem on the way back to the city. This superb café has been making delicious custard tarts since 1837, and is open until 9pm daily.
Belém Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology – MAAT
This striking riverfront museum is one of the newest landmarks in Lisbon. Its curving frontage looks amazing as the sun drops close to the horizon.
Miradouro de Santa Catarina
This miradouro, above the busy, partly industrial Cais do Sodré riverside district, is one of the most popular spots for sunsets in Lisbon. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy a sunset with someone, and a fair crowd gathers there most sunny evenings. You can get drinks and snacks from the two bars there.
It’s one of the best places to hang out with friends for a Lisbon sunset, but not really the best place to watch one. The best time to watch a sunset from Santa Catarina is in the autumn and winter, when it sets behind the Ponte 25 de Abril and Alcantara docks.
It’s a great place to spend some time, but if you have limited time and want to capture some sunsets in Lisbon, our other suggestions are better.
Lisbon Sunset – Final Words
Lisbon is magical at sunset. I’ve visited all of the locations in this article, some several times. And they are great places to appreciate this wonderful city at its most beautiful. I hope you get some of the glorious weather I had on my trips there.
Discover More European Sunsets:
David Angel is a Welsh, photographer, writer and historian who has been travelling and photographing Europe for over 30 years. His work is regularly featured in worldwide media including the BBC, Condé Nast Traveller, the Guardian, the Times and the Sunday Times.