You know that unmatched overwhelming but sweet feeling of smallness when you are facing an imposing and grandiose vista? There is nothing quite like it. Getting struck by an enthralling view as you let yourself be immersed in the surrounding scenery is nothing short of wonderful. And Portugal has it all: cityscapes, landscapes, seascapes – you name it! All the picturesque towns and glorious nature are sure to take your breath away. As you scroll through this article, allow yourself to get carried away by the beauty and singularity of the main viewpoints in Portugal. Each of them will provide you with a completely different experience – explore whatever seems more eye-catching!
Get a panoramic view of the Lima River
Named after the nearby Santa Luzia Church, a magnificent Neo-Byzantine sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Miradouro de Santa Luzia affords breathtaking panoramic views of the city, the Lima River, and the stunning coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the most popular and iconic spots in Viana do Castelo.
To reach it one can either take a walk up the hill or use the Santa Luzia funicular, a vintage cable car that offers sights of the city's historic buildings as it ascends. Once there, you will be rewarded with stunning views that stretch as far as the eye can see. The vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, the picturesque Lima River meandering through the city, and the red-tiled roofs of Viana do Castelo's historic buildings create a mesmerizing scene. On clear days, you will catch a glimpse of the imposing Santa Tecla Mountain on the Spanish side of the border.
The viewpoint itself has pretty gardens and walkways, providing a tranquil setting where you can relax and soak in the beauty of the surroundings.
Enjoy the twinkling Ribeira from a different perspective
Situated on the southern bank of the Douro River, the Miradouro da Serra do Pilar offers stunning panoramic views of the city's historic center, the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge, and the picturesque Ribeira district. The viewpoint derives its name from the nearby Serra do Pilar Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The 16th-century monastery is known for its circular design and Renaissance architecture.
To reach Miradouro da Serra do Pilar, you can cross the Dom Luís I Bridge from the Porto side and make your way up the hill to the viewpoint, or take a boat ride along the Douro River and enjoy the scenic views. Once at the miradouro, the view spans across the river, capturing the colourful Ribeira district with its traditional narrow streets, tiled façades, and bustling waterfront promenade. The iconic Dom Luís I Bridge, with its two-tiered iron arches, stands majestically, connecting the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.
The narrow lanes of the Ribeira district, the soaring bell towers of numerous churches, and the distinctive rooftops create a charming scene that is particularly enchanting during sunrise or sunset. At night, the twinkling nights make it an absolutely magical place.
Breathe in the tranquility of the Douro Valley
From the Miradouro São Leonardo da Galafura, you can admire the terraced vineyards, the meandering and shiny Douro River, and the rugged mountains that define this picturesque region. This viewpoint is named after the nearby São Leonardo da Galafura Chapel, a small chapel dedicated to Saint Leonard.
To reach it, visitors usually prefer to take a scenic drive through the winding roads that cut through the Douro Valley. The terraced slopes, adorned with rows of neatly planted grapevines, create a striking visual display that is sure to sweep you off your feet at every mile.
The serene Douro River zigzags its way through the valley, with traditional Rabelo boats occasionally passing by, and the rugged mountains embrace the valley and form a majestic backdrop to the vineyards and river. Covered in lush vegetation, these mountains provide a stark contrast to the orderly terraces below. The interplay of light and shadow on the slopes creates a dynamic visual composition.
Take the time to breathe in and out slowly and connect with nature. The silence and vastness of the landscape create a sense of peace, allowing you to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life for a few moments.
The magnificent sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte
Bom Jesus do Monte, in northern Portugal, is a magnificent sanctuary and Catholic pilgrimage site known for its impressive Baroque architecture, stunning gardens, and panoramic views. It is one of the most visited religious and cultural landmarks in the entire country.
To get there, climb the monumental staircase consisting of 577 steps. Alternatively, you can take a ride on the iconic Bom Jesus funicular, in operation since the late 19th century. Upon reaching the summit, the sanctuary's centerpiece is the imposing Bom Jesus Church, which features a striking façade adorned with intricate sculptures and ornate details.
One of the most remarkable features of Bom Jesus do Monte is the impressive zigzag staircase known as the "Stations of the Cross", with each landing representing a different stage of Christ's journey to the cross. The surrounding gardens feature ornamental fountains and colorful flower beds, providing a peaceful retreat for visitors to enjoy the natural beauty around.
Admire Lisbon's cityscape under the warm golden light
Situated on the highest hill in the city of Lisbon, this viewpoint offers striking vistas of Lisbon's historic centre, the tranquil Tagus River and its typical rooftops. The Miradouro da Senhora do Monte is named after the nearby Chapel of Senhora do Monte, a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Mount. You can either reach the miradouro by walk or public transportation.
From Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, gaze upon the iconic red rooftops of Lisbon's historic and narrow neighbourhoods, such as Alfama and Mouraria. The view is particularly enchanting during sunset when the rooftops are bathed in warm golden light. Beyond the cityscape, you can admire the domes and spires of churches and cathedrals, such as the Lisbon Cathedral, the Church of São Vicente de Fora, and the iconic São Jorge Castle which punctuate the skyline.
If you love photography, then this viewpoint is a must due to its exceptional vantage point over the captivating play of light and shadows over Lisbon. An unforgettable experience and a different way to soak in the unique charm and beauty of Portugal's capital city!
Visit the castle located in the "Most Portuguese Village"
Monsanto is a stunning medieval village which was awarded the title of "Most Portuguese Village" in 1938 for its authenticity, traditions, and harmonious integration with nature. Castelo de Monsanto is located here, perched on a granite hilltop at an elevation of approximately 758 meters (2,487 feet)!
The origins of Castelo de Monsanto date back to prehistoric times. The castle itself was built during the Roman period and subsequently expanded and fortified by the Visigoths and the Moors. It played a strategic role in the region, serving as a defensive stronghold and providing a vantage point to monitor the surrounding landscape. Exploring it allows you to get immersed in centuries of history, and from the higher points of the castle, you can admire the stunning vistas of rolling hills, lush valleys, and scattered rural villages.
The narrow streets of Monsanto wind their way through the village, revealing charming houses adorned with colourful flowers, wooden shutters, and traditional Portuguese tiles. The village preserves its traditional way of life, with locals engaging in traditional agricultural practices.
The westernmost point of continental Europe
With a wealthy geology and biodiversity, Cabo da Roca is a unique coastal promontory that holds the distinction of being the westernmost point of continental Europe. It is characterized by towering cliffs that drop steeply into the Atlantic Ocean below, forming a dramatic and magnificent landscape. Embrace the peaceful sound of the crashing waves, the salty sea breeze, and the chirping of seagulls, which create an invigorating ambience.
We recommend you get to Cabo da Roca by embarking on a scenic drive starting in the town of Sintra and passing through lavish forests and winding roads that gradually reveal glimpses of the coastline. Upon arrival, you will be greeted with stunning views that stretch as far as the eye can see.
One of the main attractions here is the iconic lighthouse, built in the 18th century, which serves as a navigational support for ships passing through the waters of the Atlantic. On clear days, the horizon seems endless, and the vastness of the ocean creates a sense of tranquility and wonder.
Stand on a glass-floored platform over the Atlantic Ocean
Located on the southern coast of the Madeira Island, Miradouro do Cabo Girão is one of the highest sea cliffs in Europe, standing approximately 580 meters (1,903 feet) above sea level. One of its highlights is its glass-floored platform that extends out over the cliff edge, providing an unparalleled perspective of the sheer drop to the ocean below.
It is surrounded by neighbouring villages, lush valleys, and the distant mountains of Madeira, as well as terraced vineyards, which contribute to its unique charm. Madeira is renowned for its wine production, and the vineyards clinging to the slopes add a touch of greenery and a sense of harmony with nature.
The viewpoint at Cabo Girão is easily accessible, with parking facilities available nearby, and the hospitality and warmth of the local community will only add to your experience.
Take some time for contemplation
The secluded Miradouro da Eira do Serrado, located in the heart of Madeira Island, creates the perfect scenery for contemplation and reflection. And even though all times of the day allow you to appreciate different but equally splendid sides of the changing light and atmosphere, Eira do Serrado is particularly magical at sunrise and sunset, which cast a golden glow over the landscape.
You will be able to get a privileged view over the Curral das Freiras, a charming village nestled in a valley surrounded by steep cliffs. Known as the "Nun's Valley", it is named after the nuns who sought refuge here during a pirate attack in the 16th century. From the Miradouro da Eira do Serrado, visitors can admire the cultivated slopes, which are a testament to the island's agricultural heritage, showcasing the determination of the locals who have transformed the rugged landscape into fertile grounds for farming.
This viewpoint is also a popular starting point for hikers, as there are several well-marked trails that lead to waterfalls and natural wonders. These hikes provide an opportunity for you to get immersed in the island's pristine nature, breathing in the fresh mountain air and witnessing the biodiversity around you.
Where the blue meets the green
Miradouro da Vista do Rei is named after King Dom Carlos I of Portugal, who visited the site in 1901 and was captivated by the magnificent view. Legend has it that the king declared it to be the "king's viewpoint" due to its regal beauty.
Situated on the edge of a steep cliff, in the western part of São Miguel Island in the Azores archipelago, this viewpoint provides an awe-inspiring view over Sete Cidades, which is an enormous volcanic caldera comprising two large lakes, Lagoa Azul (Blue Lake) and Lagoa Verde (Green Lake). The contrasting colours of the lakes create a unique mesmerizing sight.
From Miradouro da Vista do Rei, you can take in the vastness of the Sete Cidades crater, surrounded by lush green hills, dense forests, and charming rural villages. Connect with nature's grandeur and immerse yourself in the exceptional beauty of the Azores. It is a place where one can appreciate the power of volcanic forces that shaped the landscape and witness the harmony between land and water.
Put on comfortable shoes and start exploring around
We know – the hard part here is deciding which one to choose. But if it is any help, we would argue that any choice would be a great one. Whether you want to soak up the tranquil greenery of superb landscapes, enjoy the vast blue ocean from another perspective or simply watch the ordinary daily city life happening at your feet, these miradouros allow you to see Portugal’s wonders from a different point of view – literally! So put on some comfortable shoes and clothes and start discovering these stunning gems.