Guide to Santa Justa Lift: Insider Tips, History & More

Santa Justa Lift in Lisbon in Portugal

The Santa Justa Lift, which carries passengers between Lisbon's upper and lower neighborhoods, is more than just a shortcut to Bairro Alto; it’s also one of Lisbon’s best attractions.

The wrought-iron tower, built in 1902, is one of the most characteristic places of the Portuguese capital. Stretching high into the sky, it is visible from many points and boasts far-reaching views of the Lisbon’s skyline. It's no wonder that Santa Justa is among the most visited spots in the city.

In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know before your visit, including the timetable, history and tickets.

Let’s start!

Things to do at Santa Justa Lift

More than 100 years old, the 45-meter-high Elevador de Santa Justa is the city's only public vertical lift. It connects the lower streets of the Baixa district with the higher district of Bairro Alto. This made it a great help for locals, who used it to avoid the steep climb up the hill.

Its observation deck, on the other hands, allows for stunning panoramic views of downtown Lisbon.

Things to do at Santa Justa Lift in Lisbon

1. Admire the Architecture

The elaborately designed Elevador de Santa Justa is not only a functional construction, but also a work of art. That's why it is worth taking a closer look at the design of the elevator.

Built in a Neo-Gothic style, the beautiful exterior is almost entirely wrought iron. It features filigree work, geometric patterns and elegant neo-gothic arches.

You may be surprised to find similarities with the Eiffel Tower. These are by no means coincidental. Portuguese engineer Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, who was responsible for the design of the Santa Justa elevator, is said to have been an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel and to have been inspired by the Eiffel Tower as he admired its craftsmanship and design.

Take a Ride in the Vintage Cabin of Santa Justa Lift in Lisbon

2. Take a Ride in the Vintage Cabin

Hop into one of the two old-fashioned wooden cabins, appointed with shaded mirrors and brass dials, and enjoy a nostalgic ride seven stories (32 meters) up. Interestingly, the elevator can carry twenty people up, but only fifteen down.

Since a ride on this famed structure is one of the top things to do for tourists visiting Lisbon, you should expect long queues throughout the day, especially in the peak season. It is advisable to arrive early in the morning or late in the evening to minimize waiting time.

The top floor, which is also accessible via Largo do Carmo without an admission fee, offers a magnificent view over the center of Lisbon. 

Tip: Instead of traveling up, you can walk to the top of the hill and catch the elevator for a ride back down. Not only are the queues much shorter, but the one-way ticket for the downhill ride is also cheaper.

  • Route: Rua do Ouro / Rua de Santa Justa – Largo do Carmo
  • Schedule: See the timetable of Santa Justa Lift here.
Enjoy the View from the Observation Deck of Santa Justa Lift

3. Enjoy the View from the Observation Deck

Reaching the top, a spiral staircase will lead you to the panoramic terrace of the Santa Justa Lift. From here, you can enjoy 360-degrees views of the city, including the Tagus River, São Jorge Castle, the Carmo Convent ruins, lively Rossio Square and the Baixa neighborhood.

Seeing the iconic building at night with its romantic atmosphere is also very rewarding. It is not only the appearance of the illuminated Santa Justa Lift that is truly breathtaking, but also the view of the city's dazzling sea of lights.

The observation deck is open daily from 9:00 to 23:00 in summer and from 9:00 to 21:00 in winter.

Please note that there is an admission fee for access to the observation deck.

Tip: You don't have to use the lift to visit the viewing platform. If you want to get to the top but avoid the long queues, you can instead climb the stairs along the side of the Carmo Convent or take the hidden elevator inside the Cork Shop on Rua do Carmo. Both alternatives will bring you to the top street to access the viewing deck without paying for a ride in the lift.

Entrance, Tickets, and Tours to Santa Justa Lift

  • Entrance: Every Day from 7:30-21:00 (Nov-Feb) & 7:00-23:00 (Mar-Oct)
  • Tickets: The Santa Justa Lift is part of the public transport system, that’s why the ride on the elevator is included in the 24-hour public transport ticket. Holders of public transport cards, such as Viva Viagem or Lisboa Viva can use the elevator for a one-way fee which is equivalent to a bus ride. Visitors who don’t have a public transport card can purchase a ticket at the ticket office onsite. The ticket price is 5.30€ (return).
  • The admission fee for the observation deck is 1.50€.
  • Tours: Travelers who want to get a deeper insight into historic Lisbon will treasure the self-guided audio tour Best of Lisbon: City Center. Listen to the audio guide from your own mobile phone and discover the must-see sights, including the Santa Justa Lift, at your own pace. 
  • Travelers' Tips: Lisboa Card holders can use the elevator for free and have free access to the observation deck.

How to Get to Santa Justa Lift?

The Santa Justa Lift is situated at the end of Rua de Santa Justa in the Baixa neighborhood, between the Baixa-Chiado and Rossio metro stops.

From Praça do Comércio: You can either walk 700 meters to the Santa Justa Lift or go one stop with the tram 15 or 25 to Pç. Figueira station. From here, the lift is just 4 minutes away.

Frequently Asked Questions about Santa Justa Lift

Where is the Santa Justa Lift?

The Santa Justa Lift is situated at the end of Rua de Santa Justa in the Baixa neighborhood, between the Baixa-Chiado and Rossio metro stops.

How do I get to the Santa Justa Lift?

From Praça do Comércio you can either walk 700 meters to the Santa Justa lift or take the tram15 or 25 for one stop to Pç. Figueira Station. The Santa Justa Lift is only 4 minutes away.

Was the Santa Justa Lift inspired by the Eiffel Tower?

The Portuguese engineer Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, who was responsible for the design of the Santa Justa Lift, is said to have been an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel. Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard was indeed inspired by the Eiffel Tower because he admired its craftsmanship, design and techniques.

When was the Santa Justa Lift built?

The Santa Justa Lift was built in 1900 and opened to the public in 1902.

Historical Facts & Info about Santa Justa Lift

Historical Facts & Info about Santa Justa Lift

The Elevador de Santa Justa, also known as the Elevador do Carmo, was built in 1900 to provide locals with an easier commute up and down the steep hill. It was inaugurated two years later.

Originally, the elevator was powered by a steam engine, which was replaced by an electric motor a few years later.

In 2002, the Elevador de Santa Justa was declared a National Monument. After extensive renovation work, the elevator reopened its doors in 2006. Today, the Santa Justa Lift is operated by the Companhia da Carris and serves primarily as a tourist attraction.

Contact & Map

  • Address: Elevador de Santa Justa, R. do Ouro, 1150-060 Lisboa, Portugal
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 7:30-21:00 (Nov-Feb) & 7:00-23:00 (Mar-Oct)
  • Public Transport: Metro Green Line, Rossio stop
  • Official Website: Carris.pt/elevador-de-santa-justa/ (only in Portuguese)
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