Ride the Santa Justa elevator in the heart of Lisbon

Ascenseur de Santa Justa, Lisbonne

Located in the Baixa district of central Lisbon, the Santa Justa elevator is one of the city’s must-see attractions.

The Santa Justa elevator, also known as theElevador do Carmo, is the only historic elevator in the city of Lisbon. Its unique character and astonishing neo-Gothic architecture make it a major tourist attraction. It connects the Baixa district with the Largo do Carmo square, and more generally with the Chiado district and nearby Bairro Alto.

Lisbon, the city of seven hills

Ascenseur de Santa Justa, Lisbonne

Photo credit: Flickr – whereisemil

The Portuguese capital has seven hills that make up its historic center. If you’re about to visit Lisbon, be prepared to climb up and down steep streets all the time! This characteristic has led to the construction of various means of transport, including the famous yellow streetcars, which allow residents to climb certain hills more easily. The Bica, Glória and Lavra funiculars were designed by the same architect as the Santa Justa elevator: Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard.

History and architecture of the Santa Justa elevator

Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard was born in Porto of French parents. This Portuguese architect began construction of Lisbon’s famous elevator in 1900, a project that was completed in 1902. Architect Jacinto Augusto Mariares was responsible for the elevator’s characteristic metal-riveted structure. In its early days, the elevator was powered by a steam engine, which was replaced by an electric system in 1907.

Ascenseur de Santa Justa, Lisbonne

Photo credit: Flickr – Stijn Nieuwendijk

The 45-m monument was built in wrought iron. Its style, in some ways reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower, led some to believe that Mesnier du Ponsard was a pupil of Gustave Eiffel. However, this link between the two men has not been established.

The neo-Gothic style of the elevator, its small spiral staircase and its belvedere with a 360° view of the city of Lisbon make this building very popular with tourists.

Location, prices and opening hours of the Santa Justa elevator

The famous Santa Justa elevator is located in downtown Lisbon, in the Baixa district. More precisely, you’ll find it at the junction of Aurea and Santa Justa streets.

The tower is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in winter and until 11 p.m. in summer. The belvedere is open from 8.30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m.

Elevator access costs 5.15 euros per adult for a round trip, with a supplement of 1.50 euros to reach the belvedere on the monument’s top floor. Just below the belvedere, you can enjoy a drink at the café, accessible via a spiral staircase, offering a magnificent view of St. George’s Castle, the Rossio, the Baixa – the lower city – and the Tagus.

However, you’ll need to be patient to take advantage of this attraction, which gathers a large queue at the start of the elevator every day.

Ascenseur de Santa Justa, Lisbonne

Photo credit: Flickr – Max Bashyrov

Ascenseur de Santa Justa, Lisbonne

Photo credit: Flickr – Véronique Debord-Lazaro

Ascenseur de Santa Justa, Lisbonne

Photo credit: Flickr – Simon Collison

Ascenseur de Santa Justa, Lisbonne

Photo credit: Wikimedia – Mdavids