Visit Lisbon’s rua Augusta triumphal arch

Visite de l'arc de triomphe de la Rua Augusta à Lisbonne

Climb to the top of Lisbon’s Rua Augusta triumphal arch for an incredible 360° view of the port and beyond.

Located at the northern end of Praça do Comércio on Rua Augusta in Lisbon and close to the Tagus River, the 19th-century Rua Augusta triumphal arch (Arco da Rua Augusta) is a symbol of the Portuguese capital’s reconstruction after the violent earthquake of 1755. The arch was not officially completed until 1875. The construction of the Rua Augusta Triumphal Arch was a way of symbolizing the rebirth of the city.

If you can admire the Arc de Triomphe from Praça do Comércio and Rue Augusta, did you know that you can visit the arch and climb to the top?

Climbing the rua Augusta triumphal arch

Horloge de l'arc de triomphe de la Rua Augusta à Lisbonne

Photo credit: Flickr – Allan Watt

The columns supporting the arch are adorned with statues by Portuguese sculptor Vítor Bastos (1832-1894) of several Portuguese historical figures, including the Marquis of Pombal, Vasco da Gama, General Nuno Álvares Pereira and Viriatus, who resisted the Roman conquest of Portugal.

Since August 2013, it has been possible to take an elevator up to a spacious, cool, stone-floored room beneath the belvedere, where you can see the mechanism of the arched Rua Augusta clock. The current clock was manufactured in Portugal in 1941. Inside the clock room, you can learn more about the history of the arch from its construction after the 1755 earthquake to its completion in 1875.

Sous l'arc de triomphe de Lisbonne

Photo credit: Flickr – Stròlic Furlàn – Davide Gabino

The tour of the Arc de Triomphe continues by climbing the spiral staircase to the top of the building. Once up there, admire the colossal statues by French sculptor Célestin Anatole Calmels representing Glory, crowning Genius and Valor.

The triumphal arch offers a 360° panoramic view of the Praça do Comércio and the Tagus River to the south, the Baixa district to the north, the ruins of the Convento do Carmo and the Bairro Alto district to the west, and Alfama, the Sé (Lisbon Cathedral) and St. George’s Castle to the east.

Intérieur de l'arc Rua Augusta à Lisbonne

Inside the arch

Mécanisme de l'horloge de l'arc Rua Augusta à Lisbonne

The clock mechanism

Sommet de l'arc Rua Augusta à Lisbonne

Atop the Arc de Triomphe

Note that the text at the top of the arch refers to the Portuguese colonial empire and the discovery of new peoples and cultures:

« VIRTVTIBVS MAIORVM VT SIT OMNIBVS DOCVMENTO.PPD », i.e. « The virtues of the elderly, to serve as a lesson for all ».

During the summer months, the arch acts as a screen for a night-time video and light show on the history of Lisbon.

Rua Augusta triumphal arch: Rates, opening hours…

The Arc de Triomphe is open daily from 9am to 7pm. There is no access for people with reduced mobility, as the Arc de Triomphe was not originally built for visitors.

Admission for adults is €2.50, and children under 5 are free.

Admission is free if you have the Lisboa Card, which gives you free access to Lisbon’s must-see monuments and public transport.

Main photo credit: Flickr – mr.donb