Lisbon, Portugal: the country’s largest city, a metropolitan hub, a center for art, culture, media and entertainment. Photographers rejoice! From the colorful coastal houses to the traditional red roofs to the classic yellow tram cars, Lisbon is easily one of Europe’s most photogenic cities. Portuguese photographer Hugo Miguel Sousa (@hmiguelsousa) shows us some of his favorite locations to shoot in the capital city.
Visiting Alfama is all about getting lost. Walking up and down the narrow streets of the oldest district in Lisbon, meeting locals, listening to some Fado music, and trying traditional Portuguese food. Its vibrant color and unique spirit make it one of the most charismatic places in Lisbon.
Before I moved to London, I used to live near this neighborhood. I was reminded everyday of how charismatic the area is — from the friendly cats in the doorways to the old ladies at the windows of their small houses, ready to chat.
Head to the top of Alfama’s hill, where you will be rewarded with an amazing view of the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, one of the most popular viewpoints in the city, offering a stunning panoramic view of the Alfama and Tagus rivers. I can recall standing on the hill, eyes closed, listening to the sounds of trams traveling up and back down. While you explore, you’ll also see beautiful decorative tiles on the building exteriors and stunning gardens with the river as a backdrop.
BAIXA CHIADO and PRÍNCIPE REAL
You’ll find Baixa, Chiado, and Príncipe Real quite different from Alfama. Elegant and full of energy, this area is one of the most popular and touristy in Lisbon. It’s a mixture of old and new, and has a lot to explore — museums, contemporary stores, restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife.
I hung out with my friends in this area quite often, but no matter how many times I came here, I always saw something new.
CAIS DE SODRÉ
Cais de Sodré has become more stylish in the past few years. Of all the attractions here (beautiful architecture, unique markets, a busy nightlife), I still think the sunset over the river is one of the best experiences to have in this area.
The streets of Cais de Sodre are characterized by bright colors and beautiful light. Rua Nova do Carvalho, one of the main streets, is painted entirely pink. The architecture is also diverse: the new EDP Headquarters (Portuguese Electric Company) has brought clean, angular lines to the neighborhood and is a must-see for any architecture fan. Apart from the obvious new additions, the area is full of intricate details you can only spot with your eyes open.
Walk along the river from Cais do Sodre to Belem under the beautiful sky of Lisbon and enjoy the view from the water. Pass over Lisbon’s most famous bridge, the 25 de Abril. Be sure and stop by the MAAT, which is the new museum of art, architecture, and technology. Its shape is unique and evokes a wave — appropriate since it is located right on the edge of the water.
When I venture around this area, I always reward myself with a famous (and delicious) Pasteis de Nata, also known as a Portuguese custard tart. If you’re hungry after roaming, you definitely should, too. Eat a pastry while you stroll the nearby gardens and the Cultural Center of Belem (CCB).
I can recall many happy, sunny days spent in Belem. It also helps that it’s a hugely photogenic area. Regardless of what you shoot — lifestyle, architecture, food, or travel — you’ll find subject matter to photograph here.
Though you probably won’t find it in most city guides, the unique architectural lines and beautiful light of Lisbon makes Fundação Champalimaud one of the most photo-friendly places in the city.
I enjoy going here by myself to find some peace. The weird, curved lines of this futuristic space reflect a bright light, creating the perfect atmosphere for reflection while the wind whistles along the river. I love to photograph people in this setting against the dramatic scale.
COSTA DA CAPARICA
If you’re looking for the picturesque Atlantic Ocean, I recommend you cross the 25 de Abril Bridge and explore the winding streets across the river. This stroll will take you out of Lisbon, but you won’t regret venturing further to explore Meco or Costa da Caparica.
At some of the nearby beaches, people like to lose their clothes and enjoy the wild side of nature. Apart from this curious fact, these neighborhoods and beaches are quite interesting and great for adventurous explorers. You’ll be rewarded with epic views and some peace and quiet away from the crowds of Lisbon’s city center.