It was closed for eight long months for the renovation of its surrounding buildings, but Lisbon’s oldest funicular has just reopened. Although tourists prefer the two other historical elevators when curious about a ride on these charming vehicles (that of Bica down one of the most picturesque streets in the city, and that of Gloria from downtown to Bairro Alto), Elevador do Lavra is also found in a central location and it’s just as fun. It goes up the hill around the corner from the pedestrian Rua das Portas de Santo Antão and takes you to a small neighborhood park at the top.
That park too has just reopened after a clean-up and is one more viewpoint overlooking the city. It’s called Jardim do Torel and looks out to Baixa towards the river, as well as over the high rises uptown. There are now new benches shaded by the trees, and it’s a romantic, uncrowded spot for couples. For tourists it’s discovering an authentic Lisbon experience that very few others know about and that rarely comes mentioned in guidebooks.