Where to Stay in Lisbon

This post will help you pick the best neighbourhood to stay in while you’re visiting Lisbon. 

We’ll cover a wide range of areas that are well known for their sightseeing, entertainment, nightlife, food, shopping and/or family-friendly activities.

 


OVERVIEW

When it comes to things like culture, entertainment, art, and historical significance, there is a lot of diversity in Lisbon’s neighbourhoods.

While some areas are much better for activities like shopping or going to clubs, others are more family-friendly or great for sightseeing.

This post details some notable neighborhoods in Lisbon. We describe what you can expect to find in those areas and the types of accommodations that are available there.

We hope this post will help you narrow down which area to stay in to match the activities you are interested in.




HISTORIC CORE OF LISBON

There are several neighbourhoods in the historic core of this city, and each one features a variety of landmarks, attractions, activities, and other things to see and experience while you’re in the area.

Most of these locations are great for multiple purposes, including sightseeing, entertainment, shopping, dining, nightlife, and other factors.

With that in mind, this section will list each of the major neighbourhoods in Lisbon and make note of which activities or services are readily available in each part of the city.


Alfama

Alfama is Lisbon’s most beautiful and oldest district, one of quaint but steep cobblestone streets and whitewashed houses. 

Some of the best views of the city can be had here, from Castelo de S. Jorge to multiple miradouros (viewpoints).

 

 

It is full of bars, restaurants, cafes, churches, and museums. 

For more information, read our post on things to do in Alfama or consider taking a walking tour of the neighborhood. 

Best for:

  • Sightseeing
  • Restaurants
  • Local Music (Fado)
  • Cultural Sites/Museums
  • Historic Architecture





Bairro Alto

This bohemian and colorful central neighborhood is quiet by day. That is the perfect time to take in its history, street art, and 18th-century architecture and views. 

At night it comes alive with music and crowds visiting the neighborhood bars, something that for some rules out a deep night’s sleep. 

 

Chiado Lisbon

 

Visit our post on the neighborhood to find things to do in Barrio Alto.

Best for:

  • Sightseeing
  • Shopping
  • Nightlife
  • Local Music (Fado)
  • Budget-Friendly





Baixa

Baixa, in central Lisbon, is one of the most touristy areas of the city.

Here you’ll find a series of squares and classical avenues, with tourist-friendly shops, cafes and restaurants.

 

 
You can also visit art galleries, museums, Roman ruins, monuments and pedestrianized streets. Read our post on things to do in Baixa

Best for:

  • Sightseeing
  • Shopping
  • Restaurants
  • Cultural Sites/Museums
  • Historic Architecture
  • Budget-Friendly





Belém

A leafy suburb to the west, along the Tagus River, in Belém one finds parks, gardens, and buildings that survived the great earthquake. 

It’s also home to many museums and one of the city’s most notable monuments, Belém Tower. 

 

 

Fine dining, fashionable hotels, and the best pastries in Lisbon can also be found here. 

Visit our post on things to do in Belém or consider a walking tour of the neighborhood.

Best for:

  • Sightseeing
  • Restaurants
  • Family-Friendly
  • Historic Architecture





Castelo

One of Lisbon’s oldest parts, and close to Graca and Alfama, is the authentic neighborhood of Castelo. 

It sits at the top of a hill within the walls of Castelo São Jorge, giving it marvelous views of the city and water.

 

Castelo Sao Jorge

 

Its streets are narrow and dark (though safe), residential, and filled with souvenir shops and a few hip bars and restaurants.

Best for:

  • Sightseeing
  • Shopping
  • Restaurants
  • Historic Architecture





Chiado

This bohemian neighborhood next to Barrio Alto can be described as vibrant and trendy.

Here you’ll find charming architecture, bars, restaurants, bakeries, and shops.

The neighborhood is walkable and filled with tourists. At night the streets are alive with music and dance. 

If you want to see some Portuguese Fado music, Chiado has a number of spots to check out.

 

 

Read our post for things to do in Chiado or consider taking a walking tour.

Best for:

  • Sightseeing
  • Nightlife
  • Restaurants
  • Local Music (Fado)





Martim Moniz

This neighborhood below Castelo de S. Jorge is close to all of the central action in Lisbon though few folks venture in.

While a little rough around the edges, it is safe and cheap, and the heart of a multicultural neighborhood.
 

 

Within a 5 minute walk are myriad food options, with everything from local seafood, to Chinese and Indian foods, to kebabs and sushi. 

Best for: 

  • Restaurants
  • Shopping
  • Budget-Friendly
  • Cultural Sites

 


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BEST SIGHTSEEING NEIGHBOURHOODS IN LISBON

In addition to the areas in the historic core of Lisbon we list above, here are other neighbourhoods to consider if you want to be near even more landmarks and sites.


Bica

This neighborhood close to Chiado, Bairro Alto, and Caid do Sodré, Bica sees one of the city’s funiculars climb its streets many times a day.

 

 

Here you’ll find one of Lisbon’s more traditional neighborhoods, often voted one of the most beautiful streets in Europe due to its 17th and 18th-century architecture and cobblestone streets.

Like Bairro Alto, it can be a nightlife hotspot, with many bars and restaurants.




Estrela

West of Barrio Alto is the historic and charming and quiet Estrela. You’ll find grand architecture, museums, and green spaces such as the romantic Estrela Gardens.

 

Estrela Garden

 

This wealthy residential area is home to a number of educational institutions, embassies, and government buildings.


Graca

Not far from the city center yet a world away is Graca. Here, at the highest point in Lisbon, are some of the best views in the city.

 

Miradouro da Graca

 

While there are many sites that attract mainly tourists, you can find others that are off the tourist track and frequented by locals.

Check out the Igreja a Convento da Graca and Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte with its amazing street art.

 


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BEST NEIGHBOURHOODS IN LISBON FOR ENTERTAINMENT

Visitors who are looking for great theatres, venues where they can enjoy traditional Fado music, museums, or even artistic sites might want to consider staying in one of the neighbourhoods listed below.

It’s also worth noting that you’ll find a lot of great entertainment in some of these other neighbourhoods as well:

  • Graca
  • Alfama
  • Baixa
  • Belem
  • Estrela
  • Bairro Alto

Alcantara

This neighborhood on the west of the city, along the waterfront, is a recently revived one.

Here you’ll find industrial buildings turned into artist spaces and upscale restaurants, a diverse and active nightlife.

 

 

You’ll also enjoy the view of Lisbon’s own version of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Ponte 25 de Abril.


Campo de Ourique

Easily reached by Tram 28, this peaceful residential neighborhood is considered one of Lisbon’s most attractive.

 

Jardim de Parada

 

Here you’ll find museums, cafes, restaurants, the beautiful Jardim de Parada, and a central large market with gourmet food and drink stalls.


Mouraria

The hip neighborhood of Mouraria shares a hill with Alfama. Once neglected it has of late seen gentrification in parts.

It is often referred to as authentic Lisbon and is home to a bohemian mix of Chinese, African, and Indian communities.

Artists and younger folks have been moving in, and it has an eclectic and colorful mix of street art.


Lapa

This charming, quiet, and hilly residential neighborhood, between Estrela and the river, is considered one of the best areas to live in the city.

 

Basilica de Estrela

 

Known as the embassy quarter, you’ll find various architectural styles, museums, public gardens, churches, and breathtaking views.


Santos

A neighbor to Madragoa, and down the hill from Lapa, is another of Lisbon’s oldest neighborhoods, Santos.

Here you’ll find grand mansions, palaces, churches and museums along the water. Head to Rui dos Pregos to walk or dine along the waterfront.

 

Santos

 

More sedate than the nearby Barrio Alto, Santos offers wine bars, restaurants, and art galleries.

Thanks to the many design and architecture students attending the neighborhood arts and design institute, it’s got a creative vibe and a lively nightlife as well.

 


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MOST FAMILY-FRIENDLY NEIGHBOURHOODS IN LISBON

If you’re looking for a neighbourhood with plenty of family-friendly activities, there are plenty of locations to choose from in the list below.

You may also want to consider the following areas for more family fun:

  • Belem
  • Estrela
  • Principe Real
  • Campo de Ourique

Alvalade

Fifteen minutes from downtown is the quiet but bustling neighborhood of Alvalade.

Developed in the 1940s, this planned neighborhood is made for those who desire a quality family life.

 

Alvalade Ice Cream

 

With green spaces, local shops and markets, bakeries, and in particular a very popular ice cream shop, it’s perfect for those who want to stay some distance from touristy areas.


Anjos

Only 5 minutes to the city center, Anjos is a culturally diverse part of the city that attracts artists and young families.

The neighborhood has recently undergone a “rebirth” though it retains its gritty edges.

 

Anjos

 

You’ll find cheap accommodations, traditional old-style Portuguese cafes, and the Anjos 70 market selling one of a kind items, organic foods, and second-hand objects.


Avenidas Novas

You’ll find wide tree-lined avenues, office blocks, residential apartments, hotels, shops, and restaurants.

 

 

Because it’s not as hilly as other parts of the city, it’s a great place to explore by bicycle, in particular its parks and gardens.


Campo Grande

This neighborhood to the north is home to the University of Lisbon and a number of other educational centers.

It is attractive to families because of the spacious living and its proximity to shops and restaurants.

 

Jardim Mario Soares

 

It’s also home to many parks and green spaces, including the largest park in Lisbon, Mário Soares Jardin.


Restelo

This affluent neighborhood, close to Adjuda and part of Belem, is known for its quiet streets and calm neighborhoods.

Here you’ll find embassies, mansions, and tranquil parks in which to relax.

What you won’t find are showy residents. The folks who live here like to keep a low profile while living in one of the best neighborhoods in the city.

 


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BEST NIGHTLIFE IN LISBON

If you’re mostly interested in enjoying activities after dark while visiting Lisbon, there are several neighbourhoods with popular clubs, pubs, and other venues you might want to visit at night.

In addition to the options listed below, you may also want to consider locations like these:

  • Santos
  • Alcantara
  • Bairro Alto
  • Chiado
  • Bica

Cais Do Sodre

Once Lisbon’s red-light district, today this waterfront neighborhood next to Baixa is one of the city’s most trendy.

 

Cais de Sodre

 

It retains a chic seediness, with burlesque shows and a happening nightlife. Here you’ll find some of the city’s hottest bars and clubs.


Madragoa

With small houses and narrow streets, trendy Madragoa, near both Lapa and Santos, proves to have kept many of its authentic features.

Although residential you’ll still find tourists here. It is known for its traditional taverns and fantastic nightlife.


Intendente

Bordering Mouraria is the small neighborhood of Intendente, one of the oldest parts of Lisbon.

Like Mouraria it’s been long neglected and is now slowly seeing a renaissance.

Because of its edge, it’s considered by some to be one of the hippest neighborhoods in the city.

Here you’ll find street artists and designers, along with vintage shops, and some unpretentious bars and cafes.

 


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BEST FOOD AND SHOPPING IN LISBON

Whether you plan on doing a lot of shopping or want to enjoy some of the best restaurants in the city, the neighbourhoods listed in this section are excellent places to stay while you’re visiting Lisbon.

If you’re also interested in sightseeing, entertainment, nightlife or family-friendly activities, you’ll also find great shopping and restaurants in the following neighbourhoods:

  • Alfama
  • Baixa
  • Castelo
  • Campo de Ourique
  • Alvalade
  • Anjos
  • Avenidas Novas
  • Chiado
  • Intendente

Avenida da Liberdade

One one of Lisbon’s main boulevards, Avenida da Liberdade is often described as Lisbon’s Champs Élysées.

 

Avenida da Liberdade

 

Lining its leafy street are high-end designer shops, posh hotels, expensive restaurants, attractive homes, and a number of tourist destinations.

 


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BUDGET-FRIENDLY LISBON NEIGHBOURHOODS

If you’re trying to save some money on food, activities, or even hotel accommodations, some Lisbon neighbourhoods are going to be more affordable than others.

In addition to the district listed below, we also recommend the following locations for low priced services:

  • Bairro Alto
  • Baixa

Principe Real

Although it’s mainly residential and traditional, Principe Real, to the north of Barrio Alto, has become quite fashionable.

It’s known for its shops, art galleries, restaurants, mansions, and gardens.  It’s also Lisbon’s gay and lesbian district.

 

 

Principe Real is often called the trendiest and most desirable neighbourhood in the city.

 


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About the author

Vania Silva
Vania has lived in Portugal for 15 years, where she is a local photographer, writer, and mom to a beautiful daughter. She is a published author on many well-respected travel & hospitality websites including Restaurant Insider, Level Up, SevenRooms, and more.