Top 5 best areas to stay in Lisbon
Originally written by Anna in December 2018 and updated by Natalie in June 2021
For you to properly enjoy the city of Lisbon, you will need to stay in one of the best areas of the city! Today I’ll be sharing my top 5 best areas to stay in Lisbon with you.
Lisbon has many different and fun areas that will suit everyone’s interests. Staying in a central area is the best option, because you’ll be close to the many highlights of the city and well served by public transportation. Even though you can visit Lisbon on your own, you can also join a walking tour.
For you to make the right decision, I’ve gathered some of the areas I think are the most appropriate for your stay in Lisbon. Read on and find out my top 5 best areas to stay in Lisbon!
Baixa or Chiado
The Baixa area is the shopping center of Lisbon. In the Baixa and Chiado areas, you will find plenty of restaurants and cafés, and you will get to experience the old Lisbon.
If you choose one of these areas to stay in Lisbon, you will be able to visit the main landmarks of the city on foot. When necessary, you can use the elevators that will get you to Bairro Alto. The neoclassical area of Baixa has more office buildings, but has become more touristy these last years with the appearance of cafés and restaurants. While the Chiado is more lively, with its many stores, bookshops, theatres that always keep the streets busy!
In order to understand why Lisbon has become a popular place in Europe, you need to see Chiado: on your own – or with a walking tour.
Alfama is the oldest neighborhood of Lisbon. It dates back to the Middle Ages. Alfama represents the city before it suffered an earthquake in 1755, because it remained intact. This area is a unique neighborhood where you’ll be able to enjoy traditional restaurants and Fado establishements.
Even if you decide to stay in another area, you’ll have to visit the lovely Alfama if you want to experience the most traditional aspects of the city! However, since it is located on top of a hill, I wouldn’t recommend people who don’t particularly like walking to stay there.
A good way to discover Alfama is by joining a walking tour. You will see the city like a local and see the best attractions in Lisbon.
Established in 2010, Discover Walks runs free walking tours in Lisbon every day at 11am & 4pm. This Alfama Tour starts right in front of the Castle’s entrance and lasts a relaxed 90 minutes. You can visit our website to book your spot and walk with us!
Most of the time, Rossio is the preferred area for visitors, because it is very close to all the landmarks and highlights of the city. From there, you can easily get to them without having to take the public transports. Plus, since the area is flat, it is the ideal area for those of you who don’t like switchbacks.
There, you can catch the Elevador de Santa Justa, which will get you to Bairro Alto.
You need to know that the prices are likely to be a little more expensive, so check all the area’s options in advance, so you can get the best offers and rooms!
Cais do Sodré
From the Cais do Sodré, you’ll be able to reach the other side of the Tejo river. Staying in the Cais do Sodré area is a great idea if you like the idea of being well located, with many public transportations around and a train network that will get you to other cities as well.
It is close to Lisbon major landmarks and the area’s nightlife is worth experiencing!
The Bairro Alto is a charming neighborhood! The cobblestone pavements and the historical buildings in the narrow alleys are emblematic of the city. There, you will find many excellent restaurants and the Bairro Alto nightlife is simply the best!
In the old Bairro Alto streets, the daytime is quiet and the nights are busy! Note that in this area there’s no metro, so you will have to take the elevators to get there. I have to say that the Bairro Alto is probably more appropriate for youngsters.
You’ve now read my top 5 best areas to stay in Lisbon. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it and that it has been useful. If you need further information about anything, don’t hesitate to contact us.
You can also explore Lisbon on foot by joining one of Discover Walks walking tours. Don’t miss the chance to explore Lisbon with a born-and-raised local! I hope to see you soon in one of our tours!
While being one of the trendiest, new-age places to see and be seen in Lisbon, Mouraria is also one of the most authentically Portuguese hubs within the city centre, with a rich history and culturally dated streets. It manages to hold both of these roles thanks to remain one of the least gentrified parts of Lisbon, in spite of the influx of contemporary culture.
More than this, it is one of the least gentrified districts in all of Lisbon, and staying here during your visit will be both welcoming and inexpensive.
It’s also wonderfully central, keeping you within walking distance of the Alfama and City Center at all times. If you’re into street art, you’ll enjoy the laid back nature of youth expression in these streets.Despite being the ideal residing district for artists and performers, Mouraria has a long history of diversity within Lisbon which goes back to the beginning of life in Portugal.
Back in 1147, Mouraria became the Moorish ghetto of the city when the Portuguese king, Afonso Henriques, reclaimed the Lisbon city center and banished all Muslims from anywhere inside the castle walls.
Lapa is primarily a residential district in Lisbon, and home to locals who have called the Portuguese capital their stomping ground since before most of us were born. It’s been a continuously developing district in Lisbon, and now boasts a large number of impressive restaurants, bars and museums.
The architecture in this neighborhood is also wonderfully traditional, so if it’s that age old Portuguese flair you’re after, you’ll likely feel right at home here. This is also where you’ll find the Jardim da Estrela, one of Lisbon’s most central green spaces. Nature lovers are quick to make this their neighborhood of choice when deciding where to stay in Lisbon.
Again, this is a far less gentrified part of Lisbon, so don’t expect to find many international food options or westernized ways of living. Embrace the traditional nature of this district!
Everyone wants to visit Belem once they get to Lisbon, but few people actually think to stay here!
Belem is famous for its coastal attractions, namely the Belem Tower, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, and the Berardo Museum.
Moving inland, Belem becomes a really vibrant coastal town where locals settle to raise families, and avoid the chaotic nature of the Lisbon city center. Here, you’ll find spacious yet affordable Airbnbs, family friendly parks and attractions, and the best pasteis de nata in all of Portugal (arguably).
This really is a fantastic place to stay if you’re interested in soaking up as much Portuguese history as possible during your stay. These streets are rooted in historic events, as this was the first port of entry into Lisbon during the age of exploration and discovery.