Wondering where to stay in Lisbon? From Alfama's beautiful quarters through the vibrant sights of Chiado to the historical streets of Belém, Lisbon is one of the most interesting and colourful cities in Europe. Immerse yourself in a laid-back atmosphere, learn about Portugal's maritime history and eat your way around its picturesque capital city. Here is your comprehensive guide on where to stay in Lisbon.
Where to stay in Lisbon [2020 Guide] For first time visitors - Contents
Where to stay in Lisbon
Perched upon seven hills, Lisbon’s pastel coloured buildings, steep cobbled lanes and laid-back atmosphere make it the perfect place for a short city break. And when it comes to deciding where to stay in Lisbon there are plenty of neighbourhoods to suit whatever it is that draws you to this riverside city.
Nestled on the hillside between the São Jorge Castle and the riverbank, Alfama is not just Lisbon’s oldest district, but it’s most beautiful too. Made up of a maze of delicate streets, hidden archways and spindly steps, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time here. Yet the neighbourhood’s freckling of bustling bars, restaurants and cafes make it anything but old-fashioned.
Why stay in Alfama
If you’re looking for a truly authentic area to stay in Lisbon then look no further than Alfama. Couples will love the air of romance that graces the streets, whilst creative types will love its charming alleys, street art scene and the photo opportunities that come with them. Travellers can also enjoy staying in a side of town that’s slightly quieter, yet easily reachable from the main tourist areas and just a stone throw from the castle.
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Not that much goes on in Bairro Alto during the day. Yet come back at dusk and it’s a whole different story. Home to the best bars, restaurants and clubs in the city, there’s no neighbourhood better than this one to enjoy Lisbon’s nightlife. In the evenings, patrons of all ages come to meet, tables and chairs spill out onto the streets and a kind of festival spirit pulses through the air.
Why stay in Bairro Alto
If you want to be in the thick of it all after hours, then Bairro Alto is the place to stay. With the hottest bars and clubs right on your doorstep, you won’t have to go far to find a decent night out. Though if you do fancy sleeping too, it’s best to stay a little further away from the main hub as it can get quite loud. And as it’s such a central area, Bairro Alto is also just a hop and a skip away from the sights and attractions of the rest of the city.
Baixa & Chiado
Baixa & Chiado are the most touristy areas of the city. They may not be as pretty as some of the other neighbourhoods but are home to Lisbon’s main sights and attractions. Here, you’ll also find most of the city’s shopping galleries and streets, theatres and lively squares full of street performers. The most notable of which is the iconic Praça do Comércio by the river Tagus that acts as the gateway between the two areas.
Why stay in Baixa & Chiado
If it’s your first time in Lisbon, then the adjacent districts of Baixa and Chiado are great places to stay. You’ll be in walking distance of the city’s main sights and shopping streets and also well connected by public transport to other areas of Lisbon.
This is fast becoming Lisbon’s most fashionable district. Although it’s still primarily a residential area, there’s now a younger crowd moving in that’s bringing a wave of boutique shops, quirky bars and hipster cafes to the district. It’s slightly north of the tourist areas of Baixa, Chiado and Bairro Alto, yet still close enough to reach them on foot. And as it’s set higher up in the hills, the area boasts fantastic views of the city from all around.
Why stay in Príncipe Real
Príncipe Real is perfect for travellers looking to stay outside the tourist bubble, yet still within easy reach of it. It also offers a great way to see a slightly more alternative and local side to Lisbon as well as stunning views of the city.
Set in the west of the city, this leafy suburb has long been associated with Portugal’s golden age of exploration and discovery. It’s home to one of the city’s main historical attractions, Belém Tower, yet there’s much more to this neighbourhood than that. There’s also plenty of quaint parks and gardens for relaxing, ancient monasteries to discover and an esplanade that winds alongside the river flanked with restaurants and bars, on which you can stroll into the centre.
Why stay in Belém
If you’re looking to fully absorb Lisbon’s history and culture, then Belem is a great place for you to stay. It’s also a good option for those looking to stay in a quieter area of town, although just be mindful you will have to use public transport to travel into the centre.