Where to Stay in Lisbon

SD › Best Places to Stay in Lisbon
Updated: January 3, 2024
By Santorini Dave

Our Favorite Hotels in Lisbon

• 5-star: Avenida Palace
• 4-star: Torel Palace
• 3-star: LX Boutique Hotel
• For families: Chiado Flats
• For couples: Verride Palácio Santa Catarina

Best hotel with view in Lisbon.

The view of central Lisbon from the Verride Palácio Santa Catarina Hotel.

The Best Areas to Stay in Lisbon

Lisbon is fast becoming one of Europe’s most popular destinations, with its friendly population, gorgeous old town overlooking the Tagus estuary, rich history, and mild climate – as well as those charmingly antiquated funiculars and yellow trams zipping up and down its many hills. Despite the growing number of visitors, Lisbon’s range of accommodation is massive, from luxurious five-star and boutique hotels to family-friendly finds and some of the best and budget hostels on the continent.

Lisbon has many distinct neighborhoods that vary both in atmosphere and activity, so your experience will be different depending on where you stay. There is no single best neighborhood for tourists; major sights are clustered in the city center – essentially the Baixa, Chiado and Alfama neighborhoods – but there are big attractions further out too, notably in Belém along the river. The city is large but the center is walkable, and there are good transport links to other districts. Most of the top (expensive) hotels are in Chiado or along Avenida da Liberdade, though there are good luxury options a little further out too. Look for midrange and budget options in Baixa and Bairro Alto in particular.

Lisbon Neighborhoods

Baixa is Lisbon’s historic downtown, in the valley between Alfama to the east and Bairro Alto to the west. After the catastrophic earthquake of 1755, its elegant streets were rebuilt as Europe’s first grid system. Just to the north is Rossio, with its bustling squares and traditional ginjinha (Portuguese liqueur) joints. This area is packed with attractions and very tourist-friendly – it’s also great for both high-street and more alternative shopping. There’s a huge range of accommodation here, but the crowds (and subsequently noise) can be an issue.

On a hill to the west of Baixa lies Chiado, sloping down to the riverside area of Cais do Sodré. While Chiado attracts culture vultures with its old-world elegance, museums, and designer shopping, Cais do Sodré is edgier, a former red light district turned nightlife magnet. There are excellent high-end accommodations in Chiado and some good budget options in Cais do Sodré.

Hotel near Lisbon tram route.

A Lisbon tram in front of the Le Consulat Hotel.

Bairro Alto and Príncipe Real climb the hills north of Chiado and are both primarily nightlife destinations. Bairro Alto is bohemian, full of vintage shops and street art, and comes alive when the bars and clubs open in the evening. Príncipe Real feels more polished, with lots of hot restaurant openings, designer boutiques, and art galleries. Here you’ll find charming guest houses, hip hostels, and some high-end hotels, though nights in Bairro Alto can get rowdy.

Avenida da Liberdade is Lisbon’s answer to the Champs-Élysées, running northwest from Rossio. It is upscale and leafy, and boasts the best high-end shopping and some of the chicest dining in town. This is the place to stay in if you want a grand hotel, though you can find some more affordable options too.

Photogenic Alfama sits on the hill east of Baixa, watched over by the Castelo de São Jorge (the old castle that dominates the city center). This is Lisbon at its oldest and most charming, with medieval streets and stairways winding down to the river. The district survived the 1755 earthquake and is one big tourist attraction, with its miradouros (scenic viewpoints) and traditional restaurants hosting evening fado shows. Accommodations tend toward boutique hotels, and though it can get very busy during the day, it’s relatively easy to escape the crowds.

Mouraria and Graça to the north and east of Alfama, share its historic charm but not its touristy bustle. These areas are full of character; you can mingle with the locals and newly-arrived immigrants at cute cafés in peaceful squares, discover traditional and international restaurants (mostly cheap), and shop at markets and artisans’ workshops. Accommodations are mostly guest houses, with some standout hotels.

Three miles west of Baixa, Belém is a historic riverside area, known as the place where the Portuguese launched their voyages of discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries. It is dominated by UNESCO-listed sights and top museums, including the grandiose Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and iconic Torre de Belém, as well as several excellent museums including the Museu Coleção Berardo and Museu Nacional dos Coches. Here you will also find restaurants and bars with river views. There are some midrange accommodations here, along with a couple of luxury options. In between Belém and the city center are a cluster of neighborhoods with up-and-coming nightlife and a smattering of sights and hotels: Santo Amaro, riverside Alcântara, and leafy Lapa.

Finally, local families like to hang-out at modern Parque das Nações, some 6 miles (9km) north of the city center, along the Tagus estuary and overlooking the massive Vasco da Gama Bridge. There are plenty of upscale hotels here and attractions to amuse the kids like the huge Oceanário de Lisboa aquarium, though it’s a long way from the historic parts of the city.

Getting Around Lisbon Without a Car

The best way to explore the city center is on foot – everything in Baixa, Alfama and Chiado is relatively close together, though there will be some steep slopes to negotiate. For further afield, public transport is cheap and convenient in Lisbon, via metro, tram or bus – there’s also a useful suburban train line along the Tagus estuary to Belém and beyond, paid funiculars and elevators up the steepest slopes, and ferries across the river. Uber is also available and usually cheap within the city center.

Lisbon’s vintage (“remodelado”) tram #28E is a favorite with tourists for good reason – it trundles through the most picturesque city center neighborhoods taking in some of the main landmarks between Praça Martim Moniz and Campo Ourique. Trams run every 10–15 minutes (and take around 50 minutes to make the full journey), but to avoid long lines you must go early (6am–8am) or late (after 9pm). Otherwise, it’s a good idea to start at the Campo Ourique terminus, where there are always fewer people. If you just hop on its €3; if you have a Viva Viagem stored value card (purchased at metro stations) it’s just €1.50; and the ride is free with a Lisboa Card (see tips, below).

The Best Places to Stay in Lisbon

Best Neighborhoods in Lisbon for…

  • Best Neighborhoods in Lisbon for Sightseeing: Baixa and Rossio, Belém, Alfama
    As the historic city center, Baixa and Rossio are full of attractions, such as the magnificent Praça do Comércio, the mini-Eiffel-Tower Elevador de Santa Justa, and the Rua Augusta, the restaurant and store-lined main drag. Belém has an amazing concentration of historic UNESCO-listed sights and top museums. Come here for the opulent Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, iconic Torre de Belém (from which Portuguese explorers set sail), fantastic contemporary art at Museu Coleção Berardo, and blinging carriages at Museu Nacional dos Coches. Alfama – Lisbon’s old town – is one big attraction, with its well-preserved Moorish-era streets, stark 12th-century cathedral Sé de Lisboa, and access to the majestic Castelo de São Jorge.
  • Best Neighborhoods in Lisbon for Nightlife: Bairro Alto, Príncipe Real
    There is no shortage of hip bars and thumping clubs in Lisbon – it’s rapidly becoming one of Europe’s party capitals. Head to São Vicente for Lux Frágil, one of the top clubs in the city, and don’t miss the famous Pink Street (Rua Nova do Carvalho) in Cais do Sodré, a parade of bars and restaurants that positively heaves with nighttime crowds – Musicbox and Pensão Amor are solid choices. But for an eclectic mix of craft beer, fine wine, slick cocktails bars, and sweaty clubs, go straight to Bairro Alto or the classier Príncipe Real. Popular bars in the former include Suave and Park Rooftop, with Lisbon institution A Capela the best place for dancing. In Príncipe Real, try Pavilhão Chinês, or 5A Club for the best DJs and cocktails.

    Remember that the Portuguese tend to eat late and party even later, especially at the weekends. Hip bars won’t start to get busy until midnight; they usually stay open till 3am or 4am (clubs usually till 6am at weekends).

  • Best Neighborhoods in Lisbon for Food and Restaurants: Chiado, Cais do Sodré
    Lisbon is full of great dining options; just beware of tourist traps in Baixa and Alfama. Príncipe Real has a clutch of hot restaurants, with cuisines ranging from South Indian to Peruvian and Mexican. Avenida da Liberdade has some very chic restaurants. However, Chiado and Cais do Sodré have a bit of everything: gourmet street food at Mercado da Ribeira, the biggest market in the city (incorporating the excellent Time Out Market Lisbon); traditional Portuguese tascas, especially around Rua das Flores and Rua Nova do Carvalho; and exquisite fine dining at spots such as Bistro 100 Maneiras and Michelin-starred heavyweights Belcanto and Alma.
  • Best Neighborhoods in Lisbon for Families: Belém, Parque das Nações
    Belém packs a lot of big attractions into a small area, including the innovative Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia (MAAT), and the spectacular Museu Nacional dos Coches. These are surrounded by parks and scenic riverside walks past romantic monuments to Portuguese explorers. There is also a cycle path along the river all the way to Cais do Sodré, and it is a short train ride to the seaside at Cascais. Another good area is Parque das Nações: modern, more residential, and less raucous at night than some downtown areas. There’s plenty of shops and family-friendly restaurants (it’s extremely popular with local families at the weekends), plus the futuristic Oceanário aquarium, cable car (Telecabine Lisboa), Pavilion of Knowledge science museum, and the observation platform on the Torre Vasco da Gama, Lisbon’s tallest building.
  • Best Neighborhoods in Lisbon to Stay for First Timers: Baixa and Rossio, Chiado, Alfama
    If you are a newcomer, central Baixa and Rossio are great because they both have plenty of sights and atmosphere of their own and also because areas like Chiado, Bairro Alto, Alfama, and Avenida da Liberdade are a short walk (or climb) away. Chiado and Alfama are also great picks – both centrally located with a good mix of culture, historic character, cool shopping, and quieter residential areas. Choose Alfama if you want to immerse yourself in the oldest part of the city – it’s the one part of Lisbon that wasn’t devastated by the 1755 earthquake, so its Moorish and medieval roots are still intact.
  • Praça do Comércio in Lisbon

    Praça do Comércio is the spectacular entry point to Baixa & Rossio, Lisbon’s best areas for first-timers and for sightseers.

  • Best Neighborhood for Shopping: Avenida da Liberdade
    Lisbon’s Avenida da Liberdade is a designer paradise – this is where the city’s major boutiques are all located, from Gucci and Michael Kors to Louis Vuitton and Burberry. For indie stores, check out LxFactory in Santo Amaro, or the EmbaiXada mall in Príncipe Real. The best bargains can be had at the Feira da Ladra flea market at the eastern end of Alfama (held twice weekly). If you want to escape the tourists completely, head out to the Feira do Relógio on Sunday mornings (via Chelas metro station), to peruse Lisbon’s largest, no-frills market for cheap food, clothes, and local products.
  • Most Romantic Neighborhood in Lisbon: Alfama
    There is almost no contest here; although places like Chiado and Príncipe Real boast sweeping views, elegant boutiques, and fine dining, Alfama is Lisbon at its most enchanting – and not just for its steep streets. Medieval alleys and stairways invite you to wander, miradouros (viewpoints) look out over red-roofed houses sloping down to the river, and there are hip bars and artisans’ workshops to discover as well as gorgeous boutique hotels to stay in. It can be crowded with tourists during the day, but at night, the castle walls are beautifully illuminated and the sound of fado can be heard from many traditional restaurants.
  • Best Areas in Lisbon for a Local Vibe: Mouraria and Graça
    A few locals still live in Alfama and there is a traditional vibe despite the growing tourist crowds. Bairro Alto is the bohemian, uninhibited face of Lisbon, with its vintage shops, tattoo parlors, little tascas, and many unique bars packed into the narrow steeps. However, Mouraria and Graça are historic, characterful areas clustered north of Alfama, which have somehow remained working-class, immigrant-friendly, and relatively un-touristy. Unless you are willing to stay way out in north or west Lisbon, these are the best central neighborhoods to shake the tourist hordes. Mouraria is more diverse, drawing immigrants since its days as a Moorish ghetto in the 12th century, and has seen a little more urban renewal. Mingle with the locals in authentic Bangladeshi, Portuguese, Goan, or Mozambican restaurants, and discover local crafts, artists’ studios, and street art celebrating fado, which was born in Mouraria.
  • Best Areas in Lisbon for Walking: Avenida da Liberdade, Alfama
    Lisbon is a pleasure to walk around, but a hilly one. Embrace the inclines and explore the winding streets of Alfama – there is really no other way to discover the treasures of this neighborhood. Mouraria and Graça have similar narrow streets which also reward leisurely wandering. Or stroll along broad, flat Avenida da Liberdade instead, taking in the grand arcade of plane trees and designer boutiques on either side. The center of the avenue has walking paths running all the way up to Parque Eduardo VII, lined with trees, flowers, and ponds, and on some days, the market stalls of Feira na Avenida.
  • Safety in Lisbon
    Lisbon is in general a safe city with a low crime rate. In particular, Chiado, Baixa, Rossio, and Avenida da Liberdade are very safe. Tourists should simply take the usual precautions, e.g. watch their bags and stick to busy streets late at night.

    Busy areas and public transport that attract tourists tend to be places where pickpockets are a risk, so take care, especially around sights in Baixa and on trams 28E and 15E to Belém. At night, Cais do Sodré and Bairro Alto get loud and full of partygoers, while Martim Moniz and Intendente, just north of Mouraria, can feel sketchy.

The 8 Best Neighborhoods in Lisbon for Tourists

Best 5-star hotel in Lisbon.

Hotel Avenida Palace in central Lisbon.

1. Baixa and Rossio

Baixa is Lisbon’s historic downtown and its elegant, bustling heart, with Rossio perched just to the north. Levelled by the 1755 earthquake, it was rebuilt (now quake-proof) by the Marquês de Pombal, funded by gold from Portugal’s colony of Brazil – its neat grid plan is a complete contrast to the winding, narrow roads of Alfama, just a short stroll away. Baixa’s busy streets are full of attractions, from the grand colonnades of Praça do Comércio in the south, where dignitaries to Lisbon used to land, to the cast iron filigree of Elevador de Santa Justa, built by Gustave Eiffel’s apprentice Raoul Mesnier – the ornamental elevator that whisks visitors (and locals) up to the slope to Chiado. There is plenty of shopping here, with high-end and edgier brands on offer, especially on Rua Augusta. Find great Portuguese restaurants and gourmet street food at Mercado da Baixa. Around Rossio (anchored by Praça Dom Pedro IV) is the best place to find tiny ginjinha bars, for a taste of Lisbon’s iconic sour-cherry liqueur.

This area has the widest range of accommodations, from high-end to hostels, for those who don’t mind the crowds. Baixa today is primarily a tourist area, though some businesses and government offices remain.

2. Chiado and Cais do Sodré

Verride Palácio Santa Catarina hotel in Lisbon.

The historic Verride Palácio Santa Catarina Hotel is set in an 18th-century palace.

West of Rua Áurea in Baixa rises chic, historic Chiado, with edgier Cais do Sodré to the south, along the river. Chiado offers plenty of sightseeing, with its theaters and museums, including the ghostly Convento do Carmo ruins and Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea do Chiado, and literary landmarks like Livraria Bertrand (the world’s oldest bookstore, founded in 1732), and 19th-century Café A Brasileira (which features a statue of writer Fernando Pessoa sitting at a table).

Fantastic shopping can be found here, particularly along Rua Garrett and central Praça Luís de Camões. The food scene is also hard to beat – Cais do Sodré’s main landmark is foodie magnet Mercado da Ribeira (home of Time Out Market Lisbon), while Chiado’s dining includes Belcanto, one of many restaurants by celebrated chef José Avillez, and Alma, both Michelin-starred. There are fine cocktail and wine bars such as Rove (in Le Consulat hotel) and Topo Chiado, but the undisputed nightlife destination is Cais do Sodré, on and around vibrant Rua Nova do Carvalho. Once a red-light district and now reborn as hipster Pink Street, unique bars like Sol e Pesca and Pensão Amor party till dawn.

There are some top hotels here, but also plenty of affordable options in Cais do Sodré (which tends to be noisier at night).

3. Bairro Alto and Príncipe Real

Bairro Alto, the ‘upper quarter’ north of Chiado’s Praça Luis de Camões, and Príncipe Real, further north from Rua Dom Pedro V and extending west, are young, trendy, and party-loving districts. The Bairro is alternative and graffiti-studded, while Príncipe Real is also arty but more affluent. Check out the art galleries, street art, and repurposed palaces on Rua Dom Pedro V, and catch memorable views from Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. Other highlights include the Jesuit church of São Roque, with its stunning St John’s Chapel; the tropical Botanical Garden of Lisbon; and the family-friendly National Museum of Science & Natural History. Music fans might want to check out the Casa-Museu Amália Rodrigues, home and memorial to the famed fado singer and “Voice of Portugal”.

Shop in Bairro Alto’s boho boutiques and Príncipe Real’s glossy designer ones like Kolovrat, and indie shopping mallslike EmbaiXada. Some of the hottest chefs in town have opened restaurants here, such as Ljubomir Stanisic at 100 Maneiras, and Francisco “Kiko” Martins at A Cevicheria. At night, Bairro Alto comes into its own, drawing crowds from across the city to cozy bars, sweaty dance floors, and terraces with a view. Meanwhile, Príncipe Real offers cool craft beer, wine, and cocktail joints to discover.

Accommodations in this area tend to be stylish guest houses, with some excellent hotels in Príncipe Real, but avoid Bairro Alto if you value quiet nights.

4. Avenida da Liberdade

Hotel with view in Lisbon.

The rooftop bar at the Tivoli Avenida Liberdade hotel.

Avenida da Liberdade is an affluent area northwest of Rossio and east of Príncipe Real. More modern and residential, its spine is the broad, leafy avenue itself, lined with plane trees and a glittering parade of luxury shops, from big names like Miu Miu and Armani to art galleries and boutiques like 39a Concept Store (on nearby Rua Alexandre Herculano). There are fewer big attractions here, but the avenue leads to the giant Marquês de Pombal traffic circle and Parque Eduardo VII, a pleasant green space home to the huge Estufa Fria greenhouse, modernist Monumento ao 25 de Abril, and the Miradouro Parque Eduardo VII, a viewpoint with spectacular views of the city center. The avenue also hosts the fanciest flea market in town, Feira na Avenida, held every second weekend of the month. You can find great fine dining here at venues like JNcQUOI Avenida, as well as some of Lisbon’s best cocktail bars, including Red Frog and Monkey Mash.

This is a good area for luxury hotels, though there are plenty of boutique, midrange, and budget options too. It lacks the atmosphere of the older city center neighborhoods, but on the plus side can feel a little divorced from the tourist hubbub.

Lisbon hotel with view and pool.

Looking over central Lisbon from the Torel Palace Hotel near Avenida da Liberdade.

5. Alfama

Red-roofed buildings spread over a hillside under a blue sky and next to the sea

As you ascend the hill from Baixa to Alfama, it feels as though you’ve crossed into an entirely different country. Distinct from Baixa’s post-1755 earthquake reconstruction, Alfama has preserved its narrow, medieval streets and buildings. As the oldest and most atmospheric district in Lisbon, Alfama’s charms have not gone unnoticed, attracting throngs of tourists throughout the year. However, tranquil streets and cozy cafés can still be found tucked away from the bustling crowds, inviting visitors to meander through the winding lanes and delight in getting lost.

The primary sights here include Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa), the Museu do Fado, and the old Moorish castle towering over all of it, the Castelo de San Jorge – you’ll get the best views of Alfama from the battlements. History buffs should checkout the Museu do Aljube Resistênciae Liberdade, chronicling the rise and fall of Portugal’s 20th-century dictatorship, housed in an old jail for political prisoners. There’s also the Panteão Nacional (National Pantheon) at the eastern end of the neighborhood, a shrine to Portuguese notables such as president Manuel de Arriaga, fado singer Amália Rodrigues, and soccer player Eusébio. Nearby are the Feira da Ladra and Mercado de Santa Clara (no-frills flea markets), and the Church of São Vicente de Fora, resting place of Portuguese royalty.

You can also shop for traditional crafts and mingle with locals at the numerous miradouros (viewpoints) and in the neighborhood cafes; fortunately, the influx of tourists has not yet gentrified the district completely. Eat in traditional tascas where fado singers perform, or seek out more modern takes on Portuguese food at Boi-Cavalo, Chapitô à Mesa, and Prado.

Accommodations in Alfama tend to be charming boutique hotels, with some guesthouses and budget options. Though compact, the neighborhood’s slopes can be steep – be prepared for a stiff hike.

6. Mouraria and Graça

A yellow streetcar runs past colorful green, pink, and orange neoclassical buildings

Adjoining Alfama on its hill are two more historic neighborhoods worth exploring on foot – Mouraria on the northern slopes towards Martim Moniz, and Graça to the northeast. These are primarily working-class areas, full of local color and relatively undisturbed by tourism. Graça is Alfama’s more peaceful cousin, while Mouraria is both more multicultural and undergoing more regeneration. This “Moorish Quarter” is where the defeated Muslims were allowed to settle (outside the city walls) after the Siege of Lisbon in 1147; today you’ll find grocery stores and restaurants run by Bangladeshis, Chinese, Cape Verdeans, Mozambiquans, and many others, especially on Rua do Benformoso. Highlights here include the scenic viewpoints of Miradouro da Graça and Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, and contemporary art galleries like Hangar. There are great, affordable local restaurants – Mozambican cuisine at Cantinho do Aziz, Goan at Tentações de Goa, and Bangladeshi food at Spicy. At night, find a cool local bar, such as alternative Damas.

These are atmospheric areas that allow you to escape much of the tourist hubbub in neighboring Alfama. There are some gorgeous guesthouses and boutiques here, a couple of high-end hotels, and a spread of hip hostels.

7. Along the Tagus (Tejo): Belém, Lapa, Santa Amaro and Alcântara

Belem neighborhood in Lisbon.

Well away from the historic center (3 miles or a 30-minute tram ride west along the river from Baixa), Belém is a tourist magnet due to its major sights, scenic parks, and river views. It packs a great deal into a small area, from UNESCO-listed historic Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (a masterpiece of Manueline architecture) to one of Lisbon’s coolest museums, the Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia (aka “MAAT”). Belém is iconic Portugal – Torre de Belém is the site from which Portuguese explorers set sail, while Pastéis de Belém is the birthplace of the pastel de nata, the tasty custard tart (be prepared to wait in line for a table). The giant Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to Discoveries) on the waterfront is another Lisbon icon. Museum-goers will find contemporary art at Museu Coleção Berardo, maritime history at Museu de Marinha, folk art at the Museu de Arte Popular, the home of the Portuguese President (with a small museum) at Palácio Nacional de Belém, and the modern Museu Nacional dos Coches, crammed with ornate horse carriages from the 16th century on. Stroll along the river to discover bars with a view, great seafood restaurants, and Michelin-starred dining at Feitoria.

With more time it’s worth exploring the neighborhoods between here and the city center, beginning with Santo Amaro, where the Doca de Santo Amaro, a small marina, is lined with restaurants and bars offering stellar views of the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge towering above. Inland, the LxFactory houses galleries, stores, and restaurants. Neighboring Alcântara is home to the Asian art collections at the Museu do Oriente, while wealthy Lapa is Lisbon’s diplomatic quarter, home to classical art in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, and Portuguese puppets at Museu da Marioneta. On the riverfront, you’ll find more bars and restaurants in the regenerated district of Santos, plus clubs like Barrio Latino.

There are some heavy-hitter luxury hotels out here, as well as hip hostels and midrange options, all somewhat distant from the main tourist areas, though Belém can get extremely busy during the day.

8. Parque das Nações

Aerial trams run over a seawall on a sunny day

The former Expo 98 site, 6 miles north along the Tagus estuary (or “Mar da Palha”) from the city center, has been transformed into the modern Parque das Nações district, a slick neighborhood of high rises, futuristic shopping malls, and a handful of primarily family-friendly sights, as well as a long, breezy promenade overlooking the Vasco de Gama Bridge, the second longest bridge in Europe (over 10 miles long). The main highlight is the stylish Oceanário aquarium, containing around 8,000 fish and marine animals; other attractions include a riverside cable car (Telecabine Lisboa), Jardins da Água (Water Gardens) and the Pavilion of Knowledge science museum, to numerous bars and restaurants and several major event venues such as the Altice Arena and Pavilhão de Portugal. It’s also possible to zip up to the observation platform atop the Torre Vasco da Gama, Lisbon’s tallest building. The main transport hub here, the Estação do Oriente, was designed by the star architect Santiago Calatrava.

Beato: In between Parque das Nações and Alfama lies the up-and-coming riverside neighborhood of Beato, where you’ll find popular seafood and Portuguese restaurants such as Casa do Bacalhau, as well as galleries like Manicómio Lisboa and the illuminating Museu Nacional do Azulejo, a museum dedicated to Portugal’s beautiful painted tiles.

There are lots of excellent, new hotels here, and the metro link is quite convenient, but it’s not an especially atmospheric place to stay unless your main focus is the aquarium and associated kid-friendly sights.

More Lisbon Neighborhoods

We’ve covered our favorite neighborhoods to visit and stay in more detail above, but with more time these districts are also worth checking out.

  • North Lisbon: There are a few sights worth seeking out north of Parque Eduardo VII, with the standout attraction the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, a must for art lovers. To the northwest lies the family-friendly Jardim Zoológico de Lisboa, aka Lisbon Zoo, and the Estádio da Luz, the soccer stadium of Benfica, one of Europe’s most celebrated football clubs. The club offers stadium tours and has a museum paying homage to legendary ex-players like Eusebio. Rivals Sporting Lisbon (officially Sporting Clube de Portugal) play at Estádio José Alvalade, a mile-and-a-half away, with their own museum and store. You can reach most of these places easily via public transport so there’s no need to stay the night up here, even if you get tickets for an evening match. If you do plan to spend the night, we recommend Chalet d’Ávila Guest House
  • West Lisbon: West of the Bairro Alto lies the upscale district of Estrela, best known for its gardens and the enormous Basílica da Estrela (which houses the tomb of Queen Maria I, and Joaquim Machado de Castro’s lauded 18th-century cork and terra cotta nativity sculpture). Adjoining Campo de Ourique is an attractive, less touristy neighborhood home to an excellent indoor market and the Casa Fernando Pessoa, a museum dedicated to Portugal’s most beloved writer and poet (this house is where Pessoa lived from 1920 until his death in 1935). The inland neighborhoods further west contain a couple of sights that might appeal to long-stay or repeat visitors: the stately Palácio Nacional da Ajuda (a beautifully restored 19th-century royal palace) and the Palácio Nacional e Jardins de Queluz, a former royal summer palace surrounded by scenic gardens.
  • South of the River: Other than a series of sandy Atlantic beaches, there’s not much to see south of the Tagus River, but it’s worth taking a ferry (or a bus over the Ponte 25 de Abril) to visit the Cristo Rei (Christ the King) statue, inspired by Rio’s famous Christ the Redeemer. It’s possible to ride an elevator to the deck at the base (269ft up) for sensational views across the city.
  • There’s not much point in staying near Lisbon Airport in the northeastern part of the city unless you have a very early flight (it’s an easy taxi or metro ride from the city center). If you do need to stay here, the best hotel is the expensive but convenient Melia Lisboa Aeroporto, with the cheaper (and nearby) Star Inn a solid alternative.

Lisbon Travel Tips

  • Lisbon Airport is only about 4 miles (7km) north of the city center, making it a relatively cheap taxi ride from most hotels. As the largest airport in Portugal, it’s well connected to cities all over the world. The airport has its own metro station, with trains running to the São Sebastião station in around 20 minutes, where you can change trains for city center destinations.
  • Almost everyone you are likely to deal with in cosmopolitan Lisbon will be able to speak (or at least understand some) English, except for a few taxi drivers and owners of small cafés/shops. Try to learn a few words and numbers in Portuguese anyway, before you go. Day-trippers should note that once you head out of the city, things change dramatically – very few people in rural Portugal speak English, especially the older generation, though it’s possible to get by with Spanish.
  • The Lisboa Card is a worthwhile purchase if you intend to see a lot of sights: it offers free entry to a range of attractions plus discounts at shops and restaurants. It also offers free public transport, useful for sights beyond the city center. Cards are available for 24hr, 48hr or 72hr plans; buy online in advance for a small discount.
  • Free wi-fi is available at Lisbon Airport, and at every metro station (with the exception of Baixa-Chiado) – look for “ON-FI.” Otherwise, free wi-fi is becoming the norm in cafes and restaurants in the city center, though don’t expect every place to offer it.

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  1. Mia Williams

    Brilliant post! I know Lisbon well and this info is surprisingly good.

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