There are so many great neighborhoods in Lisbon, each with its own set of pros and cons, and each worthy of a spot in any travel blog's Places to Stay in Lisbon feature. But in the interest of keeping this short & informative, I've picked the neighborhoods that will best serve first time tourists to the area. In both location and convenience.
Staying in any of the five neighborhoods listed below with afford you some of Lisbon's best cobblestone streets, attractions, shops, cafes, restaurants, bakeries, bars, grocery stores, and anything else you could possibly want. You really can't go wrong with any of these areas. So Let's Get Started!
On our very first trip to Lisbon we stayed at an Airbnb in Baixa, which turned out to be a great choice for us. Yes, it was a bit busy in this area as it's in the center of pretty much everything, but it was great for the exact same reason. Almost everything we wanted to see was within walking distance, and the rest, such as attractions in Belém, were a short transit or Uber ride way. There was a lot of construction going on while we were there, and on our second visit we were able to witness the transformation, which was fantastic. It's super touristy here, so be prepared to pay more for food.
Baixa is in the heart of Lisbon and is, by most, considered the downtown area. Within its boundaries you can find many of Lisbon's most iconic attractions such as Arco da Rua Augusta, Rua Augusta pedestrian street, Elevador de Santa Justa, Praça do Comércio, Praça dom Pedro IV (Rossio), and so much more! You'll have no shortage of cafes and shops either, so come prepared to shop & eat to your heart's content.
Bairro Alto & Chiado
On our second trip to Lisbon we stayed in a boutique hotel in the Chiado area. This was uphill from our previous location in Baixa, and situated next to Praça Luís de Camões, which just happens to be next to one of our favorite cafe overlooks. Bonus! Bairro Alto & Chiado are divided by Praça Luís de Camões, but otherwise seem to merge together to form one beautiful, vibrant neighborhood filled with cafes & restaurants, shops, and iconic attractions. You can explore this area and see attractions such as Carmo Convent, Teatro de São Carlos, Rua do Carmo and Rua Garrett for shopping, Museu do Chiado, both Miradouro de Santa Catarina and Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara for great views of the city, and so much more, including a great night life!
Speaking of night life... if you are a light sleeper or just prefer to be in a quieter area of town, Bairro Alto may not be a good fit for you. If that is the case, I'm confident that you'll still find Chiado to be a great area for exploring all Lisbon has to offer.
This neighborhood is slightly outside of the city center, but it holds so many attractions that you won't mind the transit rides to and from the rest of the city. Belém is home to Pastéis de Belém, which is said to be the original pastéis de nata, and it's yummy! You'll also find Jerónimos Monastery, Belém Tower, The MAAT, Padrão dos Descobrimentos, The 25 de Abril Bridge, and so much more! I can't recommend this neighborhood enough for its attractions, but it will also give you a more local vibe, and that goes for the restaurants as well. If you don't mind the commute into the city center, this would be a great neighborhood to stay in, and might be the one we stay in on our next trip. It's also quieter, for those light sleepers, and walks along the river are fantastic day or night.
Alfama is a neighborhood you just have to see. You'll want to explore these wonderful old streets and take in all the character and charm that the oldest area of Lisbon encompasses. Aside from all the charm and windy, uphill streets, you'll have plenty to see and do here. Alfama's attractions include Castelo Sao Jorge, Lisbon Cathedral, National Pantheon, The Fado & Tile Museums, Tram 28, as well as overlooks such as Miradouro da Senhora do Monte and Miradouro das Portas do Sol. You'll also have no problem finding plenty of cafes, shops, and restaurants, filled with wonderful Portuguese specialties. This is perhaps the hilliest part of Lisbon, and all points are either downhill or uphill from it. So... keep that in mind if you decide to stay in this neighborhood. Though really, Lisbon is pretty hilly no matter where you stay.
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