A Roundup of the Safest Places to Stay in Lisbon
Planning a trip to the Portuguese capital? Here are some of the best places to stay.
With cork handbags, cork clothes and all manner of other cork souvenirs, even if you fell over, you’d probably bounce back up. In all seriousness, Lisbon is a remarkably safe city. Like all cities, it has its pickpockets and people looking to take advantage of tourists. But, for the most part, its affluent and exclusive neighbourhoods don’t really need any police presence. You’re in more danger of getting a tummy ache from the yummy pastries (grown-up talk only from now on, I promise) than getting into some kind of criminal mischief. Lisbon may share a language with the favelas of Rio de Janeiro (that’d be Portuguese), but culturally, they’re a world apart. Portugal was even held up as a beacon of security in documentary-maker Michael Moore’s Where To Invade Next, which implied the US could learn from its policies to make its own nation a little safer.
At Plum Guide we have done some serious research, so buckle up (to be even safer), as we take you on a journey through the safest places to stay in Lisbon.
Lap up the Lapa lifestyle in Lisbon’s lovely, lively and luxurious locality. A lot of that was meaningless so we could fit in some alliteration, but hey, style over substance. Lapa is everything that makes Lisbon special, from undulating terrain criss-crossed by old-world trams to its quaint church and green gardens. And it’s one of the safest parts in central Lisbon. If anything did go wrong, you even have the Centre of Health of Lapa right in its heart.
Propping up the city centre is Chiado, a maze of shopping avenues, wide and narrow, flat and steep. All the aforementioned cork in the world seems to adorn the shelves of its shops, which also display all manner of upmarket fashionwear and deluxe accessories. Grab a coffee on the terrace of one of the many boutique cafés and watch people go by (pop on some cork sunglasses to be discreet in your judgements). Despite being the city centre, it’s clean as a whistle and and one of the safest places to stay in Lisbon. You’re only in danger of being charmed by the local music in the Fado in Chiado theatre.
Some people think Bairro Alto and Chiado are the same area. Never talk to those people. The former runs along the western flank of the latter. And if that’s not a confusing sentence, then we don’t know what is. Perhaps it’s better to look at how Lisbon’s two central-most spots differ. The Bairro Altois quaint, old-world and hilly, but really comes alive in the evening through its little bars and restaurants. It’s a perfect spot to rest weary legs and unwind with some of the nation’s absolutely horrible licor beirão alcohol after shopping in Chiado in the afternoon.
A little east of Bairro Alto and Chiado is the downtown area, known for its Rossio Square (officially called the King Pedro IV Plaza, but that’s a bit of a mouthful). Anyway, the monarch stands atop a huge podium (compensating for something), lording it over the coffee drinkers at the art-deco Café Nicola. With the former monarch watching over you, this is one of the safest places to stay in Lisbon.
Keep moving east to stay in a Plum home amid the steep alleys and red roofs of traditional Alfama. Chat with the locals in the quaint little shops selling all kinds of handicrafts. The iconic no. 28 tram meanders its way around the sloped passages, culminating in the 11th-century São Jorge Castle. In the evening, you’ll feel safe as casas, listening to the sweet, sweet sound of live fado in the old-world restaurants.
Avenida da Liberdade
A lot of the big hotels line the avenue that runs down through the city centre. Liberty Avenue is a good description, because they’ve liberally added sections to this six-lane road. So, while your possessions and health are safe in this part of Lisbon, do make sure to look before crossing the street.
At the western end of the city centre of Lisbon lies Belém, famous for its namesake tower and the Jerónimos Monastery. It’s packed with some of the city’s most famous attractions, bringing a lot of attention to the area. And yet, like most of Lisbon, it remains as safe and secure as its fortified tower, making it a great family destination. Your biggest worry is making sure the kids don’t fall off the tower into the River Tagus. Best to keep them by your side, eh?
After all this talk of its lovely neighbourhoods, no doubt you're now debating a trip to Lisbon. Go ahead, explore our collection of family-friendly homes in Lisbon.