Ranked: A Guide to the Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon
Lisbon might be small, but it’s made up of vastly different neighbourhoods, each with its own distinct character. Which one should you choose?
There’s nothing quite as annoying as planning a trip to a new city and immediately being faced with a bunch of neighbourhood names. We feel you. The short answer to where you should stay is always ‘it depends’, but for the long one, we decided to ask our Home Critics to compile a list. Their top picks surprised us (a little).
8. Bairro Alto
Homes in Bairro Alto are usually a rich mix of traditional architecture and modern touches. The windows are a bit smaller on average, but that’s precisely why mood lighting was invented.
Homes in Baixa usually have high ceilings and beautiful french windows, which are remnants of the Pombaline restoration. They’re usually a bit pricier due to the central location, but if you want to explore on foot, then this is the place to be.
6. Cais do Sodré
The nightlife does get a bit rowdy sometimes though, especially around Pink Street, so it might not be the best place to stay for those who prefer their nights to be spent in full serenity.
Foodies take note – Mercado da Ribeira, now taken over by Time Out magazine, is a must-see. Come hungry.
If Graça was a person, it would be a local shop owner who knows everyone and asks you if you want 'the usual' after you've been there only a few times – tourist or not. But although Graça is one of Lisbon's oldest neighbourhoods, it's far from a sleepy village. Situated on the highest of Lisbon’s seven hills, this neighbourhood is a very sought-after location for young locals to go on romantic walks, chasing orange and pink sunsets over the river from the many miradouros.
Relatively untouched by Lisbon’s mass tourism, it’s a brilliant place to stay if you actually want to relax. Of course, travel times to the centre increase the farther out you go, so you might find yourself using the tram more than walking.
Homes in Graça are usually bigger, quieter, brighter, and on average, more of them have private patios than the strict centre of the city. There’s just more space to chill.
Lapa is somewhat similar to Graça, but the architecture is posher – mostly because it used to be yet another refuge for aristocrats when the downtown parts became too crowded. The promise of the most amazing views over the Tejo river drives visitors into its heights, and few are ever disappointed. In spite of the extravagant architecture, Lapa has maintained a quiet residential feel since its aristocratic days.
It's the perfect spot for a late afternoon stroll and a leisurely meal with some fado in the background (Senhor Vinho, one of the most reputable fado houses in Lisbon is, in the area after all).
A lot of embassies call Lapa their home, which can tell you a lot about the atmosphere. Some might find it too quiet, but we liked it.
Being halfway between the old city centre and Belém, this is the place to be if you’re keen to have it all, but you’ll need to use public transportation to get around.
For things to do locally, we recommend the former industrial complex of Lx Factory, a deconstructed shopping mall with street food and indie retailers.
They say this is the best way to explore Alfama – let yourself get lost – but the less adventurous visitors can rely on tram 28 to take in the sights.
As much as we adore Alfama, we need to mention that it’s not the most accessible neighbourhood – lots of streets are too narrow for cars, even local taxis. Plus, the internet in the whole neighbourhood is slow.
1. Avenida da Liberdade
Shopping aside, Avenida da Liberdade is an amazing place to stay. You can easily walk to the riverside or take a tram to the more residential areas, while still staying true to your needs (especially if your needs include treating yourself every once in a while).
Homes in and around Avenida de Liberdade are without a doubt the most beautiful and well-located in Lisbon, in exchange for a slightly higher price tag that is.
Well done, you now know precisely where to go in Lisbon – tell a friend, and if you’re visiting, please don’t forget the chocolate cake in Landeau. We can’t imagine anything sadder than leaving Lisbon without ever trying it.