Lisbon might be considered the most historical big-little city in the world. It has big charm that has courted international appeal for centuries yet with a modesty that makes it easy to book an extended stay. (For us at least!)
Lisbon’s seven hills offer vista points in every direction, and in between tourists mix cohesively with locals through the regal squares and labyrinthine streets to river walks leading to many of Portugal and Europe’s most important cultural monuments.
Baixa-ChiadoThis is center-city, satisfying much of the shopping cravings you’ll garner from witnessing the well-clad locals. Find both local and international brands, selling handmade lace and ceramics to haute-couture. Look for luxury around Avenida da Liberdade and folky goods and jewelery on Rua Aurea. Here you will find the cities oldest famous Cafe Café A Brasileira - regal and incredible with paintings, mirrors and marble and a statue of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa outside.
Praca Rossi (Rossio Square and central train station), as well as Praça do Co
Alfama-GraçaLargely untouched by the devastating 1755 earthquake, Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood keeps much of its native lure. Have a look over its mazy streets and alleys at Largo das Portas do Sol (doorway to the sun), then climb down into it and enjoy medieval Portugal. Dine on cheap classic refreshments like sangria and pregos (steak sandwiches), fado bars (fado is the traditional folk music an achingly passionate female vocal centered music accompanied by complex guitar and percussion arrangements know for its haunting dramatic sound). Head back up the hill for the Moorish Castelo São Jorge (St. George Castle) and its picturesque view over the entire city and river. Graça sits juxtaposed and has much of the same natural appeal and is home to the Feira da Lavra (Saturday and Tuesday flea markets) , the Pantheon, more of Lisbons beautiful viewpoints.
View our special Alfama B&B with city views HERE
View our apartments in Alfama HERE
Belém A half an hour’s tram ride west of the city center will find you in Belém, Lisbon’s museum district and former seat to the Portuguese aristocracy. It’s a spacious neighborhood sunny and resting elegantly along the Tagus River. Visit the Jerónimos Monastery and see the tomb of explorer Vasco de Gama. Walk through the regal gardens to Belém Tower, Berardo Collection Museum, and the National Coach Museum and DO NOT forget Pasteis de Belém - the original traditional Portuguese custard tarts made from an ancient recipe served fresh and warm in this historic bakery cafe.
Barrio AltoThis is where you go to experience Lisbon's gritty and rustic 2euro bars and DJ/Live music nightlife. It also offers Portugal’s fado music but contemporary and more commercial rhythms also pour out of the establishments until late.
Principe RealThe upper city 'Principe Real' is an upscale area known for its 19th-century mansions, happening bars with great views and fashionable shops. The Moorish-style Embaixada palace, is a premiere shopping destination showcasing local designers and concept stores. The neighborhood also has many small art galleries and antiques shops. Tranquil spots include the Príncipe Real Garden, with shaded benches under its vast, umbrella-like cedar tree.
Cais do Sodre/Santos These are two classic neighborhoods hosting some exceptional draws. Head to the Time Out Market for tasty modern plates in a stylish cafeteria setting by day, and strut to Pink Street for a festive night full of friendly clubs and restaurants. Santos also has a few clubs and museums worth the trot out from the city center such as the National Museum of Ancient Art and the Museum of Puppetry which is nestled in a secret little spot of Lisbon called Madragoa that has retained its authentic portuguese village feel despite its proximity to the centre.
VIEW our Special Apartment in this neighbourhood - B&B Andre e Paul - HERE
Docas/AlcantaraHead here for the LX Factory, a hipster village for entrepreneurs, artists, yogi's and foodies. LX feels a bit experimental, so it’s likely that you’ll experience something new there every time you visit. You can grab some vintage attire and gourmet pies, great coffee and local brews. You can enjoy strolls along the river banks too where there are cafes, restaurants and bars.
RatoRato is less touristy, more authentic residential area with fantastic transport (metro taking you downtown in 10 minutes), supermarkets, stationer’s and all kinds of other everyday shops. Rato is criss-crossed by dozens of small lanes and bystreets but if you take a walk along any of the main roads you can end up in the garden square of Principe Real, in the shopping avenue Av. da Liberdade, or in the beautiful Jardim da Estrela. If you stick to the small streets, you’ll find a number of great spots, cool bars, quiet cafés. One of those neighbourhoods that’s just really easy.
View our Rato B&B Guesthouse HERE
Estrela/LapaEstrela and Lapa are two very upscale prestigious neighbourhoods known as the 'rich' part of Lisbon where many historic palaces, embassies and 17th Century buildings adorn the cobblestone streets. Here you will find the incredible Basilica da Estrela with the famous Tram #28 taking you downtown and crossing the entire city (this tram experience is a must); the Jardim de Estrela; home of Portuguese Poet Fernando Pessoa; Museu Nacional de Art Antiga (National Museum of Antique Art) with its lovely Jazz cafe overlooking the Tejo river. This is a perfect place to stay if you want to experience authentic residential tranquil neighbourhood with its own bustling village life and amazing historic architecture, yet still be close to the action of the commercial centre.
View our Estrela B&B Guesthouse HERE