LIVING IN LISBON 

neighborhoods

When first planning your stay in Lisbon, it can be tricky to figure out which neighborhood of the city you should book your accommodations in. Whether you’re looking for art, food, culture, partying, adventure, or a bit of everything, you can find it in Lisbon. 

Image by Raja Sen

MOST POPULAR NEIGHBORHOODS 

bairro alto 

If you want to know where everyone is on Saturday night, chances are good that it’s Bairro Alto. This windy, hilly neighbourhood is filled with bars and has a bohemian vibe, making it one of the coolest places in the city. There are also restaurants, cafés, tattoo parlours and hostels in addition to the ever-present historical landmarks. It’s not just for hanging out in, either; the side streets are filled with apartments and those who can handle the busy weekends love the central location.

baixa - chiado

The most tourist-friendly neighbourhood during the day is that between Baixa and Rossio, where many of Lisbon’s main landmarks, shopping and dining opportunities can be found. Although ‘downtown’ is a term used loosely to describe a few neighbourhoods, this is Lisbon’s real downtown area. It is also the main part of the city that was destroyed during the famous earthquake of 1755 and rebuilt in the late 18th century. A few key sites include Livraria Bertrand (the oldest bookstore in the world still trading), the elaborate Brasileira café, the elegant, bright-yellow Praça do Comércio and the Rossio train station.

cais do sodre

The last terminal metro stop (before heading towards Alcântara and Belém) is in Cais do Sodré. From here, travellers can hop on a ferry and sail across the Tejo River to cities such as Almada on the other side. Like Bairro Alto, Cais do Sodré is a cool neighbourhood to go to for a beer and catch up with friends. The Time Out Market, or Mercado da Ribeira, is one of the city’s main food courts that offers everything from traditional meals to trendy treats and bakeries. It is also the home of the colourful Pink Street, full of bars, restaurants and artistic personality.

santos

For an authentic, long-term stay in a residential neighborhood of Lisbon, Santos is the perfect place.  With close proximity to so many great brunch spots, it’s hard to beat Santos if you like to spend your days in trendy cafes eating avo toast and drinking colorful lattes. Santos is also a very trendy neighborhood due to its proximity to the design school IDE, and was officially branded as the Design District of Lisbon in 2005.

alcantara

Technically, Alcântara is a parish of the district of Lisbon but locals consider it part of the city. Situated between downtown and Belém, it’s a neighbourhood along the river where visitors will find Docas de Santo Amaro (a dock filled with bars and restaurants) and the LX Factory (a renovated factory building complex that’s been converted into shops, offices, restaurants and more).

alfama

Alfama is the oldest neighbourhood in Lisbon and the area from which the city sprawled from to become modern-day Lisbon. Here you will find the typical narrow streets and the tiny houses, and don’t forget the older Portuguese women sitting with their doors open and speaking to each other from across the street is a common and heart-warming sight to behold. Alfama is the home of Fado music, the traditional Portuguese folk music.

intendente

Intendente and the Avenida Almirante Reis are a multicultural part of the city, with new construction and filled with bars and many restaurants. Intendente is central and convenient. Furthermore, because living here has only recently become fashionable, rents are quite low.

cascais

In case you don’t want to be in the city center, Cascais is a beautiful suburb in Lisbon which is right by the beach. There you can find plenty of fantastic restaurants to eat, and parks to chill out in the summer.