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The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon

Lisbon simply oozes old-world charm. Built on seven hills, this compact city is chock full of pretty pastel coloured buildings with their terra-cotta roofs all sloping towards the Tagus River. As a holidaymaker, Lisbon offers up some of the best neigbourhoods to explore. Street art, hip bars, trendy restaurants, boutique hotels, and fado music clubs, you’ll quickly see why it has been one of the hottest travel destinations in the last couple of years. 

The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
The Tagus river is the longest river running through Portugal and Spain. Views of the 25 de Abril suspension bridge and Christ the King statue.

You don’t go to Lisbon for the museums or the monuments. You go to Lisbon to experience the city. The only real way to do this is simply getting lost in its amazing neighbourhoods. Yes, the city is a little gritty, but it’s so alive. And for me, it was love at first sight.

Come, let’s take a tour of some of the best neighbourhoods Lisbon has to offer.

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The Baixa Neighbourhood

The tourist-friendly neighbourhood of Baixa is where many of Lisbon’s main attractions can be found. This main part of the city was destroyed during the famous earthquake of 1755, but was immediately rebuilt later that century.  It’s considered Lisbon’s downtown, with its close proximity to the riverfront. Also, it’s where you will find the greatest concentration of restaurants and cafés and where all city’s trams pass through. Come, let’s take a tour of the Baixa neighbourhood.

The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Terreiro do Paço is a large U-shared beautiful square facing the Tagus river. It is surrounded by the bright yellow Praça do Comércio.
The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
The equestrian statue of King Jose sits in the middle of Praça do Comercio.
The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
The Arcade off of the Praça do Comércio which forms a U-shape around the square.
The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
On the top of the Arch is a statue of Glory holding out two laurel wreaths to Valor and Genius. This is the main street with a steady stream of people and trams constantly passing by.
The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Looking up at the details of the Rua Augusta Arch.
The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Peering through the Arco da Rua Augusta and the start of the several pedestrian only streets.

The Alfama Neigbourhood

The charming neighbourhood of Alfama is one of Lisbon’s oldest areas. It’s one of the few areas in the city that didn’t need to be completely rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake and that’s what makes this area so special. Wander through the maze of narrow, cobblestone winding streets, alleys and staircases. This part of the city has a distinct village feel, as it’s where the locals live and shop. Come, let’s take a tour of the Alfama neighbourhood.

The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
The Se Cathedral from the 12th century is a must see in the Alfama neighbourhood.
he Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
The steep narrow staircases.
The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
The narrow cobblestone roads.
he Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Some of the best street art can be found in the Alfama neighbourhood.
The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
One of my favourite spots in Alfama neighbourhood was right here.
The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
The steep incline of the streets allows you to get some great city and sea views.

The Castelo and Graça Neigbourhood

The historic neighborhood is centered on Castelo São Jorge, the castle that overlooks all of Lisbon. If you want to get the best view of Lisbon, then you need to visit here, as it’s the highest point in the city. Inside the castle walls, you will find quiet small streets filled with residential apartments, shops and a few cafes. Outside the castle walls, it spills into Graça, a lively neighborhood where locals sit on the street, where shop owners stand in doorways and talk to passers-by. Come, let’s tour the Castelo and Graça neigbourhood.  

he Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
The entrance gate to inside the castle walls.
The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
A pop up art market among the tiny shops within the castle walls.
he Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Descending outside the castle wall and into the Graça neighbourhood.
he Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Some alleyways are so tiny and intimate, you almost feel like you are walking through private spaces.

The Cais do Sodré Neigbourhood

The cool neigbourhood of Cais do Sodré is a popular hang out spot. Whether it be at a local bar or cafe, or court yard square, or maybe the riverfront watching the sun go down. The popular Time Out Market and Mercado da Ribeira are the city’s main food courts,  offering everything from traditional to trendy meals. It’s also home to the famous Pink Street, which comes alive at night with a lively bar scene. Come, let’s tour the Cais do Sodré neigbourhood.

The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Praça de São Paulo square is lined on all four sides with buildings, making it a quiet spot in this neighbourhood to relax.
The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
This is Pink Street. It's officially called Rua Nova do Carvalho. The street was painted pink as a way to rejuvenate the area, because it was formally Lisbon's red light district. Now, it's a popular nightlife spot.
The Time-Out Market found in one of the Coolest Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
A very trendy food court with over 35 different restaurant options, including 5 Top Chef kiosks is a must stop at when in this neighbourhood.
The Time-Out Market found in one of the Coolest Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
In the centre of Time Out are your drink options, featuring micro breweries and cocktail bars.

The Chiado Neighbourhood

The bustling neighbourhood of Chiado is where commercial and culture collide. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was turned into a shopping district, where museums, opera and theater houses were also built. Thus, it is a mecca of people. Come, let’s tour the Chiado neigbourhood. 

The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
The Elevador de Santa Justa connects the lower Baixa to the upper Chiado and Barrio Alto neighbourhoods.
The historical flower shop found in one of the Coolest Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
This cute little floral shop is one of the oldest establishments in Chiado neighbourhood. Pequeno Jardim can be found on Rua Garrett.
Check out some of the best shops found in one of the Coolest Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
This neighbourhood has some of the cutest shops.
Check out some of the best shops found in one of the Coolest Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
An abundant of life style shops offering a modern twist on the traditional decor.
Check out some of the pretties streets found in one of the Coolest Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Restaurants setting up terrace seating for the day.
The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Because this neighbourhood is on a hill, it offers many great vantage points of the city below.

The Bairro Alto Neighbourhood

The bohemian neighbourhood of Bairro Alto is one of the coolest places in the city. This hilly neighbourhood is asleep by day, but comes alive by night. It has a high concentration of art shops, restaurants, cafés, bars, and hostels. Even if that isn’t your scene, it’s still a neighbourhood to spend some time in. Come, let’s tour the Bairro Alto neighbourhood.

The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
The Ascendor da Bica is the 19th century funicular that ascends one of Lisbon’s steepest hills.
The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Every day is a party in the streets of Barrio Alto.
The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Save your stamina and take a tram! Due to the steep incline, trams run people up and down the Barrio Alto neighbourhood.
The Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
A typical view in Barrio Alto with its steep incline, graffiti, and laundry hung out to dry.
The Bairro Alto Neighbourhood in Lisbon. Check out the other Best Neighourhoods in Lisbon | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
The Bica Funicular that runs up and down this neighbourhood due to its very steep inclines..
The Bairro Alto Neighbourhood in Lisbon. Check out the other Best Neighourhoods in Lisbon | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Walking around the steep incline streets in Bairro Alto offers a great workout.

Where we stayed

As you can tell, there is a little something special about each of these 6 neighbourhoods. 

For accommodations, we decided we wanted to be downtown. We rented an apartment in an 18th century building called Baixa House located in the Baixa neighbourhood which we loved for its decor, charm and location. 

A daily breakfast is delivered to your apartment which was a great way to start your busy day of exploring the city’s 6 best neigbourhoods just outside your doorstep.

The Baixa House in Lisbon | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Our terrace views from Baixa House apartment No. 4 Gulbenkian.

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Guide to the Best Neighbourhoods in Lisbon Portugal | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
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14 Comments

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Cosette for your comment. Lisbon was on my must visit list for 20+ years! As soon as we were there, I thought, what took me so long.

  • Matt

    What a great look at all the different neighbourhoods in Lisbon. I can see why they have the funiculars on some of those streets. They are seriously steep, but they offer great views. And you just can’t beat a cobblestoned European alleyway…except if it’s been painted pink!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for your comment Matt. Yes, with the steep hills come some fantastic vistas.

  • Leah

    I really wish I’d explored more of Lisbon when we were there. A highlight for me were the little trams! They really do save your legs, don’t they!

  • Candy

    My sister has been to Lisbon and she loved it. I want to visit Alfama since it’s one of the oldest areas and I’m impressed that the earthquake didn’t completely destroy the area. Although cobblestone streets kill my feet I love how they look😉

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for your comment. I’m sure you would love it, it by far surpassed my expectations. It has such a cool vibe.

  • Dani

    I want to get to Lisbon sooo bad. I am in love with the mixture of architecture, the colors, and the crazy steep streets! (Although I would definitely be taking the funicular and not climbing them, haha). I had no idea about the earthquake, and think it would be really neat to juxtapose Alfama against the rest of the city. You can see the difference even in the photos!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for your comment Dani. I’m glad that you picked up on the difference by the photos. It was definitely obvious when you are there.

  • Erica

    Lisbon is by far one of my favourite European cities! This is such a great breakdown of the different barrios and the prictures bring back so many memories! Bohemian Barrio Alto is by far my favourite for both art galleries by day and sipping a cocktail by night.

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