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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
As a holidaymaker…
Lisbon is truly a diverse destination. It provides ample opportunities for those curious travellers. By exploring each neighbourhood you quickly discover its rich history, culture, cuisine and people. I can’t think of a better way to really experience a city, especially one as beautiful as Lisbon.