The Monument of the Discoveries in Lisbon
Destination: Lisbon / Portugal

Best areas to stay when visiting Lisbon – a wanderlust guide

Dive into Lisbon’s rich cultural heritage and embark on an unforgettable journey in the heart of the city, experiencing the best hotels for any style.

Lisbon is an old eclectic lady. The Portuguese capital’s storied past ensures it has so much on offer for tourists and locals alike. If a mix of traditional charm splashed with international brushstrokes sounds fun to you, welcome to the City of Seven Hills.

The old parts of town are perched on hills overlooking the Tagus River (Rio Tejo). Get ready for breathtaking views along quaint narrow streets, old and impressive architecture, and the most vividly blue tiles splashed on walls along tortuous neighbourhoods.

The climate is warm, which makes it an enjoyable destination for visitors three hundred days a year. But beware, during high season, it can be rather overwhelming, with crowds of tourists and high-priced accommodation. Rest assured, we are here to guide you into finding a lovely area that suits your budget, needs, and, of course, style.

Top 5 neighbourhoods to stay in Lisbon

  1. Baixa & Chiado best for first-timers
  2. Alfama a wanderlust dream
  3. Bairro Alto & Príncipe Real party district of Lisbon
  4. Avenidas Novas & Avenida da Liberdade best for families
  5. Belém best for history & culture lovers

5 best areas to stay in Lisbon – let’s go!

Take a walk along the scenic riverfront from Tejo all the way to Belém and try one (or more) of the eponymous custard tarts: Pastel de Belém. Explore Bairro Alto and Alfama, wandering along the charming cobblestone streets and the historic Castelo de São Jorge.

Baixa and Chiado, both very central are the designated areas for shopping and sightseeing. If you’re more of a nature lover, Lisbon boasts numerous green spots for you to relax while sipping an «imperial» at a Quiosque. Best of all, you are only twenty mins from wonderful beaches if you feel like you need a sunny day escape from town.

Baixa & Chiado

The best area to stay as a first-time visitor

Praça do Comércio em Lisbon, Portugal
Praça do Comércio

Top attractions

  • Praça do Comércio (Terreiro do Paço)
  • Arco da Rua Augusta – Rua Augusta Arch
  • Elevador de Santa Justa – Santa Justa Lift
  • Museu Arqueológico do Carmo – Carmo Archaeological Museum
  • Praça Luís de Camões – Luís de Camões Square

As a first-timer, you can’t go wrong in choosing Lisbon’s vibrant heart, namely Baixa and Chiado neighbourhoods. These are the most sought after areas due to their central location, beautiful architecture and vibrant atmosphere.

Baixa is a bustling neighbourhood lined up with local cafes and restaurants, a great place for immersing yourself in the local culture. It offers a unique blend of both traditional and modern attractions, all accessible by foot. The charming streets and squares are surrounded by typically colourful buildings, street artists and shopping experiences. Not to be missed here are the famous Praça do Comércio, Arco da Rua Augusta and the Santa Justa Lift.

Make your way uphill, and you will find the gorgeous neighbourhood of Chiado. Very trendy and hip, with a big mix of cultural experiences and modern amenities, a lively nightlife and the current «it» place for foodies also all within walking distance.

Baixa, as well as Chiado, have a wide range of accommodation options through its vibrant streets, many hotel options to suit different style; from luxurious hotels to traditional, budget-friendly ones. Its close proximity to public transportation makes it easy to venture out to other areas of the city, including Lisbon’s airport. making it a super convenient, well-connected and one of the top areas to stay for first-time visitors.

Whether you are strolling through the streets or sipping a cup of coffee at a local café, staying in Baixa or Chiado will give you a true taste of Lisbon’s lively culture and rich history.

Best hotels in Baixa & Chiado

Montebelo Vista Alegre Lisboa Chiado Hotel – a boutique hotel located between Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodré. Its unique location is ideal for exploring Lisbon’s most iconic and sought-after shopping and entertainment areas.

Palácio das Especiarias  – a boutique hotel that was formerly a palace built in the 16th century. It offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, and a continental breakfast with live music is served every morning. It is located near popular attractions, including Rossio and São Jorge Castle.

Rossio Plaza Hotel – it’s centrally located, making it a great place to rest before exploring the city. Nearby, you can see famous landmarks such as Carmo Convent, Armazens do Chiado Mall, and Chafariz do Carmo.

Alfama

A wanderlust dream

Alfama, the oldest and most characterful district of Lisbon
The famous yellow tram 28 winding through the narrow streets of the Alfama district

Top attractions

The enchanting Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest district, is a great contender for the best area to stay. Full of history, this vibrant part of town offers the full traditional Lisbon package.

Survivor of the 1755 earthquake, Alfama is known for its charming and narrow cobblestone streets and old, colourful buildings. Let the wanderlust in you get lost in the winding narrow streets while snapping away at gorgeous hand-painted tiles, antique façades and grand historical sites. Located on a slope between Castelo São Jorge and the Tagus River, you better get your legs ready. Make sure you visit one of the viewpoints overlooking the river – Miradouro de Santa Luzia and Miradouro do Recolhimento, you won’t want to miss the breathtaking views of the city.

Alfama is home to popular attractions such as Lisbon Cathedral and Castelo de São Jorge. Surrounded by cosy cafes and local restaurants, it’s a great place if you are looking to experience the local food and culture. For a truly authentic experience, it is highly recommended to have dinner in one of the local Fado restaurants around Alfama.

Accommodation in Alfama can vary immensely, and visitors can find a good mix of traditional or modern hotels with different levels of comfort and amenities. Consider Alfama if you wish to experience historic culture and local nightlife with the convenience of being just a stroll away from your hotel.

People with reduced mobility should however keep in mind the numerous hills and narrow streets can be rather challenging. The traditional tram cuts through the narrow streets of the neighbourhood, but can be busy. Taxis and electric tuk-tuks are readily available and may become your best friends in this situation. The closest metro stations are Terreiro do Paço and Rossio, both a walk up and down from the centre of Alfama.

Best hotels in Alfama

Santiago de Alfama – a boutique hotel located in the historic centre of Lisbon, offering panoramic views of the city. The onsite á lá carte restaurant and bar are perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring Lisbon.

Pousada Alfama – a historic building in Alfama with 43 rooms of various types, blending traditional and contemporary styles for a comfortable and unforgettable stay in Lisbon. Great location with stunning views and close proximity to famous landmarks. Enjoy feeling like a local while witnessing breathtaking sunsets at the Portas do Sol.

Hotel Convento do Salvador – set in a former convent, this hotel offers a variety of rooms adapted for modern needs including families and guests with reduced mobility. The hotel also has facilities for meetings and events and is within walking distance of restaurants, bars, museums, and transportation hubs.

Bairro Alto & Príncipe Real

The only way is down (party district of Lisbon)

Street view of typical houses in Bairro Alto in Lisbon, Portugal
Street view of typical houses in Bairro Alto

Top attractions

One of our favourite places to walk around, alone or with guests, is the stunning, elegant and well-preserved architecture of Príncipe Real and Bairro Alto. Located right above Chiado, these two neighbourhoods are known for their gorgeous gardens and stunning views, offering a charming mix of history, culture and entertainment. Locals, expats and tourists keep the area bustling all year round. The atmosphere is young and lively throughout the day, and the nightlife is very vibrant, with a plethora of bars, clubs and live music, trendy shops and upscale restaurants. If you’re into partying, Bairro Alto will be your best spot!

Watching the sunset from one of the Miradouros, with a drink at hand, is a must-see when enjoying Lisbon to the full. Live music played by street artists, the relaxing and chilled vibes are captivating and you just won’t want to leave. A great walking route is walking through Príncipe Real neighbourhood, making your way down Bairro Alto’s charming alleys, Chiado’s shop and cobblestones street (be careful, the white stones are pretty slippery even when it’s not raining). Finish your walking tour by exploring Pink Street and Time Out Market in Cais do Sodré, where you can find lots of food options to suite your tastebuds and pockets.

Accommodation in these two areas vary immensely, Príncipe Real tends to be more upscale and residential; the choice of hotels range from luxurious to budget friendly ones. If you’re a foodie you will find some of the top hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants. Bairro Alto also has a range of different hotels, but it tends to be more of the budget kind.

If you are here with family, Príncipe Real is a great choice as it is home to the Natural History Museum and Botanical Gardens. Not far away, is the gorgeous Jardim da Estrela Park; a stunning, calm, kids friendly and perfect park vibes, wonderful setting for a morning run or yoga session.

Transportation here mainly consists of the deliciously old-fashioned yellow Lisbon trams, which are a popular tourist attraction in themselves. Buses and taxis, to a lesser extent, are also on hand together with the trendy Tuk-tuks. Due to the narrow and hilly streets in these neighbourhoods, walking is the most popular mode of transportation, to fully experience the charming ambience. However, if you have limited mobility or simply don’t have the courage to climb up and down, you can possibly stay in our next recommended spot.

Best hotels in Bairro Alto & Príncipe Real

Raw Culture Arts & Lofts Bairro Alto – a unique concept lodging in Lisbon, offering comfortable lofts with free WiFi, soundproofing, and city views. Guests can enjoy à la carte or vegan breakfast options. The property also offers private parking with a valet service.

9Hotel Mercy – a modern hotel designed by Portuguese architect Miguel Saraiva featuring spacious rooms with stunning views of old Lisbon and São Jorge castle. Enjoy a daily breakfast at the Lounge Bar or head up to the terrace bar “In Heaven” on the 6th floor for panoramic views of São Jorge Castle and the Tagus River.

Casa Oliver Príncipe Real – a modern hotel located in Praça do Príncipe Real. It offers individually decorated rooms with free WiFi. The hotel is within walking distance to many restaurants and places of interest including the Belvedere of São Pedro de Alcântara and the Bairro Alto district. The historical Chiado area is also nearby.

Avenidas Novas & Avenida da Liberdade

Best for families

Edward VII Park in Lisbon
Edward VII Park

Top attractions

  • Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian – Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
  • Avenida da Liberdade
  • Praça do Marquês de Pombal – Marquis of Pombal Square
  • Parque Eduardo VII – Edward VII Park
  • Praça dos Restauradores – Restauradores Square

The best place for families to stay when visiting Lisbon, is the area in and around Avenidas Novas and Avenida da Liberdade. Boasting green parks, funky eateries and shops, Avenidas Novas is a great option to stay due to its fairly flat central location, and its many transport links. It is also home to some of Lisbon’s main attractions, such as the jaw-dropping Parque Eduardo VII, the artsy Fundação Colouste Gulbenkian and the historical monument of Marques de Pombal. Avenidas Novas and Avenida da Liberdade are great alternatives to those who wish to stay away from the more obvious touristy areas.

Avenida da Liberdade is an avenue which extends from Marques de Pombal (at the bottom of Eduardo VII Park) all the way to Restauradores boasting with a number of lined up high-end boutiques, luxurious hotels, theatres and top notch restaurants. The architecture is grand and adorned, the street is elegant and clean. Avenida da Liberdade is everything luxurious and sophisticated, it is sometimes coined Lisbon’s Champs Élysées.

Avenidas Novas is known for its modern feel and bustling business scene. Extremely well connected, you’ll find various metro lines to all the corners of Lisbon, bus routes (including to the beach), and easy access by car or taxi. A personal (parent) tip: when using the metro, check if the stations you will use have lifts. Not all of them offer wheel access and it can be frustrating with limited mobility or a stroller.

While you easily find luxurious and expensive options in Avenida da Liberdade, you can equally find great quality and somewhat more affordable hotels around Avenidas Novas. If a quieter stay, with chilled green spots and easy access to the city is what you are looking for, Avenidas Novas is the place for you! Why not stop at one of the numerous supermarkets or bakeries around here and go for an impromptu picnic in Eduardo VII park? The view of Lisbon is breathtaking and you may find yourself spending hours of your day reading a book or having a beer with friends, while soaking in the generous sunlight. The many recreational parks around the area also makes it a prime location for those coming to Lisbon with kids.

Best hotels in Avenidas Novas & Avenida da Liberdade

Hotel Porto Bay Liberdade – a boutique hotel located in the heart of Lisbon. It offers an indoor swimming pool, free WiFi, and preserved the original early 20th-century façade, creating an environment that evokes details from the past and the contemporary. The hotel features amenities such as a bar, room service, business centre, laundry service, and private parking on site.

Hotel Turim Europa – situated within a 5-minute walking distance from Marquês de Pombal Square. It has a modern and stylish interior with parquet floors and wooden furniture. Guests can enjoy local and international cuisine at the hotel’s restaurant and light meals, afternoon teas, and evening cocktails at the bar.

America Diamonds Hotel – a modern hotel located just a 10-minute walk from Marquês de Pombal Square. Some rooms include a hydro-massage bathtub. Guests can enjoy a buffet breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant or try out the fine restaurants in the area.

Belém

Best for for history & culture lovers

Belém Tower in Lisbon
Belém Tower

Top attractions

Last but not least, located right along the river Tagus waterfront, away from the city centre, is one of Lisbon’s most photogenic areas and home to the Portuguese President, splendid Belém. Home to a ton of historical sites and monuments such as the iconic Belém Tower, Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the majestic gothic-style Jerónimos Monastery (Vasco de Gama’s resting place) are all in walking distance to each other. Belém has plenty to offer tourists and then some. You can spend a day or two absorbing the rich culture and hotspots of this neighbourhood. It is also home to the famous Pastel de Belém, be sure to stop and taste one (or more) of these creamy custard tarts while learning their history.

If museums are your thing, you will love Belém and its eponymous tower, the Planetarium, the National Coach Museum, the Navy Museum amongst several other museums at your doorstep, great with kids! The variety of accommodations on offer is impressive here with comfortable and convenient options to enhance your Lisbon experience.

There are no metro stations in this part of the city. You can, however, easily get around by bus, tram lines and taxis. The train line connecting Lisbon to Oeiras and Cascais stops here and provides visitors the opportunity to access the beach and soak up the sun further up the Atlantic coast.

Best hotels in Belém

NAU Palácio do Governador – it is located near the Belém Cultural Centre and the Belém Tower. The hotel features a Spa & Wellness centre, indoor and outdoor pools, free WiFi, private parking, a garden, a terrace, a library, and a lounge area. The hotel also has a bar, an à la carte restaurant, and offers breakfast.

Hotel Jerónimos 8 – a hotel with private terraces next to Jerónimos Monastery. Some rooms have private balconies. Car rentals can be arranged at the 24-hour reception desk.

Geronimo Guest House Belém – a comfortable and discreet guest house located 6 km away from the city centre. Nearby attractions include the Jerónimos Monastery and the Tropical Botanical Garden.