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Where to Stay in Lisbon in 2024 – Best Areas Recomended by a Local

Discover Lisbon's best neighborhoods and immerse yourself in an unforgettable journey, finding the perfect accommodation to suit your style.
Where to Stay in Lisbon

Choosing where to stay in Lisbon can be as exciting as it is daunting. This vibrant city, sprawling across seven hills, offers a diverse range of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and charm.

Whether you’re visiting for the first time or returning to explore deeper, finding the right base is crucial to experience the city’s rich history, lively culture, and culinary delights, while being conveniently located near transport and attractions.

Last year, I had the amazing chance to explore Lisbon for a week with my Portuguese friend Pedro guiding me. We didn’t just wander around; we delved deep into the city like true locals. Pedro’s insider knowledge was invaluable!

Together, we evaluated Lisbon’s best areas, discussing their pros and cons based on various travel preferences, budgets, and lengths of stay.

Additionally, we’ve selected the best hotels and apartments in each area to help you make the perfect choice.

Best Places To Stay in Lisbon

Here’s a quick overview of Best Lisbon’s neighborhoods to stay. For more detailed information, including specific hotel and apartment recommendations, continue reading below.

  1. Baixa: The heart of Lisbon, ideal for tourists and first time visitors. It’s centrally located, close to major attractions, and offers a mix of luxury and budget accommodations. However, it can get crowded during peak season.
  2. Chiado: Known for its elegance and chicness, Chiado is near Baixa and Bairro Alto, offering a blend of shopping, cultural attractions, and cafes. It’s perfect for those who want to be in the middle of everything.
  3. Bairro Alto: Best for nightlife enthusiasts. This area is famous for its vibrant nightlife with numerous bars and clubs. It might be noisy at night, so it’s less suitable for those seeking peace and quiet.
  4. Lapa: A serene sanctuary within the city, Lapa is an exclusive residential area, offering a peaceful retreat while still being close to the city center. It lacks a metro station but is well-connected by tram.
  5. Belém: Rich in culture and history, Belém is a bit outside the city center but is home to several major tourist attractions. It’s quieter at night, making it a good choice for culture enthusiasts.
  6. Alfama: The oldest district in Lisbon, known for its narrow streets, vintage trams, and Fado music. It’s charming and authentic but might not be as accessible or safe at night compared to other areas.
  7. Avenida da Liberdade: A luxurious and sophisticated area, offering elegance and safety. It’s close to both Baixa and Bairro Alto and is lined with high-end boutiques and restaurants.
  8. Marquês de Pombal and Avenidas Novas: These areas offer modern hotels and good value for money. They are a bit further from the city center but well-connected by metro.
  9. Parque das Nações: A modern and convenient area well-connected to central Lisbon. The neighborhood, recommended for business travelers and families, offers a variety of shopping and dining options.
Map with the best places to stay in Lisbon
Map with the best places to stay in Lisbon

I’m not shy to admit it, Lisbon’s accommodations can be considered a steal. The city generously caters to those on a shoestring budget, especially within its central districts.

That said, Lisbon’s popularity means the early bird catches the worm. To snag a beautiful, budget-friendly lodging in the city centre, you’ll need to book in advance.

Choose to reside away from the city centre and your wallet will thank you. A few extra minutes spent commuting on the metro or other public transport options can translate into significant savings.

1. Baixa, best area to stay in Lisbon for tourists

Rua Augusta Arch seen from Praça do Comércio (photo: Pantelis Kakaris)
Rua Augusta Arch seen from Praça do Comércio (photo: Pantelis Kakaris)

Baixa, with its pulsating heart in the very center of Lisbon, is a prime choice for first time visitors seeking the quintessential Lisbon experience.

Stretching from Rossio Square (Praça Dom Pedro IV) with its iconic Rua da Prata and Rua Áurea, all the way to the riverfront Praça do Comércio, this district is comfortably nestled between Bairro Alto and Chiado on one side, and the Alfama and Castello districts on the other.

The district is a tribute to Lisbon’s past, with its “Pombaline” architecture—a testament to the Marquis of Pombal’s reconstruction project post the devastating 1755 earthquake. The buildings, though elegant and a bit weathered with age, speak volumes of a bygone era.

Historically a commercial hotspot, Baixa has been home to leading banks and businesses. Today, many of these buildings have been transformed into chic hotels or cozy hostels.

Baixa is your go-to for sightseeing as it’s close to everything—be it shopping in its streets or in the adjacent Chiado, enjoying the nightlife in Bairro Alto, or just taking a leisurely stroll. 

  • Praça do Comércio: This majestic square by the River Tejo is a testament to Portugal’s rich trade history. Don’t miss the Arco da Rua Augusta for stunning panoramic views!
  • Elevador de Santa Justa: Experience a journey through time in the Elevador de Santa Justa. Admire the intricate wrought iron work and step inside a cabin that feels like a historical treasure.
  • Convento do Carmo Ruins: Behind the Elevador lies the Convento do Carmo, a haunting yet beautiful reminder of the 1755 earthquake’s impact on Lisbon.
  • Rua Augusta: This lively street, brimming with cafes and shops, connects Rossio plaza to Praça do Comércio under the impressive arch.
  • Ginjinha: Unwind with a glass of Ginjinha, Lisbon’s cherished cherry liqueur. First, visit ‘A Ginjinha’ bar for an authentic sip. Then, cross over to ‘Ginjinha Sem Rival’ for round two. It’s a delightful cultural experience!

Baixa is as safe as any district in the city. Just like you’d do in your hometown, a little common sense goes a long way here. Sure, the throngs of tourists can be a magnet for the occasional pickpocket or sly thief, but honestly, it’s nothing out of the ordinary compared to other big cities. Just keep your wits about you and enjoy the vibrant streets!

Best Hotels in Baixa

Despite a plethora of both luxury and budget accommodation options, finding a spot during peak tourist season can be challenging. Early reservation is almost mandatory to avoid the dreaded “No Vacancy” sign.

2. Chiado, best place to stay in Lisbon for food lovers

Art Deco cafe "A Brasileira" (photo: Pantelis Kakaris)
Art Deco cafe "A Brasileira" (photo: Pantelis Kakaris)

Chiado, nestled between Baixa and Bairro Alto in Lisbon, is an elegant and chic neighborhood, ideal for travelers seeking both convenience and charm.

This area is known for its high-end stores featuring international brands and unique boutiques, and is also home to the famous Santa Justa Lift, the historic Carmo Convent, the Chiado Museum, and classic Art Deco cafes like A Brasileira.

Pros of staying in Chiado include its central location, sandwiched between the neighborhoods of Bairro Alto, Principe Real, Alfama, and Mouraria, making it a great base for exploring Lisbon

The Baixa-Chiado metro station offers easy access to other parts of the city. Chiado’s narrow alleys and serpentine streets provide a charming contrast to the grid-like downtown Baixa.

However, the neighborhood’s hilly terrain can be challenging, and its desirability is reflected in higher prices. Despite this, the advantages of staying in Chiado are numerous, with its proximity to lively Bairro Alto and the vibrant nightlife of Cais do Sodré.

Chiado and Cais do Sodré cater to a variety of culinary tastes. From gourmet street food at Mercado da Ribeira (including the renowned Time Out Market Lisbon) to traditional Portuguese tascas around Rua das Flores and Rua Nova do Carvalho, and exquisite dining experiences at Bistro 100 Maneiras and Michelin-starred restaurants like Belcanto and Alma, there’s something for every palate.

Overall, Chiado offers a balanced mix of cultural attractions, shopping, dining, and accessibility, making it a prime choice for travelers looking to experience the essence of Lisbon.

  • Convento do Carmo – This gothic church ruins stand as a poignant reminder of the 1755 earthquake, with its collapsed roof and an eclectic archaeological museum inside.

  • National Museum of Contemporary Art of Chiado – Housed in a former convent, this museum showcases modern and contemporary Portuguese art, with a sculpture-filled terrace for visitors.

  • Praça Luís de Camões – A central square that features a statue of the poet Luís de Camões, surrounded by figures of Portuguese literary personalities, and a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.

  • Terraços do Carmo – A public space designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira offering stunning views over Rossio Square and featuring an open-air bar.

  • Bertrand Bookstore – Recognized as the world’s oldest bookstore, Bertrand is a must-visit for its rich history and extensive collection of books.

Chiado stands out for its pristine cleanliness and remarkable safety, making it an ideal place to stay. The most enchanting threat you might encounter here is the captivating local music at the Fado in Chiado Theatre, which could leave you thoroughly charmed.

Best Hotels in Chiado

3. Bairro Alto, best area to stay in Lisbon for nightlife

View from Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara (photo: Pantelis Kakaris)

Perched atop a hill, just a stone’s throw away from Baixa and Chiado, you’ll find Bairro Alto. Its narrow streets, reminiscent of the Alfama, and the buildings that survived the 1755 earthquake lend it an enchanting old-world charm.

The district brims with a colorful palette of bars, restaurants, cafes, unique stores, and boutiques flaunting young designers’ creations. Bairro Alto is a haven for those who love the bohemian and alternative vibe, renowned for its vibrant nightlife. Along with Alfama, it also ranks as one of the best places to get lost in soul-stirring Fado music.

Bairro Alto’s nightlife is legendary. A bustling hub of bars and clubs, it’s perfect for those with a penchant for partying. Undoubtedly, if late-night revelries are your thing, Bairro Alto stands as one of the best places to stay in Lisbon.

However, if you’re more of a night owl in the sense of needing peace and quiet, it might be best to book your lodgings elsewhere. The district comes alive with a symphony of nocturnal sounds when the sun goes down.

  • Igreja de São Roque: Prepare to be dazzled. This enormous Jesuit church is a feast for the eyes with its intricate dioramas depicting biblical scenes, stunning stonework, and tiles. And yes, there’s a lot of gold – though some is just paint. But don’t just breeze through; the altar is a must-see!
  • Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara: For a breathtaking view of the city, Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara is my top pick. It’s simply unmatched and a perfect photo spot.
  • Garrafeira Alfaia: If you’re into Portuguese wines, Garrafeira Alfaia is a gem. Their selection, especially of port wines from Porto, is impressive. The staff really know their stuff and can guide you to a wine that’ll suit your taste. Plus, they offer traditional Portuguese snacks – perfect for nibbling as you sip your way through their extensive wine list.
  • Vegan Nata: Vegans, rejoice! At Vegan Nata, you can indulge in the famous pastel de nata without any worries. It’s a sweet treat not to be missed in Lisbon.
  • A Nossa Casa: A friend raved about A Nossa Casa as one of their best dining experiences. I haven’t tried it myself, but don’t let that stop you. It might just be the culinary highlight of your trip!

Just a heads up: like many bustling nightlife spots around the globe, Bairro Alto area does have its share of pickpockets and small-time thieves. It’s always smart to stay alert and keep an eye on your belongings while you’re out and about here.

Best Hotels in Bairro Alto

4. Lapa: A serene sanctuary in the city

Basílica da Estrela in Lapa
Basílica da Estrela in Lapa

Lapa, often overlooked by tourists, is an intriguing alternative to consider when choosing where to stay in Lisbon. Conveniently located between Baixa, Bairro Alto, and Belem, Lapa is a tranquil oasis within the bustling city.

As an exclusive residential area housing several embassies, Lapa remains largely untouched by tourism, offering a peaceful retreat. 

Within its vicinity lie the quaint neighborhoods of Sao Bento and Campo de Ourique, brimming with antiquated shops, bookstores, and delectable eateries. 

Not far off, you’ll find Cais do Sodré on the banks of the River Tagus, featuring modern bars and clubs offering a distinct vibe from those in Bairro Alto.

Although devoid of a metro station, Lapa is well-connected to Lisbon’s center via tram and is comfortably close to Bairro Alto and Chiado. 

Accommodation options range from several hotels to an array of apartments for rent, presenting a serene yet convenient base for your Lisbon exploration.

  • Basilica da Estrela: A neoclassical marvel, the Basilica da Estrela features a grand dome and a colorful marble interior. It was commissioned by Dona Maria I for her son, housing her tomb and showcasing exquisite architectural details.
  • Jardim da Estrela: This 19th-century public garden is a peaceful retreat with rare plants, a children’s playground, and a historic bandstand. It’s a perfect spot for leisure and enjoying music in the summer.
  • The English Cemetery: Adjacent to Jardim da Estrela, this cemetery is a historical site with the tomb of Henry Fielding and remnants of Lisbon’s ancient Jewish cemetery, alongside the Victorian St. George Church.

Lapa offers a residential atmosphere that tends to be quieter and more secure than the bustling tourist areas. The presence of foreign embassies and the residences of many diplomats contribute to a heightened sense of security.

Best Hotels in Lapa

5. Belém: Lisbon's crown jewel of culture

Me and my friend Helen in front of Belém Tower, a Manueline military outpost built in the Tagus river (photo: Pantelis Kakaris)
Me and my friend Helen in front of Belém Tower, a Manueline military outpost built in the Tagus river (photo: Pantelis Kakaris)

Belém, the heart of Lisbon’s rich cultural tapestry, lies on the city’s outskirts. It’s a spot you’ll undoubtedly be drawn to, dedicating at least a day of your itinerary to explore its treasures.

Boasting an array of tourist attractions and museums, all within easy reach thanks to the tram and bus network, Belém is a cultural enthusiast’s paradise. 

Key sights include the majestic Jerónimos Monastery, the iconic Belém Tower, the captivating Planetarium, and prominent museums like the National Coach Museum, the Navy Museum, and the Berardo Museum. A smattering of art galleries also add to its cultural allure.

Personally, I wouldn’t opt for an overnight stay in Belém, as I’m partial to areas teeming with nighttime energy and easy metro access. 

Nevertheless, if you have a deep appreciation for culture and museums, Belém could be the perfect fit for you. 

By day, it buzzes with tourists, transitioning to a peaceful hub at night, offering a selection of restaurants and chilled out spots for a relaxing drink.

Best Hotels in Belém

6. Alfama, best area to stay in Lisbon for couples

Lisbon tram at the Portas do Sol.
Lisbon tram at the Portas do Sol.

Alfama, the oldest district in Lisbon, is nestled on a hill adjacent to Baixa, contrasting the areas of Bairro Alto and Chiado. This enchanting district, with its winding narrow streets, vintage trams, quaint squares, and breathtaking viewpoints, holds a unique allure.

Getting lost wandering around Alfama is a joy in itself. I highly recommend enjoying dinner in one of the local Fado restaurants for an authentic experience. 

Although Alfama is a popular choice for many visitors due to its undeniable charm, I lean towards other central areas or less central but more modern districts with easy metro access. Alfama’s accessibility and safety fall a little short compared to other districts.

  • Fado Music: Fado, with its soul-stirring melodies, was born in Alfama, echoing the longing of sailors’ wives for their returning husbands. It’s usually a woman’s haunting voice that carries these tales, accompanied by the gentle strumming of a classical Portuguese guitar. Personally, I find the emotional depth of Fado utterly captivating. Mesa De Frades stands out as the quintessential spot for Fado. Imagine a restaurant transformed from an old chapel – it’s as atmospheric as it gets for enjoying live Fado.
  • Castelo de Sao Jorge: Perched atop Alfama’s highest point, the ancient Castelo de Sao Jorge is a must-visit. The views from its battlements are breathtaking, offering a panoramic vista of Lisbon. At its heart lies a formidable keep, whispering stories of Portuguese kings of yore.
  • Tram 28: There’s something irresistibly charming about the vintage yellow ‘Remodelado’ trams of the 28 route, especially as they wind through Alfama’s narrow lanes. It’s like a delightful journey back to the 1930s.
  • Miradouro de Santa Luzia: Tucked behind the Santa Luzia church is the Miradouro de Santa Luzia garden. This little oasis is one of my favorite spots for breathtaking views over Alfama and the Tejo Estuary. The tranquility here is a welcome respite from the bustling city streets.

Alfama is pretty safe during the day, but at night, it’s better to be careful, especially in quiet alleys. It’s become a safer place for visitors in the last 10 years because more tourists come and there’s been more money put into the area.

Best Hotels in Alfama

7. Avenida da Liberdade: My top choice in Lisbon

Monument Deads of Great War, a powerful monument to those killed in the Great War which you will find on Avenida da Liberdade (photo: Pantelis Kakaris)

Without a doubt, Avenida da Liberdade is my top pick for where to stay in Lisbon. This avenue, extending from Restauradores to Marquês de Pombal square, encapsulates everything I love in a neighborhood.

Close to both Baixa and Bairro Alto, it boasts excellent connectivity, cleanliness, elegance, and safety. It’s one of the city’s most luxurious and sophisticated areas, adorned with stately buildings, embassies, theaters, and high-end boutiques. 

The avenue is also home to an array of superb restaurants and a plethora of 4 and 5-star hotels, making it a premier choice for your stay in Lisbon.

Best Hotels in Avenida da Liberdade

8. Marques de Pombal and Avenidas Novas: Where quality meets affordability

Marquis of Pombal Square from above
Marquis of Pombal Square from above

Following Avenida da Liberdade leads you to the bustling Marquês de Pombal, marking the start of Avenidas Novas, a district echoing with modernity and a bustling business scene.

While the heart of the city can be reached by a pleasant extended walk from Marquês de Pombal, the reliance on public transportation is often more practical. Initially, this district might not be the first one you’d consider for accommodation. However, when availability in the city center dwindles, or prices skyrocket, Avenidas Novas becomes a compelling alternative.

Here, you’re likely to find better deals, more spacious rooms, and modern hotels from well-known international chains. Its well-connected metro stations make the commute to the city center a breeze, whisking you to Baixa in a swift 10 minutes. This district offers arguably the best value-for-money accommodation options, without straying too far from the heart of Lisbon.

Best Hotels in Avenidas Novas

9. Parque das Nações: best for families and business travelers

Telecabine Lisbon, Parque das Nações (photo: Pantelis Kakaris)
Telecabine Lisbon, Parque das Nações (photo: Pantelis Kakaris)

Parque das Nações is another viable alternative when centrally located accommodations don’t align with your requirements.

Home to the 1998 World Expo, it’s one of the newest developments in Lisbon, showcasing the city’s cutting-edge architecture.

This district is an epitome of convenience and modernity, and its connectivity to central Lisbon is seamless. Moreover, a quick metro ride to the airport and main train station, Estação do Oriente, facilitates easy travel to other parts of Portugal.

It offers a cornucopia of shopping and dining options, with retail outlets, bars, and reputable restaurants in abundance.

If you’re in search of a district that juxtaposes the historic charm of Lisbon with the sleek style of contemporary living, then Parque das Nações is your perfect pick. Especially if you’re a business traveller.

  • Oceanarium: Discover a vast underwater world at the Lisbon Oceanarium, home to thousands of marine species in a spectacularly designed space.
  • Oriente Station: Marvel at the futuristic design of Oriente Station, a stunning example of modern architecture serving as a major transport hub.
  • Vasco da Gama Bridge: Experience the grandeur of the Vasco da Gama Bridge, second Europe’s longest bridge, showcasing remarkable engineering and design.

Overall, Parque das Nações is regarded as a safe and family-friendly area, making it a popular choice for both visiting and living.

Best Hotels in Parque das Nações

9 Responses

  1. We will be in Lisbon for 4 days after a cruise. What sights would you recommend. Our next trip is to the Greek islands. Recommendations?

    1. I would probably find an appartment in Cedofeita, Santo Ildefonso, Sé, Miragaia, São Nicolau and Vitória areas. These are the best for families. Hotel suggestions you’ll find in my neighborhood guide of Porto here.

  2. Hi Allen,

    We are looking to for a place near the beach to retire in Lisbon. What areas do you recommend?

    Thank you.

  3. Hi, I will be 1 day in Lisbon solo, where do you recommend me to stay and what is the best that i can do in a day?

    Best
    Maria Romero

  4. This is our first time in Lisbon and I have a choice of two different hotels in different areas and I just don’t know where is best. They are either Doubletree by Hilton Lisbon – Fontana Park or The Emerald House Lisbon. We only have two days here so we would like to be able to do and see as much as possible!

  5. Will be in Lisbon one night before going on a cruise. (Have been in Lisbon before). Recommendation for hotel between airport & cruise terminal in interesting part of city

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