Lisbon, Portugal’s small yet captivating capital boasts a stunning coastal location, embraced by the grand Tagus River and wild hillsides.
It will charm you with its mosaic-adorned cobbled streets, sunny weather, vast neoclassical squares, medieval Moorish castles, and beautiful panoramas. If you plan to visit this vibrant city, we’ll share the best locations to fully experience its charm.
Read on to learn where to stay in Lisbon!
Why You Should Visit Lisbon in 2023
Lisbon is one of Europe’s top tourist destinations with cobbled alleyways, superb seafood and wines, charming sights, and gorgeous weather.
In 2022, the World Travel Awards body voted Lisbon as Europe’s Leading City Break Destination and Europe’s Leading Seaside Metropolitan Destination. The city is also a famous historical and cultural hub.
Its Unesco heritage sites and national monuments, such as the 11th-century Moorish Castelo de Sao Jorge and the 12th-century Lisbon Cathedral, still carry the ancient spirit of old Lisbon into modern times.
Lisbon is all about keeping things easy and relaxed, and its gorgeous weather only adds to the atmosphere.
Its excellent restaurants serve the freshest, tastiest seafood you can imagine amid old-stone walls and harbor views that make for an unforgettable dining experience.
Lisbon’s cuisine is a feast for the senses, from pastel de natas (custard tarts) to polvo à lagareiro (octopus with olive oil and potatoes). Join us as we explore the best parts of Lisbon so you can feel like a local instead of a lost tourist on the streets of a foreign city.
From the must-see sights to the best restaurants and hotels, discover the essence of this beautiful city and feel at home.
The 5 Best Parts of Lisbon
Lisbon is a city where every neighborhood has a distinct personality and story. Whether you’re looking to soak up the history, indulge in the nightlife, or simply enjoy the local cuisine, there’s something for everyone.
We’ve chosen the five most exciting neighborhoods in central Lisbon that you won’t want to miss:
- Baixa: Known as the heart of Lisbon, this neighborhood is home to some of the city’s most important historical, political, and commercial centers.
- Bairro Alto and Chiado: The bohemian part of Lisbon is rich with cafes, restaurants, bars, bookstores, and museums. The perfect places to wander around, soak up the atmosphere, and discover Lisbon’s vibrant arts and culture scene.
- Cais do Sodré: As soon as the sun goes down, this place comes alive with its bars, nightclubs, and music venues.
- Alfama: The oldest neighborhood in Lisbon, Alfama is a maze of narrow streets with historic sights and picturesque facades.
- Belém: Filled with historical landmarks from the Age of Discovery, Belem is one of the best places to go if you’re interested in Portugal’s seafaring past or want to spend some time on the riverside.
The Best Areas & Hotels in Lisbon
Lisbon boasts a reputation for being one of the most welcoming cities worldwide. It’s not just about the warm hospitality of its people and affordable accommodation costs but also the city’s sunny climate and vibrant culture.
If you’re looking to explore a European capital that won’t break the bank yet offer a good time, fantastic food, and be a sanctuary from the typical tourist flocks, Lisbon is your destination.
It’s a beloved city by travellers worldwide, but unlike crowded and overpopulated capitals like London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Florence, Lisbon is not swamped with tourists.
However, that’s not to say Lisbon isn’t a popular destination — au contraire. In 2021, it welcomed around 1.9 million international tourists.
Lisbon keeps its relaxed vibe intact with its laid-back atmosphere, fantastic seafood, gorgeous wines, cobbled streets, picturesque facades, and famous elevators that carry you from one hilly neighborhood to the next.
When it comes to accommodation, Lisbon offers plenty — from budget-friendly to mid-range and luxury hotels. In this section, we’ll guide you on where to stay in Lisbon and what to see so that you’ll carry a piece of Lisbon with you when you leave.
Baixa (“downtown” in Portuguese) is Lisbon’s historic and commercial center. Also known as Baixa Pombalina (Pombaline Downtown), this part of the city is recognizable by its street grids that cut in near-perfect 90-degree angles.
The specific infrastructure and the neoclassical architecture result from the rebuilding of Lisbon after the catastrophic 1755 earthquake.
On the north side, you can find Praça do Comércio, Lisbon’s biggest square that overlooks the harbor. On the west side, it borders Bairro Alto, the bohemian part of Lisbon, and Cais do Sodré, where Lisbon’s vibrant nightlife occurs.
Finally, on the east, you can find Alfama, the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon. The streets of Baixa bustle with life, with a host of culinary and artistic delights waiting to be discovered.
Its seafood restaurants and souvenir shops provide an immersive experience for tourists. Among the main attractions is the Santa Justa Lift, an iron elevator (lift) constructed at the turn of the 20th century in the heart of historic Lisbon, offering gorgeous city views.
Meanwhile, to the north lies Avenida da Liberdade, a large boulevard adorned with trees, shops, and cafes that boasts a beautiful decorative mosaic tile promenade in its pedestrian area.
Things to Do
- Visit Rua Augusta, a lively pedestrian commercial street that passes through Rua Augusta Arch, Lisbon’s gorgeous triumphal arc leading to Praça do Comércio, Lisbon’s main square. Rua Augusta is lined with mosaic cobblestone designs, hosting charming outdoor cafes and restaurants, street artists, and antique shops combined with more contemporary international brands.
- Rua dos Correeiros, an archeological site (Núcleo Arqueológico da Rua dos Correeiros), is a few streets away from Rua Augusta. It’s an essential underground archeological site discovered in 1991. It contains well-preserved Roman mosaics and artifacts 2500 years old.
- Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square) is Lisbon’s largest city square overlooking the harbor and Tagus, the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula. Some of the most important Portuguese state buildings are located there, including the Ministry of Finances, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, and the Supreme Court. In June 1910, Praça do Comércio was proclaimed a National Monument of Portugal.
Where to Eat
- Floresta das Escadinhas is a Portuguese restaurant in central Lisbon on a slight slope in central Lisbon. It offers delicious seafood, grilled meats, a great city atmosphere, and the best Portuguese wines and desserts. Self-proclaimed as having the best sardines in Lisbon, it’s an unmissable place to eat if you love sardines.
- O Velho Eurico is a Portuguese tavern on a charming side street at the edges of Baixa. It offers classic regional dishes and a cozy vibe. If you want to feel like a true Lisbonian, this is the place to be.
- Museu da Cerveja shows the fancier side of Lisbon’s center. It’s a restaurant and a museum that chronicles Portuguese beer history. It offers classic Portuguese dishes with a modern twist that you can eat at the charming outdoor terrace right on Praça do Comércio.
Baixa Budget Hotels
- Hotel Duas Nações is a budget hotel located at the intersection of Rua Augusta and Rua da Vitória, just a five-minute stroll from the Rossio Metro Station. The hotel neatly combines traditional Portuguese architecture with stylish contemporary furnishings. In addition, it offers clean, air-conditioned rooms with satellite TV and free Wi-Fi.
- Draft Hostel & Rooms is a four-minute walk from Praça do Comércio. It’s truly an excellent value for your money because it has a great location paired with a comfy vibe, offering single rooms or bunk beds, depending on your budget. There’s free Wi-Fi in the hostel and shared bathrooms with a shower. The front desk works 24/7 and can help you with anything you need.
Baixa Mid-Range Hotels
- Behotelisboa is only 50 meters from the main shopping street Rua Augusta. It’s a mid-range hotel veering towards the more expensive accommodation types. Each hotel room has a private bathroom, satellite TV, complimentary toiletries, and free Wi-Fi. You can have breakfast for an additional price at the Taberna 132 restaurant.
- The 8 Downtown Suites is an excellent mid-range hotel in the vibrant neighborhood of Baixo. Nestled in a beautiful, refurbished 18th-century building with a sea-blue facade, the hotel seamlessly blends contemporary and vintage elements to provide a stylish and comfy stay. The rooms are soundproofed and have air conditioning, a private bathroom, a hairdryer, complimentary toiletries, free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, a minibar, and a safe. In addition, each floor has a Nespresso coffee machine that guests can use, and the hotel bar serves light meals and snacks.
Baixa Luxury Hotels
- Browns Central Hotel is an exquisite four-star hotel in an 18th-century building in Lisbon’s heart. You’ll be within walking distance of great restaurants, shopping areas, and historic sights. This remarkable hotel boasts a rich interior design in the art deco style with a modern twist. Browns Central features 84 rooms with wooden floors, marble en suite bathrooms, a Nespresso coffee machine, a Marshall sound system, and a flat-screen TV. The hotel also offers free Wi-Fi, and all rooms are air-conditioned.
- Hotel Santa Justa is another four-star hotel hidden under a 19th-century exterior, just 200 m from the remarkable Santa Justa Lift. The rooms are sleek, modern-looking, and have everything you need to feel comfortable. You can use the minibar and the Nespresso coffee machine, relax from the long day by turning on the LED SmartTV, or use the free Wi-FI. The rooms have en suite bathrooms, bathrobes, and complimentary toiletries. You can also enjoy the daily breakfast buffet at the Elevador Coffee Bar as a guest.
2. Bairro Alto and Chiado
Bairro Alto and Chiado are two adjacent neighborhoods in Lisbon with distinct personalities. Bairro Alto has traditionally been associated with the bohemian side of Lisbon, serving as a refuge and creative ground for students, artists, and writers in the 1980s, post-dictatorship Lisbon.
It’s a very picturesque neighborhood dating back to the 16th century. The grid-like streets are usually quiet during the daytime but come alive at night, as Barrio Alto has one of Lisbon’s most vibrant nightlife scenes.
Behind the flashy and graffiti-adorned facades, many traditional and international restaurants, bars, and independent shops work well into the night.
Bairro Alto is also filled with Fado houses and typical Portuguese food and drink establishments where Fado performances take place. On the other hand, Chiado represents the cultural and intellectual life of Lisbon.
It was likely named after the nickname of a famous Portuguese poet from the 16th century, António Ribeiro, whose nickname was “Chiado,” meaning “squeak” in Portuguese.
There’s even a bronze statue of him in Chiado Square. The story around the name perfectly encapsulates the spirit of this neighborhood. Chiado has museums, historic landmarks, theaters, bookshops, and old-style cafes.
Unfortunately, the neighborhood was severely affected by fire in 1988. However, through extensive efforts, it was rebuilt and rehabilitated by the renowned architect Álvaro Siza Vieira.
Nowadays, the neighborhood is one of the most valuable areas in Lisbon, and Portugal, real estate market-wise.
Chiado also has an elegant side, hosting a range of luxurious jewelry shops, such as Hermes, for example, and fine porcelain shops, among which it’s the esteemed Vista Alegre. It’s also the home for Lisbon’s oldest Tavares restaurant, which opened in 1784 and is still working.
Things to Do
- The National Museum of Contemporary Art (also called Chiado Museum) was created in 1911 and features Portuguese art from the middle of the 19th century to today. This museum is a must-see for people who want to get familiar with Portugal’s artistic production and the contemporary European art scene.
- The National Museum of Ancient Art is one of Lisbon’s most visited museums. It contains over 40,000 artistic pieces, from paintings and sculptures to textiles, ceramics, prints, furniture, and goldware. It was founded in 1844 to display collections of the National Academy of Fine Arts and the royal family of the then-existent Kingdom of Portugal. Some prized authors to grace its walls are Francisco de Zurbarán, Hieronymus Bosch, Albrecht Dürer, Raphael, Giambattista Tiepolo, and others.
- Praça Luís de Camões is a beautiful square that separates the Chiado and Bairro Alto neighborhoods, and it’s one of the most beloved meeting places in Lisbon. It’s covered in characteristic Portuguese mosaic tiles, and at its center, features a bronze statue from 1867 of the poet Luís de Camões. In addition, eight other personalities from Portuguese literature surround this famous author. The monument was designed in the spirit of Camões’ epic poem “The Lusiads.”
- Bertrand Bookstore (Livraria Bertrand) is the world’s oldest operational bookstore. Two French brothers founded it in 1732, and it hasn’t stopped working since. It’s located on the Rua Garrett and contains all kinds of books, from the latest bestsellers to the evergreen classics, charmingly stacked on wooden floor-to-ceiling shelves.
Where to Eat
- Tavares restaurant is one of the oldest in Lisbon and Europe. While it opened in 1784, it was taken over by the Tavares brothers in 1823, borning their name ever since. In time, the restaurant became a cult establishment among gourmands and cooks from across the globe. Its sophisticated, classical interiors will complement the tastiness of the food. Its specialty is seafood with a contemporary, lush turn.
- Café A Brasileira is a café at 120 Rua Garrett. It’s one of the oldest and most famous cafés in Lisbon’s old quarter. Initially, it was opened as a shop in the 19th century by Adrian Telles, who wanted to import and sell Brazilian coffee. Since its opening, it became an important meeting point for bohemians, writers, intellectuals, poets, artists, and free-thinkers in general. Nowadays, it’s also a huge tourist attraction, not just because of its history but also because of its turn-of-the-century interiors and old-world atmosphere.
Bairro Alto and Chiado Budget Hotels
- Lisb’on Hostel is located in a renovated baroque palace in the Chiado neighborhood. It has a gorgeous rooftop terrace where you can sunbathe and enjoy the panoramic views of Lisbon. Alternatively, you can relax on the hammocks and beanbags in the hostel’s backyard. The interiors are also stunning and make you feel like you’re walking into an 18th-century palace, with the occasional modern twist. All the rooms at the Lisb’on hostel are air-conditioned, soundproofed, and have free Wi-Fi. There are shared bathrooms on each floor, and guests can also use the communal kitchen and the dining area.
- Lookout Lisbon Hostel is a hostel located in Bairro Alto. It’s a neat, budget-friendly hostel close to Lisbon’s biggest attractions, such as Rua Augusta and Chiado, which are rather close. It has stunning views of the São Jorge Castle, and the dormitories have bunk beds with shared bathrooms, reading lamps, and lockers. It also has a shared kitchen where you can cook your own meals.
Bairro Alto and Chiado Mid-Range Hotels
- Chiado 44 is set in the Chiado neighborhood, within less than a mile of Rossio and an 18-minute walk from St. George’s Castle. It offers accommodation with free Wi-Fi throughout the property. Complete with a private bathroom equipped with a shower and complimentary toiletries, the units at the guest house have a flat-screen TV and air conditioning, and some rooms come with a balcony. At Chiado 44, all rooms have bed linen and towels.
- Independente Príncipe Real is an Art Deco hostel in a renovated palace on the border of Lisbon’s trendy Bairro Alto neighborhood overlooking the Tagus River. The hostel has private and shared rooms, all decorated in a distinctive style reminiscent of Art Deco’s turn-of-the-century architecture and feel. Some rooms also have a balcony and river views. The hostel provides free Wi-Fi, a communal kitchen, and a shared lounge area.
Bairro Alto and Chiado Luxury Hotels
- The Lumiares Hotel & Spa is a stylish five-star hotel in Barrio Alto, while the Chiado neighborhood is only 400 meters away. Its gorgeous rooftop terrace offers breathtaking views of Lisbon’s natural and historic sights, such as the River Tagus and Castelo de São Jorge. All rooms have free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV, private bathrooms with a bath or shower, and complimentary toiletries. If you’re up for a drink, you can enjoy a Porto or a cocktail at the on-site bar. The hotel also has a spa that offers a range of services such as full body massages, wellness packages, sauna, pedicures and manicures, waxing services, fitness and personal trainers, and more.
- Palácio Ludovice is a beautiful five-star hotel in three central Lisbonian neighborhoods: Chiado, Bairro Alto, and Príncipe Real. The hotel has concierge services, free Wi-Fi, non-smoking rooms with en suite bathrooms, a restaurant, and a 24-hour available front desk. All of the hotel rooms have a coffee machine. The rich buffet breakfast is included in your price.
3. Cais do Sodré
With its riverside location, Cais do Sodré was once considered a seedy district in Lisbon, frequented by hard-drinking sailors and populated with sketchy bars.
However, in recent years it was reborn as one of the city’s coolest neighborhoods. Bustling with nightlife, great bars and clubs, contemporary restaurants, and independent shops, Cais do Sodre has kept the names and decor of its old decadent charm and edginess.
One of its main attractions is the beautiful 19th-century food market Mercado da Ribeira (or Time Out Market), which serves as a market where you can buy various Portuguese regional products, and also a restaurant with canteen-like tables.
It also holds a concert hall, club, and gallery for special events. Behind the food market lies Rua Nova do Carvalho, formerly known as Lisbon’s “red light district.”
In the past, the bars on this street were named after European capitals to attract sailors arriving from the harbor. In present times it’s known as “Pink Street,” and it’s one of Cais do Sodré’s biggest attractions.
It was named one of the 12 favorite streets in Europe by the New York Times because of its party atmosphere. Named after the bright pink pavement, the street has popular bars and nightclubs open for partying seven days a week.
Praça de São Paulo is a beautiful little square in central Cais do Sodre. The square and the church of the same name, built after the 1755 earthquake, are perfect examples of the Pombaline architectural style.
The baroque interior is lined with blue, white, and pink stone, and the ceiling features a grand painting depicting the Apotheosis of St. Paul. The square is a charming place where you can have coffee, dine, or just chill with a snack in your hand purchased from the picturesque local kiosk.
Cais do Sodré’s location by the water also means that visitors can stroll through a beautiful promenade called Avenida Ribeira das Naus and enjoy the calm waters of the river Tagus.
Things to Do
- Strolling the Avenida Ribeira das Naus is a great way to start or end the day in Cais do Sodré. In the past ten years, it has served as the new waterfront of Lisbon. You can sit at the terraces and deckchairs, grab breakfast and coffee from the kiosk nearby, and enjoy the sun from the best local spots. In summer, Ribeira das Naus transforms into an urban beach. Once the sun hits the perfect temperature, locals and tourists alike strip down to their bathing suits, sunbathe, and swim in the water by the quay.
- Strolling Pink Street is another must-do activity. It’s one of Lisbon’s most popular and liveliest streets, with cabaret bars like Pensão Amor and restaurants like Sol e Pesca.
- Elevador da Bica (Bica elevator or funicular) is an elevator that connects parts of Lisbon, in this case, the Rua de São Paulo in lower Cais do Sodré with the hillside Calçada do Combro and Largo do Calhariz in Bairro Alto. The trip is less than five minutes long, but worth it because of the gorgeous views of the city and the panoramic elevators painted in yellow with white roofs, going in the opposite direction in the narrow, cobbled streets of Lisbon.
Where to Eat
- Landeau Chocolate is a charming cafe that serves desserts and sweets in a cozy, laid-back atmosphere. It’s a great place to go when you want to relax from the hustle and bustle of Lisbon and need a bit of sugar kick to fuel you for the rest of the day.
- Sol e Pesca is another testament to Cais do Sodre’s metamorphosis. A former fishing equipment ship transformed into a restaurant/bar serving beer, sardines, tuna, and other canned fish and seafood. It’s a great place to snack on seafood and drink cheap beer.
- Pensão Amor is a bar that used to be a brothel in Cais do Sodre’s infamus past. It was reimagined and reopened in 2011 as a bar with concerts, shows, pole dancing, burlesque, and theater performances. It serves superb cocktails and other alcoholic drinks in the original interiors from its decadent days.
- Vestigius is a restaurant located in a beautiful spot near Cais do Sodre’s port, overlooking the blue waters of the Tagus River. It serves fresh seafood and mouth-watering Portuguese wines and often features live music and art exhibitions.
Cais do Sodre Budget Hotels
- Lost Inn Lisbon Hostel is located between Chiado and Cais do Sodre. It’s a neat budget-friendly hostel set in a renovated 18th-century building that offers all the basic comforts you’ll need to stay in Lisbon for a great price. The hostel offers free Wi-Fi and private and shared rooms. All rooms have a great city view. Lost Inn has a well-equipped common kitchen where you can prepare your own meals. The 24-hour front desk can also help you book tours and rent cars and bicycles.
- Alface Hall Hostel & Bar is a charming hostel located in an 18th-century building between Cais do Sodre and Bairro Alto neighborhood. It has dormitory rooms with lockers and free Wi-Fi. Some rooms have a shared bathroom, and some have a private one. There’s also a kitchen that the hostel guests can use and a TV room with sofas where guests can relax. The reception is open from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Cais do Sodre Mid-Range Hotels
- LX Boutique Hotel is located on Pink Street. Its charismatic blue exterior offer an even more alluring interior decorated with a combination of neo-classical and modern pieces. All rooms are air-conditioned, have a minibar and a private bathroom. There’s free Wi-Fi in every room, a flat-screen TV, and an iPod docking station. The hotel offers laundry and car hire services. You can enjoy their Confraria restaurant, which specializes in sushi and tapas bites, and sip from the wide variety of wines and other beverages.
- Hotel MeraPrime Gold Lisboa is a three-star hotel located near the Lisbon harbor and three minutes away from Commerce Square. The hotel rooms are decorated in a contemporary, minimal style. All of them have a TV, free Wi-Fi, a private bathroom, and a wardrobe. Some rooms also have a view of the river. The hotel has a restaurant where guests can enjoy à la carte breakfast.
Cais do Sodre Luxury Hotels
- Corpo Santo Hotel is a five-star hotel facing the Ribeira das Naus promenade, and it’s also very close to Commerce Square. The hotel has received numerous awards as one of the best luxury hotels in the world. It has 79 rooms of different sizes, all air-conditioned, with a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom with a bath or shower, free toiletries, and a hairdryer. Corpo Santo has a beautiful bistro called Porter Bistrô, serving exquisite cocktails in its 146 Bar. Continental breakfast is included in the price. Room service is also available. The hotel also has a small museum that exhibits artifacts found when the building was renovated, which is part of the city’s 14th-century wall.
- Verride Palácio Santa Catarina is a luxury, five-star hotel located 800 m away from the harbor. It has stylish rooms that perfectly blend vintage and antique details with modern decor. The hotel’s rooftop bar has a breathtaking view of Lisbon. Guests can enjoy a rich, customized breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant, which also serves delicious Portuguese cuisine. The hotel has room service, an outdoor pool, and private parking.
Alfama is Lisbon’s treasure located near the port of the Tagus River. It’s the oldest neighborhood in the city and one of the oldest in Europe. Its roots trace back to the Iron Age.
When Lisbon was conquered by Potugal’s first king in 1147, Alfama became an upper-class neighborhood and a Jewish quarter until the Jewish population, alongside other non-Christians, was exiled from the premises in 1497.
As the city expanded, many wealthy residents moved westwards and left Alfama to the fisherman.
Unlike other areas affected by the disastrous earthquake of 1755, Alfama remained relatively untouched, preserving a rich history and numerous architectural layers that can still be seen today.
The Moors largely designed the narrow, maze-like cobbled streets to fend off enemies and keep the houses cool on hot summer days. The Moors also gave this neighborhood its distinctive name — “Alhama” is a word for springs or bath and refers to the hot springs and fountains in the area.
The old-fashioned houses with colorful tiles, the iron balconies with pots of flowers and laundry, the tiny squares, and the beautiful baroque churches are all part of the spirit of Alfama.
And last but not least, we cannot omit the Fado Houses, one of the most characteristic things about Alfama.
This neighborhood is brimming with these gorgeous restaurants and bars where you can eat Portuguese tapas, sip cool wine and listen to Fado’s melancholy yet hopeful music.
Things to Do
- José Saramago Foundation “Casa dos Bicos” (“House of the Beaks”) is a historical house in Alfama. It was built in the early 16th century and features a characteristic façade containing spikes (hence the name), influenced by the Italian Renaissance and Portuguese Manueline styles. Luckily, it survived the 1755 earthquake, and its use was revived in the 20th century when it became the location of the Museum of Lisbon and headquarters of the José Saramago Foundation.
- Visit the Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa or Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa), St Anthony’s Church (Igreja de Santo António de Lisboa), and Monastery of São Vicente de Fora.
- The Lisbon Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral, the oldest one in Lisbon.
- St. Anthony’s Church was built in the 18th century in a baroque-rococo style.
- São Vicente de Fora is a beautiful 17th-century monastery built in the mannerist style, where you can visit the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.
- The Fado Museum is another must-see location because what would Portugal be without Fado? This neat museum is dedicated to the evolution of Fado in Portugal and celebrates the artists and the audience’s passion for this musical form. The museum has many multilingual information panels and musical archives and also offers audiovisual presentations.
- Feira da Ladra is one of the oldest flea markets in Portugal, dating back to the 12th century. The choice is vast — from trinkets to unexpected treasures laid out on stalls and stretched-out blankets, this market is open from dawn into the early afternoon every Tuesday and Saturday.
Where to Eat
- Clube de Fado gives a unique Portuguese experience. It’s a restaurant and bar that serves regional dishes and drinks featuring live Fado music. It’s located very close to the Lisbon Cathedral in a beautiful building decorated with Portugals iconic tiles.
- Medrosa d’Alfama is a tapas bar that offers the best regional wines, spirits, and food, such as sausages, hams, cheese, seafood, freshly made bread, and olives. Located near the port on a small cobbled clearing between old colorful facades, it’s the best place for an evening snack and a glass of well-chilled wine.
- Alfama Doce is a pastry shop offering various breakfast pastries, desserts, and the iconic pastéis de nata (custard tart), one of the best in town.
- O Trigueirinho is a family restaurant serving typical Portuguese dishes that will make you feel like a local through and through. Trying their food is like being in a Portuguese grandma’s kitchen, trying her best recipes and feeling at home. The outside tables are placed on a narrow cobbled alleyway, making the experience more charming.
Alfama Budget Hotels
- Home Lisbon Hostel is a charming hostel in Alfama that’s only a four-minute walk from the Baixa and Chiado neighborhoods. It has four shared dorm rooms, and each of them is air-conditioned, with a shared bathroom and a shower. The hostel also has a dining area and a well-equipped kitchen.
- Inn Possible Lisbon Hostel is located right at the edge of the Alfama neighborhood. It’s a seven-minute walk to São Jorge Castle and close to the other central Lisbon neighborhoods and attractions. The dormitories have a shared bathroom, while the private rooms have a toilet and shower. Some private double rooms also have a balcony. Breakfast is included in the price. The property has free Wi-Fi, and the front desk is open 24 hours.
Alfama Mid-Range Hotels
- Castle Inn Lisbon Apartments are located in the bosom of Castelo de São Jorge. In fact, the property is within the walls of the famous castle. Castle Inn offers five apartments, all decorated with works by a local artist. All rooms have a kitchenette, a toaster, a kettle, and a dining area. Every room has air conditioning, flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, and a private toilet with all the necessary toiletries.
- Hotel Convento do Salvador is only six minutes from the São Jorge Castle and the Lisbon Cathedral. It’s a fascinating hotel because it used to be a convent, but the rooms are adapted for hotel needs. Each room is air-conditioned and has a flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, a phone, a wardrobe, a safe, and a private bathroom with toiletries and a hairdryer. Because the hotel is located on a hill, the rooms offer a panoramic view of the city and the Tagus River.
Alfama Luxury Hotels
- Palacete Chafariz Del Rei was once a family home for 19th-century aristocrats. It’s arguably one of the most elegant hotels in Lisbon, featuring stained-glass windows, antique furniture, and a terrace with a gorgeous view of the Tagus River. The rooms with their stuccoed ceilings will make you feel like you’re in a period piece. All rooms have satellite TV and Wi-Fi, as well as all necessary toiletries. Breakfast is included in the price and served in the restored dining room. The hotel also has a wood-paneled library where guests can relax after a long day and admire the Art Deco interior of the Espelhos Gallery.
- Áurea Museum is a five-star hotel in a historic building on the banks of the Tagus River. The São Jorge Castle is a 15-minute uphill walk, while Commerce Square is just 500 m away. The hotel has a permanent archaeological exhibition you can visit. It’s a modern, luxurious hotel with a fitness center, an indoor pool, a massage room, and a Turkish bath. There’s also a restaurant where you can try traditional and international dishes and have your breakfast buffet every morning. All rooms are air-conditioned and have a flat-screen TV, a safe, a work desk, a private bathroom, and free Wi-Fi.
Belem, the westernmost district of Lisbon, is the place to visit when you want to learn about Portugal’s old seafaring history.
It’s where the river Tagus opens to the Atlantic Ocean, from where many ships, sailors, and Portuguese explorers sailed out during the Age of Discovery. Among them were Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus.
When you’re in Belem, it seems that every corner, every spot serves as a reminder of the Age of Exploration.
The Torre de Belém, or Tower of Saint Vincent, is an essential symbol of this age, serving as an embarkment point and a gateway to Lisbon. But Belem is not an attractive neighborhood because of its history regarding Portugal’s exploration days.
It’s also an urban refuge from the city crowds. You can go to the beach, stroll the banks of Tagus, take a ferry to Trafaria, or hike in Monsanto Park.
And a third reason to visit Belem is the most famous pastry shop in Portugal, Pastéis de Belém, selling the beloved pastéis de nata. There are also great seafood restaurants and beautiful luxury hotels on the Tagus waterfront.
Things to Do
- Torre de Belém, or Belém Tower, is a fortification built from limestone in the 16th century. It was an important point for embarkation and disembarkation for Portuguese explorers, and it also served as a ceremonial and symbolic gateway into Lisbon.
- Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Jerónimos Monastery) is a former monastery secularized in 1833. It was built in the early 16th century and represents a beautiful example of the late Portuguese Gothic Manueline architectural style. The monastery is also a burial ground for the Portuguese royal dynasty of Aviz, the explorer Vasco da Gama, and the celebrated poet Luís de Camões.
- Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument of the Discoveries) is a monument erected on the northern bank of Tagus in honor of the departing exploration and trade ships in the Age of Discovery. It was conceived in 1939 and opened in 1958. The monument is accompanied by a square lined with beautiful mosaic tiles forming a compass and a world map.
- MAAT is a museum of art, architecture, and technology that opened in 2016. It’s located in a repurposed power station, Central Tejo, an iconic edifice built in the industrial architecture style. There’s also a new complex designed by a famous London architectural studio AL A (Amanda Levete Architects).
Where to Eat
- Pastéis de Belém is arguably the best bakery and cafe in Lisbon. It was the first one that started selling pastéis de nata (Portugal’s famous custard tart desert) commercially, which forever tied this wonderful desert with the image of Portugal.
- O Prado is a modern restaurant that aims to put its sustainable produce to tasty use. With their farm-to-table model, they’re creating the best Portuguese dishes and wines from organic and fresh ingredients.
- Honorato Belém is a great burger place in Belem for those nights when you have an extra craving for this universal gem!
- Nunes Real Marisqueira is all about the sea. From their aquarium-like interiors to the superb, fresh dishes, if you’re looking for exquisite Portuguese seafood, then this is it.
Belém Budget Hotels
- Impact House Belém is a budget-friendly hostel accommodation in Belém with an outdoor swimming pool, a garden, private parking, and a shared lounge. There’s free Wi-Fi throughout the whole premise, and there’s also a restaurant and a bar. All hostel rooms include bed linen. You can also get a buffet and continental breakfast for an additional price. The area around Impact House is particularly convenient for hikers. You can also hire a bike or a car at this hostel.
- Setubalense is a three-star hotel located in a renovated XVII-century building close to the River Tagus. It has air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi, and all of them have private bathrooms. Some rooms even have a balcony with city views. The famous Pastéis de Belém is five minutes away. The hotel has a garden where you can sunbathe. There’s also a communal area where you can relax or work.
Belém Mid-Range Hotels
- Cosy Bedrooms Guest House is a small hotel with concierge services, a shared lounge, a terrace, and free Wi-Fi, less than a mile away from Jeronimos Monastery. Some of the rooms include a balcony with a garden view. All rooms have a seating area and a flat-screen satellite TV equipped with towels and bed linen.
- Hotel Jeronimos 8 is a four-star hotel that’s very close to Jerónimos Monastery in Belem. All rooms have free Wi-Fi and a TV, a safe, and are air-conditioned. The hotel offers room service and daily breakfast. Guests can relax in the lobby or at the hotel bar.
Belém Luxury Hotels
- Altis Belém Hotel & Spa is a luxury five-star hotel that has a gorgeous waterfront location next to the Tagus River. One of its best assets is the rooftop sun deck, the indoor and outdoor pools, the spa, and the Turkish bath. All rooms at Altis have a flat-screen TV, Nespresso machines, free Wi-Fi, electric curtains, and en suite bathrooms. Additionally, the rooms also have a panoramic view of the Tagus waterfront. As a guest, you can dine in their Michelin Star, award-winning Feitoria Restaurant.
- NAU Palacio do Governador is another five-star hotel a stone’s throw away from the Belem Tower. As a guest, you can use their spa and wellness center and outdoor and indoor pool. NAU Palacio offers free Wi-Fi and private parking. You can also enjoy the hotel garden and terrace for sunbathing and chilling. Every room has air conditioning, an en suite bathroom, and a satellite flat-screen TV. Breakfast is included in the price. Toiletries, slippers, and bath robes are also free of charge. The hotel has a lounge area, a library, a bar, and an à la carte restaurant with lots of tasty Portuguese and international dishes.
So, Where Should You Stay in Lisbon?
|🏆Best for First-Time Visitors||Baixa|
|🎭 Most Artistic Area||Bairro Alto and Chiado|
|🍺 Best Area for Nightlife||Cais do Sodré|
|🏰 Most Historic Area||Alfama|
|🌳 Best to Experience Nature||Belém|
Lisbon is so welcoming to tourists and has so much to offer in terms of accommodation, cultural and historic sites, nightlife, food and restaurants, and views. It won’t be a mistake wherever you land in Lisbon, especially regarding these five neighborhoods.
- First-time visitors may want to start with the Baixo area because it’s close to the main attractions, such as Commerce Square, the Santa Justa Elevator, and the Rua Augusta, the main shopping street.
- Party enthusiasts would probably be more drawn to Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodré with their vibrant nightlife and bars and clubs open to the early dawn. On the other hand, Chiado and Alfama are perfect for bohemian-oriented tourists, with their cute squares, picture-perfect restaurants, and cafes once visited by poets, flea markets, and bookstores.
- Belem is an excellent option for those who want to experience a bit of nature within the city. It offers beaches, a wonderful waterfront, and an entrance to the Monsanto Forest Park. It’s also a great place for history buffs, especially people interested in Portugal’s and Europe’s maritime past.
- Lisbon is among our favorite cities, not only because of the great food, the vibrant nightlife, and the fantastic weather but also because it’s so lovely to stroll through. The old European architecture, the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, the history, and the contemporary cultural spots — it’s all there, coddled in the secretive streets of old and new Lisbon.
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip to Lisbon today and experience all this idyllic city has to offer. Happy travels!