“The value of things is not the time they last, but the intensity with which they occur. That is why there are unforgettable moments and unique people!” - Fernando Pessoa

This writer is buried at the Jerónimos Monastery in one of the areas of Lisbon.

If you are dreaming of a trip to Portugal, you will need somewhere to stay. Why not add some of the coolest neighborhoods in Lisbon to your itinerary. Whether you stay there or just visit, they are a must-see!    

Over 500 000 people resided in many areas in Lisbon, many of whom are elderly. There are also thousands of abandoned buildings in some of the neighbourhoods of Lisbon, especially in Baixa. Fortunately, there has been a drive-in recent years to redevelop these to accommodate the millions of tourists who visit the city every year.

If you are poring over a Lisbon neighborhood map, keep reading because in this article we look at where to stay as well as some of the coolest neighborhoods in Lisbon.  

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Coolest Neighborhoods in Lisbon: The Baixa  

You could book accommodation in the Baixa which is the heart of the city’s commerce and tourism.  Located at the foot of two hills, Baixa is one of the best Lisbon neighborhoods. It also has a lot of history. It was rebuilt by the Marquis of Pombal following an earthquake that decimated the city in 1755.

The reason it is one of the coolest neighborhoods in Lisbon is due to its Pombalian style which is characterised by local café culture and “pasteis de nata” the Portuguese pastries.

Public transport is operated by the Cais do Sodré railway station which is useful for connecting to other areas in Lisbon such as the following:

  • The Alentejo
  • The Algarve
  • Sintra
  • Estoril
  • The Atlantic Coast beaches

Bear in mind that accommodation prices will be higher during the high season especially in the best Lisbon neighborhoods. However, making use of sites like Airbnb will generally work out better than hotels, depending on the area. Check out the Lisbon neighborhood map before you start as this will help you to see how far you will be from the city and its top sightseeing attractions.

Which is the best place for tourists to stay in Lisbon?
The Baixa neighbourhood is the commercial heart of Lisbon. (Source: csr_ch)

On the outskirts of the Baixa, you will find historical attractions like, the Praça do Comércio, the Rua Augusta Arch, and the Praça da Figueira which is the location of a King John I of Portugal statue.

From here, it is easy to make your way to the Praça dos Restaurades and the Rossio which are two of the prettiest areas in Lisbon.

One of the best ways to get around all of the areas in Lisbon is to purchase a Lisboa Card, which is available for either 24, 48, or 72 at a cost of either €20, €34, or €42. This will provide you with transport as well as access to some monuments and museums. Check the Lisbon neighborhood map to see what else is included.

The Alfama Neighbourhood

The Alfama is another vibey area of Lisbon. As another one of the older neighbourhoods of Lisbon, it is very picturesque. The name comes from the Arabic translation “Al-hamma” and means "hot fountains" or "baths”.

Alfama is situated between Saint George Castle (Castelo São Jorge) and the Tage estuary. It’s also famous for its restaurants, bars, and historic buildings.

If you are interested in Portuguese traditions, then Alfama is one of the best Lisbon neighborhoods to experience it! Also, not only can you expect great views because of its location on top of a hill, but it is also home to a castle, cathedral, and narrow streets that are great for walking.

Planning your trip to Lisbon during June when festivities like the Festas dos Santos Populares from 12-20 June and the Feast of Saint Anthony of Padua (12-13 June), which is a public holiday, is a good idea.

Where is Lisbon historic centre?
The old buildings of the Alfama survived a magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami. (Source: Skitterphoto)

In addition to the festivities, the Alfama is one of those neighbourhoods of Lisbon that is great for discovering more about the city’s history. In fact, much of it endured the 1755 earthquake which is why so much Moorish architecture is still prevalent today.

You’ll be able to see the Gothic Lisbon Cathedral, built in 1147 which is the oldest church in the city. Don’t forget to head up to the Miradouro de Santa Luzia where you can enjoy views of the Tage estuary, as well as the monuments in the old town.

Do you like museums?

As you head back down, be sure to visit the Fado museum of art. It is also one of the finest places to stay if you are spending time in Lisbon if you are not on a strict budget.

Other Neighbourhoods of Lisbon: The Bairro Alto and Chiado  

As you head towards the west you will encounter the most historic part of Lisbon. Take the Santa Justa lift and find yourself in the Bairro Alto.

The Barro and Chiado are really two of the coolest neighborhoods in Lisbon. This area, which is home to historic properties, quaint shops, and many bars and restaurants, is truly a slice of Portuguese culture. As one of the more alternative parts of town, it also boasts exciting nightlife.

If you check out any guide for visiting Lisbon, the Barro with its enviable nightlife and young, hipster crowd is the place to party until dawn.

Where is the Bairro Alto?
The tram is a great way to enjoy the Bairro Alto in Lisbon. (Source: juliaorige)

If you are keen to spend time here, but also get your sleep, check out the Lisbon neighborhood map for places nearby, as this is an area that will be noisy at night.  

For a romantic getaway or family holiday, it would be wiser to stay in Jardim de São Pedro de Alcântara with its beautiful outlook over Saint George Castle and the Baixa.

To bring together both old and new, and access Chiado, make sure you take the Glória or Bica Funicular which has been running since 1890.

The Chiado, is one of those neighbourhoods of Lisbon, much like the Bairro Alto that is chic and fashionable. It is famous for its traditional shops, theatres, boutiques, and historic monuments.

Here, be sure to check out

  • The Santa Justa Lift
  • Commerce Square or Praça do Comércio
  • Rua Augusta Arch
  • The Miradouro de Santa Catarina
  • Bica Funicular
  • Convento da Ordem do Carmo

Find out more about the best places to stay in Lisbon.

Check Out the Belém and Ajuda Neighbourhoods

Two other neighbourhoods of Lisbon, only 6km from Baixa that are a must-see are Belém and Ajuda.

To get there you can take a train, bus or tram from the city centre. Places of interest that you can look forward to seeing are the Tower of Belém, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (also called the Monument of Discoveries), and the Jerónimos Monastery.

The Tower of Belém, one of the city’s most iconic monuments and a UNESCO world heritage site, is built near the sea by King Manuel I between 1514 and 1519 with the purpose of defining the port of Lisbon.

Which are Lisbon's most famous monuments?
The "Padrão dos Descubrimentos" is a monument dedicated to Portuguese explorers. (Source: stefy89)

Another monument not to be missed is the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, which was built in 1960 to commemorate the 500th year anniversary of Prince Henry, the navigator’s death. It is situated next to the Tower of Belém.

At 50 metres, the monument is a huge caravel-shaped structure that features Prince Henry the Navigator, and a huge wind rose of 50 metres in diameter to show the direction taken by explorers.

Use the Lisbon neighborhood map to make sure that you don’t miss a visit to the Jerónimos Monastery. Built in 1502, it survived the 1755 earthquake, was classified as an historic monument in 1907, and in 1983 was pronounced a UNESCO world heritage site.

It is also where the Treaty of Lisbon, signed by the heads of the European Union on 13 December 2007. Would you call these the coolest neighborhoods in Lisbon? You would if you love history!

Now, don’t forget to take some Portuguese lessons!

If you need support with your Portuguese, consider the assistance of the many tutors on Superprof.

You can use the website’s location tool to find a tutor near you. If none are available, you always have the option of online tutorials from private Portuguese tutors from all over the world.

Whichever way you decide to learn Portuguese, remember that it will take perseverance and dedication, but it can also be fun. Find a language buddy, take a conversational course or immerse yourself by going to study or work in Portugal, it won’t take long before you are directing tourists around the best Lisbon neighborhoods or other areas in Lisbon like a local who has been there for years!

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Niki

Niki is a content writer from Cape Town, South Africa, who is passionate about words, strategic communication and using words to help create and maintain brand personas. Niki has a PR and marketing background, but her happiest place is when she is bringing a story to life on a page.