Where to Stay in Lisbon – A Local’s Guide to the City’s Neighborhoods?

Lisbon, with its captivating blend of old-world charm and vibrant city life, has long been a favorite destination for travelers from the United States.

Whether you’re visiting for the first time or returning to delve deeper into its culture, choosing the right neighborhood can significantly enhance your experience.

This guide provides an in-depth look at the best neighborhoods to stay in Lisbon, helping you decide where to set your base for an unforgettable visit.

Map of Lisbon’s Neighborhoods

Unveiling Lisbon’s magic is like getting lost in a captivating story – each neighborhood a unique chapter. But fret not, intrepid explorer! This map serves as your guide, a compass to navigate Lisbon’s vibrant mosaic.

Scattered throughout the city, my recommended neighborhoods each boast their own charm. Alfama’s labyrinthine streets might whisper secrets of the past, while Baixa’s grand squares thrum with a modern pulse.

Want to devour Lisbon’s central chapters in a single, whirlwind adventure? Join Inês, our favorite local guide, for a private tour! In a few short hours, she’ll whisk you through the heart of the city, ensuring you don’t miss a single captivating page.

So, unfold this map, trace your finger along the winding paths, and get ready to fall in love with Lisbon, one remarkable neighborhood at a time.

Best Areas to Stay in Lisbon

Choosing the perfect place to stay in Lisbon can be overwhelming, but it’s all about finding the neighborhood that suits your vibe.

Look for central locations with good public transport options. Each district in Lisbon has its own unique character.

Alfama offers history and charm with its labyrinthine streets and Fado music. Belém is perfect for history buffs with its iconic monuments, though it’s a bit further from the city center.

Baixa and Chiado are ideal for shopping and sightseeing enthusiasts. Bairro Alto is the vibrant nightlife hub.

Avenidas Novas and Graça provide a local residential experience. These are just a few highlights of what Lisbon has to offer.

Let’s dive into 8 of my favorite neighborhoods to help you craft your perfect Lisbon adventure.

1. Alfama & Mouraria

Alfama & Mouraria

Alfama and Mouraria are Lisbon’s beating heart. Imagine cobbled streets winding their way uphill, revealing postcard-perfect views of terracotta rooftops and the glistening Tagus River.

This historic district is a photographer’s paradise, but its charm goes way deeper than a pretty picture.

History whispers from every corner

Alfama is Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood, a maze of narrow streets that miraculously survived the 1755 earthquake.

Here, you’ll find Lisbon’s soul. Locals have called Alfama home for generations, and their spirit spills out of colorful cafes and window stalls selling thimble-sized glasses of ginginha, a sweet and sour cherry liqueur.

Tourist boom, local blues

Alfama’s popularity has a double-edged sword. While the vibrant energy is contagious, the tourist influx has pushed some residents out.

But the Alfama spirit endures. Keep an eye out for locals selling traditional crafts or serving up steaming plates of sardines during the June Santo António Festival, when the neighborhood fills with the smoky scent of grilled fish and the infectious beat of Fado music.

Mouraria: A melting pot of cultures

Next door to Alfama lies Mouraria, a multicultural haven. Step into Indian spice shops, Chinese restaurants, and African grocers, all brimming with exotic aromas.

Here, you’ll find both long-established Portuguese restaurants like Zé da Mouraria and trendy new spots like O Velho Eurico. It’s a neighborhood where tradition and fresh flavors collide on your plate.

Getting lost is the best way to find yourself

Alfama and Mouraria are best explored on foot. Forget the map and let your curiosity be your guide.

Wander down narrow alleyways, stumble upon hidden squares, and soak up the atmosphere.

You might just find yourself serenaded by the melancholic tunes of Fado wafting from a tucked-away restaurant, or discover a tiny hole-in-the-wall serving the best pastel de nata (custard tart) in Lisbon.

Yes, there are downsides…

Be warned, Alfama can get crowded, especially during peak season. The 28 tram, once a charming way to navigate the hills, has become a tourist attraction in itself.

But these minor inconveniences shouldn’t deter you. Alfama and Mouraria offer a glimpse into Lisbon’s authentic heart, a place where history whispers from every corner and the aroma of spices mingles with the melody of Fado.

My favorite hotels in Alfama & Mouraria

This is just a taste of what Alfama and Mouraria have to offer. Stay tuned for more tips on hidden restaurants and must-see sights in Lisbon’s most captivating neighborhoods.

Luxury with a View: Memmo Alfama

Imagine waking up to a picture-perfect vista of the Tagus River and the majestic Panteão Nacional.

That’s the magic of Memmo Alfama, a modern oasis tucked away in a quiet alley. Dive into the sleek rooftop pool to cool off after a day of exploring, or unwind with a glass of local wine on your private balcony.

Be warned, this dreamy stay might come with a hefty price tag ($250-$350 per night), but for some, the view is priceless.

Stepping Back in Time: Solar do Castelo

History buffs, this one’s for you! Perched within the castle walls, Solar do Castelo is a four-star hotel oozing with medieval charm.

Imagine sleeping amongst exposed stone walls, wooden ceilings, and antique furniture – it’s like living in your own personal fairytale.

Keep your eyes peeled for the resident peacocks strutting their stuff outside your window – an unexpected, but delightful touch! Rates here are similar to Memmo Alfama ($250-$350 per night).

Budget-Friendly Stays: This is Lisbon Hostel

Alfama and Mouraria aren’t just about luxury digs. This is Lisbon Hostel offers a perfect option for budget travelers.

Bunk up in a dorm room for a social experience (around $30 a night), or opt for a private room for a touch more privacy (around $100 a night).

Chill out in the communal kitchen or lounge, and soak up the city views from the rooftop terrace. It’s a fantastic launching pad for your Lisbon adventures.

2. Avenidas Novas

Avenidas Novas

Craving a peaceful stay in Lisbon? Skip the bustling crowds and head to Avenidas Novas, a haven for families and couples seeking a quieter side of the city.

Picture wide, tree-lined boulevards lined with grand buildings – a stark contrast to the maze-like streets of Alfama.

This modern neighborhood might be short on historical sights, but it makes up for it with beautiful parks, top-notch museums, and a relaxed vibe.

Imagine strolling through Eduardo VII Park, a sprawling green space with a stunning view of the city. Kids will love chasing ducks in the ponds or exploring the hidden nooks.

If you’re an art aficionado, the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum is a must-visit. Get lost in its collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts, dazzling jewelry, and masterpieces by European artists.

But Avenidas Novas offers more than just greenery and culture. Foodies, rejoice! You can indulge in decadent pastries at the legendary Pastelaria Versailles, a Lisbon institution for over a century.

Craving something trendy? Head to El Corte Inglés, a haven for high-end designer brands.

Avenidas Novas might not be the first place that pops into your head when thinking of Lisbon, but that’s its charm.

Here, you can experience a different side of the city – a calm oasis perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring.

Plus, with the metro just a breath away, you’re never far from the bustling heart of Lisbon if you ever crave the city’s energy.

My favorite hotels in Avenidas Novas

Avenidas Novas! Lisbon’s swanky new district is like a breath of fresh air. But with so many hotels, where do you even begin?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Whether you’re a luxury lounger or a budget adventurer, I’ve got a hotel pick to match your vibe.

For the High Roller:

EPIC SANA Lisboa Hotel: This five-star stunner boasts a rooftop pool with skyline views that will knock your socks off.

Unwind at the spa after a day of exploring, or hit the gym to stay on top of your fitness game. Be prepared to splurge a bit – it’s an investment in pure relaxation (think $300 a night).

For the Budget Explorer:

ibis Lisboa José Malhoa: Need a comfortable room without breaking the bank? This modern spot is your answer. Plus, your furry friend can come along for the adventure (just ask nicely!).

You won’t be sacrificing much – prices start around $100 a night, leaving you more cash for Pastelaria Versailles’ legendary pastries (trust me, they’re worth it).

For the History Buff:

H10 Duque de Loulé: This 18th-century charmer is steeped in history. Imagine waking up to stunning city views, with pops of Lisbon’s iconic blue-and-white tiles adding a touch of local flair.

Rooms start around $225 a night, making it a perfect blend of comfort, affordability, and a sprinkle of the past.

Beyond the Room: Must-See Avenidas Novas

But Avenidas Novas isn’t all about hotels (although they are pretty sweet). This neighborhood is also packed with hidden gems. Don’t miss:

  • Parque Eduardo VII: Pack a picnic and sprawl out on the sprawling lawns of this expansive park. The views are unreal – think manicured gardens and the whole city sprawled out before you.
  • Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian: Calling all art lovers! This renowned museum houses an impressive collection spanning centuries and continents.
  • Fogo by Alexandre Silva: Dinner with a fiery twist? This spot puts wood-fire cooking front and center. From succulent seafood to sizzling steaks, prepare to have your taste buds tantalised.

This is just a taste of what Avenidas Novas has to offer. So, pick your perfect hotel, explore the local treasures, and get ready to fall in love with Lisbon’s vibrant new district.

3. Baixa & Chiado

Baixa & Chiado

Baixa & Chiado in Lisbon are perfect for time-crunched travelers. This vibrant area offers a grand shopping district with modern and luxury stores.

While some traditional Portuguese stores have closed, there are still hidden gems to discover, like Luvaria Ulisses for custom-made gloves and Livraria Bertrand, one of the oldest bookstores.

Chiado has a literary vibe, associated with renowned writer Fernando Pessoa. Baixa & Chiado also offer historical landmarks like Praça do Comércio and the impressive Rossio train station.

The area is highly walkable and provides easy access to major attractions and day trip destinations. Michelin-starred restaurants, theaters, and cinemas cater to those seeking fine dining and cultural experiences.

For a memorable Lisbon experience filled with history, shopping, and culture, Baixa & Chiado are the place to be.

My favorite hotels in Baixa and Chiado

Hey there, Lisbon adventurer! You’ve got your eye on Baixa and Chiado, two of Lisbon’s hottest neighborhoods.

Here’s the scoop on where to rest your weary head after a day of conquering castles and charming cafes:

Luxury with a Secret Garden:

Feeling fancy? The One Palácio da Anunciada is your oasis in the city. Think French gardens whispering secrets, a sprawling pool to cool off in, and a spa to melt your travel woes away (but be prepared to splurge!).

Architecturally Approved digs:

If design is your thing, then Hotel do Chiado, created by the award-winning Siza Vieira, is a dream. Plus, you’ll be just steps from Chiado’s epic shopping streets. Many rooms boast castle and river views – score.

Budget-Friendly Buddies:

Traveling solo or with a squad? Home Lisbon Hostel puts you right in the heart of the action, surrounded by cool cafes and souvenir shops. Dorms are easy on the wallet, while private rooms offer a touch more privacy if you need to recharge.

4. Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto in Lisbon is a must-visit for night owls and party enthusiasts. This energetic district offers a bar-hopping experience with overflowing bars and a lively atmosphere.

From shots of Ginginha to cheap cocktails, the streets are filled with revelers enjoying the vibrant nightlife.

Although it can get raucous, being in the heart of the party scene is worth it. During the day, Bairro Alto showcases its charismatic side with independent shops, hidden art studios, and delightful pastry destinations like Manteigaria.

Catch a stunning sunset at Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara before diving into the electric energy of the neighborhood. Bairro Alto is the place to be for an unforgettable Lisbon nightlife experience.

My favorite hotels in Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto! Lisbon’s pulsing nightlife district where cobbled streets twist and turn, leading you on an adventure with every step.

But before you dive into the electrifying night, you’ll need a stellar place to rest your weary head. Fear not, fellow traveler, for I’ve got the inside scoop on the coolest cribs in town.

For the Luxe Experience:

The Lumiares Hotel & Spa: Feeling fancy? The Lumiares might be your perfect match. Think spacious suites and apartments, some with their own kitchen for those nights you want to whip up a masterpiece (or conquer instant ramen, no judgment!).

Plus, a rooftop bar, restaurant, and spa are the cherries on top – all for a price tag between $300 and $500 a night. Location? Top-notch, as are the views.

For the Budget-Minded Nomad:

Selina Secret Garden & Cowork: Traveling on a shoestring but still crave a cool vibe? Selina Secret Garden is your bestie.

Here, you’ll find comfy beds, a co-working space to stay on top of your hustle, and – the best part for social butterflies – tons of events like yoga sessions and DJ sets to keep the energy flowing. All this for a cool $100 a night, leaving you more cash to explore Lisbon’s treasures.

For Something in Between:

Bairro Alto Hotel: This gem sits right between the trendy Chiado district and the buzzing Bairro Alto.

It offers spacious rooms that capture the vibrant spirit of Lisbon, with prices ranging from $350 to $500 a night.

So, you can chill in style and have the best of both worlds – daytime exploring and nighttime revelry – right at your doorstep.

These are just a taste of the amazing hotels Bairro Alto has to offer. So, whether you’re a jet-setting socialite or a backpacking adventurer, there’s a perfect spot waiting to welcome you.

5. Belém


Belém in Lisbon is a captivating destination for history enthusiasts, urban explorers, and families.

The iconic Torre de Belém and Mosteiro dos Jerónimos showcase Portugal’s maritime heritage and offer a glimpse into the country’s glorious past.

Indulge in the original custard tarts, Pastéis de Belém, and savor their warm flaky pastry and creamy custard filling.

For a more contemporary experience, visit the MAAT, a museum blending art and technology, and enjoy breathtaking city views from its rooftop.

Belém is perfect for walking along the riverside promenade or taking a 30-minute bike ride into Lisbon.

While there are luxury hotels, Belém is ideal for a day trip due to budget considerations.

Arrive early to beat the crowds and enjoy the golden light of dawn on historic landmarks.

Consider joining a private walking tour with a knowledgeable local guide to discover hidden gems. Belém promises an unforgettable experience steeped in history and charm.

My favorite hotels in Belém

Belém isn’t just about postcard-perfect sights; it’s also where you can find a fantastic place to rest your weary head after a day of exploring.

Whether you crave luxury with a view or a charming historical setting, Belém has something for every budget and taste.

Luxury on the Waterfront: Altis Belém

Imagine waking up to a breathtaking panorama of the Tagus River. That’s the daily reality at Altis Belém, a swanky hotel that oozes sophistication.

If you’re a foodie, you’re in for a treat – their Michelin-starred restaurant will tantalize your taste buds.

Plus, with swimming pools and a spa on-site, pure relaxation is guaranteed. But this kind of luxury comes at a price – expect to shell out around $350 a night.

Step Back in Time: NAU Palácio do Governador

History buffs, this one’s for you! NAU Palácio do Governador is a hotel steeped in history, housed in a 17th-century mansion that once housed the Governor of the Belém Tower.

It’s a short stroll from the iconic landmark, so you can soak up the past and capture those Instagram-worthy shots.

This luxurious stay boasts a restaurant, bar, outdoor pool, and even a spa – all for a slightly more affordable price tag of $275 a night.

Budget-Friendly Charm: Jerónimos 8

Traveling on a shoestring? No worries! Jerónimos 8 offers a comfortable and convenient option right next to the magnificent Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.

While the rooms might be modest, the location is unbeatable. Think of it as your cozy home base for exploring Belém’s treasures, all for a budget-friendly $150 per night.

6. Alcântara, Estrela & Madragoa

Alcântara, Estrela & Madragoa

For remote workers, coffee lovers, and families, these hidden gems in Lisbon offer a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience.

Alcântara showcases industrial charm and waterfront coolness, with activities like skating, jogging under the iconic 25 de Abril Bridge, and Padel courts.

Don’t miss the panoramic views from the Pilar 7 elevator. The LX Factory, a trendy complex with boutique shops and hip restaurants, is a must-visit.

Ler Devagar, a stunning bookstore, and the vinyl-filled record store on the top floor are worth exploring.

Estrela and Madragoa are charming neighborhoods filled with specialty coffee shops, design stores, and a strong digital nomad presence.

Enjoy a latte while working in inspiring cafes with reliable wifi. Estrela is also a haven for families, boasting parks and international schools.

Jardim da Estrela, a delightful public garden, offers playgrounds, cafes, and a monthly crafts and design market for leisurely strolls and unique finds from local artisans.

These hidden gems provide a perfect blend of work-friendly environments and green oases for relaxation and exploration.

My favorite hotels in Alcântara, Estrela & Madragoa

Lisbon’s neighborhoods are like tapas – each bursting with its own unique flavor. So, if you’re looking to veer off the tourist trail and experience the city like a local, Alcântara, Estrela, and Madragoa are calling your name.

But before we dive into the tastiest pastel de nata shops, let’s find the perfect place to crash after a day of exploring.

Living in Luxury: Olissippo Lapa Palace

Travel back in time at the Olissippo Lapa Palace, a 19th-century palace turned into a luxurious hotel. Imagine sprawling out by one of the two pools, a cool drink in hand, with the Tagus River shimmering in the distance.

Feeling fancy? Indulge in a treatment at the hotel’s spa – just prepare to shell out some serious dough for this royal treatment (think $600 a night!).

Boutique Bliss: York House

For a charming and central stay, the York House is your golden ticket. This boutique hotel puts you right next door to the National Museum of Ancient Art and a stone’s throw from trendy cafes. Plus, the price tag is much easier to swallow, hovering between $150-$200 a night.

Budget-Friendly Breaks: LX Hostel

Backpackers and budget travelers, rejoice! The LX Hostel offers dorm beds for a steal (around $40 a night) and private rooms for a cool $100.

Plus, its location inside the LX Factory, a buzzing hub of creativity, means you’ll be surrounded by cool shops and trendy restaurants. Bonus points for being pet-friendly – your furry friend can join the Lisbon adventure too.

7. Graça


Graça, a charming hilltop neighborhood in Lisbon, offers an authentic and off-the-beaten-path experience.

Enjoy jaw-dropping cityscapes while sipping Portuguese wine at cozy bars. The neighborhood exudes a chilled-out vibe with cobbled streets, vibrant murals, and a slower pace of life.

Highlights of Graça include the panoramic views from Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, exploring its labyrinthine alleys with a mix of traditional and trendy establishments, and discovering hidden gems like Vila Berta and Estrela d’Ouro.

Unearth unique treasures at Humana thrift store, catch open-mic sessions at Camones, or simply relax and watch the sunset from Miradouro da Senhora do Monte.

Graça provides a local experience, where you can immerse yourself in Lisbon’s essence and mingle with friendly residents.

It’s the perfect destination for those seeking an authentic slice of Lisbon with stunning views.

My favorite hotels in Graça

Graça, Lisbon’s hilltop neighborhood, is a treasure trove of winding streets, breathtaking viewpoints, and hidden local gems.

But after a day of exploring, you’ll need a cozy place to unwind. Fear not, fellow traveler, for I’ve got the inside scoop on some fantastic hotels in Graça, each with its own unique charm.

For the Lovebirds:

Craving a romantic escape? Look no further than Santa Clara 1728. With only six luxurious suites, this upscale haven oozes intimacy.

Nestled between Alfama and Graça, it’s the perfect base to wander hand-in-hand through Lisbon’s historic streets.

Million-Dollar Views (Without Breaking the Bank):

Want to wake up to a jaw-dropping panorama of the city? Albergaria Senhora do Monte might be your match.

This friendly three-star hotel places you just steps from the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, a viewpoint boasting some of the most incredible cityscapes in Lisbon.

Plus, for around $180 a night, the price tag won’t leave you gasping for air (unlike the breathtaking views, perhaps!).

A Home Away From Home (On a Budget):

Traveling solo or seeking a friendly atmosphere? Tings Lisbon is your best bet. This affordable B&B offers 16 cozy rooms and a delightful outdoor patio – the perfect spot to mingle with fellow travelers or sip your morning coffee while basking in the Lisbon sunshine.

8. Príncipe Real

Príncipe Real

Príncipe Real, Lisbon’s stylish neighborhood, combines the vibes of SoHo and the Castro. It offers upscale boutiques, trendy cocktail bars, and a vibrant LGBTQ+ community.

Discover unique statement pieces, enjoy expertly crafted cocktails, and dance the night away at legendary clubs like Trumps or Finalmente.

During the day, find tranquility amidst elegant 19th-century buildings housing hidden gems like Embaixada, a former palace turned local designer haven.

Nearby neighborhood gardens provide a serene escape with lush greenery, shade from a giant cedar tree, and the gentle sounds of fountains.

Weekends in Príncipe Real are filled with socializing at local kiosks and exploring the Mercado Biológico, a farmer’s market offering fresh, organic produce.

Whether you’re a fashionista, a foodie, or seeking a vibrant and welcoming neighborhood, Príncipe Real is ready to charm you.

My favorite hotels in Príncipe Real

Príncipe Real is like Lisbon’s secret garden – a charming neighborhood buzzing with life. Finding a place to stay can be tricky, so I’ve rounded up a few gems to suit your style, from posh digs to budget-friendly options.

Luxury with a View:

Memmo Príncipe Real is the epitome of swanky. Think modern rooms, a rooftop pool for soaking up the sun, and a swanky cocktail bar with panoramic city views that go on forever (perfect for sunset selfies, of course!). But be prepared to splurge – a night here will set you back around $450.

Boutique Charm:

For a touch of something different, 1869 Príncipe Real is a charming B&B with a striking red tile facade.

The nine rooms and suites here are cozy and some even have their own private balconies – perfect for a morning coffee overlooking the neighborhood. Prices are a little more relaxed here, hovering around $300 a night.

Social Butterfly on a Budget:

The Independente Príncipe Real isn’t your average hostel. Housed in a cool 19th-century building, it offers a mix of dorms and private suites, so you can choose your level of social interaction.

Bonus points for the two restaurants on-site, including a rooftop one with castle views! Prices for a private room start at a steal – $150 a night.

Beyond Your Doorstep:

No matter where you stay, Príncipe Real has something for everyone. Stroll through the Jardim do Príncipe Real gardens, or spend an afternoon browsing the Embaixada market for local goodies.

History buffs can geek out at the Natural History Museum, while nature lovers can wander the Botanical Gardens.

Feeling peckish? I’ve got you covered there too – check out my upcoming recommendations for the best eats in Príncipe Real.

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