An Insider’s Guide to Where to Stay in Lisbon

Where to stay in Lisbon? It’s a common question now that I spend more time in this beautiful city each year for work! Luckily, Lisbon-based Melissa knows all the best spots at just about every budget. Lisbon is a city where you should book early and do your research — prices vary greatly and neighborhoods couldn’t be more different. And there are lots of hills! 

Lisbon from Madrid trip
Views of Lisbon’s hills! Photo by kaysgeog on flickr CC

The more time I spend in this city, the more I’ve come to appreciate the great diversity between its different neighborhoods. If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Lisbon, this can make it tough to choose accommodation. There are so many options, all of them with their own attractions!

Luckily, you don’t have to make this decision alone. In this guide, I’ll introduce you to my favorite areas of Lisbon, and some hidden gems in each. From the historic hills of Alfama to the trendy streets of Príncipe Real, there’s truly something here for everyone.

So whether you are in town for one night or 20, this guide on where to stay in Lisbon can help you choose the bairro that fits you best. Read on to discover some of the best places to stay in Lisbon, and get ready to enjoy this incredible city to the fullest! 

Where to Stay in Lisbon – My Top Picks by Area

Ready to start exploring? Here are my favorite parts of Lisbon, in no particular order. I’ve also included recommendations for hotels, restaurants, and bars, to help you create the perfect itinerary for your trip to the Portuguese capital.

Baixa

Any guide to visiting Lisbon has to begin with Baixa. A massive earthquake completely destroyed this central area of the city in 1755. It’s now famous for its gorgeous plazas, bustling streets, and historic shops and cafés. You’ll probably pass through the Baixa neighborhood no matter where you choose to stay, but it can also be the perfect home base for your trip.

Where to Stay: Baixa is tourist central, which means that you have about a million accommodation options. It has some of the best boutique hotels in Lisbon, each of them with its own unique style. There are also several amazing Lisbon hostels (Lisbon is well known for luxury hostels, actually!), offering all the perks of the backpacker experience with an unprecedented level of quality.

Recommended: AlmaLusa Baixa/Chiado has been named one of the top hotels in the world. It’s easy to see why: personal attention, stylish decor, and exclusive partnerships with local brands and producers. Home Lisbon Hostel feels like an upscale hotel, but also offers family dinners, organized trips, and a social atmosphere that’s ideal for solo travelers.

Where to eat in Lisbon restaurant guide
One of the oldest eateries in Lisbon in the gorgeous Praca do Comercio in the Baixa neighborhood

Where to Eat: Floresta das Escadinhas is among the top-rated restaurants in Lisbon. Its menu features traditional Portuguese petiscos, grilled seafood, and homemade desserts at super affordable prices. For something sweet, order a pastry and a bica at the landmark Confeitaria Nacional. 

Where to Drink: You can’t leave Lisbon without trying ginjinha, the most iconic local liqueur. The best place to do it is at Ginjinha Sem Rival, right in the heart of Baixa. If you want a second round, sample their trademark “Eduardino” as well.

Ginjinha sour cherry liqueur in Lisbon
Order ginjinha com elas for a tart treat at the bottom of your glass: a sour cherry!

Chiado 

Located right beside Baixa, Chiado boasts ancient elegance juxtaposed with modern style. Admire 18th-century buildings while you shop at the trendiest stores, then pop into the world’s oldest bookshop or grab a coffee at a local landmark. Staying here feels like stepping back in time to another era, and provides direct access to all the best parts of Lisbon. Both Baixa and Chiado are great choices for where to stay in Lisbon for the first time.

Where to Stay: Chiado offers plenty of upscale accommodation options that take full advantage of the area’s storied past. Here you can expect modern luxury and carefully curated details. To survive in one of Lisbon’s most popular neighborhoods, Chiado hotels have to meet incredibly high standards.

Views from the Chiado neighborhood of Lisbon
Views from Chiado – top of the hills! Photo by Simon Collison on flickr CC.

Recommended: Lisboa Pessoa Hotel is inspired by the life and work of Fernando Pessoa, the iconic Portuguese author who used to hang out in Chiado’s cafés. You’ll find the best breakfast—and views—at 9 Hotel Mercy, which also has a bar specializing in creative craft cocktails.

Where to Eat: Forego the fancy restaurants and drop into O Trevo to try what might be the best bifana in Lisbon. Afterward, walk up the road to Manteigaria for their famous pastéis de nata. Here they’re served warm out of the oven, just like they should be. To go all out, try Belcanto—it was recently named one of the world’s 50 best restaurants.

Pastéis de nata from Manteigaria in Lisbon's Chiado neighborhood.
The pastéis de nata from Manteigaria are a local legend.

Where to Drink: Head to the top of Hotel do Chiado to Entretanto Rooftop Bar, a classy space with great cocktails and snacks. Or sample the best Portuguese varietals at By the Wine, an atmospheric bar with cozy ambience and an endless selection.

Getting hungry? Devour Lisbon’s Tastes & Traditions of Lisbon food tour takes you through Baixa, Chiado and beyond– where you’ll discover the soul of these neighborhoods as you sample ginjinha, bifanas, pastries, and much more! 

Tasting pastries on a Lisbon Food Tour
Taste the best of Lisbon on a delicious Devour Lisbon food tour!

Alfama

No trip to Lisbon is complete without a few hours spent wandering through the steep streets of Alfama. Climb from the Sé (cathedral) up to the Castelo de São Jorge, stopping at stunning miradouros along the way. If you want those views all to yourself, book a hotel in Alfama and make it your home base.

The winding, hilly streets of Lisbon's famous Alfama neighborhood.
The winding, hilly streets of Lisbon’s famous Alfama neighborhood. Photo by Garrett Ziegler on flickr CC.

Where to Stay: Alfama is full of quaint apartment rentals and bed & breakfasts tucked into its winding alleys. Some of them mirror the ancient spirit of this old medieval neighborhood with classic opulence. Others opt for a more modern take on luxury, or modest comfort at more affordable prices.

Recommended: Memmo Alfama is your best bet for a chic and minimalist vibe, with a terrace that frequently tops lists of Lisbon’s best rooftop bars. For something more traditional try Solar Do Castelo, an 18th-century mansion located within the walls of São Jorge Castle and furnished with genuine antiques.

Memmo Alfama is one of the best places to stay in Lisbon, with a great rooftop (pictured).
Enjoy incredible views from Memmo Alfama’s rooftop pool. Photo credit: Memmo Alfama

Where to Eat: There’s no shortage of authentic local gems in Alfama, but it can still be a challenge to avoid the tourist traps. Head to Bela Vinhos E Petiscos for wine, snacks, and spontaneous fado shows. Or try Le Petit Café for gourmet cuisine and fresh seafood.

Where to Drink: Ulysses Speakeasy is definitely one of the top bars in Lisbon, boasting the city’s best collection of bourbon. The shelves are also stocked with hundreds of bottles of rare and interesting spirits from around the world. And the name is no joke; you might need a password to get in without a reservation.

Bairro Alto

Known as Lisbon’s Bohemian quarter, Bairro Alto is famous for its nightlife. After dark, its tiny bars come alive with everything from fado to electronic music, and patrons spill onto the streets with drinks in hand. During the day it’s deceptively quiet… but if you want the party right at your door, this is most certainly where to stay in Lisbon.

Where to Stay: If you want to meet new people and party all night, choose a hip hostel for an unforgettable experience. For more privacy, go for a cozy room at one of the area’s quirky hotels, where you can recharge your batteries and escape the crowds for a bit.

Recommendations: Lookout Lisbon Hostel has an unbeatable location and lots of activities to help you meet fellow travelers. For something a bit fancier, try the Casa das Janelas com Vista. It’s a little oasis tucked into a quiet street where you’ll feel like part of the family.

Sardines: Where to eat in Lisbon guide
Don’t miss eating at a traditional Lisbon tasca — a no frills restaurant where you should try sardines!

Where to Eat: Cabaças offers a unique experience: leave your name, wait to be called, and then cook and season your own steak on a sizzling hot stone. If you’d rather someone else do the cooking, try Zé Varunca for traditional cuisine from the Alentejo region.

Where to Drink: Tasca do Chico is an iconic place to grab a drink and listen to some no-frills fado—if you can manage to get a table. Pavilhão Chinês is a cocktail bar located in an old grocery store, which looks more like a museum thanks to its collection of antique toys and artifacts.

Príncipe Real

This neighborhood is one of the city’s grandest, with gorgeous old buildings and abundant green spaces. It’s quickly becoming one of the most popular places to stay in Lisbon. People are drawn here not only by its antique stores and charming streets, but by a new explosion of cafés, hotels, and fantastic restaurants.

Where to Stay: Príncipe Real is perfect for those who prefer tranquility and world-class shopping to wild nights out. Check in to one of its many upscale hotels for the perfect urban escape. You’ll still be close enough to enjoy all the action of the city center.

Principe Real neighborhood Lisbon
Gorgeous Principe Real. Photo by Nan Palermo on flickr CC.

Recommendations: 1869 Príncipe Real is a gorgeous bed & breakfast, offering nine rooms with simple and elegant decor in a 150-year-old building. Memmo Príncipe Real is a five-star option that boasts unbeatable views from its perch above the neighborhood.

Where to Eat: Head to Copenhagen Coffee Lab for some of Lisbon’s best coffee, plus delicious light meals and baked goods. Dinner at Pesca is sure to impress, with a menu of Portuguese seafood created by renowned chef Diogo Noronha.

Best coffee in Lisbon
A good coffee never fails.

Where to Drink: One of the city’s coolest spots is Lost In Esplanada Bar, a colorful terrace offering breathtaking views. The India-inspired decor makes for a unique atmosphere that sets it apart from the many other rooftop bars in Lisbon.

Cais do Sodré

Cais do Sodré is located right on the banks of the Tagus River, and offers public transportation connections to the whole city and surrounding area. Although it used to be somewhat of a shady neighborhood, it’s recently been reborn with a trendy—yet still authentic—vibe.

Where to Stay: Accommodation in Cais do Sodré is all about comfort and luxury without pretention—a rare find in a city as fashionable as Lisbon. Stay here if you want to be close to Lisbon’s best nightlife and tourist attractions, and don’t mind a bit of late-night noise.

Lisbon Pink Street
Lisbon’s famous pink street. Photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simões on flickr CC.

Recommendations: Corpo Santo Hotel offers an atmosphere of understated luxury in a five-star setting that merges the past and present. For a quirkier experience try LX Boutique Hotel, with themed rooms, views of the water, and an on-site sushi restaurant.

Where to Eat: Don’t miss Sol e Pesca, a tiny café where canned seafood takes center stage. The Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbon’s main market, is also a must-visit. One half retains the traditional style of local vendors. The other has been transformed into the Time Out Market, featuring stands from the city’s top chefs and restaurants.

Market in Lisbon
Tables at Time Out Market Lisbon, the modern half of the Mercado da Ribeira.

Where to Drink: The main drag in Cais do Sodré is aptly known as the Pink Street. Once the city’s red-light district, it’s now famous for bars where the party continues through the early morning. Sip a cocktail at 4 Caravelas, then dance all night at one of the area’s countless clubs. Or venture into Pensão Amor, a former brothel themed around the area’s former claim to fame.

Avenida da Liberdade

If you’re looking for luxury, head straight to Avenida da Liberdade. Trees and expanses of grass flank this central avenue, not to mention stores selling all the top designer brands. Stroll along the sidewalk and admire historic buildings, statues, fountains, and—if you venture far enough—magnificent views.

Where to Stay: This area’s accommodation options match its overall spirit of grandeur and elegance. If you want a five-star hotel in Lisbon, this is where you’re most likely to find it. Big names like the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz and NH Lisboa Liberdade stand out, but there are also plenty of smaller alternatives. 

Recommendations: The coolest hotel in the area has to be Torel Palace. It’s housed in two 19th-century mansions and located high on a hill. This can only mean one thing in Lisbon: stunning panoramas. Many of the rooms feature balconies and terraces, and there’s a gorgeous garden complete with a swimming pool. The staff here is also exceptionally friendly and helpful, elevating the experience even further.

Where to Eat: If you forego the hotel breakfast (or need a mid-morning 0r afternoon snack), try Fábrica Coffee Roasters for pastries, light lunches, and an expertly brewed caffeine fix. For dinner, go to Floresta do Salitre for traditional Portuguese food, or Avenida SushiCafé for exceptional Japanese cuisine.

Where to Drink: Sky Bar offers swanky service, live music, and beautiful views from the rooftop of the Tivoli Avenida da Liberdade Hotel. On the other end of the spectrum is Chafariz do Vinho, located within part of the Águas Livres aqueduct. This unique bar offers snacks and tasting menus to accompany a wide selection of wines from Portugal and around the world.

Tea Thyme cocktail recipe
Cocktail, anyone?

Now that you’ve got a good idea of what each neighborhood has to offer, it’s time to book your trip. Check out the rest of our guides to Lisbon to make it a truly unforgettable visit!

Do you have a great suggestion for where to stay in Lisbon? Any amazing local spots that we missed? We’d love to hear about your discoveries in the comments!

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