The 10 coolest “bairros” in Lisbon

A view of the city of Lisbon / Flickr
A view of the city of Lisbon / Flickr
21 January 2019, Marilia Poiares

Lisbon is a picturesque city full of beautiful streets, cultural events and great restaurants. In this city, history and modernity coexist in a centuries-old set up where you can find a cool hotel next to a small, family-run grocery shop. If you are planning on moving to Lisbon these are the city’s coolest neighbourhoods.

Baixa and Rossio

Take a walk through Lisbon's "Baixa" / Wikipedia
Take a walk through Lisbon's "Baixa" / Wikipedia

This is the most tourist-friendly neighbourhood where you can find a lot of shops and restaurants. Even though “baixa” or “downtown” can be used when talking about a few neighbourhoods, this is the real “Baixa”, rebuilt in the 18th century after the 1755 earthquake. Make sure to visit the Livraria Bertrand (the oldest bookshop in the world), the famous Brasileira café, the bright yellow Praça do Comércio and the Rossio train station.

Bairro Alto

The famous "Bairro Alto" where you can find Lisbon's best bars / Flickr
The famous "Bairro Alto" where you can find Lisbon's best bars / Flickr

This is the place to be on a Saturday night and one of the most famous neighbourhoods in the city. Walk through the Bairro Alto hills to find some of the best bars, restaurants, cool tattoo parlours and hip hostels. The historical landmarks are also present and a lot of apartments.

Alfama

The beautiful streets in Alfama / Pixabay
The beautiful streets in Alfama / Pixabay

This is one of the most charming and oldest areas of the city. Its narrow labyrinthine streets will lead you into some of the most traditional restaurants where you can enjoy an amazing meal while listening to fado music. Walking through the maze that is Alfama you can also find the Castelo de São Jorge or Portas do Sol, an incredibly beautiful lookout point with some of the best views of the city.

Alcântara

Views from the Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântra / Flickr
Views from the Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântra / Flickr

Technically Alcântara is not one of Lisbon’s neighbourhoods but the locals consider it part of the city. Located between Baixa and Belém, this side of the river includes Docas de Santo Amaro (a dock full of restaurants and bars) and the LX Factory (a renovated factory that has been converted into shops, offices, pop-shops, restaurants and a lot more).

Príncipe Real

The magnificent Príncipe Real gardens / Wikimedia Commons
The magnificent Príncipe Real gardens / Wikimedia Commons

West of Avenida da Liberdade and north of Bairro Alto we find Príncipe Real, a residential area that is also a social district filled with shops and gardens. Its buildings are grander and pricier than in other areas of the city –after all, the name of the neighbourhood translates to “royal prince”.

Parque das Nações

View of Parque das Nações / Wikimedia
View of Parque das Nações / Wikimedia

Parque das Nações is a modern area that includes the Oriente train station and the Oceanário de Lisboa. It was built to accommodate Expo '98 and today it has a number of restaurants, bars, clubs, offices and apartments built alongside the river. If you are a runner or if you like to take long walks with your dog, this is a beautiful place to enjoy Lisbon’s sunny weather.

Avenida da Liberdade

The iconic Marquês de Pombal / Flickr
The iconic Marquês de Pombal / Flickr

If you are looking forward to going on a designer shopping spree, this is your destination. The avenue runs between the Rossio train station in the south and Parque Eduardo in the north. Fantastic hotels, banks, shops like Burberry or Armani and the Hard Rock restaurant are all here, along paths lined with grass, trees and traditional kiosks.

Graça and São Vicente

View from the Miradouro da Graça / Pixabay
View from the Miradouro da Graça / Pixabay

Another one of the oldest parts of the city, Graça and São Vicente is known for its tiny streets with sidewalks that can only fit one person. Walking through the neighbourhood you can see some of the best views of the Tagus River and monuments like the National Pantheon and the Igreja de São Vicente. Here you can also find the Feira da Ladra, an outdoor flea market where you can find anything from antiques to absolute bargains.

Mouraria

Move around the city in the traditional "elétricos" / Wikipedia
Move around the city in the traditional "elétricos" / Wikipedia

The old Moorish district is one of the best secret areas in Lisbon, unknown to most tourists. Stretching from Alfama in the south to Martim Moniz in the north, the area has been attracting immigrants since the 12th century. Walk among the old buildings and residential houses and submerge yourself in the history, diversity and fado that runs through the neighbourhood.

Cais do Sodré

Grab a bite at the Mercado da Ribeira / Flickr
Grab a bite at the Mercado da Ribeira / Flickr

From the Cais do Sodré you can hop on a ferry and sail across the River Tagus to Almada. This cool neighbourhood is perfect for hanging out with friends, since it has a lot of hip places like Time Out Market or Mercado da Ribeira, one of the city’s main food courts where you can have a traditional meal or a trendy treat. Also, in Cais do Sodré is the famous Pink Street, full of bars, restaurants and a very artistic vibe.

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