All of Portugal’s cities have an undeniable charm and allure, but Lisbon’s diverse neighbourhoods encompass the best bits of each. Choosing where to stay in Lisbon can put you in the heart of these local treasures.
From the traditional narrow streets of Alfama lined with colourful houses and artsy shops that are reminiscent of Porto, to the grand boulevards of Avenida da Liberdade which are every shade of chic, Lisbon has something for every kind of traveller.
As you walk up the hillsides overlooking the Rio Tejo and wander deeper into the city, prepare to be spoiled by breathtaking views and delicious bakeries around every corner.
Once you’ve soaked in the city centre, ride the iconic bright yellow Tram 28 up to the Graça neighbourhood and wander around some of the less touristy areas of the city
To get you ready for your trip, let’s do a deep dive into six of the best areas to stay in Lisbon, so you can make the best choice of where to stay based on your budget, nearby attractions, and atmosphere.
You can see on the map below where they’re all located. You’ll notice that, other than Belém, they seem quite close to each other – but don’t be fooled, there are some big hills that can make moving between these neighbourhoods quite tiresome!
Within each of these Lisbon neighbourhoods, there’s a range of accommodation. My tip would be to either choose an area, then find the right property for you – or, if you’re happy with any of those central areas, find the accommodation option that you’re going to fall in love with!
You can’t get more central than Baixa. Stretching out from the waterfront (and with no hills!), this neighbourhood is riddled with fancy cafes and restaurants.
Some of the city’s top attractions are in Baixa too, like the Santa Justa Lift, Praça do Comércio, and the starting point of Tram 28. The neighbourhood is well connected thanks to the Baixa-Chiado metro station and Rossio train station, so getting around is easy!
Whilst Baixa boasts some of the finest restaurants, top attractions and is easy to get in and out of, it can get overly crowded in peak seasons and is more on the pricey side because of how popular it is.
Still, it has something for everyone – from hostels to five-star luxury – and is one of the best places to stay in Lisbon for first-timers.
- The Central House: A laidback hostel with a cool design and a mix of dorm and private rooms.
- Living Lounge Hostel: It feels like a large house, adding to the security and comfort of the property, which is also close to public transport.
- Pensao Nova Goa: The rooms are basic but the location is really convenient.
- Pensao Prata: Some of the rooms have shared bathrooms in this simple but clean guesthouse.
- Ferraria XVI FLH Hotels Lisboa: The modern rooms put you in the heart of the action, and there are some lovely little extras like coffee and cake.
- Residentas Aurea: These apartment-style rooms have plenty of space and some useful amenities for longer stays.
- Pousada de Lisboa: The traditional touches in the rooms bring some local opulence to a smaller hotel with an excellent restaurant.
- Villa Baixa: These studios and apartments give you a bit more space but still with all the conveniences of a hotel.
Chiado and Bairro Alto
Chiado is very similar to Baixa, though it’s a little less grand and, in my opinion, much cuter. The neighbourhood is riddled with gorgeous boutique hotels that are much more affordable accommodation options than those in Baixa.
Known as the shopping district of the city, you’re never far away from a gorgeous clothes shop or quaint artisan pop-up. It’s also home to Livraria Bertrand, the world’s oldest bookstore! After browsing the stores, sit and sip a coffee in Café A Brasileira, where famous writers like Pessoa and Queiroz once sat and wrote.
A bit further along, it blends into Bairro Alto, which has a similar vibe but probably feels a little more alternative. You’ll mainly notice the different at night because Bairro Alto has a much livelier bar scene.
These neighbourhoods are great for visitors who want to be close to the centre but are looking for a bit more character than Baixa. There are some hills to traipse up to get to bed, and sadly you won’t be escaping the crowds of tourists either.
- WOT New Lisbon: There are some lovely local touches to the design, while the dorm rooms are modern and private.
- Independente Principe Real: You would be forgiven for not knowing this was a hostel, with its decadent design in a former palace!
- Cosy Room Atalaia: These clean and comfortable rooms are a good affordable option for solo travellers.
- Pensao Praca Da Figueira: Although the rooms may seem quite simple, they’re surprisingly comfortable for the price.
- Bairro Alto Hotel: This five-star property has very cool rooms and an amazing rooftop restaurant for breakfast.
- The Lift Apartments: The cute design is part of the appeal, and the extra space is useful if you’re travelling in a group.
- Palácio Ludovice Wine Experience Hotel: With a focus on food and wine, it’s about more than just the rooms (although they’re also incredible!).
- Raw Culture Art & Lofts: Each loft is decorated with the owner’s private art collection, creating vibrant modern spaces.
If you’re looking for a more authentic neighbourhood, then Alfama is your best bet. It’s actually the oldest neighbourhood in the city – and one of the few to survive the 1755 earthquake that wiped out most of the city.
Made up of narrow streets decorated with gorgeous tiled houses, the neighbourhood is an intricate labyrinth with surprises around every corner. Keep a look out for the fado houses around the neighbourhood, these restaurants have the best traditional food and often have live music too!
Now is a good time to come and stay in the Alfama neighbourhood as it’s slowly becoming more gentrified and touristy, so it’s now or never if you want to experience the essence of a once very working class and residential area of Lisbon.
Don’t think you’ll be missing out on attractions either, some of the best viewpoints in the city, like Miradouro de Santa Luzia and Miradouro das Portas do Sol, as well as top attractions like Castelo de São Jorge, Lisbon Cathedral, and the National Pantheon are in Alfama.
I think it’s one of the best place to stay in Lisbon, though the steep hill to get there and lack of public transport around Alfama are worth considering.
- Lisbon Cinema Apartments: Stylish and comfortable, no amenities have been sacrificed to give these apartments a cool design.
- Best Choice Prime Apartments: Large and well equipped properties with convenient access to the neighbourhood’s main sights.
- Pousada Alfama: A fantastic location means some of the elegantly-designed rooms have views across the river.
- Hotel Convento do Salvador: Although it’s set in a former convent, there’s a vibrant and fun atmosphere to the hotel.
Graça is like Alfama but a little less crowded, and further up the hill. There are lots of local pastelerias (bakeries) where you can fill up on pastel de natas and try some of the stranger Portuguese delicacies, like pastel de feijão (a pastry filled with a sweet bean filling!).
Whilst most tourists only venture this far up the hill on Tram 28, the views are worth the extra effort even if you’re walking. The Miradouro da Graça viewpoint has particularly spectacular views over the city and down to the Tejo River.
The narrow cobbled streets, quaint shops, and laid-back atmosphere make Graça an attractive neighbourhood for travellers seeking authenticity and those staying for longer who want to find more affordable accommodation options and soak up the local culture.
I’ve got a whole story about the best things to do in Graça, including the best viewpoints and street art.
- Unique Lisbon Rooms: This friendly property feels like you’re in a local house, including use of a shared kitchen.
- Tings Lisbon: A beautiful hotel with design features, you’ll sometimes find great deals for rooms on quieter nights.
- Charming Apartment: This beautiful two-bedroom apartment is right in the heart of the local neighbourhood.
- Industrial Design Duplex: The cool design gives this family-friendly apartment a modern feel.
- Lisbon 5 Hotel: The bright rooms have a chic design and very comfortable beds.
- Mouraria Lisboa Hotel: While only two stars, there are local touches throughout the whole hotel – and the breakfast is a highlight.
Avenida da Liberdade
Designer shops, luxury hotels, and grand streets characterise Avenida da Liberdade. The neighbourhood was built in 1879 and inspired by the boulevards in Paris.
Unlike the more traditional neighbourhoods of Lisbon, Avenida da Liberdade is made up of wide streets lined with big names like Emporio Armani and Louis Vuitton.
Accommodation here is more on the expensive side, but if you’re looking to splash out, Avenida da Liberdade will flower you with luxury.
The big international hotels in the neighbourhood are some of the best hotels in Lisbon, and their central location makes them perfect for exploring the rest of the city.
- Goodmorning Solo Traveller Hostel: There’s a great community feel and modern conveniences at this friendly hostel.
- Room007 Lisboa Hostel: A modern design creates a sense of privacy, but the rooftop terrace is a wonderful spot to meet people.
- Alegria A Lisbon Boutique Hotel: Each room has a slightly different decor, with classic elegance embracing the heritage of the neighbourhood.
- Browns Avenue Hotel: Wonderful modern rooms, with a gorgeous rooftop pool looking out over the city.
- Heritage Avenida Liberdade: The modern restoration of this heritage building has created large comfortable rooms with some classic decor elements.
- Valverde Hotel: The pool offers a tranquil oasis in the centre of this stylish property with a contemporary take on a luxurious location.
Belém is a gem if you’re looking to stay as far from possible from the flocks of tourists on your holiday in Lisbon. It’s particularly perfect for families with small kids that need something a little calmer, but still want to be close to attractions and great restaurants.
You’ll be near iconic landmarks like the Belém Tower, Palácio Nacional de Belém, and Jerónimos Monastery as well as great museums and art galleries, like the Museu Coleção Berardo and the MAAT. In fact, I’ve got a whole story about the best things to do in Belém.
Peaceful, riddled with parks and green spaces, and home to some of the best accommodation options in Lisbon – what’s not to love?
The only drawback is that Belém is about 20 minutes away from the city centre, though there are good public transport links, so getting back and forth isn’t complicated. There’s also not a big nightlife scene in Belém, so it’s definitely not the ideal place to stay if you’re here for your stag night!
- Cosy Bedrooms Guest House: A friendly little property with warm hospitality and a perfect location near the main sights.
- Famous Crows Lisbon Suites: You’ll often find a bargain for these beautiful rooms, so it’s worth checking your dates.
- Light-filled Apartment: A large space with cool furniture and a patio, this two-bedroom property is great for a group.
- Charming House with Terrace: This modern two-bedroom property has lots of space and a lovely outdoor terrace.