High above the central city, to the west of the Baixa, the Bairro Alto – meaning upper town – has a sleepy, residential feel during the day, its maze of narrow streets enlivened by a few bohemian boutiques. At night, however, it comes to life as many of the city’s best bars, restaurants and fado clubs open for business. Many of the Bairro Alto’s most interesting thoroughfares lie west of Rua da Misericórdia, a confusing grid of streets, whose buildings are often liberally defaced with graffiti. Traffic is restricted to residents only, and though dodgy characters offering hash still lurk on the corners round the market building on Rua da Atalaia, it’s essentially safe at any time if you keep valuables out of sight.
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