Want to know where to stay in Lisbon? Take a look at our district by district accommodation guide. Remember real bargains are found off-season. Lisbon gets busy from June to September. And prices are highest during summer. The information in this article is taken from The Rough Guide to Portugal, your essential guide for visiting Portugal.
Downtown Baixa is packed with handsome buildings. It's flanked by Praças Rossio, Figueira and Praça do Comércio. Many traditional shops are still here - some date back to the 18th century. Most commercial buildings are now hotels and guesthouses. So Baixa is a good area for accommodation. Adjacent Chiado is also an option.
Alfama is Lisbon's oldest district. Here, steep streets thread past closely packed houses. And life's lived as it has been for centuries. This area was first settled by Moors in 7AD. For best views head up to Castelo de São Jorge. From there you can gaze over rooftops to the Tagus. Expect plenty Fado restaurants and tourist shops in Alfama. But you get plenty old world charm too.
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Wide Avenida da Liberdade is a mile of Portugal’s priciest real estate. It's where embassies and consulates live. And you'll find designer shops here too. It slopes downhill from Parque Eduardo VII to Baixa. And it's walking distance from most Lisbon attractions.
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High District Bairro Alto is Lisbon's boho quarter. It's a grid of densely packed streets. Expect a mix of shops, bars, restaurants and houses. Quiet by day, the district comes alive after midnight. In summer it can seem like a permanent street party until dawn. Not the district for early nights. But perfect for nightlife. Stay on the fringes to avoid noisiest streets.
Once seedy Cais do Sodré has had a makeover. Formerly disreputable bars and clubs now attract hip urbanites. There’s an appealing riverfront promenade. Look out for sleek warehouse conversions. And Mercado da Ribeira is now given over to cool food stalls. Cais do Sodré has plenty smart restaurants and bars these days. But many budget hangouts remain. So it's still quite appealingly earthy.
Lapa and Madragoa is west of central Lisbon. This is the city's upmarket residential side. Yet it's close to the city centre and several historic sites. The Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga is also in this district.
In 1497, Vasco da Gama set sail from Belém to India. His trade routes established Portugal as a superpower. To give thanks, King Manuel I built the Jerónimos monastery. And it's Belém's showstopper to this day. Torre de Belém and the Berardo Collection are also in Belém.
Parque das Nações was built for Lisbon’s Expo '98. It’s a new town of modern apartments and gardens. The airport is nearby. And the science museum and Oceanarium are in this district too. You’ll find restaurants, bars and venues here. And Vasco da Gama Shopping Centre is another local. The district faces the Tagus and 17km-long Ponte Vasco da Gama. It's Europe's longest road bridge and a must-do drive at sunset.
Ready for a trip to Portugal? Check out the snapshot Rough Guide to Portugal. Read more about the best time to go to Portugal, the best places to visit and best things to do in Portugal. For inspiration use the Portugal Itineraries from The Rough Guide to Portugal and our local travel experts. A bit more hands on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there. And don't forget to buy travel insurance before you go.
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