Not sure where to stay in Lisbon, Portugal? We’ve composed this guide on how to choose the best hotels in each of the top neighborhoods in Lisbon!
There’s so many reasons Portugal’s capital is one of my favorite cities in Europe; its Golden Gate look-alike bridge, art-filled streets, classic trams and steep bayside hills resemble San Francisco in so many ways, yet its cobblestone paths and Parisian-like architecture make it uniquely Lisbon.
In spite its surprising affordability, Lisbon remains one of the most beautiful and culturally rich cities in Western Europe (and the world!) – it’s no wonder this hidden gem is being discovered by travelers more often every year.
Where To Stay In Lisbon (And The Best Hotels In Each Neighborhood!)
Bairro Alto is the nightlife of Lisbon, while Chiado is its bustling hub during the day; however, these adjacent neighborhoods are so close together so there’s really no point in differentiating them.
As to be expected, this area is tourist central — though don’t let this deter you! Its central location makes walking to nearly all major attractions, restaurants and the Tagus River quick and easy, and odds are you’ll stumble across more than a few boutique stores and pastelarias that will catch your eye. Anywhere not within walking distance (e.g. Belém, Sintra, Cascais) can be reached by the train at Rossio station, a 10-minute walk away.
If you want to enjoy evenings out at the coolest hole-in-the-wall bars and rooftop lounges — and own a pair of earplugs (a necessity) — Bairro Alto is your spot. Authentic fado restaurants can be found by the handful on every street, and you’ll certainly never find yourself without something to do!
Since this area is dense with young travelers, I decided to stay in the well-regarded Grapes & Bites Hostel; they offer suites with a private room, bathroom and mini-balcony, a huge perk! I couldn’t recommend this place enough, though more traditional hotels like The Lumiares Hotel and Spa are wonderful too.
The Chiado is home to all the shopping and café sipping you could need, and quiets down at night; here you can enjoy the location while still managing a good night’s sleep. Portugal Boutique Hotel is just a few minutes’ walk from multiple metro stations and the Santa Justa elevator — the neighborhood’s main attraction!
In the hills below the monumental São Jorge Castle is the up-and-coming neighborhood of Intendente, a more “authentic” Lisboa as deemed by locals. One of the oldest (and most resilient!) spots in town, Intendente is a little removed – geographically – from some of the more popular attractions tourists typically seek out. However, there’s no better place to find gorgeous original architecture that survived the 18th century earthquake, or family-owned businesses passed from generation to generation.
The streets completely quiet down by midnight (even on weekends), which is reflective of the neighborhood’s dense population of natives and expats rather than noisy travelers seeking entertainment. For this reason, I highly recommend the area for those wishing to stay in the city for medium- to long-term.
Intendente’s general lack of tourists has resulted in a lack of hotels; the sophisticated WC by The Beautique Hotels is the best you’ll find. Here, chic and affordable apartments like Anjos Apartments and Lis Apartments are most common, and most appropriate for those staying more than a week.
Museum lovers rejoice! In and around Belém you’ll have access to some of the Lisbon’s best museums like the MAAT, Popular Art Museum, Museu Coleção Berardo and the Museu de Marinha, not to mention the gorgeous towering seaside monument Padrão dos Descobrimentos and UNESCO World Heritage site Belém Tower (arguably the city’s most famed attraction).
Just down the street is the National Palace, botanical garden, and yet another world heritage site — the jaw-dropping Jerónimos Monastery. Oh, and did I mention the birthplace of the Portuguese staple pastel de nata — Pasteís de Belém — is right around the corner? Honestly, what more could you ask for?!
The only downfall here is Belém is not exactly close to the city center, so you’ll have to consider the need for an Uber or public transportation when you want to get into the main part of town. But don’t let that deter you! Staying in this beautiful part of the city is well worth its location in the outskirts. Stay in the luxurious Palacio do Governador 5-star waterfront Altis Belém Hotel and Spa, or guesthouse Ver Belém Suites.
In Alfama, you’re more likely to see locals than tourists — which is exactly how many travelers like it. This historic part of Lisbon is known for the 28 Tram, though its almost overshadowed by the gorgeously intricate cathedrals and numerous viewpoints — after all, its steep hills make this the best place in the city to witness sunsets and sunrises over the water!
Just a 10 minute walk from the center of it all, Alfama is the perfect place to peacefully enjoy all Lisbon has to offer without the hustle and bustle of people right outside your front door. If you’re here on a romantic getaway, I would recommend Alfama in a heartbeat.
Enjoy views of the bay at the convent-turned-hotel Hotel Convento do Salvador, book a private suite at art-adorned Hostel Petit Lusa, or get a little privacy tucked away at your own apartment (Alma Moura Residences is one of the best in the area).
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