If you’re visiting the charming city of Lisbon for the first time, you may be wondering where to stay to make the most of your trip. With its hillside neighborhoods, each with distinct personalities, narrow cobblestone streets, grand plazas, and magnificent views over the Tagus River, Lisbon can be an overwhelming choice for accommodations.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: aim for central neighborhoods like Baixa, Chiado, Bairro Alto, and Alfama to experience the historic heart of Lisbon on foot and have easy access to top attractions and public transportation.
Baixa, also known as downtown Lisbon, is a popular choice for first-time visitors to the city. With its prime location, it offers easy access to many of Lisbon’s top attractions and is a great base for exploring the city.
One of the main advantages of staying in Baixa is its prime location. Situated in the heart of Lisbon, it is within walking distance of iconic landmarks such as the Praça do Comércio, Rossio Square, and the Santa Justa Elevator.
This central location makes it convenient for exploring the city on foot or using public transportation to venture further afield.
Baixa is home to a range of luxury hotels that offer top-notch amenities and services. From five-star establishments with rooftop pools and panoramic views to boutique hotels with stylish interiors, there is something to suit every taste and budget.
Some of the highly-rated luxury hotels in Baixa include the Avenida Palace, the Pestana CR7 Lisboa, and the Valverde Hotel.
Boutique hotels and apartments
If you’re looking for a more intimate and personalized experience, Baixa also offers a variety of boutique hotels and apartments. These accommodations often feature unique designs, personalized service, and a cozy atmosphere.
Some popular choices include the Lisboa Pessoa Hotel, the LX Boutique Hotel, and the The Independente Suites & Terrace.
Additionally, renting an apartment in Baixa can be a great option for those who prefer a home-away-from-home experience. With fully equipped kitchens and spacious living areas, these apartments provide the flexibility and comfort of having your own space in the heart of the city.
Whether you choose a luxury hotel or a cozy apartment, staying in Baixa will give you easy access to Lisbon’s vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, and stunning architecture. So why not make Baixa your base for a memorable stay in Lisbon?
When it comes to choosing where to stay in Lisbon for first-timers, Chiado is a neighborhood that should definitely be on your radar. Located in the heart of the city, Chiado is known for its vibrant atmosphere, charming streets, and historical landmarks.
Whether you’re a shopaholic, a history buff, or simply looking for a lively nightlife scene, Chiado has it all.
Shopping and nightlife
One of the main draws of Chiado is its fantastic shopping scene. The neighborhood is home to a wide range of shops, from high-end boutiques to quirky local stores. Whether you’re in the market for designer fashion, unique souvenirs, or trendy accessories, you’ll find it all in Chiado.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the famous Rua Garrett, a bustling street filled with shops, cafes, and street performers.
When the sun goes down, Chiado comes alive with its vibrant nightlife. The neighborhood is dotted with bars, clubs, and live music venues, offering something for every taste. Whether you’re in the mood for a laid-back evening sipping cocktails or want to dance the night away, Chiado has plenty of options to choose from.
Charm and history
Chiado is also known for its charming streets and historical architecture. Take a stroll through the neighborhood and you’ll be greeted by beautiful tiled facades, ornate buildings, and picturesque squares.
Don’t miss the iconic Café A Brasileira, a historic cafe that has been serving locals and visitors since 1905. Sit outside and soak up the atmosphere while enjoying a cup of coffee.
For those interested in history, Chiado is home to several important landmarks. Visit the Convento do Carmo, a medieval convent that was partially destroyed during the 1755 earthquake. Today, it serves as a museum and offers stunning views of the city.
The nearby Santa Justa Lift is another must-visit attraction. This iconic iron elevator connects the lower streets of Baixa with the upper neighborhood of Chiado, offering panoramic views along the way.
Museums and attractions
Art and culture enthusiasts will be delighted by the many museums and attractions in Chiado. The Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea houses a vast collection of modern and contemporary art, while the Museu do Chiado showcases Portuguese art from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Both museums offer a fascinating insight into Portugal’s artistic heritage.
Another popular attraction in Chiado is the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, the city’s historic opera house. Catch a performance here and immerse yourself in the world of opera and classical music. And if you’re a book lover, don’t miss Livraria Bertrand, the oldest bookstore in the world, which has been open since 1732.
Bairro Alto and Príncipe Real
If you’re a first-timer in Lisbon and looking for a vibrant neighborhood with a lively nightlife, Bairro Alto and Príncipe Real are the perfect choices. Bairro Alto, known for its narrow streets and colorful buildings, comes alive at night with numerous bars, restaurants, and clubs.
It’s a great place to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the energetic atmosphere of Lisbon after dark. Príncipe Real, on the other hand, offers a more sophisticated and upscale vibe, with trendy bars and upscale restaurants.
Bairro Alto is renowned for its vibrant nightlife scene. As the sun sets, the neighborhood transforms into a hub of activity, with locals and tourists alike flocking to its narrow streets. From traditional Fado music venues to hip cocktail bars, there’s something for everyone here.
Whether you want to dance the night away or enjoy a relaxed evening with friends, Bairro Alto has it all. The lively atmosphere and diverse range of establishments make it a must-visit for anyone looking to experience Lisbon’s nightlife.
Boutique hotels with city views
Both Bairro Alto and Príncipe Real offer a selection of boutique hotels that provide stunning views of the city. These hotels combine modern amenities with a touch of charm and provide a comfortable and memorable stay for visitors.
Imagine waking up to panoramic views of Lisbon’s rooftops or enjoying a sunset cocktail on a rooftop terrace. Some of the hotels in these neighborhoods also offer spa facilities, rooftop pools, and stylish bars, ensuring that your stay is as enjoyable as possible.
Walking distance to major sights
One of the advantages of staying in Bairro Alto or Príncipe Real is their proximity to major sights and attractions. Many of Lisbon’s iconic landmarks, such as São Jorge Castle and Lisbon Cathedral, are within walking distance from these neighborhoods.
You can easily explore the historic center of Lisbon and visit popular places like Rossio Square and Chiado. Additionally, public transportation options are readily available, allowing you to easily reach other parts of the city.
If you’re a first-timer visiting Lisbon, you should definitely consider staying in the charming old district of Alfama. This historic neighborhood is known for its narrow cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and lively atmosphere.
It is one of the oldest districts in the city and offers a unique glimpse into Lisbon’s rich history and culture.
Charming old district
Alfama is a charming and picturesque district with its narrow, winding streets and traditional Portuguese architecture. As you wander through its labyrinthine alleys, you’ll come across beautiful tiled facades, quaint squares, and hidden courtyards.
The district’s authentic charm is sure to captivate you and make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Small hotels and guesthouses
Alfama is home to a variety of small hotels and guesthouses that offer a cozy and intimate atmosphere. These accommodations often have a personal touch and provide a warm welcome to their guests. Staying in one of these establishments will give you a chance to experience the true essence of Portuguese hospitality and immerse yourself in the local culture.
Near top attractions
Another advantage of staying in Alfama is its proximity to top attractions in Lisbon. Within walking distance, you’ll find the iconic São Jorge Castle, which offers breathtaking views of the city. You can also visit the Lisbon Cathedral, the oldest church in the city, and explore the Fado Museum, where you can learn about the traditional Portuguese music genre.
Moreover, Alfama is well-connected to other parts of Lisbon by public transportation, making it easy to explore other popular areas such as Baixa and Chiado. So, not only will you have a charming neighborhood to explore, but you’ll also have easy access to the rest of the city’s attractions.
Outskirts and Day Trips
While staying in the heart of Lisbon can be exciting, venturing out to the outskirts and taking day trips can provide a refreshing change of pace. Here are some options to consider:
If you are looking for a more peaceful and laid-back atmosphere, consider staying in one of Lisbon’s quieter neighborhoods. Places like Belém and Ajuda offer a more relaxed vibe while still being within easy reach of the city center.
In Belém, you can visit iconic landmarks such as the Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery. Ajuda, on the other hand, is known for its beautiful botanical gardens and the Ajuda National Palace.
Nature and beaches
If you are a nature lover or simply want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, head to the outskirts of Lisbon where you can find stunning natural landscapes and beautiful beaches. Sintra, located just a short train ride away, is famous for its fairytale-like palaces and lush forests.
Don’t miss the chance to visit Pena Palace, a colorful and whimsical masterpiece. Another option is Cascais, a charming coastal town known for its sandy beaches and picturesque old town.
Castles, palaces, and UNESCO sites
The outskirts of Lisbon are also home to several castles, palaces, and UNESCO World Heritage sites. One of the most notable is the National Palace of Queluz, located in the town of Queluz. This 18th-century palace is often referred to as the “Portuguese Versailles” due to its extravagant architecture and stunning gardens.
Another must-visit is the town of Tomar, which is home to the Convent of Christ, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This medieval castle and convent is a true architectural marvel.
Exploring the outskirts and taking day trips from Lisbon allows you to experience a different side of Portugal’s capital city. Whether you are seeking tranquility, natural beauty, or historical sites, these areas have something to offer for every traveler.
With its charming districts that each have their own vibe, staying in central Lisbon neighborhoods like Baixa, Chiado, Bairro Alto and Alfama will allow first-time visitors to easily explore the city’s top sights on foot.
Consider your interests and budget to choose hotel locations and options that best suit your travel style and discover all that captivating Lisbon has to offer.