Where to Stay in Lisbon for First Timers: Best Areas

The best areas to stay in Lisbon for first-timers are the beautiful neighborhoods of Baixa, Alfama, Chiado, Avenida da Liberdade, or Bairro Alto. These districts are very popular with tourist, and they offers a wide variety of tourist attractions and amenities. In this guide, I will help you to decide where to stay in Lisbon for family, couples, singles, as well as the safest places to stay in Lisbon.

Lisbon is a beautiful Portuguese capital city with a rich history, attracting tourists with its wonderful architecture and terrific weather. It is definity worth visiting. Lisbon is a walkable city, you can easy to travel between major points of interest by foot, but it’s also hilly (it’s the city of the seven hills), so you can use bus, metro, and funicular.

Baixa is the best area to stay in Lisbon first-time travelers due to its proximity to the Lisbon’s famous attractions and many choices in accommodations. If you book a hotel here, you will be located in in the middle of action, within walking distance to many major sights, as well as bars, restaurants, and shops. Lisbon’s downtown area has excellent public transport links, you can easily explore the rest of the city.

Apart from Baixa, Chiado and Alfama are also best neighborhoods to book hotels. To best appreciate the culture and history of Lisbon, head to Alfama. Known as the ‘old town’ and the ‘castle district’ this is the oldest district in Lisbon and home to many historical sites, steep hills, and narrow streets.

Lisbon is overall very safe for tourist. It is one of the safest European capitals but as in any famous tourist destination, you should watch out for pickpocketing in the public transport and in a tourist spot. If you are searching for safest places to stay in Lisbon, you should stick to the main tourist areas of Lisbon including Avenida da Liberdade, Chiado, and Baixa.

If this is your first visit, I recommend spending at least 3 days in Lisbon, but 4 days if the good amount of time to explore the city. Three days is enough to see most of the major sights in Lisbon, get the sense of Portuguese history, culture, and local gastronomy. If you have more days, you can enjoy the city in slower pace, and take a day trip to Batalha, Fátima, Óbidos, Nazaré.

💖 Best Area for First-Timers:Baixa
💎 Best luxury hotel:Corpo Santo Lisbon Historical Hotel
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Hotel da Baixa
💰 Best budget hotel:Rossio Garden Hotel

Best areas to stay in Lisbon for tourist

1. Baixa, where to stay in Lisbon for first-timers

Baixa, best area to stay in Lisbon for first time visitors

Downtown Lisbon, known as Baixais one of the best areas to stay in Lisbon for first-timers because it is the most covenient location of Lisbon. Baixa district is the tourist center of the city, located betwen Alfama and Chiado. It is packed with historical sights, cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops.

After the Earthquake of 1755, the neighborhood was rebuilt by the Marquis of Pombal, with grid city layout. The streets flanked by neoclassical Pombaline style buildings. This downtown district has a high concentration of pedestrian streets with big sidewalk, so you can easily explore on foot.

If you are arriving by boat, you probably first see Lisbon’s grandest square, Praça do Comércio, located right at the waterfront. This Commerce Square was built on the royal palace that was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. The reconstruction added bronze statue of King José I and a triumphal arch.

Lined with Lisbon’s main tourism office, chic restaurants and cafes, it’s a popular place to meet and relax, and small local events are often held here. The plaza overlooks the historic Cais das Colunas pier. The iconic stone towers of the pier make the perfect frame for souvenir photos against the backdrop of the Tagus River.

One of the most visited sights of the Baixa is the Santa Justa Elevator. Initially built in 1902 as part of the public transport system to provide residents easy access between the uneven levels of the city, it now primarily serves as a tourist ride. It is a wrought-iron lift 45m- high with a beautiful viewpoint at its top that you see with a fee.

At the entrance of Praça do Comércio, you will find the Arco da Rua Augusta, which is a grand 19th century sculpted arch marks. Visitors can climb to a viewing platform in order to get a fantastic view of the historic streets, plaza, and nearby sea.

Another point of interest for residents and tourists is the bustling square of Rossio square, or Praça dom Pedro IV. it is considered the heart of Lisbon where you can find many cafes, restaurants, ginjinha bars, the famous sour-cherry liqueur. The Rossio Train Station, in the north-west of the square, is a excellent example of Manueline architecture.

Nearby, you’ll find Marquês de Pombal Square, an important roundabout, in the heart of “modern Lisbon”. This is the monument to the Prime Minister, Marquis of Pombal, with a lion, a sign of his power.

Rua Augusta and Rua Garrett are the two popular shopping streets. Rua Garrett is home to many upscale stores and designer boutiques, also open-air cafes and restaurants.

Rua Augusta is a charming pedestrian street with a historical atmosphere, thanks to the pretty mosaic pavement. Lined with popular shops, out door restaurants, and cafes, there is a lively yet relaxed atmosphere here that is perfect for a summer afternoon stroll.

Baixa is even within comfortable walking distance or a short metro ride of Avenida da Liberdade (Liberty Avenue). As one of the most popular luxury shopping streets in Europe, this is a must-visit if shopping is a high priority.

You can aslo find Praça Dos Restauradores, a large busy square in the center of Lisbon with many iconic buildings like the 19th-century pink, baroque façade of the Palácio Foz, the Teatro Eden, and Condes Cinema buildings with Art Deco architectural style. At the center of the square is an obelisk that honors 15th-century independence from Spain.

There are several museums in Downtown Lisbon. MuDe – Design and Fashion Museum was first opened in 1999 with a collection of fashion of the great designers. There is also Money Museum, which was housed in a former church.

You can learn the history of Lisbon rom its early foundation to today in 60 minutes at the Lisboa Story Center. It is an interactive museum. You will learn about New World discoveries, the earthquake, and the vision of Pombal.

Aside from appreciating the beautiful wrought ironwork of the tower, you should take the opportunity to ride to the viewing platform at the top. Dubbed the City of Seven Hills, Lisbon is full of incredible viewpoints, and this is one of the best to enjoy panoramic views of the whole city.

Being so centrally located, Baixa is a perfect location for exploring the whole city. Lisbon has great public transport so getting to the various surrounding neighborhoods is a breeze. You can easily travel around with metro Stops like Baixa-Chiado, Terreiro do Paço, Restauradores, and Rossio train station.

The downtown Lisbon are safe districts but you should be aware of pickpocket. Baixa offers a wide range of accommodations from fine hostels, guesthouses to luxury hotels. Be sure to choose rooms with soundproofing and away from the busy streets.

Stay in Baixa if it is your first time visiting Lisbon, you want a good location from which to explore the whole city, you want somewhere with plenty of places to shop; you have only one night in Lisbon.

Best places to stay in Lisbon in Baixa:

luxury ($$$): Corpo Santo Lisbon Historical Hotel This five star hotel is located in the real heart of Lisbon. It has guest rooms with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom with a bath or shower, free toiletries and a hairdryer.

mid-range ($$): Hotel da Baixa This 4-star hotel is set in prime location in Lisbon’s historic downtown area. It is within a short walk from Rossio Square and the famous Santa Justa Lift. You can enjoy free wifi, twin and family rooms, and daily buffet breakfast.

budget ($): Rossio Garden Hotel This 3-star hotel is a newly refurbished boutique hotel located in the heart of Lisbon historic centre. It is only 1 minute walk fro Restauradores Metro Station and there is also a shuttle service to Lisbon International Airport.

🔍MORE HOTELS IN BAIXA

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2. Chiado, one of the safest area to stay in Lisbon

Chiado, one of the best central areas to stay in Lisbon

Chiado along with Avenida da Liberdade and Baixais is one of the safest neighborhood to stay in Lisbon. Located right next door to Baixa Pombalina, Chiado is the lively neighborhood, just a short walk from the city centre. Chiado is more uphill, trendier, more upmarket than its neighborhood Baixa.

Many buildings in Chiado were first built in the 1700s, went through restoration in the 1990s, after destroyed in the fire in 1988. Portugal’s literature such as Fernando Pessoa, Alexandre Herculano and Eça de Queirós often visited the cafés and bars in Chiado.

You can find Brasileira do Chiado with an excellent coffee, world’s oldest book store, Livraria Bertrand, and the Bénard pastry with good chocolate croissant 

Chiado has a great nightlife with the best selection of bars and clubs in the city. Many of the clubs here don’t even open until late in the evening, so you know they will keep the party going until well into the early hours.

The vast majority of the clubs and bars are clustered in Lisbon’s Red Light District, Rua Nova do Carvalho. The area has aptly been dubbed famous Pink Street due to the paving here literally having been painted bright pink, so it’s easy to spot when you’ve arrived.

Chiado has plenty of sights and culture. The Carmo Convent (Convento do Carmo) is one of the major sights for anyone visiting Lisbon. The gothic medieval church was left in ruins by a 1755 earthquake but its grand remains have been converted into an archaeological museum.

Within walking distance of the convent are both the Museu do Chiado and the National Theatre of São Carlos. The theatre in particular is housed in a beautiful 18th-century building, worth visiting just to appreciate the neoclassical façade. There are also Museu Arqueológico do Carmo and Museo de Sao Roque.

Just beyond hipster Pink Street in Cais do Sodré is the more sedate waterfront area. The river’s edge is lined with leafy urban parks and laid-back cafes where you can enjoy lunch overlooking the water. 

The ferry terminal here is one of the best places to embark on river tours, with several companies offering sightseeing cruises along the river. Alternatively, if you are planning to take a ferry to one of the cities on the other side of the Tagus, this is where you’ll likely be departing from.

Chiado also had a great food scene with street food at Mercado da Ribeiro; many traditional tascas around Rua Nova do Carvalho and Rua das Flores. Belcanto and Alma are both two Michelin-stars restaurants if you want fine dining.

You will find a wide range of hotel options here, ranging from budget-friendly studio apartments to more high-end luxury hotels. Chiado is a prime location suitable for every budget. With the Baixa Chiado metro station in the neighborhood, you can easily travel around the city.

Stay in Chiado if you want to stay in Lisbon city centre; you want to stay in a safe neighborhood; you plan to take a ferry or river cruise; you are foodies;

Best Places to Stay in Lisbon Chiado:

luxury ($$$): Bairro Alto Hotel This Boutique Hotel offers beautiful views over the Tagus River. It is within a short walk from nearby boutique shops, galleries, picturesque streets and restaurants. You can enjoy hotel restaurant with an award-winning Chef.

mid-range ($$): Hotel Mundial this 4-star hotel boasts a terrace with stunning panoramic city and São Jorge Castle views. the on-site restaurant and the rooftop bar offer sweeping views over Lisbon. You can easily travel to other part of the city with the famous Tram 28 and City Tours Hop on Hop off in front of the hotel.

budget ($): Casinha das Flores The picturesque guest house is located in the very heart of Lisbon. It boasts spacious rooms with free WiFi and air conditioning.

🔍MORE HOTELS IN CHIADO

3. Avenida da Liberdade, stylish and luxury street in Lisbon

Avenida da Liberdade, where to stay in Lisbon for luxury
Rossio Garden Hotel in Avenida da Liberdade

Famous as one of the most expensive shopping streets in the whole of Europe, Avenida da Liberdade is Lisbon’s main boulevard, a mile-long strip of luxury boutique shops and big-name designer stores. It stretches from Praca dos Restauradores in the Baixa district all the way to Marquês de Pombal.

As such an expensive location, you know there will be some very prominent labels featured here. You can expect to browse the likes of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry.

The length of the boulevard is lined with leafy promenades on either side of the busy road, so there is plenty of space for pedestrians. Meanwhile, the sidewalks are decorated with pretty mosaic tiling to add to the luxury aesthetic.

You won’t need to worry about getting tired from wandering from boutique to boutique. Aside from the many benches along the promenades, there are plenty of chic cafes and fashionable restaurants to rest and enjoy delicious local and international cuisine.

You will find popular spots such as Hard Rock Café, Cervejaria Ribadouro, As Velhas, and many eatery within the JNcQUOI Fashion Clinic. In addition, there are several metro stations along the street so you can just hop on and get a lift back to the start.

It’s not all shopping and cafes. There are several art galleries, monuments, museums such as the Monument to the Heroes of the Great War, Medeiros e Almeida Museum, National Sports Museum, and Cinemateca which is the Lisbon’s film museum, along the boulevard.

Fans of cinema can also visit the Cinema São Jorge, Lisbon’s popular cinema during since 1950. It hosts several film festivals including the IndieLisboa Independent Film Festival, and QueerLisboa, which is the gay and lesbian film festival in September.

You may even be able to attend an event at the 18th-century Foz Palace. Alternatively, keep your eyes peeled for the street performers who display their various talents along the promenades.

The southern end of Avenida da Liberdade connects into the Baixa district. With even more fantastic shopping streets within walking distance, this truly is a shopping addicts paradise.

The avenue segues into Baixa via Rossio Square. Rossio Square is a leafy plaza boasting several impressive monuments and fountains. Overlooked by the National Theatre and surrounded by cafes, it is a popular meeting point. 

The other end of Avenida da Liberdade is marked by the Marquês de Pombal roundabout. The roundabout hosts a prominent monument to the Marquis of Pombal who was instrumental in the rebuilding of Lisbon after the 1755 earthquake.

The roundabout connects Avenida da Liberdade with the Parque Eduardo VII. This Edward VII Park consists of a long series of manicured lawns and lush gardens. It hosts some events such as Lisbon’s Christmas Market and the Lisbon Book Fair. The biggest park in central Lisbon offers stunning view straight down the avenue all the way to the water of the Tagus river. It also has greenhouse with many tropical plants.

You can also hop on the Lisbon’s oldest funicular railway, Ascensor do Lavra, and head to the Torel Garden (Jardim do Torel), one of Lisbon’s last hideaways. It offers nice views towards the town.

Another must-see nearby is the monumental Neo-Manueline building, Rossio Train station. The late 19th century building complete was designed by José Luís Monteiro and is the primary station in Lisbon for the Lisboa-Sintra suburban railway.

Avenida da Liberdade has biggest concentration of luxury hotels, but there are mid-range options. It’s within walking distance to downtown and the waterfront, and with easy access to the rest of the city and the airport.

 Stay in Avenida da Liberdade if you are planning a luxury vacation; you want to stay in Lisbon to take advantage of one of Europe’s top shopping destinations, you have a bigger budget to work with

Best places to stay in Avenida da Liberdade:

🔍MORE HOTELS IN AV. LIBERDADE

4. Alfama, the oldest district and historical soul of Lisbon

Alfama, where to stay in Lisbon for couples

Alfama is one of the oldest and most characterful neighborhoods of Lisbon. Alfama was built by the Moors in the 11th century, and survived the 1755 earthquake due to its sturdy bedrock foundation.

The entire area has a distinct historic charm. Full of steep, narrow cobbled lanes lined with traditional shops and quaint cafes set in beautiful old buildings, a stroll through this neighborhood is like stepping back in time.

The narrow streets and charming atmosphere give this neighborhood a particularly romantic air. If you are looking for a location for a honeymoon or couple’s getaway, Alfama and its stunning scenery could be the perfect place. 

Streching from the Tejo Estuary to the São Jorge Castle, Alfama is located right next to Baixa, on the opposite side from Chiado and El Bairro Alto. It’s a hub of historic buildings and traditional architecture. Alfama is home to many of Lisbon’s major attractions and is often dubbed the Castle District due to its historic sites. 

Castelo de São Jorge, or George’s Castle as it is known in English, is one of the top attractions in the city. Built in the 11th century, it now largely lays in ruins, but visitors are free to tour around the grounds and attached museum. 

George’s Castle is located atop a hill at the center of the city. Anyone who makes the trip to the top is treated with a beautiful panoramic view of both the old town and modern Lisbon from its viewpoint called Miradouro do Castelo de São Jorge.

Fado music was born in Lisbon back in the 18th century. Fado is a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. If you want to learn more about Portugal’s traditional music, you can visit the Museu do Fado, where you can find a collection of discs, recordings, and a recreated guitar workshop.

In this historic neighborhood, you can find authentic cuisine and traditional restaurants hosting evening fado shows. Fado music is a musical genre, born during the 1820s in Lisbon.

Another of the integral historic structures you have to visit in Alfama is Lisbon Cathedral (Sé Cathedral). Having been damaged by earthquakes and repeatedly rebuilt since its initial founding in 1147, it stands as a monument to the many architectural fashions of Lisbon through the ages. 

Igreja de Santo António de Lisboa is another interesting church, dedicated to Saint Anthony, the patron saint of Lisbon.

With so many hills in the area, you will see several fantastic viewpoints. The Miradouro de Santa Luzia behind the Santa Luzia church is a beautiful garden with stunning views of the city and the Tejo Estuary. There are also the Miradouro das Portas do Sol, Miradouro da Graça, Miradouro da Senhora do Monte.

If you head to the Panteão Nacional, you will find city views from its roof. Panteão Nacional was the Church of Saint Engratia when it was built in 1682, and became the National Pantheon in 1916. It has the tombs of Portugal’s major historic celebrities such as explorer Vasco de Gama and Fado legend Amelia Rodriguez.

You can learn Azulejo tiles at National Tile Museum of the Azulejo, which was built in the 1500s. Azulejo tiles are very popular, you can see them on cobblestone streets, walls, floors, ceilings, almost everywhere.

Other places of interest are the 16th-century historic Casa dos Bicos (house of spikes), the Museu do Teatro Romano, the huge Sáo Vicente de Fora, the Museu do Aljube Resistência e Liberdade, and Feira da Ladra (Thieves’ market).

The most famous number 28 tram passes through the neighborhood, so you can enjoy watching the historic sites of the neighborhood pass by from inside the iconic yellow car. There are also tuk tuk tour, electric bike tour, Segway tour, and street art tour.

Alfama is overall a safe district of Lisbon, but you should be aware of pickpockets and take care of your belonging as you would travel to any other famous tourist spots.

Alfama is not the most affordable part of the city. In keeping with the traditional atmosphere of the neighborhood, there are also plenty of boutique hotels and guesthouses to choose from for a more intimate feel.

Stay in Alfama if you are couples; you want to stay in Lisbon’s historic center; you want to stay in the heart of the city’s culture and history;

Best places to stay in Alfama Lisbon:

🔍MORE HOTELS IN ALFAMA

5. El Bairro Alto, where to stay in Lisbon for nightlife

El Bairro Alto, where to stay in Lisbon for nightlife

El Bairro Alto is the hilltop neighborhood, located right next to the Baixa district and Chiado. Bairro Alto is nightlife hub and party zone of Lisbon. Home to Lisbon’s best clubs, many nice restaurants, bars, and rooftop terraces. Bairro Alto is a sleepy area by day but transform into lively party area by night.

Bairro Alto is known for being popular with Lisbon’s LGBTQ community. Gay bars are scattered throughout the neighborhood, particularly running down the center of the district. If you are looking for a great night out, you can easily hop between here and the red light district of Chiado.

Bairro Alto has a good art scene. The neighborhood is scattered with art galleries and street arts. You can enjoy browsing both intimate studios, as well as more contemporary art museums and showrooms. The cobbled streets were lined with colorful facades even before local street artists began using spare walls as a canvas for their impressive murals. 

Bairro Alto is home to numerous Portuguese tascas serving petiscos and codfish, as well as Middle Eastern restaurant, Korean-style barbecue, and Neapolitan pizzas, all kind of cusine from local traditional food to international dishes.

The Old Pharmacy is the former pharmacy, wine is the best medicine. The cabinets are filled with bottles. The choices are literally hundreds of wines, all Portuguese and served by the glass, along with cheeses and sausages.

Páginas Tantas is a bar with spacious interiors, relaxed with jazz and live music. Portas Largas is one of the most popular bars in Bairro Alto since the 1990s. It is a spacious old tavern with people standing outside the large doors.

Fans of unique public transport will enjoy riding Bairro Alto’s iconic Bica Funicular cable car. Some of the avenues are so steep here that this innovative system is more effective than traditional trams or buses. 

As one of Lisbon’s older districts, Bairro Alto is home to many historic buildings. The Church of Sao Roque dates back to the 16th century and is one of the oldest surviving Jesuit churches. Whilst the exterior may not appear terribly impressive, you just have to step inside to appreciate the history and splendor. Covered in opulent décor and intricate carvings, the church also houses an art museum.

Other attractions nearby are Carmo Convent ruins, Santa Catarina viewing point, and Elevador da Bica.

Bairro Alto is a quite safe area in Lisbon. But as the famous nightlife spot with high concentrations of bars and nightclubs, you should use common sense and avoid walking at night in the poorly lit areas.

Stay in El Bairro if you want vibrant nightlife; You want to stay in a quirky, bohemian neighborhood, Staying at the heart of the city is ideal, Riding the Bica Funicular cable car is a high priority, LGBTQ friendly nightlife is a plus.

Best Places to stay in Bairro Alto:

luxury ($$$): The Lumiares Hotel & Spa This accommodation is in the bohemian and cultural heart district, with views of the River Tagus, and the Castelo de São Jorge. Opposite the hotel is the Gloria Funicular tram, and the stunning Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, one of Lisbon’s most famous viewpoints Lumi Rooftop.

mid-range ($$): Lisbon Serviced Apartments This accommodation offers units with air conditioning, free wifi, a private bathroom. Close proximity to Ribeira Market, Commerce Square, Rossio, and Dona Maria II National Theatre.

budget ($): Casinha das Flores This guest house provides comfortable rooms with free WiFi, air conditioning, a private bathroom, satellite TV, and a wardrobe.

🔍MORE HOTELS IN BAIRRO ALTO

6. Príncipe Real, coolest neighborhood to stay in Lisbon

Príncipe Real, trendy neighborhood to stay in Lisbon
Hotel Botanico in Príncipe Real

Principe Real is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Lisbon. A favorite of the city’s young and alternative crowd, Principe Real is one of the edgier districts, with a uniquely artsy atmosphere. This neighborhood is primarily a residential area, more exclusive and affluent with hip shops.

The streets here are lined with antique shops, innovative concept stores, bio markets, and hipster cafes. If you are looking for a more unique shopping experience in a vibrant and cutting-edge community, Príncipe Real may be the location for you.

Most of the antique shops and galleries are centered around Rua da Escola Politecnica and Rua Dom Pedro V. And charming leafy square and garden will be found in Rua de São Marçal. AR-PAB and Isabel Lopes da Silvaa are good places to go for go antique shopping, while Solar for the ancient Portuguese art of tiles shopping.

Embaixada Palace is the 19th-century Moorish palace has been converted into a modern shopping mall celebrating local Portuguese designers such as Amélie au Théâtre, Organii Cosmética Biológica, Linkstore, Shoes Closet, Urze, VLA Records, and Organii Bebé. Ideal for picking up unique souvenirs like cork handbags, cork visas, cork table mats or just admiring the opulent interior.

Nearby, you can find the indoor market, Entre Tanto, the XVIII century Castilho Palace. Meanwhile, The National Museum of Natural History and Science is housed in a particularly grand building and hosts a wide range of exhibits. There’s sure to be something to interest the whole family. 

The palace is sandwiched between the historic Principe Real garden (Jardim do Príncipe Real) and the Botanical Garden of Lisbon (Jardim Botânico). Both are home to rare or significant plants and trees. All the leaf cover keeps the trails cool, perfect for walking on a hot summer afternoon. 

Similar to Bairro Alto, Príncipe Real is a great destination for nightlife, where you can find funky bars, cool craft beer, wine, and cocktails. Príncipe Real is also well known for its LGBTQ-friendly nightlife. Gay bars line the streets in the south of the district between Príncipe Real and neighboring El Bairro Alto. 

IThere are several metro stations in the neighborhood with lines connecting out well beyond the central Lisbon neighborhoods. The Baixa/Chiado on the blue and green lines and the Rato Station on the yellow line will connect you to the city centre and the Cais do Sodré.

Accommodations in Principe Real are mostly guesthouses, hostels, bed-and-breakfast, and self-catering apartments that suit all budgets for both short-term and longer-term stays.

Stay in Principe Real if you are looking for a more alternative, artsy neighborhood, you want somewhere close to the city centre but a little away from the more crowded shopping streets, LGBTQ-friendly nightlife, and hospitality is a plus.

Best places to stay in Principe Real:

luxury ($$$): Memmo Príncipe Real – Design Hotels This five-star hotel boast an outdoor pool and lounge, with panoramic city views. You can enjoy the meal at the hotel’s Café Principe Real Restaurant with Portuguese and international dishes such as Brazilian, African and Asian influences.

midrange ($$): Casa do Jasmim by Shiadu This guest house is in the Misericordia district, at a short distance from Lisbon’s main attractions. It offers rooms with a flat-screen TV, free WiFi, and a private bathroom with a shower.

budget ($): Flores Guest House This bed and breakfast centrally located in Lisbon, offers self-catering apartments and studios with a flat-screen TV, a coffee machine, and free wifi. Don’t miss out Copenhagen Coffee Lab, Tease, Pão de Canela, Churrasqueira da Paz, Tasquinha dos Arcos, Dona Quitéria and Nannarella.

🔍MORE HOTELS IN PRINCIPE REAL

7. Lapa, upper-class district, lots of palaces and embassies

Lapa and Estrela, upmarket areas west of the historic center

Lapa and Estrela are a quiet residential areas. The nobility and the wealthy built their homes in the 18th century. Estrela is one of luxurious areas in Lisbon, with plenty of foreign embassies, palaces, grand mansions in its tree-lined streets.

Lapa and Estrela are well-connected public transport with bus, tram, and close to the Rato Station. There are plenty of links to the more popular tourist areas such as Chiado and Barrio Alto.

The Basílica da Estrela is one of the grandest buildings in Lisbon. Built-in the 18th-century, it boasts twin bell towers, a towering central dome, and the tomb of Queen Maria I. It is the meeting point for local in the neighborhood.

Across from the Basilica is the Mosteiro do Imaculado Coração de Maria convent. The convent is notable for housing Saint Jacinta before her death. The room in which she stayed has been preserved along with several of her belongings and clothes, and guests are welcome to pay respects.

Nearby stand the Jardim da Estrela garden, which is a beautiful public park with lakes, gazebo, terrace and playground. It’s a popular spot for young people, families, with kids for picnics or parties in summer. Meanwhile, the cafes and food stalls that surround the park will provide plenty of options for refreshments.

Outside the park are a statue of Pedro Álvares Cabral, Casa Museu Amália Rodrigues which is the former home of the Queen of Fado, and English Cemetery which has the tomb of Henry Fielding, the English novelist and magistrate.

To the west of Lapa is the entrance to the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge. This 2-kilometer-long suspension bridge crosses the Tagus River over to neighboring Almada. The bridge is impressive in its own right, reminiscent of San Francisco’s Golden Gate, so worth visiting even if you don’t intend to cross. 

This unique upper-class district is also home to Portugal’s Parliament, the Palácio da Assembleia da República with a restored 19th century mansion, Sao Bento Palace, the official residence of Portugal’s Prime Minister.

If you want to try some regional Portuguese cuisine, head to the lively indoor market, Mercado de Campo de Ourique. And if you like history, there are several museums nearby such as Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Museu da Marioneta, Oriente Museum, and Museu da Carris.

Lapa has many trendy restaurants including Senhor Vinho, one of the most renowned casas de fado in Lisbon, founded in 1975. Grab a steak meal at Café de São Bento, which offers one of the best steak in Lisbon, while Come Prima offers great pasta. Take a look at Lx Plant, which is a a venue filled with restaurants, bars, and design shops.

Stay in Lapa if You want a quieter area but still relatively close to the city centre; A less tourist-heavy neighborhood is ideal;

Best places to stay in Lisbon in Lapa:

Olissippo Lapa Palace – The Leading Hotels of the World This 19th-century, 5-star hotel offers an expansive spa, and indoor and outdoor pools, elegant rooms with a spacious seating area, satellite TV, and a marble bathroom.

Estrela Penthouse – Amazing Views This property is in Estrela of Lisbon, provides a terrace and amazing views over the city of Lisbon and the river Tagus. It’s 50 meters away from tram 28 and 25 central stations (Estrela), as well as from Basilica da Estrela (Estrela Church) and Estrela Park.

Bela Vista – Lissabon Altstadt Located within a short walk from the grandiose baroque Basilica Estrela, the famous Jardim da Estrela, Museum of Ancient Art with its fine view of the harbor and docks. It has units with a sofa, a seating area, a flat-screen TV, a well-fitted kitchen with a dining area, a safety deposit box, and a private bathroom with a hairdryer

🔍MORE HOTELS IN LAPA

8. Belem, good area for sightseeing, lots of museums, monuments

Belem Lisbon

The historic riverside of Belem is worth visiting. It is a more relaxed neighborhood further west along the banks of the Tagus river. Close to where the river joins the Atlantic, Belem has a rich maritime and fishing history. That heritage is reflected in the abundance of fresh seafood served by the local restaurants. 

Belém is far from the city centre, but easily reachable by taking tram number 15 in the Cais do Sodré station. Many Portugal’s explorers set sail from here to all over the world and brought back riches and their many discoveries.

Whilst Belem might be quite a distance from the city centre, the local train station provides easy access right into the heart of Lisbon. You can enjoy the local charm of the quieter streets whilst knowing that the vibrant tourist neighborhoods are just a few minutes away.

Of course, there is plenty to see and do in Belem itself. Once a significant port, Belem is home to many historical structures well worth visiting. A wander around the quiet streets will reveal beautiful architecture and fascinating buildings around every corner. 

Jerónimos Monastery, is the grandest of these old buildings. The opulent Gothic building dates back to the 16th-century. Its intricate carving work is excellently preserved. The monastery is home to Museu de Marinha, a navy museum displaying exhibits related to Belem’s maritime history, as well as National Archaeological Museum hosting displays on a broader range of topics.

Along the waterfront, we have the UNESCO World Heritage Site, 16th century Belém Tower, hat has Portuguese Manueline architecture. Once part of the city’s defensive fortifications, visitors can now climb to the tower’s roof terrace to enjoy unobstructed views over the river.

The adjacent eye-catching Monument to the Overseas Combatants was created to commemorate soldiers killed during the colonial war. Further along the river, between the town’s two marinas, is Belem Lighthouse. The lighthouse is surrounded by public parks from which to enjoy views of both the lighthouse and the river. 

Known as Lisbon’s museum district because numerous of museums located here. There are Coach Museum, contemporary art gallery, Berardo Collection Museum, Discoveries Monument, Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology – MAAT. The neighboring Popular Art Museum has works by artists from across Portugal.

Other highlight attractions including the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, Igreja Santa Maria de Belém, Jardim da Praça do Império, Palácio Nacional de Belém, Jardim Botânico Tropical, Garden of Afonso de Albuquerque, and Centro Cultural de Belém.

You can charter a boat for a day along Tagus river. There are speedboats and catamarans to sailboats and luxury yachts.

Belem has many seafood restaurants, bars with river views, and fine dining options like Feitoria Michelin-starred dining. Pastéis de Belém is a must-try pastry shop with the famous original Pastel de Nata custard tart.

Stay in Belem if you are looking for sightseeing; you love history and preserved historical buildings and structures, you prefer to stay in a more local neighborhood;

Best places to stay in Belem:

Altis Belem Hotel & Spa – Design Hotels This 5-star hotel is located on the waterfront, next to the Tagus River. It has a Michelin Star restaurant, indoor and outdoor pools, a spa, and a rooftop sun deck.

Geronimo Guest House Belém This guest house has air-conditioned rooms with a wardrobe, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom with a shower. Don’t miss out on the famous and old “Pastéis de Belém”, to the latest Portuguese Bakery.

Famous Crows Lisbon Suites This guest house is set next to the famous Pastéis de Belém, and just 200m from Jerónimos Monastery. Within easy walking distance, you will find plenty of restaurants serving traditional Portuguese cuisine, Tagus River banks, and Centro Cultural de Belém.

🔍FIND MORE HOTELS IN BELEM

9. Park of Nations, Lisbon’s most modern and family-friendly district

Park of Nations, a modern neighborhood in Lisbon

Built for the Lisbon World Exhibition in 1998, the Park of Nations district, or Parque das Nações in local langues, is one of the most distinctly modern regions of Lisbon. With many business hotels, restaurants and bars for business travellers, this area is good base for those travel on business.

As a modern neighborhood, built for leisure to impress foreign visitors, comfort, fun, and aesthetic appeal are some of the most prominent qualities. In addition to leisure complexes and exhibition centers, the area is known for its many garden squares and public parks. 

The Water Garden, or Jardim das Águas is particularly lovely. Consisting of a variety of water-based art installations, fountains, and pools, it’s both beautiful, and a handy opportunity to cool down in the mist from the fountains. 

The centerpiece of the Park of Nations is the marina. The waterfront is lined with trendy cafes, fashionable restaurants, and lively bars. You can happily spend your afternoons relaxing with a cocktail, watching the boats drift around the marina. 

Families and kids will want to visit the Oceanário de Lisboa, or Lisbon Oceanarium, home to over 450 species of fish and ocean mammals. Designed by US architect Peter Chermayeff, it is one of the largest in the world.

Another kid-friendly attraction is the a science and technology museum, Knowledge Pavilion, or Pavilhão do Conhecimento Ciência Viva. It has interactive exhibits, cafes, and kid’s playground.

You can also find the Vasco da Gama Tower which is the tallest building in Lisbon with about 140 m hight and a nautical sail shape. its viewing platform offers a great view over the river and Vasco da Gama Bridge.

If you are looking for places close to the airport, Park of Nations is a good option. Lisbon Airport is just a 10 minutes metro ride away, so you won’t have to worry about being late for your flight.

Park of Nations is served by Gare do Oriente station and well-connected transport with the other parts of the city by trams and buses. You can ride the teleferico cable car, rental bikes, and a minitrain to get around the park.

Other places of interest are the MEO Arena with UFO shape, and the Lisbon Casino which opened in 2006, and has couple of hotels and clubs.

Stay in the Park of Nations if you want to stay closer to the airport; you are a business traveller;

Best places to stay in Park of Nations:

🔍MORE HOTELS IN NATIONS PARK

10. Avenidas Novas, business center of Lisbon

Avenidas Novas, modern and contemporary location
Lux Lisboa Park in Avenidas Novas

Avenidas Novas (New Avenues) is the one of the main business and commercial centers of Lisbon. It’s a quite large district that stretches from the end of Avenida da Liberdade to the Campo Pequeno bullring.

Avenida da República is the main avenue, similar with Champs De Elysees boulevard in Paris, packed with modern buildings and luxury shops. On this street, you can find the main square, Praça Duque de Saldanha. The square boasts a monument to the Duke of Saldanha and near by the palatial Versailles, which is one of the most beautiful cafés in the city.

Avenidas Novas has vibrant communities including ex-pats, Universidade Nova de Lisboa’s students, businessmen around Lisbon’s Financial Center, Praça Duque de Saldanha, and Picoas Center.

Avenidas Novas is a particularly modern district at the heart of the city center. Despite having been founded in the early 20th-century as Lisbon was expanding, much of that earlier architecture has disappeared due to modernization initiatives. 

The area is primarily dominated by modern office blocks, contemporary shopping centers, and amenities catered towards the local corporate worker population. You will find small shopping centers like Monumental, the Centro Comercial do Campo Pequeno, and Atrium Saldanha. 

The neighborhood is also home to some museums like Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Gulbenkian Garden, as well as Anastácio Gonçalves Museum, and Bordalo Pinheiro Museum.

Other places of interest are the Fonte Luminosa, 18th-century Pimenta Palace, Campo Pequeno Arena which is Lisbon’s bullfighting arena, and small church of Igreja de São Sebastião da Pedreira.

The central location is what makes Avenidas so popular. It is surrounded by some of the best tourist districts in the city. The regions of Principe Real, Avenida de Liberdade, Baixa, and Alfama are all within a short walk of Avenidas Novas.

You can easily reach Avenidas Novas with the metro, the bus, the city’s trams, funiculars and trains. It’s free with the Lisboa Card.

Avenidas Novas has plenty of options for accommodation. If you are working on a budget but still want to keep close to the popular area, Avenidas Novas is definitely an area you should be considering. You will find a variety of contemporary, modern hotels at very reasonable rates. 

Stay in Avenidas Novas if good central location with easy access to various tourist districts is ideal; You prefer to stay in a more modern and contemporary location; you want to stay in a safe neighborhood;

Best places to stay in Avenidas Novas:

🔍MORE HOTELS IN NOVAS

Check out my virtual tour of the best places to stay in Lisbon in this video:

Where should I stay in Lisbon for the first time?

Baixa is the best area stay in Lisbon the first timers due to its prime location. If you book a hotel here, you will be within walking distance to the famous landmarks, as well as many shopping, dining, nightlife venues. You can aslo easily travel to other parts of the city with its well-connected public transportation.

What are the safest areas to stay in Lisbon?

Lisbon is a safe city for tourists. Avenida da Liberdade, Chiado, and Baixa are the safest areas to stay in Lisbon. These are the main tourist areas with plenty of things to do and see within walking distance from your hotel.

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As a waterfront city with a long and vibrant history, wonderful weather, and plenty of tourist attractions, there is tons to do in the the Portuguese capital and it’s not hard to see why this sunniest capital city in Europe is such a popular destination. 

Overall, Baixa, Chiado, and Alfama are some of the best areas to stay in Lisbon for first-time travelers due to its close proximity to tourist attractions and wide variety of tourist amenities. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of action!

Once you picked a neighborhood to book accommodation, it’s time for the fun of picking your hotel and decide How many days are sufficient for Lisbon? well, if you are first-time travelers, I recommend staying for at least 3 full days in the capital of Portugal. 3 days is enough to see major sights, enjoy food and wine, and get the sense of the local culture and history. You can always explore more at your next visit!

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