where to stay in lisbon

where to stay in Lisbon? Lisbon is a beautiful city, full of characterful districts, outstanding tourist attractions and vibrant nightlife. On the initial inspection of a map, Lisbon appears a large and sprawling city, but fortunately the main tourist districts are contained within a relatively compact area.

Here are the best places to stay in Lisbon.

Streetcar 28 for the Alfama

Take this mythical streetcar line that offers the most beautiful route in Lisbon. A real time machine through the city’s districts (Graça, Alfama, Chiado…). You can get on it at the Jardim da Estrela to explore the steep alleys of the Alfama.

Alfama, a neighborhood located on the slopes of the Castelo São Jorge hill, has remained popular, with its picturesque maze of alleys, vaulted passages, and small patios. We love this neighborhood.

Lisbon seen from Santa Luzia viewpoint.

Located in the Alfama, the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, a viewpoint with arcades and a garden, offers one of the most beautiful views of the rooftops of the old town and the Tagus. A place dear to all lovers of the city, dedicated to the Order of Malta.

There are other viewpoints in Lisbon, where you can contemplate the spectacle of the city. We like those of Santa Catarina and São Pedro de Alcantara, in the Bairro Alto, another neighborhood nestled on a hill.

Grilled fish and fado in Alfama.

More 100% Lisbotean pleasures. Eat a grilled fish in a tasca, one of the typical small taverns of Alfama. Go to the instinct, letting yourself be guided by the smells, the atmosphere, the decorations. We like the Barracao de Alfama (Rua Sao Pedro, 16), but there are others that can satisfy you.

After dinner, go listen to fado, a kind of Portuguese blues that speaks of exile, disappointed love, and Saudade, to be savored live in one of the city’s clubs. The Clube de Fado (Rua São João de Praça, 92-94) is one of the most famous fado houses in Lisbon.

The treasures of the Calouste-Gulbenkian Museum.

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Nestled in the magnificent park of Palhavã, the Calouste-Gulbenkian Museum is part of one of the most prestigious cultural centers in Europe, the Gulbenkian Foundation, which organizes all kinds of cultural activities (concerts, exhibitions…). It is renowned for its collections of oriental art and decorative art, but also its section devoted to René Lalique.

The museum being off-center, count a good half-day to visit it. After the visit, take a tour of the foundation’s magnificent botanical garden.

Futuristic Lisbon at the Park of Nations.

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Always on the outskirts, a different face of Lisbon, which emerged from the ground on the occasion of the 1998 Universal Exhibition. We can fly over it by cable car to take the measure of this futuristic district.

There are green spaces in the Park of Nations, pedestrian promenades, works of art scattered everywhere… but above all the Oceanarium, an aquarium ship on the water.

The Cold Greenhouse, the Edward VII park’s mountain range.

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An amazing place, located north of Lisbon, which forms a real oasis of coolness in summer or a place to warm up in winter. You can take a pleasant stroll along the shady alleys, among exotic plants and rare species, to the sound of waterfalls or the lapping of fountains. According to the Lisboteans, whoever has not seen the Estufa Fria in all four seasons does not know Lisbon. So you know what you have to do.

The cream pastels of Belém.

Take the streetcar to Belém, a neighborhood near the mouth of the Tagus River from where the glorious expeditions of Vasco de Gama started. The Tower of Belém, built in the 16th century to guide ships, and the splendid Hieronymites Monastery remember this golden age.

Afterwards, treat yourself to one of Lisbon’s great gourmet delights. Don’t miss under any circumstances the Antiga confeitaria de Belém, which concocts the best pastéis de nata in the city. To find it, it’s simple: when you get off the streetcar, there’s always a queue in front!

And, by the way, what are this pastéis? Small round blanks in a puff pastry and sprinkled with cinnamon, which is best eaten warm. It makes your mouth water just by talking about it.

An afternoon at the beach near Lisbon.

The Atlantic Ocean is not far away and the beaches are easily accessible from Lisbon on foot, by train or bicycle. The small (rather chic) seaside resorts of Cascais and Estoril, 20 km from Lisbon, have their own beach, with a vacation atmosphere.

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On the other side of the Tagus, a huge sandy beach on the Costa da Caparica, easily accessible from the city. The different spots are served by a small train, which makes about twenty stops. At each stop, its refreshment bar (dance-floor n° 15) and its atmosphere (family, naturist, gay…).

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Enjoy the Mercado da Ribeira.

One of the best places to enjoy the best food at low prices in the Portuguese capital. Under a sumptuous glass and steel hall, the Mercado (av.24 de Julho) houses numerous stands where all the prodigious chefs of Lisbon have gathered.

It’s up to you to choose between a dish from Henrique Sa Pessoa, chef of the Alma, or Alexandre Silva who usually officiates in Graça at Bica do Sapato. No need to run anymore! They are all there, offering dishes between 7 and 12 €. Si, si, you’ve read correctly…

Meat, seafood, cold meats, cheeses, pastries, everything is there. The little ones will enjoy their gourmet burgers, the sweet tooth will pass their heads at the snack, and wine lovers will tear out the selected bottles. Afterward, we settle down on the large tables and enjoy all this in a joyful hubbub.

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Lisbon by night, at the Bairro Alto and on the Docks.

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After an aperitif in a bar in the Rossio, in the lower town (taste ginjinha, cherry aperitif), head to the hill of Bairro Alto to start a crazy night, on the side of the Rua da Atalaia. The nightlife starts around 11 pm.

The Bairro Alto is a kind of small village with cracked facades whose alleys, in the evening, are boiling. The nights in Lisbon are very hot and have nothing to envy the effervescence of Madrid or Barcelona. This neighborhood is full of small restaurants, bars, and clubs where trendy young people rub shoulders with alternatives and tourists.

On the way down to the Tagus, the old red-light district of Cais does Sodré now has a lot of lounges and trendy places.

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