Lisbon, the capital of Portugal is divided into six different districts and the famous Park of the Nations.

When one travels to Lisbon and walks it all around can easily discover the true spirit of the city in its traditional Lisbon neighborhoods.

Baixa and Chiado, Alfama, Barrio Alto, and Belèm are the areas of Lisbon that we will explore in this quick glance and the capital of Portugal.

Spending a little extra time wandering around these four areas will make your trip to Lisbon something really memorable.

Check out our guide on how to get around Lisbon.

Lisbon neighborhoods, Portugal
Lisbon neighborhoods

Best neighborhoods in Lisbon

Some of the best Lisbon neighborhoods to explore include:

Baixa

Lisbon mountainous landscape can easily catch the attention of tourists, and here in Baixa and Chiado, that is very easy to perceive. Due to this particularity, the city is well equipped with several trams, funiculars and elevator that transport its inhabitants from one place to another.

Baixa is one of the most popular hotspots of the city due to its tremendous commercial and financial activity. Destroyed in the terrible 1755 Lisbon Earthquake, this area was rebuilt by Pombal with perfect grid streets that kept their original names.

Places like Avenida da Liberdade, Praça do Comércio, Praça da Figueira, Elevador de Santa Justa, Praça do Rossio, Estação do Rossio, Teatro Nacional Dona Maria and Praça dos Restauradores, can’t be missed when exploring Baixa.

Many visitors spend the night here because Baixa has not only numerous sights but also good transport connections to all other parts of the city.

You can enter Praça do Comércio, Lisbon’s most magnificent square, through the triumphal arch Arco da Rua Augusta. The equestrian statue of Portuguese King José I is enthroned in its center.

On Praça Dom Pedro IV—also called Rossio—you’ll find many small cafés along with an unusual mosaic pattern on its surface.

The ruins of Igreja do Carmo commemorate destruction caused by another Lisbon earthquake, and within its preserved part now houses an archaeological museum.

Finally, you can walk up Triumphal Arch to a viewing platform that offers a panorama over this wonderful city.

Chiado

Chiado on the other side is a very popular shopping district in Lisbon that provides a full range of boutiques, books stores and cafés as well as several museums and theaters.

The Chiado neighborhood is located in the western part of Lisbon. Once, intellectuals and booksellers lived here, as evidenced by Livraria Bertrand – the oldest bookstore in the world.

Today you can visit classy boutiques in Rua Garrett or Rua do Carmo for some shopping, and enjoy an espresso at famous Café A Brasileira.

A visit to São Carlos Theater – with its opulent interior – is also a must on your tour of Chiado.

At Church of São Roque you’ll get a glimpse of what Lisbon churches looked like before 1755’s earthquake: only slightly damaged despite its magnificent decoration inside.

Barrio Alto

Bairro Alto is the upper town of Lisbon and lies 8 meters higher than the business district Baixa.

The city district, which was hardly affected by the earthquake of 1755, changed over the centuries from being the home of simple workers to being a neighborhood for intellectuals.

Bairro Alto, one of the most popular and picturesque areas of Lisbon, is a residential neighborhood that attracts lots of tourists due to its cobbled streets and relaxing atmosphere. Here it is possible to discover the true essence of the city in its countless bars, cafés, restaurants and fado bars in Lisbon.

Today Bairro Alto is Lisbon’s nightlife district. Many residents of the city start their party here. The streets are partly closed to traffic and offer wonderful opportunities for strolling around.

Here you will find tascas, traditional taverns where you can listen to Fado music.

In addition, there are numerous traditional and modern bars and restaurants.

On weekends in particular, Bairro Alto attracts a colorful mix of locals and tourists alike. There is always something going on here.

Some of the emblematic sites of the area include: Igreja do Carmo, Igreja de São Roque, Solar do Vinho do Porto, Basílica da Estrela, Palacio de São Bento and Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga.

Alfama

Alfama is a very representative area of Lisbon, because in this picturesque Lisbon neighborhood, Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together in a peaceful community. Its medieval atmosphere is a treat for professional and amateur photographers that find in this area the inspiration for a perfect picture.

Alfama was once the neighborhood of Lisbon where the lower class lived. The district hardly suffered any damage from the earthquake in 1755, so its narrow streets and steps are still preserved today.

The best way to explore Alfama’s maze-like streets is by foot. It’s worth it, as this part of Lisbon has plenty of sights to see.

Don’t forget to visit: Castelo de São Jorge, Museu do Fado, Mosteiro de São Vicente de For a, Igreja de San Antonio, Museu de Artes Decorativas and Casa dos Bicos.

Sé Cathedral, built in the 12th century on the remains of a Moorish mosque, is now Lisbon’s main church. Santa Engrácia Church houses Portugal’s Pantheon and is also the final resting place for famous countrymen.

Remains of a Roman amphitheater can be admired at Museu Teatro Romano while Fado Museum tells the story behind this typical Portuguese musical genre. And at Museum of Decorative Arts you can get an idea how noblemen living in 18th and 19th centuries.

See also: Top Sights and Hidden Gems in Lisbon

Alfama, popula Lisbon neighborhood
Alfama, popula Lisbon neighborhood

Martim Moniz

Lisbon is full of hidden gems and Martim Moniz is one of them!

This square is named after a noble hero knight and it’s the perfect place to start your exploration of Lisbon’s multiculturalism. From Chinese grocery stores to Indian restaurants, this area has it all. And you can’t miss the delicious smell of kebab houses wafting through the air!

Inside the Mouraria shopping center, you’ll find small shops with African products: dried fish, coconut milk, okra and hot piri-piri.

There’s also a good Indian shop called Popat Store, the place to buy achar (Indian pickle), cardamom, dried coconut and things that I don’t know how to use in the kitchen yet.

You can buy spices, Vimto (raspberry juice) and besan laddu (chickpea cake). Check the Chinese small grocery stores for pak choi cabbage, lemongrass and Thai fish sauce. Here, your curry will keep getting better and better.

Belem

Belem is an neighborhood in Lisbon that reminds us how successful Portugal was in the discovery of new lands during the colonization period. From here, many of the great Portuguese explorers began their odysseys to new lands.

Among the long list of places to visit in the area are: Palácio de Belém, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Museu Nacional de Arqueologia, Padrão dos Descobrimentos and Torre de Belém.

Check out our guide to getting Tower of Belem tickets.

If you are a true traveler, probably you already know that the best way to discover the beauty of a city is by staying at one of the Lisbon apartments rather than in a hotel, not only because it is the most convenient way of accommodation, but also because of second to none feeling of staying at home while traveling.  

Author

  • Travel Dudes
    Travel Dudes

    I'm sure you've had similar experiences I had whilst traveling. You're in a certain place and a fellow traveler, or a local, tip you off on a little-known beach, bar or accommodation. Great travel tips from other travelers or locals always add something special to our travels. That was the inspiration for Travel Dudes.