The 10 Best Neighborhoods in Lisbon

The 10 Best Neighborhoods in Lisbon

Coming up in this guide: hilly viewpoints, homes both affordable and expensive, and exciting little spoilers on your new life in Lisbon.

Since you’re reading this, we can only assume you’re planning on living in Lisbon.

Portugal’s capital (and Portugal’s biggest city), Lisbon has a population of around 550,000—and because an estimated 10% of the city’s residents are from somewhere other than Portugal, it’s the most diverse place in the nation. But despite its size, Lisbon is brimming with old-world charm; and it feels more like a town than a big city.

Expect little lanes, cobbled streets, hilly viewpoints, white-domed cathedrals, lifelong locals, traditional food and dancing, and loads of informal seafood restaurants.

In short, Lisbon serves up all the Portuguese clichés, and it’s a lovely place to live. 

But, as you probably know by now, there’s a catch. Lisbon is made of many different municipalities and districts (some of them in the center; some of them far from it)…

… and so, you don’t know which neighborhood to live in. You don’t know which areas are best suited to you. And to be honest, you can’t even pronounce the names of some of them.

Well, lucky for you, the relocation experts at Homelike are here to help you out. In this guide, we’ve brought you information on the best neighborhoods to live in Lisbon—and we’ve explained who’ll best like life in each one.  

In our guide to the best neighborhoods in Lisbon, we’ve brought you details on the following ten districts:  

  • Alfama
  • Baixa
  • Chiado
  • Bairro Alto
  • Principe Real
  • Avenida da Liberdade
  • Mouraria
  • Belem
  • Parque das Nações
  • Cascais

Looking for the best neighborhoods in Lisbon? Good news: you’ve found them—so bring that suitcase and come join the party!

Best Neighborhoods to Live or Stay in Lisbon

1. Alfama

Best for: finding a village-like city-center district, filling your ears with Fado, and centrality without too many tourists.

One of the oldest neighborhoods in Lisbon, one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Lisbon, and (overall) one of the best neighborhoods in Lisbon.

Some people say Alfama is part of Lisbon’s very center, while others will argue it’s slightly south of the center. Wherever exactly it is, it’s the prettiest and most photogenic part of the city.

Made up of inner-city hills, tucked-away alleyways, whitewashed buildings and orange roofs, you’ll fall in love with the place. If you’ve ever imagined getting lost in the maze-like streets of quaint Lisbon, Alfama is the place you’ve been thinking of.

Although tourists hang around here, it’s not as popular as some of the other districts we’re covering soon (largely because there aren’t quite so many bars and restaurants in the neighborhood). So if you want central without super-touristy, Alfama is a good choice. It’s also a good choice for real local food—here, you’ll find no-frills cut-price eateries, serving up tasty but unpretentious portions of freshly-made Lisbon classics. 

Some of the neighborhood’s tourist attractions include the hilltop ruins of Castelo de Sao Jorge, the ancient Santa Justa Lift, and a load of super-scenic viewpoints (Miradouro de Santa Luzia is particularly pretty).

And on top of that, you’ll find loads of restaurants and bars with live fado music. If you really want to learn about the craft, get yourself to the Alfama’s Fado Museum (which offers audio and video exhibitions on costumes, tradition, instruments and more).

Other perks of the neighborhood include cheap drinks, friendly locals (if you want to make friends with Portuguese people, Alfama is a great choice), and a hip atmosphere. It’s somehow both retro and happening, and its energy is infectious. 

In a way, Alfama feels like the very heart of Lisbon. But in another, it feels like a little village of its own. For the romantics among you, you’ll love living here, and we can’t recommend it enough.

2. Baixa

Best for: short-term stays, living like a tourist, and both local and international hangouts

Bordering Alfama to the west, Baixa is the very center of the very center of Lisbon.

Although it’s close to Alfama, it’s pretty different from its neighbor. Here, you’ll find a bit more order and organization, with wider streets, pedestrianized areas, large plazas, and a load of Neoclassical architecture. 

For short-term stays, it’s one of the best neighborhoods in Lisbon. Here, you’ll find loads of tourists, loads of touristy restaurants, and a real downtown vibe. But be warned: if you’re gonna be in the city for a long while, you might find the atmosphere a little tiring. 

Because it’s the least ‘authentic’ part of the city (whatever that even means), Baixa is a good choice for cosmopolitan eating options. Here, along with lots of Portuguese food, you’ll find meals and morsels from different parts of the planet. Top picks include the Japanese food at Kiku and Noori Sushi, great Indian food (Natraj Tandoori is a big favorite), and Mexican eats (make sure you head to Carnal).

But because Baixa is so busy, finding a place to live here can be a challenge…

… so if you want to live in Baixa (or in any of the other very-popular, very-central districts), your options are often limited. Demand is high, landlord trustworthiness can be low, the language barrier can be tough, and sourcing furniture can be a challenge. So in the short term, it’s usually easier to move into a fully-furnished serviced apartment or serviced flat instead.

Gorgeous Views of Lisbon from Alfama

3. Chiado

Best for: high-end eats, finding classy friends, and living in one of the most prestigious parts of the city 

Heading west again, Chiado borders Baixa.

(though, in truth, exactly where Baixa ends and Chiado begins is anyone’s guess).

Anyway, wherever exactly it is, what you get from Chiado is relatively similar to what you get from Baixa. But Chiado is a little more classy, and a little more high-end.

Here, you’ll find pricey boutiques, lots of shopping streets, and some flashy homes. It’s elegant and upmarket, but it’s still laid-back and welcoming. 

Some of its classiest hangouts include many theaters (Teatro Nacional Dona Maria II is the city’s national theater, while Teatro Politeama offers a wide range of shows), some Michelin-star restaurants (favorites include Alma and Belcanto, which sit right beside one another), and Livraria Bertrand (the world’s oldest still-operating bookshop).

Overall, this is one of the best neighborhoods in Lisbon for high-earning people who want to live centrally, and who want a nice mix between local and touristy.

Again, like Baixa, it’s best-suited to short stays instead of long ones. It’s touristy, busy and expensive, and it’s more commercial than residential.

Interesting fact: after a massive fire in 1988, some parts of Chiado were completely rebuilt.

4. Bairro Alto

Best for: single people, making friends with young folks, and late-night living

Heading west once more(!) Bairro Alto borders Chiado. 

In some ways, Bairro Alto is a little like Alfama. Although it’s not quite as big as the place, it’s also made up of maze-like lanes and narrow alleyways.

Here, like in Alfama, you can expect to get lost. But you can also expect to love every minute of it (when a place is this pretty, who wants to be found?). 

A combo between old and new, Bairro Alto’s hilltop corners offer both edgy graffiti and hanging laundry; both modern beats and traditional tunes; both party-loving young singles and long-wed native couples. 

As you’ve probably guessed by now, it’s one of the city’s best areas for nightlife. Venues include informal cup-in-hand bars that spill out onto the streets, raucous nightclubs, and cafes that turn into bars… and they serve up basically every genre of music you can imagine. 

Some late-night favorites include The Old Pharmacy (a wine bar that used to be, well, a pharmacy), Lux Frágil (an LGBTQIA+ venue with late hours), and A Tasca do Chico (with live Fado every night).

And much of the live music goes on until late. If you’re a night owl who wants lots of drinking and dancing, this is one of the best neighborhoods to live in Lisbon. But if you’re an early-morning person (or if you’re raising a family), you won’t want to live in this part of the city. 

That said, the British School of Lisbon sits close to the area. It’s one of the best international schools in all of Portugal—so if you want your kids to study here, you might want to consider living just to the west or just to the south of Bairro Alto.  

Other notable parts of the district include the Ascensor da Bica and the Ascensor da Glória (two old-school wooden trams running up the district’s heights), and the famous Praça Luís de Camões city square.

5. Principe Real

Best for: upscale venues, living in a quieter part of the city center, and a load of great green spaces 

Principe Real is north of Bairro Alto, and sort of wraps around its nearby neighbor. 

A classy upscale area (with a name literally translating into English as ‘Royal Prince’), it features mansions, art galleries, independent boutiques, and designer stores. Among the quietest of the city-center districts we’ve brought you, its hilltop location is away from most of the tourist bustle. 

That said, there’s still plenty of action and adventure in the neighborhood. You can expect some nice nightlife venues (Imprensa Cocktail and Oyster Bar is a massive favorite) and some fantastic local food (make sure you head to Adega Dom Luis).

Other appealing parts of the neighborhood include the city’s botanical garden, the event-offering Principe Real garden (which some people reckon is the nicest park in the city), the National Museum of Science & Natural History, and the landscaped Jardim da Estrela. In short, it’s one of the city’s greenest districts.

As you’d expect from an area like this, Principe Real can be pricey. In many ways, it’s one of the best neighborhoods to live in Lisbon—but you’ll be spending a lot to live here. 

Although living in Principe Real is a good choice for many people, it’s a particularly good choice for families. You get all the green spaces, a safe and peaceful environment, and good proximity to the British School of Lisbon (the center of the district is only around 1.5km/1 mile from the school).

The Lovely Baixa District

6. Avenida da Liberdade

Best for: hanging with high classes, having an expensive home, and living on the city’s most prestigious street 

A 1km-long (0.6 mile-long) street bordering both Principe Real and Bairro Alto, this iconic avenue is known for being the priciest street in all of Lisbon. Whether you’re renting, buying, or simply vacationing, you can expect to spend lots of money here.

The street runs north to south, between the Marquês de Pombal roundabout, and the Monumento dos Restauradores. All along it, you’ll see elegant townhouses, tree-lined walkways, high-end hotels, and fancy stores (like Louis Vitton, Prada and Rolex).

So for high-earners, it’s one of the best neighborhoods in Lisbon.

But, of course, not too many people live here; and if you want to shop and play in this area, but don’t want to spend so much money, you can just find a home in any of the neighboring districts. You have plenty of choices, but the best nearby areas include Campo de Ourique, Principe Real, and Bairro Alto.

7. Mouraria

Best for: affordable housing, eating excellent Asian food, and having a diverse bunch of buddies 

Mouraria (or the Moorish Quarter) is one of the most multicultural parts of the city. It’s the area of Lisbon where the Moors were permitted to live between the 12th and the 15th centuries.

And it has massively retained its multicultural roots—an estimated 20% of the neighborhood is now of Asian origin

So if you’re looking for Asian, African, or Arabic friends (or hangouts!), this is one of the best neighborhoods to live in Lisbon. Over 50 different nationalities reside in the district, and you’ll find food and drinks from around the planet. 

Expect standard non-native fayre (like food from India, China, Pakistan and Thailand), along with more unusual stuff (like dishes and delicacies from Angola, Brazil, and Mozambique).

Sitting north of Alfama, Mouraria is one of the most atmospheric and appealing districts in the entire city. A jumbled mish-mash of little lanes and hilly streets, it’s a continuation of its nearby neighbor, but arguably even more charming.

As a nice bonus, it’s one of the most affordable areas in the city. Because gentrification hasn’t yet fully hit the neighborhood, prices have remained pretty low. Yep, it’s not quite as classy as most other parts of the city, but it’s welcoming and friendly—and because many families from around the planet live here, it can be a great place to raise kids.

8. Belem

Best for: living on the seaside, a life away from central Lisbon, and getting your mouth around the original Pastel de Nata

Belem sits around 5 km (8 miles) west of the city’s very-central districts.

Pretty, picturesque, and laid-back, it’s a lot more touristy than most people expect (and a lot busier than most people expect). Though it’s not central, it offers tasty seafood restaurants, pretty waterside stretches, and some of the city’s most famous tourist attractions.

Those attractions include Jerónimos Monastery, the picturesque Belem Tower, and Pasteis De Belem, the bakery where the famous Pastel de Nata (that’s the Portuguese egg tart) was first commercially sold. And get this: the tarts were invented by monks who lived in Jerónimos Monastery back in the early 1800s.

That said, Belem is still a lot less busy than central parts of the city—when the summer tourists leave Belem behind, it’s quiet, cozy, and a pleasant place to call home.  

This is also one of the city’s best districts for raising kids—you’re located between the British School of Lisbon and Prime School International. Other child-friendly perks: the district borders the huge green space of Parque Florestal de Monsanto (packed with hikes, cycle routes, viewpoints, ponds, and more), you’re close to lots of waterside places to walk and cycle, and you get high levels of safety.

Overall, if you want a nice mixture of seaside adventures, not-too-close-but-not-too-far distance from the city center, and a laid-back life of sun and fun, this is one of the best neighborhoods to live in Lisbon.

Top tip: if you want to live here but avoid the bulk of the tourists, find an apartment in the northern stretches of the district.

The Iconic Belem Overlooking the River Tagus

9. Parque das Nações

Best for: high levels of safety and silence, all the conveniences you could ever need, and feeling like you live in the future 

While Belem sits around 8 km (5 miles) west of the city’s very-central districts, Parque das Nações sits the same distance east of them.

So, again, it’s a good choice for anyone who doesn’t want to live in the center. And, just like Belem, it’s a good choice for anyone who wants to live right on the coast.

But in many ways, it’s very different to Belem.

Expect a sleek skyline, some lofty buildings, and a futuristic vibe. Completely different to the central parts of Lisbon, it’s hyper-modern and whitewashed… and (for better or worse) this neighborhood could be anywhere on the planet.

If you value safety, a quiet life, and endless conveniences without having to be located in a city center, this is exactly the type of neighborhood you’ll want. Yeah, it’s residential, but you could live your entire life here, without ever needing to leave the district—you’ll find stores, cinemas, gyms, healthcare, supermarkets, and some pretty green spaces. 

And if you travel a lot for work, here’s some even better news: the city’s international airport is just to the west of the district. 

Parque das Nações is also one of the best neighborhoods in Lisbon for anyone with kids. Here, you’ll find a load of family-friendly stuff, including the Pavilion of Knowledge, the view-packed Telecabine Lisboa cable car, and many child-friendly restaurants.

10. Cascais

Best for: seaside fun, a home far from Lisbon, and living in a popular coastal town 

Last up, a leftfield option: Cascais isn’t even really in Lisbon (sorry for misleading you). 

Instead, it’s a coastal town of its own, and it sits around 30 km (18 miles) from the center of the city. Once a little fishing village, it’s now swollen into one of the most well-known vacation destinations near Lisbon. Every weekend, many native Lisboners come here—and in spring and summer, people flock from all over Portugal (and other parts of the world) to visit the place. 

Perks of living here include high levels of safety, fantastic infrastructure and cleanliness, lots of beaches and green spaces, and a family-friendly atmosphere. You also get lots of seafood, and plenty of places for cycling, hiking and running.  

Surprisingly, there are a couple of international school options in and around the town. The most popular, Prime School International, lies a 15-minute drive from the center of Cascais.

Downfalls of living in Cascais include the language barrier (some people here speak English, but levels aren’t as high as they are in Lisbon), the super-busy tourist season (which can be annoying if you live here long-term), the lack of a large expat community, and some very high prices. 

Overall, if you want to be close to Lisbon without actually living in the city, Cascais should be your #1 option. But don’t be surprised if it takes you a long while to find a home here.

The 10 Best Neighborhoods in Lisbon: Before You Go

Alright everyone, that’s us done here. They’re the best neighborhoods in Lisbon!

A great place for a relocation, Lisbon is sunny, friendly and welcoming, and you’ll likely love living there.

But, as we’ve already mentioned, in many parts of the city, it’s often easier to move into a serviced apartment or serviced flat—so you won’t need to spend hours waiting, contacting landlords, sourcing furniture, and fretting over the complications of bureaucracy.

If that sounds like an appealing solution, here’s some good news: all of our options are fully-furnished, comfortable and cozy, and perfect for both living and working. And best of all, they’re ready to move into today.

For more inspiration, here’s a report on remote working in Portugal

Thanks for reading, thanks for choosing Homelike, and enjoy your exciting new life in Lisbon. See ya!

Beautiful Residential Buildings in Lisbon

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