Confused about where to stay in Lisbon?
Let’s clear it up for you!
Figuring out where to stay in Lisbon is much easier if you have an idea of what your stay will be like. Some people love staying in tourist areas so it’s quick to get around while others can’t bear the crowds.
One thing is for sure –
Your choice of where to stay in Lisbon can either make or break your experience.
There are a few factors you need to consider before booking that hotel or Airbnb! Lisbon is quite a big city with a lot of options depending on the kind of experience you are looking to have.
Here are just some of the experiences you can have in different neighborhoods:
- Looking for a central location to sightsee? There’s an area for that.
- Looking to party? There’s an area for that.
- Looking for budget accommodation? There’s an area for that.
- Looking to live like a local? There’s an area for that.
Matthew and I spent a month living in Lisbon as digital nomads, exploring each of the neighborhoods to get a feel of the vibe for our future travels to this beautiful city. In this guide, you’ll discover the best places for each type of experience and I’ve also included 2 areas you should avoid (because not every place is perfect).
Here’s the complete guide on where to stay in Lisbon for all types of travelers.
QUICK OVERVIEW: Where To Stay In Lisbon, Portugal
Need a quick overview of where to stay in Lisbon? We’ve got you covered!
Here’s a look at the best places to stay in Lisbon for each type of traveler, depending on the kind of experience you want to have. After spending an entire month in this city exploring each neighborhood, we have narrowed down the list of the best (and worst) areas to stay in Lisbon.
📍 Where to stay in Lisbon?
The best places to stay in Lisbon are Principe Real, Chiado and Cais do Sodre. These areas are still very close to all the major attractions but they are a little less-touristy than neighborhoods like Alfama and Baixa. The cobbled lanes, narrow streets and lively cafe/restaurant scene also make these areas a great option if you’re staying in Lisbon.
🗺 Best area for first-timers exploring Lisbon?
The most popular areas in Lisbon for tourists are Baixa, Chiado and Alfama. If you’re only visiting Lisbon for a few days, these are the most central areas you can stay in the city.
- Baixa is the historic center with the famous landmark, Praça do Comércio.
- Alfama is the charming area where Tram 28 passes through with steep hills and narrow streets.
- Chiado is a popular area for shopping, restaurants and close to many attractions.
You are within 15 minutes of walking distance to most activities, restaurants and cafes. It’s possible to catch public transport here but you certainly don’t need to if you stay within any of these 3 areas. These are areas that are also easy to access if you are coming straight from Lisbon airport to the city center.
💰 Best area to stay when on a budget?
Looking to save some money? The best areas to stay in Lisbon for budget travelers are Rossio and Mouraria.
- Rossio is a central location with easy public transport options and affordable hotels/Airbnbs.
- Mouraria is the Moorish Quarter with bustling restaurants and cafes all around the hills.
You can find affordable accommodation in both areas, however, they are not the most picturesque places. A lot is going on and you’ll need to watch your stuff but there are way more options for budget travelers looking to stay near central Lisbon.
👩🏻💻 Best area for digital nomads to live in?
Wondering where to stay in Lisbon as a digital nomad? The best areas in Lisbon for digital nomads are Príncipe Real, Cais do Sodre, Santos and Estrela. Our favorite coffee shops in Lisbon are located in these 3 areas – coincidence? I think not 😉 We would move to these areas just to have our morning coffees close to us lol. These areas are a very different vibe to simply visiting Lisbon for a few days, they are great if you are staying a month or longer.
- Príncipe Real is a coveted district with great cafes, restaurants and a good mix of local and expat vibes.
- Cais do Sodre is known to be a party area but it has also since become a hip area by the water with plenty of coworking options for digital nomads.
- Santos/Estrela is an up-and-coming neighborhood further out of the city but offers a relaxed, simple and affordable lifestyle.
We don’t like staying in the super touristy, crowded areas because we are traveling whilst working which is a big difference. As digital nomads, you will go to grocery stores, coworking spaces and live a little more low-key. These 3 areas in Lisbon have that perfect balance digital nomads look for.
💃 Best area for the nightlife scene?
The best areas in Lisbon for party-goers are Barrio Alto and Cais do Sodre. If you want to dance the night away and easily walk home from the party, these are the best areas for you.
- Bairro Alto is known for its bars and parties where you don’t get much sleep (if you stay here).
- Cais do Sodre is known for the insta-famous pink street, TimeOutMarket and all the bars that spill out onto the streets on the weekend.
The serious party area has to be Bairro Alto. If you aren’t going to be partying most nights, this area might become too noisy for most travelers. They go till the early morning and you won’t be getting much sleep (unless you’re part of the fun).
🇵🇹 Best area to live like a local?
The best areas for travelers wanting to live like locals are Graça and Santos.
- Graça is located above a hill with hip restaurants, wine bars and a cool vibe.
- Santos is a charming area with local cafes, restaurants and a calm vibe.
Maybe you’ve been to Lisbon before, done all the tourist activities and you want a different experience? Graca and Santos are cool areas where locals and travelers hang out!
⛑ Which areas to avoid staying in Lisbon?
Lisbon is a very safe city. It’s the city that I first traveled to as a solo female and I felt very comfortable. However, some areas are a little more dangerous than others.
Anjos, Mouraria and Intendente are some areas in Lisbon you might want to avoid staying in. Especially if it’s your first visit to Lisbon. Both neighborhoods are a little more urban and grungy which might not be the vibe you’re looking for.
Where To Stay In Lisbon, Portugal: Complete Guide For Travelers
Want an in-depth guide to help you figure out where to stay in Lisbon?
In this guide, we are going to look at each neighborhood comparing the pros vs cons, see which area is best for which traveler and share our personal experiences visiting each neighborhood in Lisbon.
Before you book your accommodation, you are going to want to keep reading. Why? Understanding each area allows you to narrow down your search on Booking.com or Airbnb!
You wouldn’t want to waste time looking for places in the completely wrong area for you!
Here’s the complete guide on where to stay in Lisbon for every traveler so you can have the best time exploring this amazing city!
1. Principe Real: Where To Stay In Lisbon, Best Overall
Beautiful parks, cobblestone streets, and panoramic views overlooking the city…
…are just some of the reasons why Principe Real is the best place to stay in Lisbon!
Principe Real is a dreamy neighborhood located northwest of the city center. It’s about a 15-20 minute walk (depending on how physically fit you are to battle those infamous hills of Lisbon lol) to most activities and attractions in the city. This means you are also far enough away from the hustle and bustle to breathe a little.
Before arriving in Lisbon, we heard of the Principe Real being a popular area for digital nomads to base themselves on for a few months. Unfortunately, we had booked too late and couldn’t find good apartments in this area but we visited this neighborhood every weekend!
Pros & Cons of Staying In Principe Real:
Principe Real is a growing area in Lisbon, becoming popular with locals and foreigners. But it’s not perfect! Here are the pros vs cons of staying in Principe Real:
😎 18th coolest street in the world. Praca das Flores is a street located within Principe Real that was recently named the 18th coolest street in the world, according to TimeOut. There are tons of bars, cafes and restaurants all within a few blocks that make this an awesome area to walk around (and stay in).
🤫 Not crowded with tourists all the time. If you want a more relaxing, calming vacation or digital nomad life – Principe Real is the best place to stay in Lisbon! It’s one of the exclusive and highly-sought after districts for locals and expats because it’s got a great balance.
🥂 Lively restaurants, bars, brunch and cafe scene. You can enjoy local Portuguese cuisine, international food (Thai, Japanese, etc) and there are tons of cool wine bars and speakeasy bars! There are amazing brunch spots like our personal favorite, Seagull Method Cafe, located in Principe Real. A lot of the restaurants, bars and cafes are very small which makes it an intimate dining experience. If you stay in Principe Real, you’ll have endless choices of some of the best dining out options in all of Lisbon right in your neighborhood.
🌉 Panoramic views over the Lisbon skyline. Principe Real is located on top of a hill which gives you stunning views of the city. This means your apartment (Airbnb or hotel) will have a pretty good chance of getting a good view of the surrounding area. From Principe Real, you can see the Tagus River and the Golden Gate Bridge!
❌ Rising popularity, rising prices in the area. There has been an influx of tourists/expats traveling to Lisbon causing the prices to rise in this area particularly. We have looked at the property market in the Principe Real area and it’s also gotten very expensive compared to other areas. If you decide to stay in the lovely Principe Real, you’re probably paying a pretty penny for it.
❌ Long wait times for popular spots. I can’t say this is unique to the Principe Real neighborhood – this seems to be a thing all around Lisbon. On weekends, you can expect to wait 30 – 90 minutes for a seat at your favorite brunch spot! They don’t allow reservations which means there’s usually a crowd outside the door waiting to be seated.
❌ The hills are steep, narrow and plenty. With spectacular city views come steep hills. Principe Real has some great rooftop bars with views of the Tagus River and Golden Gate Bridge but that usually means…you have to climb a hill to get up there! Walking around the neighborhood is very charming but just be prepared to get huffing and puffing along the way (a norm in most neighborhoods in Lisbon).
Overall, Principe Real has a great balance between local life and tourist activities. You are still 15 minutes walking from the city center (if you’re quick on the hills :P) but after a day of touring, you can come home to a peaceful neighborhood.
2. Baixa / Alfama / Chiado: Where To Stay In Lisbon For First-Timers
Is it your first time and you’re trying to decide where to stay in Lisbon? The answer is very different because you want to make the most of your trip! Whether you only have a few days or a week, the best places to stay for first-timers in Lisbon are Baixa and Alfama.
When you look at Lisbon on the map, Baixa is in the absolute center of all the action! If you want to go to the north, east or west side of the city – you can easily access it from Baixa (walking or taking a Bolt/Uber).
Alfama is a popular area for tourists to say because it has beautiful, unique architecture. A lot of people say it’s what historic Lisbon would have looked like and if you join a city walking tour, they will take you through Alfama!
Chiado can often be referred to as the foodie area because there are so many good restaurants located in this nieghborhood. It’s only slightly left of Baixa which makes it a central location for first-timers to stay in Lisbon.
Pros & Cons of Staying In Baixa/Chiado/Alfama:
Baixa, Chiado and Alfama are great for first-time visitors to Lisbon. Here are the pros and cons of staying in these areas while visiting Lisbon:
🗺 Location. Location. Location. If you want to be in the heart of the city, look no further than Baixa, Chiado and Alfama. You are close to all the tourist activities, have easy access to public transportation and the restaurants, cafes are close by.
⛪️ Historic Center. You have historic sites like the Santa Justa Lift, Lisbon Cathedral and the National Pantheon. It’s a great place for history buffs and people who want to explore the area on foot. If you check out walking tours, they will most likely take you through these neighborhoods.
❌ Crowded with tourists. There are just so many people at any time of day (or night) in Baixa and Alfama. If you struggle with crowds, the busy streets filled with people may put you off.
❌ Not as picturesque. I mostly talk about Baixa because Alfama is stunning. Baixa is (mostly) flat, a little grungy and there are always big crowds of people around. If you’re dreaming of walking cobbled streets playing the main character in Baixa, forget it!
Baixa vs Alfama: Which One?
I have to create this section because while they are both very central, there are some key differences between the 2 neighborhoods.
🧗♀️ Hills vs No Hills. Baixa is in the heart of the city with little to no hills. Alfama is on the east side of the city center and you will have to navigate some hills. If you struggle with walking up and down hills, we recommend staying in Baixa instead.
⭐️ Iconic vs Central. Aflama is the most iconic neighborhood to stay in because of its history, architecture and narrow streets. Baixa is the center and there isn’t really anything special about it!
💰 Alfama is slightly more expensive. As it’s a sought-after area for tourists, the prices are a little higher if you want to stay in Alfama. Baixa is slightly cheaper but you don’t stay in such a nice neighborhood (it’s just central to everything).
Overall, if it’s your first time visiting – you don’t need to worry about where to stay in Lisbon. Baixa and Alfama are the clear winners if you want to stay in the heart of the city with all the restaurants, tour activities and public transport access.
3. Cais Do Sodre / Santos: Where To Stay In Lisbon For Digital Nomads
The best place to stay in Lisbon for digital nomads is Principe Real, periodt. If you can find a good apartment in this area, don’t even think twice!
However, it’s a sought-after neighborhood that’s getting harder to live in for short-term rentals (1 month). Cais do Sodre and Santos are great alternatives for digital nomads staying in Lisbon!
Caise do Sodre
Cais do Sodre is known to also be an area for partying on the weekends with the insta-famous pink street located here. However, it’s pretty quiet during the day.
We think Cais do Sodre is a great area for digital nomads because some of the best coworking spaces in Lisbon are located in the area, there are tons of cafes to work from (within walking distance) and decent housing options.
Pros vs Cons of Cais do Sodre
🍽 Foodies will love it. The famous TimeOut Market Lisbon is located in Cais do Sodre. It’s a huge food hall with local and international food to try – a great place for big (and small) groups of people to eat. There are quite a few brunch spots (Cafe Janis, DUAL) and cool restaurants in this neighborhood.
💃 The lively nightlife scene. If you want to dance the night away, Cais do Sodre has a vibrant nightlife scene. There are parties most weekends and it’s easy enough to find bars or clubs in this area.
🗺 Close proximity to the city center. You are a 10-minute walk to the heart of the city, Baixa and about a 15-minute walk to other popular areas like Principe Real. Cais do Sodre is close enough to all the action but not too close that you are surrounded by crowds all the time – a great balance!
🚊 Train to beaches along the coast. Want to head to the beach every weekend? The train line starts from Cais do Sodre station. If you want to get from Lisbon to Cascais or other beaches along the coast, you have to go through Cais do Sodre! This makes it a great area to hop on and off to visit the beaches of Lisbon and the surrounding neighborhoods.
💻 Plenty of coworking spaces and cafes to work from. The reason why I think Cais do Sodre is where digital nomads should stay in Lisbon is because…there’s so many ‘office’ options within the area. There are 3 coworking spaces (Time To Cowork, Second Home and Outsite Cowork Cafe) you can access by foot!
❌ It gets noisy. The nightlife scene in Cais do Sodre means you might have some sleepless nights if you live close to the bars or clubs. On the weekends till the late hours of the night, there are also huge crowds of people partying on the street which might not make it a pleasant walk home.
Santos is located just left of Cais do Sodre. It’s much quieter, relaxing and a great area for digital nomads looking for a more chill vibe. There are quite a few gyms (Baraza Yoga – a popular studio) located in this area along with cool cafes to work from. It’s also slightly less expensive to stay in Santos because you are getting a little further from the city center.
Pros vs Cons of Santos
🔑 Bit more low-key. Santos is the neighborhood to the left of Cais do Sodre and it’s a much more chill vibe. The streets are quieter but there are still quite a few cafes, restaurants and bars around.
🥑 Cool coffee and brunch spots. A sister cafe to our favorite one (Seagull Method Cafe) called Heim Cafe is located in Santos. I remember when we got off the tram in Santos, walking to Heim we thought to ourselves ‘this is such a nice neighborhood’. There are cool wine bars and cafes that are popping up in this area!
🚶♀️Beautiful neighborhood to walk around. Santos isn’t as hilly as Principe Real and that’s a great thing! It’s just so pleasant to walk around in this neighborhood, perfect if you love to get around on foot.
❌ Further from the city center. Santos is probably an extra 5-10 minutes away from the city center. This is not ideal if you are only staying in Lisbon for a few days but it’s perfect for digital nomads staying a month plus.
If you’re a fellow digital nomad wondering where to stay in Lisbon, the best areas are Principe Real, Cais do Sodre and Santos. These neighborhoods are further away from the super touristy areas and they have a ton of cafe and coworking options within walking distance to keep you working without issues!
4. Belem / Avenida da Liberdade: Where To Stay In Lisbon For Families
Trying to figure out where to stay in Lisbon as a family? It’s a totally different experience to travel with kids and finding the right area is one the best things to get your vacation started on the right foot.
Avenida da Liberdade
Avenida da Liberade is a beautiful area in Lisbon located just above the city center.
This area has high-end luxury stores, beautiful parks and big sidewalks with tree-lined streets to walk around.
Pros vs Cons of Staying in Avenida da Liberade
⛑ Safe area to walk around. Lisbon is a safe city in general, no matter where you stay but Avenida da Liberdade feels particularly safe (especially for a family).
🚶♀️ Big sidewalks, easy to walk around. This area has a huge walking street with big sidewalks for your whole family. It’s a clean area with beautiful trees all around, making it such a nice atmosphere.
❌ Expensive hotels and Airbnbs. All the high-end stores located in Avenida a Liberade can be an indicator of what the neighborhood is like. You will find luxury hotels in 18th-century buildings and cool boutique hotels which makes it more than just a place to sleep at night. It’s expensive to book a hotel or Airbnb in this area but it is a very good location for families. You’ll just need to splash the cash!
Belem is about 35 minutes away from the city and is often a popular day trip activity.
If you’re a family, it’s a great area with tons of parks and much more space than the crowded city center of Lisbon.
Pros vs Cons of Staying in Belem
🌳 Beautiful parks for families to enjoy. Jardim da Torre de Belem, Jardim da Praça do Império and Jardim Afonso de Albuquerque are big parks in the center of Belem with tons of benches and picnic space. You get views of the Tagus River from the park which makes it a relaxing area for the family.
Historic buildings within walking distance. The famous Torre de Belem tower and the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (monastery) are located in the heart of Belem!
🌅 Sunset cruise starts in Belem. If you want to do a sunset cruise along the Tagur River (highly recommend), the starting point is in Belem too. It’s a great activity for the family to get out on the water and enjoy a boat ride with incredible views.
❌ You’re technically not in Lisbon. This is a pretty big con! Belem is a completely different city with its own unique shops, charm and historic buildings. You are 35 minutes away by tram and that’s pretty far if all your activities are going to be in Lisbon. If you don’t mind the travel time, Belem is still a great area for families to stay in Lisbon.
Avenida da Liberade is a great area for families looking to stay close to the city center but has enough space from big crowds. Belem is an alternative option that gives you a different perspective of the city with lots of parks for the kids to enjoy! If you’re trying to figure out where to stay in Lisbon as a family, Avenida da Liberade and Belem are great neighborhoods!
5. Bairro Alto: Where To Stay In Lisbon For Nightlife And Parties
Looking to party all night long?
The best area to stay in Lisbon for party-goers is Bairro Alto. The nightlife goes on all night and they spill out on the streets of the city. It’s a great area for anyone looking to dance the night away in Lisbon.
Pros & Cons of Staying In Bairro Alto:
💃 Vibrant nightlife scene. If you just want to party, Bairro Alto is the right area for you! There are tons of bars and clubs within the area, you can easily hop around. The nightlife scene in Bairro Alto has a young crowd and the parties go till the early hours of the morning.
🧭 Close to the city center. Bairro Alto is also located close to the city center of Lisbon which makes it a central location for tourists to get around.
🏡 Accommodation is affordable. If you’re looking to save some money on accommodation, Bairro Alto has very cost-effective housing options. This might be because of the noise but hey, at least you aren’t paying a lot for your place.
❌ Interrupted sleep. With the party comes the noise! If you aren’t partying at all, stay away from Bairro Alto. All the negative reviews about this neighborhood are because of the noise. Of course, if you’re part of the noise you might not mind too much. For those that want a full night’s rest, you shouldn’t stay in this area.
6. Graça: Where To Stay In Lisbon To Live Like A Local
We visited Graça in the last week of our stay after hearing about this neighborhood from our friends, Eddie and Francesca from the coliving space we lived in. After our visit to Graça, we were convinced we found a hidden gem of a neighborhood.
Matthew and I regret not visiting Graça sooner because it just has a cool vibe! The best way to describe this neighborhood is that it’s hip but not like ‘hipster’ if you know what I mean. There are so many cool wine bars, cafes and restaurants in the neighborhood that are on the smallest, narrow streets – it’s a whole vibe.
The other thing about Graça is that it felt like there was a strong local influence. You aren’t going to be bothered by too many tourists here and the locals are pretty friendly! If you’re like us and you enjoy living like a local as a digital nomad couple, you will also fall in love with Graça!
Pros & Cons of Staying In Graça:
🇵🇹 Local vibe. We love being able to see the locals live their daily routines. It’s a great way to learn about the culture and people of the country you’re visiting. If you stay in Graça, you’ll get the real vibes of Lisbon city-siders (and trust me, they are pretty cool).
🍷 Wine bars, speakeasy bars and cool restaurants. Our friends recommended this nice Italian restaurant (La Matta Pizzeria) in Graça (thanks Eddie and Francesca <3) and it was amazing! We went there on a Friday night and we eat pretty early for European time so a lot of people were next door at the wine bar (Vino Vero) having their aperitivo. It created a very cool atmosphere on this small, narrow, cobbled street. There are just so many great dining options in Graça!
❌ On top of a hill. Graça is located on top of a hill just above the famous viewpoint and Moorish castle, Castelo de S. Jorge. This neighborhood is like one of the highest points close to the city center. What does that mean? A lot of walking up and down hills! If you can bear with constant inclines, staying in Graça is worth it!
We loved Graça so much that we would probably stay in this neighborhood the next time we live in Lisbon! While Principe Real is our favorite spot, it’s very popular which makes it hard to stay there unless you plan way in advance.
Graça is less well-known and has a very cool vibe! However, we don’t suggest staying here if you are only on a short holiday! If you’re a digital nomad or expat, this is a cool spot!
7. Rossio: Where To Stay In Lisbon On A Budget
Rossio is a central neighborhood in Lisbon that attracts a lot of budget travelers. The hotels, hostels and Airbnbs tend to be slightly less expensive here.
The area isn’t the most beautiful place, in fact, it’s quite grungy (maybe the reason for the lower price tag). But you are still in the middle of Lisbon so you can’t complain too much!
Pros & Cons of Staying In Rossio:
💰 Affordable hotels, hostels and Airbnbs. This is one of the more cost-effective areas to stay in Lisbon. The price of accommodation has risen dramatically in Lisbon since it’s grown in popularity. You can’t get super cheap hostels anymore but this is a good area to look for places on the lower end.
📌 Centrally located. Rossio is located just above Baixa and Chiado. It’s easy to get anywhere in the city from Rossio which makes it a popular area to stay in Lisbon. Rossio is where the big train station that takes you from Lisbon to Sintra is located making it a great central location to travel around and beyond Lisbon!
❌ Not a picturesque neighborhood. Want videos of you walking down cobblestone streets with pretty buildings? Don’t do it in Rossio. There is a bunch of graffiti on the buildings, tourists trap stores and plain streets! It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing area so if that matters to you – Rossio might not be the best place to stay in Lisbon!
3x Areas To Avoid Staying In Athens
The 2 areas you should avoid staying in Lisbon are Anjos, Mouraria and Indendente. These areas are a little further from the city area and are prone to more petty crimes. The kind of crimes you may experience in these areas is theft or scams!
Lisbon is one of the safest cities in Europe but it’s certainly not 100% safe. Just like anywhere else in the world, some neighborhoods aren’t safe for tourists to walk around with their valuable.
If you are a solo female traveler, it might be a good idea to avoid these areas for long periods of time or at night time. I have been in these areas during the day by myself (without Matthew) and they are still very safe! I had zero issues but I guess it’s just those odd times and unlucky moments in these areas that can catch people out.
Where To Stay In Lisbon in 2023 – The Best Neighborhoods
Lisbon, Portugal has become a top travel destination in Europe and it only continues to grow in popularity. You have tourists on holiday, digital nomads working remotely, expats living in Lisbon and the wonderful locals who make up the city.
Figuring out where to stay in Lisbon is the first part of planning an amazing trip!
There are a lot of cool neighborhoods worth checking out based on the kind of travel you are doing. These are our favorite 4 neighborhoods in Lisbon:
- Principe Real
You can’t go wrong with any of these areas because they have a great balance between touristy and local vibes. They are pretty central to the city center without being too close to all the action and crowds!
It’s a big melting pot of culture, history and beautiful architecture. Each neighborhood in Lisbon has its own unique character, charm and flair to it. Depending on the kind of experience you’re looking for, you can find the right area for you!