Lisbon skyline. Best place to live in Lisbon

Over the past decade, Lisbon has become one of the most popular destinations for expats in Europe. Perfect weather, vibrant culture and stunning scenery, especially alongside Portugal’s liberal visa policies make life in Lisbon appealing for people from all backgrounds.

So where are the best neighbourhoods to live in Lisbon as a foreigner? Whether you’re a family, retired couple or digital nomad looking for the best area in the city to rent or buy, there’s something to cater to everyone. 

Related: If you’re just visiting, this article about where to stay in Lisbon is more geared towards your needs as a tourist.

Before moving to Lisbon, you’ll need to research the cost of living and other factors that are important to you – use my free editable checklist to help you keep track of your notes.

To get you off to a good start, here’s a quick rundown of the 10 best areas to live in Lisbon, in no particular order. Rental prices for each area are based on averages for 2-bedroomed apartments (T2) on Idealista.

1. Lapa – a calm upscale neighbourhood in Lisbon

Lapa neighbourhood in Lisbon, seen from Basilica da Estrela rooftop
Lapa neighbourhood in Lisbon, seen from Basilica da Estrela rooftop. Not the most flattering image, I’ll admit.

Lapa is one of the most lavish neighbourhoods in Lisbon. Home to international embassies, gorgeous mansions and verdant gardens, Lapa is often regarded as the best place to live in the city by locals and moneyed Lisbon expats. Jardim Guerra Junqueiro connects the neighbourhood with Estrela and offers some cute little cafés in the vicinity.

Lapa is a well-connected neighbourhood with a couple of tram lines through the area. Just to the south of Lapa is the area of Santos, which is a bit less well-heeled and has lots of bars and nightspots but is also a pleasant place to live if you find a quiet street. Santos has a train station connecting with Cais do Sodré in the east and as far as Cascais in the west. 

Given the exclusive atmosphere, Lapa can be a little pricey but totally worth it if you fancy leafy streets and quiet evenings.

T2 Rental: +/- 2250 euro/month. Average price: 18.51 eur/m²

2. Alcântara – regenerated and not too touristy area 

Typical Alcântara street in Lisbon. Colourful buildings
Typical Alcântara street

Just west of Santos, Alcântara has plenty to offer in terms of local restaurants, shops and cafés. This used to be one of the more industrial neighbourhoods in the city but after the financial crisis a lot of effort was put into regenerating the area, making Alcântara a popular area to live in Lisbon. 

These days Alcântara is home to start-ups, trendy eateries and laid-back nightlife but few tourists make it to this part of the city, except to visit LX Factory or one of the nearby museums. 

LX Factory operates as both commercial and office space and if you’re looking to work with a start-up, there’s a good chance they’ll be based here. It also has lots of cool restaurants and independent boutiques.

Tapada das Necessidades park is the green lung of the Alcântara neighbourhood and a popular spot for locals of all ages. Alcântara is also close to Docas de Santo Amaro, a riverside marina with contemporary restaurants and cafés. 

Alcântara is not on the metro line but has other transport connections.The two train stations in this neighbourhood connect with Cais do Sodré and Cascais as well as the Sintra line. There are several bus connections but these are slow at peak times, and the tram service can get quite packed. You could cycle into the city centre along the riverfront if you prefer.

T2 Rental: +/- 1000 euro/month. Average price: 14.96 eur/m²

3. Belém and Restelo – riverside area away from Lisbon city centre

Belem waterfront and beyond
Belem waterfront and beyond, with the cultural centre, marina and leafy Restelo behind.

Belém is a popular neighbourhood with tourists and locals alike. It used to be a completely separate town but has long been subsumed by the expanse of Lisbon, although it has a very different look and feel. 

Aside from iconic monuments such as the Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower, Belém has plenty of museums and art galleries as well as restaurants and cafés. For example, MAAT is a super modern museum with an ever-changing array of exhibits, and the CCB Cultural Centre of Belém which offers concerts and other events and exhibitions. 

It’s a great neighbourhood to live in for families and culture vultures but keep in mind that the area around the monastery can be super touristy during the peak season. If you want to avoid the crowds, you’d be better off looking for a home in the nearby Bairro do Restelo, which has lots of houses with gardens, leafy streets and a quieter atmosphere.

As for green spaces in Belém, the Tropical Botancial Gardens are lovely, although there’s a small entrance fee, and there are lots of small parks scattered throughout Restelo as well as the gardens opposite the monastery. You can cycle, or walk, along the riverfront all the way to Praça do Comércio in the centre of Lisbon.

Transport-wise, you’ve got the train which connects Belem to Cascais and Lisbon city centre as well as the tram and several buses, all of which will be busy during peak tourist season.

T2 Rental: +/- 1250 euro/month. Average price: 14.24 eur/m²

4. Chiado – a bustling neighbourhood in the heart of Lisbon

Woman standing in front of a monument in a leafy square. Largo do Carmo in Chiado neighbourhood of Lisbon
Largo do Carmo in Chiado neighbourhood of Lisbon

Chiado is a great option for those that want to live in the thick of the action amid characterful buildings. This is a major shopping hub with independent boutiques, whilst neighbouring Baixa has a more high street style offering. 

Rua do Alecrim cuts through the heart of the neighbourhood, connecting the area with Cais do Sodré transport hub and riverside walkways. You’ll also find a number of cultural hotspots in Chiado, including the Teatro São Luiz and Teatro Nacional de São Carlos and plenty of restaurants and cafés. There are some atmospheric squares to hang out in but very few green spaces. 

The streets can be a bit steep in Chiado so bear that in mind if you want to avoid hills. It’s also one of the more touristy neighbourhoods, which might not be what you want from a place to live.

In terms of transport, you can walk to lots of places in the city centre from here but you’ve also got the metro line, trams and buses if you need to venture further afield.

T2 Rental: 2000 euro/month. Average price: 18.67 eur/m²

5. Príncipe Real – a cute neighbourhood with lots to offer

Praça das Flores, Principe Real neighbourhood in Lisbon, Portugal
Praça das Flores, Principe Real neighbourhood in Lisbon, Portugal

Príncipe Real offers stunning views across the city in a very attractive residential neighbourhood. You’ll be able to kick back and relax at São Pedro de Alcântara miradouro and admire the gorgeous architecture of the city below. There’s also a small green park and some cute squares such as Praça das Flores that are quieter and off the beaten track.

Príncipe Real shops tend to be quite upmarket, perfect if you prefer boutiques to the high street, and there are several grocery stores and a small supermarket, with a larger one around 10 minutes away on foot.

One benefit of Príncipe Real is that it is fairly laid-back in the evenings whilst still being close to more action if you want it. There are plenty of restaurants and, if you’re looking for more nightlife, Bairro Alto is a stone’s throw away. It’s a popular neighbourhood with LGBTQ+ expats due to the assortment of bars in the area. 

The only downside is that it is at the top of a hill so you’ll need to work on your fitness to get to and from the city centre. That said, there are plenty of buses and the Glória elevator connects you with Restauradores square at the base of Avenida da Liberdade plus and it’s only a few minutes walk to a metro station.

Prices are a bit cheaper as you get closer to São Bento and higher around the Botanical Garden and Rato metro station.

T2 Rental: +/- 1250-2500 euro/month. Average price: 16.23 – 25.80 eur/m², depending on area

6. Parque das Nações – modern architecture away from the city centre

Park of Nations, Lisbon
Park of Nations, Lisbon

Parque das Nações (Park of Nations) is a little further out from Lisbon city centre, located on the banks of the Tagus River. Built in 1998 for the World Exhibition, Park of Nations is one of the most modern parts of the city. Here you will find trendy rooftop bars, major events such as concerts and international fairs and upscale restaurants.

Oriente train station, the gateway to the city from the rest of Portugal and Spain, is right in the heart of the area. It’s on the red metro line and only a few stops from the airport. There’s also a bus station and car rental offices. The adjacent Vasco da Gama shopping mall has all the goods you would need for living in Lisbon, as well as a food hall with river views and a cinema.

This flat neighbourhood has lots of green space with urban art and cycle lanes and is popular with families looking to escape the busy city centre and enjoy modern comforts. That being said it can be quite a pricey neighbourhood so you’ll need a decent budget to live here. 

It’s also not the kind of place you think of when you imagine Lisbon, with sleek, modern buildings rather than azulejos and orange rooftops.

T2 Rental: +/- 2000 euros/month. Average price: 16.39 eur/m²

7. Saldanha – residential meets business district

Statues in Praça Duque de Saldanha, Lisbon
Praça Duque de Saldanha, Lisbon

Saldanha is an upscale neighbourhood close to the city centre with a mixture of old and modern architecture. The hub is the circular Praça Duque da Saldanha, which is dominated by the Atrium shopping mall. El Corte Inglês department store is also in this area.

It’s well served by metro and buses but although there are several hotels in this neighbourhood, it’s not especially touristy as there are no major sights. There are plenty of restaurants and cafés, including the iconic Pasteleria Versailles, that serve both visitors, businesspeople and local residents.

Leafy streets and cute boutiques represent the vibe of Saldanha. Parque Eduardo VII is nearby, offering a huge green space in the city with preened gardens and excellent views down to the Tagus River. The Gulbenkian Foundation is also on the doorstep, with contemporary art, musical recitals and attractive gardens. There are also a few cinemas in Saldanha.

The neighbourhood is also growing in popularity with start-ups and digital nomads. 

T2 Rental: +/- 2400 euros/month. Average price: 21.77 eur/m²

8. Arroios – multicultural and budget-friendly part of Lisbon

Arroios neighbourhood, Lisbon
Arroios neighbourhood, Lisbon

So what about those on a budget? Arroios is actually within walking distance of Saldanha but offers something completely different. 

Avenida Almirante Reis, which runs through the heart of the neighbourhood, was once one of the most notorious streets in Portugal. It has improved a lot since then and has become popular with students and expats looking for somewhere more affordable, making it a vibrant and multicultural part of Lisbon to live in.

In Arroios you will find local markets, quirky shops and great transport connections to the rest of the city plus a real neighbourhood feel and a few green spaces. 

Apartments here tend to be more spacious and considerably cheaper than neighbouring areas and you can easily walk to Praça do Comércio in about 30 minutes. Some side streets are best avoided but if you stay on the main road you’ll be totally fine.

T2 Rental: +/- 1200 euros/month. Average price: 12.97 eur/m²

9. Alvalade – peaceful residential neighbourhood

Alvalade is one of the newest Lisbon neighbourhoods while also known for its community spirit. Locally-owned cafés, peaceful streets and diverse residents make this one of the most underrated areas in Lisbon. 

It helps if you know a little Portuguese but the local residents will be more than happy to speak to you and welcome you to the area.

Universidade de Lisboa is on the western edge of the neighbourhood so you’ll find plenty of affordable shopping and dining options if you need them. Green spaces are not far away and neither is the airport so it’s worth considering the area if you think you’ll need to travel a lot from the city. 

Being north of Arroios, It’s not really walking distance to the city centre but there’s a metro line and plenty of buses. It’s also close to Campo Grande bus station if you want to take a coach to other parts of Portugal.

T2 Rental: +/- 1250 euros/month. Average price: 13.34 eur/m²

10. Campo de Ourique – calm middle class neighbourhood 

Campo de Ourique is quite surprising in that many tourists don’t include the neighbourhood in their itineraries. Thanks to the leafy streets, beautiful architecture and laid-back atmosphere it remains a mostly residential area. You’ll need a large budget to live there but it’s worth every cent if you’re looking for a calm, quiet neighbourhood. 

As well as the renovated market with its fabulous food hall, there are plenty of independent shops and restaurants. It’s also close to the Amoreiras shopping mall.

Monsanto Park, the largest green space in Lisbon, sits at the northern edge of Campo de Ourique, offering gorgeous nature and plenty of recreational activities. There is a tram running through the neighbourhood that connects you to the city centre and several buses. The closest metro station is Rato, although there are plans afoot to extend the line by 2026.

T2 Rental: +/- 1700 euros/month. Average price: 17.44 eur/m²

Where would you rather live if you moved to Lisbon?

Over to you. Please share your thoughts in a comment.