Lisbon, Portugal skyline view over Rossio Square.

Where’s the best place to stay in Lisbon if you’re visiting for the first time? The central neighbourhoods of Chiado, Baixa, Principe Real, Bairro Alto, Avenida da Liberdade, and possibly Alfama, are the best areas for accommodation if you want to be based in the heart of the city and within walking distance of major sights, restaurants, transport and shops.

Each of these central districts of Lisbon has something different to offer as a base so use my insider guide to help you choose the best area to stay in Lisbon for sightseeing according to your interests.

No time to read the full article? See my quick picks in the blue box below:

If you are keen to learn about what makes each neighbourhood special, and get extra suggestions for accommodation in each of them, read on…

I’ve picked out some of the best hotels, guesthouses and apartments in Lisbon city centre so you don’t have to waste hours trawling through unsuitable options. These are unique and boutique accommodations that offer style, comfort and excellent value for money.

If you’re looking specifically for apartments then take a look at 14 of the best holiday apartments in Lisbon.

If luxury homes are more your thing try Plum Guide. All of their homes must pass meticulous tests and be independently vetted before being accepted.

Note: I’ve written similar accommodation guides for other parts of Portugal so check these out if you’re planning to stay in other cities.

Is Chiado the best neighbourhood to stay in Lisbon?

I’d say so. Chiado combines the best of all the things I want from a trip to Lisbon. You can walk to shops and sights in Chiado, Principe Real and Baixa and the restaurants and bars in Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodré.

Served by the blue and green metro lines, a myriad of buses and tram #28, it’s about as convenient a location as they come.

Chiado sights

As well as a hotchpotch of big name stores and historical independent shops that have withstood decades of change, there are other things to see here, including:

  • Largo do Chiado with the iconic Café A Brasileira and the statue of beloved poet, Fernando Pessoa
  • The National Museum of Contemporary Art and several independent art galleries
  • Largo de Camões, named after Portugal’s 16th century literary hero and a popular meeting spot
  • Largo do Carmo, Convento do Carmo and the Archaeological Museum
  • São Roque Church
  • Filigree Museum

Best accommodation in Chiado, Lisbon city centre

The 4-star Lisbon Pessoa Hotel has pretty much all you need, i.e. underground parking, a rooftop bar and restaurant, small gym, spacious stylish rooms and pleasant public spaces. Named after Fernando Pessoa, they offer a free weekly walking tour so you can learn more about this Portuguese poet. Check availability and current prices

Unique room, Lisboa Pesso Hotel, Lisbon. Where to stay in Lisbon
Unique room, Lisbon Pessoa Hotel, Lisbon

The award winning 5 star Corpo Santo Lisbon Historical Hotel offers discreet luxury and even the chance to view the Fernandina Wall, built in 1373. Due to the Pombaline architecture of the building, all of the rooms are different and unique. A gorgeous place to stay in Lisbon. Check available rooms.

For 100 years, Le Consulat was home of the Brazilian Consulate. Now, it’s a boutique hotel decorated in collaboration with the most important art galleries of Lisbon. Not only can you expect rooms and apartments thoughtfully furnished but you get an exhibit area on the 2nd floor where new Portuguese artists show their latest works. Check out these rooms.

Lisboa Carmo Hotel is a small luxury hotel in the very charming Largo do Carmo with great views from the upper floors. Click to check prices.

Bedroom, Lisboa Carmo Hotel
Bedroom, Lisboa Carmo Hotel

Just down the road from this lovely square you’ll find the delightful Casa Balthazar, which has a rooftop hot tub with views of Lisbon and a small pool in the garden. The luxurious self-catering apartments are the kind of place you don’t want to leave and breakfasts are sourced from Confeitaria Nacional, one of Lisbon’s oldest bakeries. Click to check prices and rooms at Casa Balthazar

If they’re fully booked or your budget doesn’t stretch that far, try Apartments in Chiado. They have a lift and air-conditioning and some of the rooms have wonderful views. Click to see available apartments.

Dear Lisbon Palace Chiado Suites is a collection of spacious suites in a renovated 18th century palace. Try to book a room with river views if you can.

Why stay in Lisbon’s Baixa neighbourhood

You’ll often see Baixa and Chiado grouped together on hotel booking platforms – these neighbourhoods are close enough to share a metro station, after all.

The main difference is that Baixa, which means ‘low’, is just that; a flat grid of streets at the base of Lisbon’s city centre. The straight streets, named for the trade that each street was originally designated for, were designed by the Marquês do Pombal, the man responsible for rebuilding Lisbon after it was flattened by the 1755 earthquake.

The area has seen something of a revival in recent years with a crop of new hotels, shops, restaurants and museums and a revamped royal square next to the river. It can feel rather touristy and there’s a fair amount of traffic noise so try to get a room facing away from busy streets or with good soundproofing (or pack earplugs!). On the plus side, it’s extremely convenient for walking around the centre and getting transport further afield.

Baixa sights and attractions

Aside from the shops and restaurants, you’ll find:

  • Praça do Comércio, aka Terreiro do Paço, the former royal square overlooks the River Tagus and is lined with shops and restaurants
  • MUDE fashion and design museum
  • Rua Augusta archway and elevator, the entrance to and viewing platform over Praça do Comércio
  • Lisbon Story Centre, an interactive museum about Lisbon’s history
  • Rossio square with its wavy black and white paving and beautiful train station
  • Santa Justa elevator, which goes up to Largo do Carmo

Best Lisbon hotels and apartments in the Baixa district

The ideally located 4-star Hotel da Baixa offers stylish, soothing decor in spacious rooms in the very heart of the Baixa’s grid-like streets. Choose between city views or quiet interior rooms

On the lovely Município Square you will find the stylish and relaxed Alma Lusa with very friendly staff and comfy beds.They have partnerships with leading Portuguese luxury brands which is evident throughout the hotel. Take a look at some photos.

Of the 3-star boutique hotels in the Baixa district, Lisboa Prata Boutique Hotel is a good choice with lots of interesting features and welcoming touches to add to a comfortable stay. Check availability and current prices

Twin room, Lisboa Prata Boutique Hotel
Twin room, Lisboa Prata Boutique Hotel

You could also try My Story Charming Hotel Augusta for a delightfully stylish and comfortable 3-star hotel in the Baixa. See photos and current prices

Just one minute walk away is the sister hotel My Story Ouro with a focus on a themed décor based on Portuguese tiles. See current prices and room options.

Bedroom My Story Ouro Hotel, Lisbon
Bedroom My Story Ouro Hotel, Lisbon

Apartments in the Baixa

For a quirky, colourful apartment with a rooftop terrace, check out Lisbon Art Stay Apartments.

If that’s too garish for your tastes, the soothing, stylish decor of Casas da Baixa by Jules and Madeleine might be a better, albeit slightly more expensive, option. Check options and prices

What’s so special about Principe Real neighbourhood?

If you walk up Rua da Misericordia from Chiado or head west up the hill from Avenida da Liberdade, you will find yourself in Principe Real, one of Lisbon’s trendiest and LGBTQ-friendliest neighbourhoods and a great place to live in Lisbon, too.

Not only does it boast fabulous urban designer and concept shops and small attractive parks, it is also packed with restaurants and cafés. I love this area, which is why it’s also part of my Lisbon walking tour.

It’s also on the doorstep of Bairro Alto, one of Lisbon’s most famous nightlife spots, but not so close that you’ll have revellers under your bedroom window until the wee hours. For all of these reasons, it’s one of the best places to stay in Lisbon if you want to balance day and nighttime activities with ease.

Principe Real is about 7 minutes walk from two metro stations – Rato on the yellow line and Baixa/Chiado on the blue and green lines. Buses run through the centre to connect you with Cais do Sodre and other parts of the city if you want to save your legs.

Couple strolling through Principe Real Gardens, Lisbon. Photography by Julie Dawn Fox-001
Couple strolling through Principe Real Gardens, Lisbon. Photography by Julie Dawn Fox

What to see and do in Principe Real, Lisbon

  • Shoppers will find plenty of temptations in independent shops and the beautiful Embaixada mall
  • Principe Real gardens are a delightful place to hang out with local residents in a kiosk bar
  • São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint offers spectacular views of Lisbon
  • Jardim Botanico is next to the Science and Natural History Museum
  • Praça das Flores is a little square with a fresh crop of trendy food shops, cafés and restaurants and a decidedly local feel

Where to stay in Lisbon’s Principe Real neighbourhood

For luxury, design, service and location, the 5-star Memmo Princípe Real looks hard to beat. The rooftop pool with a view is a particularly welcome feature. See photos and room options.

View ofMemmo Principe Lisbon bedroom with pillows and spread
Bedroom at Memmo Principe Real Lisbon

The Alegria A Lisbon Boutique Hotel may only be 3-star but following its recent renovation it’s a truly lovely hotel. This yellow building on the pretty Alegria Square has bright rooms thoughtfully decorated with a nice touch of Portuguese antiques. The staff are very friendly and the breakfast is excellent. Check out the photos.

Casa do Principe (The Prince’s House) is right next door to Embaixada mall and overlooks Principe Real gardens. It’s a cosy bed and breakfast that will treat you like royalty. The ceilings in the Dom Pedro suite are a sight to behold and the whole place is beautifully and tastefully decorated. Choose the best room.

Another charming bed and breakfast near the gardens is the recently opened 1869 Principe Real, which has original painted tiles in some of the bedrooms, air conditioning and excellent customer service. Check current prices.

Casa do Jasmim by Shiadu is a cute guesthouse with some family rooms in a quiet street just behind the pretty Principe Real Park. Check prices.

For a more residential location and the possibility of self-catering you have Flores Guest House, just off Praça das Flores. Beautifully renovated and stylishly decorated, the accommodation comes in the form of apartments, rooms and studios. Take a look at the rooms.

Avenida da Liberdade and Marquês do Pombal

The wide leafy avenue that runs through Lisbon city centre and connects the Baixa with Parque Eduardo VII is lined with classy hotels and internationally-renowned designer stores. Many of the 5-star hotels in Lisbon city centre are in this area and they are mostly unique, historical and/or boutique.

The central strip of cobbled park offers patches of greenery and a few kiosk bars that can be quite lively in the early evening thanks to busking bands.

Once you get to the top of Avenida da Liberdade and past the statue of the Marquês do Pombal, you’re in a more business-oriented district with big banks and companies and busy main roads. Off these arterial roads there are smaller residential streets with all the amenities you’d expect to find, such as supermarkets and cafés. Hotels around here tend to be the larger chain hotels.Transport connections are easy, especially from Marquês do Pombal, which is about a 30-minute walk or 5-minute Metro ride from the Baixa district.

Sights on and around Avenida da Liberdade

  • The next big square after Rossio is Restauradores, with its massive obelisk commemorating liberation from Spain
  • The 18th century Palácio Foz houses the tourist information centre
  • Casa do Alentejo, one of my favourite spots in Lisbon, lies just off the central avenue
  • Elevador da Glória, the antique wooden tram, leaves from here to go up the hill to Principe Real
  • Parque Eduardo VII offers amazing views from the top and contains the cool greenhouse, Estufa Fria

Best Lisbon hotels around Avenida da Liberdade

The One Palácio da Anunciada is a stunning 5-star hotel situated just off the Avenida. It has both indoor and outdoor pools, a restaurant, a spa and the most wonderful ceilings! The staff are very friendly and helpful. Book a room while you can.

The 4-star Inspira Liberdade Boutique Hotel offers excellent value for money for gorgeous, eco-friendly upmarket accommodation. If you enjoy spending time in hotels and making use of their spa facilities, wine tasting and other activities, this is the place to come. Their Mediterranean restaurant caters well to vegetarians and a range of food intolerances. Check availability and prices.

Public lounge, Inspira Liberdade Boutique Hotel, Lisbon

For a more classical environment with historical touches and full modern comforts, you might prefer the Heritage Avenida Liberdade, a 4-star boutique hotel in an 18th century building that has an indoor pool. Choose a room to suit.

Of the 5-star hotels on Avenida Liberdade, I particularly like Valverde Hotel for its Art Deco style and beautiful architectural features and wooden floors. It has a patio area and outdoor pool, too, perfect for a dip after a day of sightseeing. Check latest prices.

Torel Palace is a short elevator ride from the Avenida da Liberdade and a world apart with stunning views. Accommodation is spread across 2 traditional 19th century mansions, surrounded by a lovely garden including a swimming pool. Staff are friendly and rooms are spacious. Check current availbaility and prices.

Bedroom, Torel Palace Hotel, Lisbon
Bedroom, Torel Palace Hotel, Lisbon

An overview of Bairro Alto, Lisbon

Bairro Alto is one of Lisbon’s liveliest districts for nightlife. During the day, it looks pretty workaday but at night, ground floor doors are thrown open to reveal numerous bars and restaurants although most people hang out in the streets. There are some quirky shops around here and there’s some decent street art (and a lot of ugly graffiti).

There are several quiet streets within this neighbourhood so I wouldn’t rule it out as a place to stay although it wouldn’t be my first choice.

If you’re young(ish) and want to party all night, you might want to stay in the thick of it but pick wisely and read reviews carefully. The neighbourhood spreads up a hill and although there are buses to nearby Principe Real, you’ll either have to walk into the labyrinth of narrow streets or take a taxi straight to your chosen venue.

Best place to stay in Bairro Alto

A Casa Das Janelas Com Vista (The House Of The Windows With Views) is not just views, although they are fabulous. The quirky decor and repurposed furniture sit well within a restored building in a quiet side street in the heart of Bairro Alto. Breakfast is fabulous! See photos and check availability.

Another beautiful option, this time on the quieter side of the road that runs below the nightlife district, is Palácio das Especiarias Guesthouse. A restored 400-year old building filled with gorgeous historical details and decor. There is a cute little garden and some rooms have Juliette balconies. Avoid the smallest rooms as they can feel a bit stuffy and cramped. Find out more about this historical guesthouse

Bedroom Palácio das Especiarias Guesthouse in Lisbon
Bedroom Palácio das Especiarias Guesthouse in Lisbon

A new, super-luxurious addition to Lisbon’s collection of 5-star boutique hotels is Verride Palácio Santa Catarina, again downhill from the nightlife. The painted tile panels alone are enough to make you fall in love with the place but there’s much more to it, including a rooftop pool and restaurant with stunning river and city views. Choose a unique room

Suite, Verride Hotel Lisbon
Suite, Verride Hotel Lisbon

The 3 star Monte Belvedere Hotel offers stylish and airy rooms some featuring river views. There is a lovely rooftop restaurant to take in the views. Choose your room.

Is Alfama a good place to stay in Lisbon?

Lisbon’s oldest district spreads down the hill from St. George’s castle and encompasses the 12th century cathedral. Alfama’s narrow cobbled streets and tightly packed houses make it feel like a village within the city and there is still a close-knit community living here despite the ever-increasing volume of tourists.

Don’t be surprised to see remnants of street decorations or see people barbecuing sardines in the street, especially in June when there’s basically a month-long street party going on.

While atmospheric and definitely a place to get lost in during the day, you might find Alfama more frustrating when the taxi driver can’t find your accommodation or you’re trying to make your way back at night. 

Tram #28 trundles through this neighbourhood but otherwise, it’s not the most convenient of neighbourhoods in Lisbon in terms of public transport. There are some free public elevators that make it easier to cope with the hill during working hours. Other than that, you’ll have to walk or take a cab.

Don’t even think of driving in this part of Lisbon – it’s not even possible to get a car down some of the narrow cobbled lanes.

Alfama, from Memmo Alfama rooftop bar, Lisbon
Alfama, from Memmo Alfama rooftop bar, Lisbon

Alfama’s sights and attractions

  • Beneath the 12th century Romanesque cathedral lies excavated Roman ruins and Islamic baths
  • São Vicente da Fora Monastery is an interesting museum with fabulous views
  • The National Pantheon also offers spectacular views from the domed rooftop
  • St. George’s Castle is well worth a visit, again for the views from the battlements
  •  Alfama’s most popular viewing spots are Santa Luzia and Portas do Sol
  • The Museum of Decorative Arts is inside an aristocratic house with period decor

Best places to stay in Lisbon’s Alfama neighbourhood

Memmo Alfama is a charming 4-star hotel on a quiet backstreet with stunning views from its rooftop terrace and lovely indoor seating areas, often using original features from the 19th century building. Staff are super-friendly. See photos and check availability

Once a religious building, the 3-star Hotel Convento do Salvador has been thoroughly modernised and as well as comfy, bright rooms, you’ll find some stunning works by contemporary Portuguese artists dotted around the building. The inner courtyard is a great spot for relaxing or sunbathing. Check current prices.

For self-catering options, choose from apartments or suites at Lisbon Lounge Suites, some of which have river views or their own garden. Get a room with a view.

There are LOTS of AirBnB apartments in Alfama, and neighbouring Mouraria, but bear in mind that the buildings are old and the standard of renovation may be questionable in some cases so read reviews VERY carefully before choosing one. That’s why I’ve suggested the managed apartments above, which have a receptionist.

Alfama Lounge Suites. Best areas to stay in Lisbon
Alfama Lounge Suites

You can avoid Alfama’s hills by staying in the 3-star Hotel Riverside Alfama. Simply head uphill if you want to be in the old neighbourhood or stay on the flat to walk into the Baixa. Check availability and choose a room with a river view

Bedroom Hotel Riverside Alfama Lisbon
Bedroom Hotel Riverside Alfama

Other good neighbourhoods to stay in Lisbon

There are, of course, other places to stay in Lisbon that are away from the main hustle and bustle yet also allow you to do a great deal of sightseeing and exploring on foot.

Madragoa / Santos

Madragoa lies to the west of Lisbon city centre and is just about within walking distance if you’re fit. There are plenty of buses running through the main arteries though.

Lisbon Cheese & Wine Suites is a gorgeous boutique guesthouse with plenty of interesting features and attention to detail and service. Book now.

The Felix 10 is an elegant and quirky recently renovated B&B with lovely garden and city views. The decor in the rooms is very imaginative and beautifully done. The hosts are very friendly and service is impeccable. Take a look at the photos.

Estrela / Lapa

Estrela is a pleasant residential neighbourhood with one of my favourite parks, an impressive basilica and the nearby market in Campo de Ourique. Served by several buses and tram #28, the closest metro station is Rato.

There’s not so much accommodation here as it’s more of a residential area but there’s a Small Historical Hotel called Hotel da Estrela, which is housed in a former palace. Check photos and availability

As you head west towards the National Museum of Ancient Art, you’ll find yourself in a fairly genteel district known as Lapa. One of the best hotels here is As Janelas Verdes, a 4-star Heritage Hotel with ample lounge spaces, a rooftop terrace and a leafy courtyard. Grab a room while you can

Close by is the Palacio Ramalhete a beautiful and unique hotel with wonderful staff and a delicious breakfast. There are lovely hand painted Portuguese tiles throughout to marvel at. Book your stay.

If that’s not grand enough for you, check out the luxurious Olissipo Lapa Palace, which is an oasis of tropical gardens and pools supported by the sumptuous facilities you’d expect from a top 5-star hotel. Choose a room or suite

Lisbon airport hotels

If you have a very early morning flight or are arriving late, you may prefer to spend a night within walking distance of the airport terminal.

The 4-star Meliá Lisboa Aeroporto has an onsite restaurant, pool and spa facilities. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the first or last hours of your Lisbon stay in a bright, modern hotel. Better still, it’s just 100 metres from the terminal building. Book your stay

The 3-star Star Inn Lisbon Airport Hotel has everything you need for a peaceful night’s sleep in a modern hotel. It offers a free shuttle service but is only 300 metres on foot to the airport. Check availability and read reviews

See my suggestions for what to do in Lisbon in this article

Lisbon guide books

If you’re staying for an extended period in Lisbon, you may want to grab a guidebook to help you explore its nooks and crannies better. A proper map will come in handy, too.

Check these out via Amazon:


You may also like these accommodation ideas:

Where to stay in Porto.

Fantastic Algarve accommodation.

Hotels and Quintas in the Douro Valley.

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Where to stay in Lisbon. Ultimate guide to Lisbon neighbourhoods and hotels
Where to stay in Lisbon. Ultimate guide to Lisbon neighbourhoods and hotels


  1. Brilliant post! I recently applied for a visa as I want to surprise my wife with a relaxing vacation in Portugal. That is why I was looking for some insightful Portugal travel guides when I stumbled across your post. I would love to take some useful tips from your blog about accommodations & other stuff so that I can prepare an extensive travel itinerary that might certainly satisfy the travel cravings of my better half.

  2. Have just booked Casa do Barao on your recommendation.
    It looks really lovely. Thank you for making your insider knowledge available.

  3. Dear Julie! Thank you so much for recommending Casa do Barão – I am literally sitting on our balcony, wondering how I make it possible to never have to leave this place again. Your post was definitely the best thing I stumbled about while researching for our Lisbon trip.
    To anyone who’s looking for a place to stay – Casa do Barão is pure perfection. Roberto and Sara are amazing hosts, the breakfast has homemade cakes (which are for free the entire day too as well as coffee and port) and omelette, freshly made juices and delicious fruit, yogurt and granola. Everything you need! The pool and the garden are perfect to hang out in the afternoon – underneath lemon trees with the biggest lemons I’ve ever seen. Roberto welcomed us very warmly and took a lot of time to help us getting settled in, followed by the best tips where to go and what to do in Lisbon. When a little problem with the coffee machine in our room, it was fixed super fast. There is actually nothing negative that I could mention, it is as I said: pure perfection. The location in Chiado is super central and the perfect starting point for all the recommended day trips. In general, it’s been an extraordinary experience here in Casa do Barão, in Chiado, in Lisbon and in Portugal. ♥️ Thanks again – your rec had a huge impact!

    1. Hi Adriane, I’m thrilled to read your comment and so happy that you’ve fallen in love with Casa do Barão. It is a special little place.

  4. Hello Julie: Traveling to Lisbon in July. I am looking at an Airbnb. Can you please inform which neighborhood is nicer and centrally located: Baixa, Chiado or Alfama? Traveling with my young adult children who will like to be around all the center of the action, however, I don’t want to be in a crazy noisy neighborhood. Thank you.

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