Where’s the best place to stay in Lisbon if you’re visiting for the first time? 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 Lisbon neighbourhoods 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.
Click to jump to specific sections in this expert guide to where to stay in Lisbon:
- Is Chiado the best area of Lisbon to stay in?
- Why stay in Lisbon’s Baixa neighbourhood
- What’s so special about Principe Real neighbourhood?
- Accommodation in Bairro Alto, Lisbon
- Should you stay in Alfama?
- Hotels around Avenida da Liberdade and Marquês do Pombal
- Other Lisbon neighbourhoods to stay in
- Lisbon airport hotels
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 is 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.
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
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.
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. 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
You will find more self catering options at Casas de São Bento close to the Portuguese Parliament. They have a wide selection of apartments all with a bold decor. Check out the photos.
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 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.
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
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
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
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 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’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.
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
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.
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 TRYP Lisboa Aeroporto Hotel has twice been selected as the best TRYP hotel worldwide! With onsite restaurant, pool and spa facilities, you can enjoy the first or last hours of your Lisbon stay in a bright, modern hotel, 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
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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.
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Fantastic Algarve accommodation.
Hotels and Quintas in the Douro Valley.
Great info – I’m 52 and will be traveling to Lisbon 3 days in Feb with my 2o year old daughter. Looking to shop in local stores, see sights and good restaurants any info that would be helpful I’d appreciate.
Sure, Debbie, you’ll find lots in my Lisbon archives https://juliedawnfox.com/tag/lisbon/
Which hotel would you think is better – Sofitel or Corpo Santo. We will ben Lisbon for two days – sightseeing, shopping, dining
Both are in good locations. If you’re into high end shops like Gucci and Chanel, the Sofitel is on the same street. Corpo Santo is in a great location for restaurants and bars as well as not far from interesting independent shops. I’d probably go for this if the decision is on location but it depends on your tastes/interests.
Great information, Julie. I just wanted to chime in and say that my husband and I spent 10 days in Lisbon this past June. By dumb luck we got an Airbnb in a neighborhood we absolutely adored, and that’s not mentioned here: Campo de Ourique. It’s not overrun by tourists and has a wonderful Mercado, which is similar to, but less intimitating than, the Time Out market. A park, a tree-lined avenue, lots of cafe’s and restaurants etc. The 28 tram goes there plus a bus or two, but the subway is a little bit of a walk. We liked having access to the tourist areas yet feeling like a local.
I really like the Campo de Ourique neighbourhood and the only reason I didn’t include it in the article is because it’s not really walking distance from most sights even though it has reasonable public transport. That, and part of me wanted to keep it a secret 😉
Please clarify: It seems Alfama is the place to walk and explore, but better to stay at a hotel in Baixa or Chiado. Since Baixa is closer to Alfama do you recommend we stay there? should we select among the hotels you pin on your map?
Hello Again – I just asked you to compare 4 hotels but realized one of the other Memmo hotels has a higher rating – The Memmo Alfama seems to be even better than the Principe Real. We are looking for the best hotel – 5 star – but one that will also offer us a good location for one day of sightseeing.
Thank you so much for such valuable information!
Thank you for such great information!!! Would you give your opinion of the differences among these hotels, please? Olissippo Lapa Palace, Verride Palacio Santa Catarina, Memmo Principe Real and Santiago de Alfama?
We are only in Lisbon for one night. We’d like a 5 star hotel, and feel it is so important to be in a good location for both authentic Lisbon feel and sightseeing.
I’d be inclined to go with the Verride for location.
This is a great resource. My sister and I both mid 50s planning a trip for this Dec -first time to Portugal. Found a lovely loft in “old Lisbon” – curious where that lands on the towns you mentioned. We like to walk to eat –safe neighborhood– good public transport close by, and be able to take some day trips from our base. My sister tends to be more on pretty asthetics–design major! 🙂 I just want a nice bar close by! Any input would be great. Thanks! Jamie
Lots of great information here! We are a family group of 6, 3 of us in our sixties, 3 in the thirties, all active and enthusiastic walkers. We are looking for a relatively quiet yet accessible neighborhood/area to city sights in Lisbon, and are planning to rent an apartment for two different stays of 3 nights each in June. Where would you recommend we focus our search?
Hi Janet, if the areas above don’t appeal, try Madragoa, Campo de Ourique or Alcântara.
Hi, Thanks for such detailed info! My husband and I are heading to Portugal next month and will spend 3 days in Lisbon. I was thinking of staying in Alfama but you make a compelling case for Chiado… How easy is it to move between the two? We’re in our late 30s/early 40s, in good shape and, with only 3 days, accessibility to different areas and sites is key. But I love the sound of Alfama. Any advice?
Hi Claire, The two areas are not that far from each other, maybe a 20-30 minute walk depending on where exactly in each neighbourhood you are. If you don’t mind hills, the possibility that taxi drivers won’t be able to drive on your street and quite a lot of tourists in some streets, Alfama would be okay. I still prefer Chiado because it’s more convenient for public transport among other things but if you have your heart set on Alfama, don’t let me stop you!
This is very useful and informative, thank you, Julie! I was wondering, I am traveling with my 2 year old, would you recommend Baixa or Chiado? We would also like to do a day trip to Sintra. Thank you for your time!
Hi Ben, Either would be fine, although Baixa is flatter so that might make things slightly easier. They’re really close to each other so there’s not much in it really. As for Sintra, this article should help: https://juliedawnfox.com/sintra/
This is great, we are considering Lisbon for a New Year’s Eve getaway for 4 days this year….8 of us all togehter. What will the weather be like (historically of course, I know you can’t predict!)
Hi Kim, As you say, it’s impossible to predict but daytime temperatures in Lisbon are usually mild compared to more inland European destinations http://www.holiday-weather.com/lisbon/averages/december/. It can feel quite bitter if the wind picks up but generally speaking, if you have a warm coat, hat scarf and gloves with you, you are only likely to need all of them on especially cold nights. You’ll want heating in your accommodation.
Hey Julie. Great insider info for Lisbon thank you. What about rooms with a view of the sea – can you recommend an area to think about?
Hi Neville, You can’t really see the sea from Lisbon city centre but if you’re high up, or close to it, you might get a view of the Tagus River. Try Chiado, Baixa, Alfama, Lapa or Belem.
Marvelous info, Julie! I’ve taken a couple of your recommendations before, and found them to be spot on 🙂 . The list of neighborhood highlights is also very handy, for deciding where in town to look for a hotel.
Thanks, Anita. Glad my recommendations have worked out so far!
Loved this post because it offers options in so many different neighborhoods!
Thanks – I tried to cover the most central areas.
This list is a great resource for travelers to Lisbon – thanks for the thorough job!
Just trying to make it easier for people to decide where to stay 🙂
Thanks for this useful post! We’re thinking of going to Lisbon and elsewhere in Portugal next summer, so this will come in handy!
Glad to hear that, Rachel
Thx for this amazing post, Julie. I’ve never been to Lisbon, so will pin this post for future reference.
Hope you make it here soon. There’s chocolate…
Very useful post and informative. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been to Porto and enjoyed my time there, never (yet) made it to Lisbon.
Next time, Rebecca…
Thanks Julie, for the great information on Lisbon accommodations . I will definitely book one of these for my initial arrival in Lisbon in January!
Happy to help, Rita.
It’s a very complete article about Lisbon, for all tastes and budgets!!! Waiting for receiving your feedback in my mailbox 😉
Thanks, Sandra. I’ve seen your email but haven’t had chance to respond properly yet. Sorry about that – I’ll get back to you soon, I promise.