Updated: May 16, 2023
Planning to move to the stunning Portuguese capital? It’s important to know about the best neighborhoods in Lisbon so you can make an informed decision about where to live in the city. Lisbon is a vibrant city with many different areas to explore, each emanating its own distinctive energy. The best places to live in Lisbon will largely depend on your needs. The old parts of the city can seamlessly blend into a trendy new development and there is a magic to this type of juxtaposition. The city is sprawling with fantastic eateries at bargain prices, boutique hotels, art galleries, romantic rooftop bars, and beautifully dilapidated live music venues. Depending on whether you’re a tourist, an expat, or a digital nomad, you’ll probably have a different perception of the best Lisbon neighborhoods.
For an overview of everything that you will need to know before you buy, you can learn more in our article on Real Estate in Portugal.
In this article, however, we’re going to provide you with our ultimate Lisbon neighborhood guide.
Why are expats moving to Lisbon?
This exciting cosmopolitan capital is a honeypot for digital nomads, retirees, students, and expat families. The city provides an affordable lifestyle in comparison to many other western European countries. If you are considering buying, you can check out our Expert Guide to Buying Lisbon Real Estate, where we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about property in the capital.
The expat community in Portugal’s capital is continuing to grow rapidly. A lot of people that move to the Portuguese capital are digital nomads and, while many stay only a couple of months at a time, many fall in love with the city and end up staying much longer than expected.
Families benefit from the very good education system in Portugal and there are countless outdoor activities to enjoy with your children. There are many calm neighborhoods in Lisbon that would be a top choice for families that are looking to move to Portugal
Retirees favoring a wonderful climate, top-quality healthcare, and relaxed quality of life are also coming to call Lisbon home. While the Algrave has long been favored by the British, many expats choose Lisbon due to the vast number of cultural events on offer, top traditional restaurants, numerous parks to enjoy, and the relaxed quality of life.
Alongside this, with a booming tech scene, many young professionals have come to the realization that Lisbon provides them with everything they need. Young professionals flock to the city that is on all the lists of best places for digital nomads, Websummit, the biggest tech festival in the world, moved to the Portuguese capital in 2016, and countless international companies and new savvy startups are making the most of the capital.
What are the best neighborhoods in Lisbon?
The best and most popular neighborhoods in Lisbon will be outlined below, and each part of town will have its own allure depending on who you are and what you are looking for. These are certainly the most-loved districts when it comes to the best places to live in Lisbon, for reasons we’ll outline below in this Lisbon neighborhood guide.
If you are looking for old town charm, then look no further. Walking the cobbled streets of Alfama is like stepping back in time into a medieval Portuguese labyrinth. The near-vertical hills are a struggle to climb particularly in the heat of summer, but once you reach the top you are rewarded with panoramic views and flower-clad iron railings. Alfama is characterized by narrow streets and colorful miniature doorways as well as numerous wall tile formations so intricate that they can make you feel sentimental.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Alfama is one of the areas of the city that is hugely popular with tourists who visit Lisbon. Therefore, the majority of those who inhabit Alfama are older Portuguese people and tourists in short-term holiday rentals.
The pros of Alfama could also be related to its cons, as being so beautiful and old it has in some ways become a museum of sorts. While the tourists do dominate Alfama in summer there certainly is life and energy in the district, Fado music, and some great wine bars.
Graça is Alfama’s cool younger sister, perched next to Alfama – and is truly one of Lisbon’s top locations. Despite being in the old town of Lisbon, there is a wave of young people changing the landscape of this suburb. Graça is equally as beautiful as Alfama but has a more lived-in vibe. There is a buzz to this hilltop area of Lisbon that is perfectly mixed with charming old squares and miradouros (viewpoints).
Graça is home to a mix of older locals, young expats, and young Portuguese people. This is a top choice of location for digital nomads and entrepreneurs, and you even have an excellent co-working space here called Heden for your working needs.
Average prices for the Alfama (in the Santa Maria Maior neighborhood) are €6,145 per m² whereas property in Graça (in the São Vicente neighborhood) is slightly cheaper at €4,514 per m².
Ajuda is slightly off the beaten track, to the west of the city. However, Ajuda is evolving to become one of the cool neighborhoods of Lisbon. Today, the area is still up and coming and if you are looking to snap up cheaper real estate, Ajuda is a good bet.
There is an industrial feel to this part of town, with old warehouses slowly being converted into hip bars and breweries, but the area is still missing some polish that one might be looking for if moving to Lisbon.
In Ajuda the average price of property is €3,989 per m²,
Saldanha has an old grandeur to it, from its distinctive secular architecture to the wide streets and sidewalks. The neighborhood is home to several universities as well as being a hub for working professionals. Saldanha is one of the busier areas of Lisbon and has hundreds of young lawyers, consultants, and business people passing through during the week.
The shops in the area of Saldanha are great and you won’t struggle to find all the big brands and labels you could wish for in the area.
Rato is a well-located point in Lisbon, sandwiched between Principe Real and Campo de Ourique. It’s considered one of the best places in Lisbon to live in, probably because it is right in the thick of the action. In Rato there is still a sense of calm and tranquility, but it is really about as central as it gets.
You can take a tram to Alfama and Graça from Rato and you can walk to Santos in no time. It’s also possible to walk up to Marques de Pombal in a short amount of time, which is the heart of Lisbon and its business district. To live in Rato, the pros are great restaurants and cafés, a good selection of shops, and of course, good links to the rest of the city.
What are the nicest neighborhoods in Lisbon?
Avenidas Novas might be considered one of the best neighborhoods in Lisbon to live in as its leafy spacious streets are lined with large beautiful properties. Avenidas Novas begins at the grand Avenida da Liberdade, the most sought-after address in Lisbon. Avenida da Liberdade has many luxury and designer stores lining the street and is home to Restauradores Square. Located in the city center of Lisbon, the square commemorates the Iberian Union.
While Avenida da Liberdade is for those that are looking to capture a touch of luxury in the city, Avenidas Novas also has the fantastic Gulbenkian Foundation and its peaceful gardens, a highlight of the city. Avenidas Novas is Lisbon’s business center, with working professionals mainly living in this part of town. Coffee makers are a must for hard-working professionals and at lunch, you’ll see all the cafés and their terraces occupied by those who work in Lisbon.
There are also a couple of high-end rooftop bars with views of the whole city. As a place to live, Avenidas Novas has something for everyone and some of the most sought-after real estate in Lisbon.
Property costs on average €6,046 per m².
Campo de Ourique
Campo de Ourique is up high on a quiet corner of town and is a very nice family-oriented neighborhood in Lisbon. Lovely artisanal shops and an indoor food market are some of the things that make this one of the nicest neighborhoods in Lisbon to live in. The Portuguese food scene in Lisbon has become one of the best in Europe, so make the most of discovering Portugal’s cuisine here.
Campo de Ourique is also a popular Lisbon expat neighborhood, largely because it provides quick access to the main parts of the city and there are plenty of nice cafés and lunch places to enjoy.
The average price of property in Campo de Ourique is €5,561 per m².
Estrela is a part of town that has a genuinely warm and relaxing family atmosphere. From the Jardim de Estrela to the array of trendy hipster cafés, many people come up to this part of Lisbon to while away the hours in one of the nice coffee shops.
So, is Estrela one of the best areas to live in Lisbon? There is a more affluent population here, particularly younger professionals and wealthy expats who have relocated for work. It’s understandable that this has become a hot spot in town, and that Estrela is considered one of the nicest neighborhoods in Lisbon.
Property in the Lisbon neighborhood of Estrela costs on average €5,670 per m².
Principe Real is a favorite for both tourists and locals. The area’s name literally means “Royal Prince” and honors Queen Maria II’s firstborn child. Extending north of Bairro Alto, this area has an array of sophisticated shops and many restaurants.
Principe Real is pristine and filled with lovely independent and boutique shops, concept stores, a great many restaurants and bars, and stunning properties. It is certainly one of the more upmarket, and busier, parts of town.
It’s not difficult to see why this trendy district is thought of by many as one of the best areas in Lisbon, Portugal. The people living in Principe Real are a mix between young internationals, nomads, and professional Portuguese families. Even Scarlet Johansson recently snapped up an apartment in Principe Real.
If you are looking to stay just for a little while in Lisbon, then you’ll find several lovely boutique hotels or luxury hotels in this part of town, where you can easily get around the city and have stunning views of the River Tejo.
Property in the Lisbon neighborhood of Principe Real (in the Misericórdia neighborhood) costs on average €6,825 per m².
You should definitely not overlook Alcântara when determining the perfect neighborhood for you. Here you’ll find the famous 25 de Abril Bridge standing over the neighborhood, where you can head to the river and marvel at the glorious views spread out in every direction.
Alcântara is also a very trendy place at the moment because of Alcântara Docks and Doca de Santo Amaro, in particular, which draw the weekend and evening crowds to the west of the city. With excellent restaurants, focusing on seafood in many cases, bars, and clubs, decorated in old warehouses, this is one of the hottest locations in town, favored by both expats and locals.
On the other side of the train tracks, however, you’ll find that Alcântara is also a residential neighborhood. Here, on the quieter side of these neighborhoods, you’ll find spacious rooms and apartments that are perfect for younger professionals, couples, families, and the like.
LX Factory, an old industrial site that has become one of the star attractions in the city is also found in Alcântara. Here artist’s studios, restaurants, traditional shops, performance spaces, and markets selling unique Portuguese wares provide a bit of respite from the rest of the city.
In Alcântara, average property prices are €5,393 per m².
Belém and Restelo
This is the very last neighborhood within the municipality of Lisbon. It is one of the more historic neighborhoods of the city and is filled with many of the best museums and art galleries in the city, as well as monuments and a variety of green spaces. If you are looking to live a little bit out of the hustle and bustle of the city, then this is the perfect location. Families will also find this a nice area to live, because of the parks and space, plus having all the amenities close at hand, such as grocery stores and schools. An added bonus is that you will have splendid views of the Tagus River and the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge.
In Belém and Restelo it is a little bit more expensive at €5,395 per m².
What are the quiet neighborhoods in Lisbon?
Santos and Lapa
Santos and Lapa are relatively quiet neighborhoods, whilst still offering everything you could desire from a Lisbon neighborhood. There is a pleasant mix of old cafés and charming kiosks here blending with new and trendy restaurants that are emerging, also making it an ideal place for families.
The buildings are well kept and there are plenty of nice properties to be found here. Expats and entrepreneurs favor Santos and Lapa over many other areas.
Property prices in Lapa and Santos (both in the Estrela neighborhood) cost on average €5,670 per m².
Parque das Nações
Parque das Nações is located in the quieter end of town. Situated on the Tagus river, this new development is away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Lisbon where the tourists can be overwhelming.
The new development is popular amongst young professionals and working families as it has a crisp, clean and modern aesthetic to the grand buildings, where you are sure to find quality property for living and investment purposes.
Here you will also find the Pavilhão do Conhecimento, an interactive science museum, and the Lisbon aquarium, making this part of the city a favorite for families with young children.
In Parque das Nações the average price of property is €5,965 per m².
What are the cool neighborhoods in Lisbon?
Anjos is a firm favorite as one of Lisbon’s key expat neighborhoods. This is partly because Anjos got voted as the coolest neighborhood in the world recently by Time Out. Indeed, this part of town is still shabby chic but filled with vintage stores, record shops, and a huge variety of different cuisines to sample at low prices.
Some of the streets are a little run-down, but there is huge potential for investments here, particularly if you manage to get a property in excellent condition. Anjos is also home to a couple of nightclubs, where the party doesn’t stop all night long in the summer months.
Intendente and Mouraria
In a similar way to Anjos, Intendente and Mouraria are known as the cool places to hang out in Lisbon. There are indoor markets, old cafés to sit with the locals for a coffee, plenty of “clandestine” Chinese restaurants, and exciting street art.
The area draws a young international crowd and has a mixture of ages and cultures living here.
Average prices in Anjos and Intendente (in the Arroios neighborhood) are €4,766 per m² and property prices in Mouraria (in the Santa Maria Maior neighborhood) are €6,145 per m².
Baixa was largely rebuilt following the tragic earthquake in the 18th century, in the style of the then-contemporary European city planning trend. With what remained of the city, and what was rebuilt, the contemporary architecture in Baixa, in central Lisbon, provides a certain neoclassical ambiance. A unique, central part of the city, perfect if you like strolling around large squares and discovering the exciting culture and heritage of the city. Yes, Rua Augusta Arch and Praça do Comércio are both impressive architectural achievements and stand-out points in the city.
One of the best things about investing in Baixa is that the neighborhood is very strategically placed. Baixa is within close proximity to the nightlife center Bairro Alto, the old town, Alfama and the Castelo, and Chiado, a key shopping area in the city. You can quickly get to the beaches in Cascais and Carcavelos by taking a short train ride, and all the significant sightseeing locations are a short walk away. Public transport is pretty cheap in Lisbon, so it may be better than hiring a car to get to the surrounding areas.
One of the most famous things to try in Baixa is the ginjinha bars, where they sell this sour-cherry liquor. And you also have the Lisbon Story Center, an interactive museum where you get up to speed on the rich history of the city. One thing to bear in mind about this part of town is that in parts of Baixa it can get quite crowded, particularly during the peak tourist season.
Just up from Baixa, Rua do Ouro and Rua Augusta are parallel to one another, and halfway down them, you’ll find the Santa Justa Elevator, a must for spectacular views of the city. Famous for its lovely cafes, many star attractions, and typical architecture, Chiado is a lovely place to invest in or live. While you’ll find pretty busy streets in the summer months, its central location makes it effortlessly easy to get around the city. Shoppers will also delight in the range of shops on offer, both chain stores and independent Portuguese shops selling their wares.
The freguesia (municipal district) of Santa Maria Maior, which encompasses the two neighborhoods of Baixa and Chiado, is one of the most expensive places to buy property in Lisbon. Property costs on average €6,145per m².
A short walking distance away from Baixa, you’ll find Bairro Alto. This part of town can get quite noisy at night, so it may prove to be a better investment opportunity than a home, but you should be able to find some quiet areas away from the heady nightlife.
Bairro Alto is a melting pot of different cultures, fashionable restaurants, and celebrated nightlife. Cais do Sodré, with the famous Pink Street (formerly the city’s red light district), is one of the most lively places in Lisbon, with tiny bars spilling out onto the side streets in the evenings and during the weekend. If looking to eat on Pink Street, be sure to avoid the tourist traps and souvenir shops, which can be a little overpriced, and venture instead into more affordable Portuguese-owned restaurants or one of the trendy, up-and-coming restaurants.
Property in the Lisbon neighborhood of Bairro Alto (in the Misericórdia neighborhood) costs on average €6,825 per m².