Neighborhoods

Neighborhoods

Alfama

Check our apartments in Alfama

Alfama is Lisbon’s most emblematic quarter and one of the most rewarding for walkers and photographers thanks to its medieval alleys and outstanding views.

Because its foundation is dense bedrock, it survived the 1755 earthquake, and a walk through this old-fashioned residential neighborhood is now a step back in time. It is a village within a city still made up of narrow streets, tiny squares, churches, and whitewashed houses with tile panels and wrought-iron balconies adorned with pots of flowers, drying laundry, and caged birds.

It was settled by the Romans and Visigoths (it was also an important Jewish quarter in the 15th century), but it was the Moors who gave the district its atmosphere and name (Alhama means springs or bath, a reference to the hot springs found in the area). They were also responsible for its web of streets created as a defense system, while at the same time enabling their homes to remain cool in the summer.

If you really want to enjoy the charms of Alfama like a local, why not stay in an Alfama Apartment? Check out our Alfama holiday rentals! Alfama has influenced poets and novelists, and although Bairro Alto is the city’s traditional Fado quarter, it is Alfama that has always been the inspiration for Fado songs, and is becoming just as popular with Fado Houses.

The district has an intangible quality that needs to be experienced to be truly appreciated, and the best way to get to know it is to get a little lost (something almost impossible to avoid), and wander around admiring the postcard-perfect views, visiting the churches, and walking up to the castle for the most breathtaking panorama of the city and the greatest sunsets. Contrasting with these timeless images is a trendy modern development by the waterfront across from Santa Apolonia train station. It houses stylish design shops, excellent restaurants, and one of Europe’s top clubs, “Lux.”

Baixa

Check our apartments in Baixa

Baixa / Chiado, or downtown Lisbon, is the heart of the city. It is the main shopping and banking district that stretches from the riverfront to the main avenue (Avenida da Liberdade), with streets named according to the shopkeepers and craftsmen who traded in the area.

It was completely rebuilt after the Great Earthquake of 1755 with streets flanked by uniform, neoclassical buildings. This was Europe’s first great example of neoclassical design and urban planning, and one of the finest European architectural achievements of the age (it is currently being considered to be listed as a World Heritage Site, pending much-needed renovation of many of the buildings).

It remains an imposing district, with elegant squares, pedestrianized streets, cafes, and shops. Old tramcars, street performers, tiled Art Deco shopfronts, elaborately decorated pastry shops, and street vendors selling everything from flowers to souvenirs, all lend a special charm to the area. Watch it all from a table outside Nicola Café in Rossio Square facing the monumental National Theater and Saint George’s Castle, and as you stroll down the pedestrian Rua Augusta, past the triumphal arch, into the majestic Comercio Square, one of the biggest in Europe!

Neighboring Chiado is an elegant, sophisticated district of theaters, bookshops, old-style cafes, art nouveau jewelry shops, luxurious international names such as Hermes, and local treasures such as the opulently gilded Tavares Rico Restaurant opened in 1784, the fine porcelain shop Vista Alegre, or one of Portugal’s international fashion designers, Ana Salazar.

Much of the area was destroyed in a fire in 1988, but has since been reborn. It remains one of Lisbon’s most beloved districts, with reminders of its past as the center of the city’s intellectual life, with statues of great literary figures such as Fernando Pessoa, Luis de Camões, and Eça de Queiroz.

Baixa is a great place to stay, because it is central to all major sights and attractions, with excellent transport facilities and close to shops, restaurants, cafes and some museums. Check out some our great apartments in the Baixa district!

Graça / São Vicente de Fora

Check our apartments in Graça

One of the most historical parts of Lisbon, Graça quarter is situated on the north-easterly side of the Castelo de Sao Jorge. Once it was the proletarian outskirts of the city, the place where the workers lived in houses built by their bosses. They would get on the 28 tram and go down the hill to Baixa downtown where most offices and factories existed. There are still some remains of these old times.

The gracious houses of Vila Berta, a majestic “villa” that runs completely across a street and it gives its name! Vila Sousa’s beautiful building, colored by its “azulejos” (tiles), and others alike remind us of this past not so far back! It is in Graça that you will find some of the most popular viewpoints in Lisbon.

The Miradouro do Monte boasts the best views of the castle and the river! Situated off the Rua Senhora do Monte, this is the highest point in the city, and its serene atmosphere attracts young couples. Graça belvedere has also stunning views and also a splendid terrace with nice music to chill out! The open-air cafe, with its very relaxing atmosphere, is a favorite with young locals, especially in late afternoon. During the summer it remains open well into the night! Next to it you will find the Graça Church (one of the city’s oldest, built in 1271 with a Baroque interior and 17th century tiles)!

Down the Graça hill you will find the district of SÃO VICENTE, an area with various important sights that you should not miss out. São Vicente de Fora Monastery is an exceptional 16th century monument. Up on the roof is a terrace with superb views of the National Pantheon, Alfama, and the Tagus River.

Portugal’s National Pantheon: the building is on the plan of a Greek cross, and the interior is covered in beautiful, multicolored slabs of polished marble. It is crowned with a dome that provides a 360-degree view of the river and the city! The Pantheon contains the tombs of several Portuguese presidents, writer Almeida Garrett (one of the country’s leading 19th century literary figures) and, in recognition of her iconic status, Amália Rodrigues, the most famous Fado diva. Between these two monuments you will find – on every Tuesday and Saturday – the “Feira da Ladra,” the most popular Lisbon’s flea market on Campo de Santa Clara, where you will also find a beautiful garden with an open-air café and a fantastic view over the river Tagus!

Príncipe Real

Príncipe Real, is an area known for its antique and interior design shops on Rua Dom Pedro V and Rua da Escola Politecnica, and also for being the city’s gay quarter with a number of gay bars and clubs. In the streets from the Principe Real Garden down to the riverfront, especially in Rua de São Marçal, are attractive 19th century townhouses and some of the most tranquil spots in the city, such as the leafy Praça das Flores. To the west is the district of Estrela, dominated by a huge domed basilica. It is not too far from the country’s parliament, the neoclassical São Bento Palace, and connects to the west to opulent Lapa, the diplomatic quarter with grand embassy buildings and old mansions. It is also the site of the Ancient Art Museum, one of the city’s top attractions!