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Lisbon: The Ultimate Neighborhood Guide


August 23, 2018 by Andrea Szyper

Lisbon is a city of great history and beauty, with a rich legacy of royalty and an exciting contemporary energy and street life. It is a constellation of interesting central neighborhoods, each with its own flavor and atmosphere.

Staying nearby on the Sintra Untour, you’ll have easy access to Lisbon and can find plenty of time to explore the charming backstreets and local hang outs of this beautiful city. Here are the best places to start.

Alfama Lisbon, Portugal Untour

The Alfama
Alfama is the city’s oldest district, and many consider it the most charming quarter. Among the Alfama’s winding streets you will see some of the city’s most historic buildings, some displaying their Moorish influence. This is one of the best place to dig into the old traditions of Lisbon, whether it is classic Portuguese dining or a live fado musical performance. Meander the maze of narrow medieval streets that can lead you to the Portas do Sol lookout or the formidable Castelo de São Jorge.

The Baixa
Though there is rich culture and beauty throughout the city, the area between Baixa and Rossio is the heart of town. Here you will find main landmarks and treasures like the Rossio rail station, the bright Praca do Commercio, and world’s oldest bookshop, the Livraria Bertrand. Much of the area was rebuilt in the 18th century, after the neighborhood suffered through the 177 earthquake. Many of the streets are pedestrian only, very popular with tourists and filled with colorful shopping and dining.

Lisbon, Sintra apartment stays

Follow In the footsteps of Vasco da Gama in Belem. Start at the Torre de Belém, which once guarded the entrance to the port. Take the short walk to the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos (Monastery of Jerome), where you will find Vasco da Gama’s grave in the church. The Marine Museum fills in the context and history of the import trade and exploration voyages that launched from the water here. The Ajuda Palace is another important landmark in this storied district.

Bairro Alto
This hip, hilly district of Lisbon will be a “high point” of your visits to the city, especially if you enjoy people watching, artsy boutiques, good restaurants, and cafes. This is a bohemian quarter that buzzes with life, especially after dark. Enjoy its cafes, restaurants, and historical landmarks. It is a great place for a romantic stroll and a nightcap.

 Avenida da Liberdade, Lisbon

Avenida da Liberdade
Running about a mile, from Rossio rail station to Parque Eduardo VII, this grand 19th century boulevard is lined with high end designer shops and hotels. Look for Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and all the usual suspects. Stroll its length and window shop, or tuck into a fine cafe. The avenue is lined with stretches of grass and trees and dotted with statues and monuments. Grab a drink outside and enjoy the people watching.

The pedestrian-only Rua do Carmo runs through the heart of this lovely shopping and dining district. A major fire in 1988 led to a wave of new building, and contemporary architecture mixes with the old in this upscale shopping district. The modern Museu do Chiado, constructed around the ovens of an old commercial bakery, is a great example and a fun place to see.

Pantheon, Lisbon

Graça and São Vicente
Graça and São Vicent is an older section of the city that is beloved by Lisbonites. Its rises offer gorgeous views of the Tejo River. The neighborhood is laced with very narrow streets and filled with architectural treasures like the Igreja de São Vicente and the Pantheon, which is the site of a bustling flea market on Saturdays.

Enjoy Lisbon at leisure on a Sintra Untour, and drop into the city multiple times, taking in different neighborhoods and landmarks on each visit.