A complete guide to where to stay in Lisbon first time (+ the best areas and hotels for sightseeing, one night, nightlife and near the beach).
Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, is one of the most affordable destinations in Europe. With its cobbled streets, lined with pretty tiled buildings, historic trams and fresh seafood, the city offers a little something for everyone.
Lisbon is located on the banks of the Tagus River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The city comprises 24 official neighbourhoods, ranging from historic districts like Alfama and Baixa to more modern areas like Parque das Nações. Baixa neighbourhood is considered the city centre of Lisbon. It is known for its grid-like streets, and iconic plazas like Rossio Square and Praça do Comércio.
Lisbon is a big city, with attractions scattered all around. Half of them are situated in Alfama and Baixa and the other half in Belém, which is about 30min by public transport from the city centre. Because of this, figuring out where to stay in Lisbon might take some thinking. That’s why I created this detailed guide, where you’ll find the best areas and hotels to stay in Lisbon for first-timers, nightlife or a short stay. I also included some great places to stay if you want to enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches near the city.
Where I stayed in Lisbon
During my first trip to Lisbon, I decided to stay in the Baixa district, as it is the most central one. I wanted to be within a brief stroll from the top sights such as Santa Justa Lift and São Jorge Castle. Also, Bairro Alto, a popular nightlife neighbourhood, known for its Fado houses and restaurants, was within walking distance.
My favourite place to stay in Lisbon: Hotel Hotel
Why: great location for sightseeing and restaurants, a 5min walk to a metro station
What I like: outdoor swimming pool with a garden, exceptional breakfast
If you’re visiting Lisbon for the first time, I’d recommend staying in Baixa. It’s the most central area, making it easy to reach many attractions, lots of restaurants and the historic Alfama district within a short walk.
Don’t stay in Belém, despite it is home to the city’s most iconic site, the Jerónimos Monastery. The district is located on the outskirts of Lisbon, half an hour away from the city centre and you’ll be far from almost everything.
Most popular hotel in Lisbon
Searching for an excellent hotel in a central location? Take a look at Browns Central Hotel — it’s the most popular hotel in Lisbon city centre.
Browns Central Hotel – Most popular hotel
Situated right in the heart of Baixa district, the hotel’s central location is perfect for exploring the city on foot. Walking distance to many historic attractions like São Jorge Castle, Lisbon Cathedral and the Santa Justa Lift. Rooms are cosy and stylish, featuring a unique decoration with wooden floors and marble bathrooms.
Why book – central location, 2min walk to 2 metro lines (Baixa-Chiado metro station), excellent cocktail bar
Tips for booking a hotel in Lisbon
Public transport proximity – although you’ll find most of the tourist attractions in Alfama and Baixa, the iconic Jerónimos Monastery is located on the outskirts of the city. You’ll need public transportation not only to get to the monastery but to the Pena Palace in Sintra as well. Consider staying close to a metro station for the most convenience.
Visiting Lisbon for the first time? Check out my full itinerary for spending 3 days in Lisbon, which covers all must-see attractions, including where to eat the best Pastel de nata.
Where to stay in Lisbon (first time)
- Baixa – best area for sightseeing (Figueira by The Beautique Hotels & SPA – best hotel in Baixa)
- Bairro Alto – for nightlife (Pessoa Hotel – best hotel in Bairro Alto)
- Praça Dom Pedro IV – for one night (Hotel Santa Justa – best hotel near Praça Dom Pedro IV)
- Cascais – for beach (Hotel Cascais Miragem Health & Spa – best hotel in Cascais)
Baixa – best area to stay in Lisbon first time
The best location to stay in Lisbon for first-time visitors is Baixa. This is the city’s most central area, providing easy access to the historic Alfama district and Bairro Alto’s vibrant nightlife. Baixa is also the flattest area in Lisbon, making it the perfect option for exploring the city on foot.
Baixa neighbourhood stretches from the Tagus River and Praça do Comércio in the south to the Praça Dom Pedro IV, located at the north end of Avenida Liberdade. Completely rebuilt after the devastating earthquake in 1755, the area boasts impressive architecture and wide, grid-like streets. The beautiful squares, such as Praça do Comércio and Rossio, are perfect for taking in the city’s history and atmosphere.
If it’s your first time in Lisbon, staying in Baixa means you’re close to major landmarks like the São Jorge Castle, the Santa Justa Lift, and Lisbon Cathedral. You’ll also have convenient access to public transportation, making it simpler to reach places like Belém, Cascais, or Sintra.
Why stay in Baixa for sightseeing
- most convenient area for first-timers thanks to its central location right in the heart of Lisbon
- walking distance to numerous must-see attractions, including São Jorge Castle, Santa Justa Lift, Rua Augusta Arch and Lisbon Cathedral
- easy access to Rossio train station, from where you can take the train to Sintra
- for some of the best Pastel de nata in the city, make your way to Manteigaria
- Avenida da Liberdade, the city’s main avenue for luxury shopping, is just a block away
- within a 10-minute stroll, you’ll find Bairro Alto with its many bars and restaurants.
- easy access to the airport via the metro (take the green metro line (to Alameda) or the blue one (to São Sebastião) and then switch to the red metro line to Aeroporto
Hotels in Baixa (Best for couples)
Figueira by The Beautique Hotels & SPA – Most popular
Overlooking Praça da Figueira, a historically significant square, this hotel is the perfect base to experience Lisbon. Rooms are spacious, featuring an exclusive design, characterized by earthy tones and fig tree details. At the hotel’s restaurant, Figu’s, you can enjoy traditional Portuguese cuisine with tasty local wines.
Why book – central location, a short walk from a metro station and Rossio Train Station, great Spa with hamman
Portugal Boutique Hotel – Best rated
The Portugal Boutique Hotel is strategically located in the heart of Lisbon. It is just a short walk from Rossio Train Station (from where you can take a train to Sintra) and two metro lines – the blue line (station Restauradores) and the green line (station Rossio). The hotel features a unique design, typical of the Pombaline era, with traditional elements such as authentic Portuguese tiles, in shades of blue and white. There are several dining options, including Varanda de Lisboa Panoramic Restaurant (traditional Portuguese cuisine), Adega Premium Winehouse Bar (with an extensive wine list) and Jony Rules Bar.
Why book – prime location, next to 2 metro stations and tram stop of the famous line 28, rooftop bar
Hotels in Baixa (Best for families)
Hotel Santa Justa – Most popular
The hotel sits ideally between Praça Dom Pedro IV and Praça da Figueira within the Baixa district, offering an optimal location for exploring the city. A few steps away you’ll find Augusta Street, filled with numerous shops and restaurants. The hotel’s restaurant, Elevator, not only serves fantastic cuisine but also offers live Fado music (every Tuesday and Thursday).
Why book – central location, next to 2 metro stations, free minibar, excellent buffet breakfast
Hotel da Baixa – Best rated
Nestled on Rua da Prata, right between Praça do Comércio and Praça do Rossio, Hotel da Baixa takes its name from Lisbon’s most charismatic neighbourhood. The hotel is housed in an 18th-century building, combining historic charm with modern amenities. The hotel’s restaurant, Sebastião, offers an excellent selection of international and Portuguese dishes.
Why book – prime location, short walk to Rossio metro station, free minibar, buffet breakfast with gluten-free options
Luxury hotels in Baixa
Altis Avenida Hotel – Most popular
Altis Avenida Hotel boasts a prime location, just a 5min walk from the famous shopping streets – Rua Augusta Street and Liberdade Avenue. The hotel resides within a beautiful historic building blending traditional Portuguese architecture with Art Deco-inspired design. The Rossio Gastrobar, situated on the rooftop of the hotel, is an ideal spot for a cocktail or a laid-back dinner. The wellness centre features a heated indoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna, Turkish bath and oxygen Spa therapy.
Why book – central location, next to 2 metro lines, rooftop terrace with panoramic views, heated indoor swimming pool
Pousada de Lisboa – Best rated
Centrally located, adjacent to Praça do Comércio, Pousada de Lisboa boasts stunning views of the Tagus River. The hotel is housed in a beautifully restored 18th-century building, combining historic charm with contemporary luxury. The hotel’s restaurant, RIB Beef & Wine, specializes in high-quality meats and wines. In the wellness centre, you can relax in the indoor swimming pool (26 degrees) with a private sunbathing deck or enjoy any of the Magic Spa treatments.
Why book – walking distance to everything, exceptional breakfast, great steak restaurant
Apartments in Baixa
Grape Harbor Prata Apartments – Most popular
Grape Harbor Prata Apartments offers spacious quiet apartments with a fully equipped kitchenette. The location is perfect for sightseeing, right in the heart of downtown Lisbon. Great continental breakfast with fresh bread and warm pastel de nata delivered each morning.
Why book – central location, 5min walk to 2 metro lines (Baixa-Chiado and Rossio stations), great breakfast
Residentas Arco do Bandeira – Best rated
Residentas Arco do Bandeira features a perfect location for first-time visitors, right on Praça Dom Pedro IV. The apartments reside within a renovated 18th-century building, a great example of the iconic Pombaline architectural style. Their elegant and practical design blends luxury with traditional elements, such as beautiful azulejos.
Why book – prime location, 5min walk to 2 metro lines (Restauradores and Rossio stations), luggage storage space
Bairro Alto – best area to stay in Lisbon for nightlife
The best place to stay in Lisbon for nightlife is Bairro Alto. This vibrant neighbourhood, which comes alive after dark, is famous for its late-night culture. From traditional Portuguese taverns serving local drinks to modern clubs, Bairro Alto offers something for everyone.
Set on a hill overlooking the city centre, the Bairro Alto district dates back to the 16th century. It is characterized by narrow cobblestone streets, lined with colourful buildings, fado houses and restaurants. The area is also known for its unique boutiques, vintage stores and cosy cafes. Among its most popular landmarks are Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara, the Church of Saint Roch and Elevador da Glória.
To experience the magic of the traditional Fado performances, make your way to O Faia or Fado ao Carmo. For a delicious taste of Portuguese cuisine, head to Grapes & Bites, Essencial or Mercearia do Século. And if you love good wine and charcuterie, don’t skip The Old Pharmacy. Finish the night at Jam Club (great cocktails and live performances), Pavilhão Chinês (unique atmosphere) or Gin Lovers Bar & Restaurant (excellent gin cocktails).
Why stay in Bairro Alto for nightlife
- a central picturesque neighbourhood, famous for its vibrant nightlife, ideal for dining and enjoying drinks
- for a traditional Fado experience, reserve your spot at the live show Fado in Chiado
- Bairro Alto is excellently connected to the rest of the city through the Baixa-Chiado metro station, where the green and blue metro lines intersect
However, I suggest staying a few blocks away from Bairro Alto as it can get quite noisy at night. Take a look at my hotel recommendations below, both are located in a quiet area, less than a 5min walk from Bairro Alto neighbourhood.
Pessoa Hotel – Most popular
Situated less than a 5min walk from the Bairro Alto district, the Pessoa Hotel is the ideal place to experience Lisbon’s nightlife scene. Rooms are modern and cosy, featuring a design inspired by the works of the famous poet Fernando Pessoa. In the hotel’s restaurant, Mensagem, you can taste delicious Portuguese dishes while enjoying the stunning panoramic city’s views.
Why book – 5min walk from the Bairro Alto, rooftop bar with panoramic views, great Spa with pool
Carmo Hotel – Best rated
The Carmo Hotel has a perfect location both for nightlife and sightseeing. It is close enough to the lively Bairro Alto but tucked away in a quieter area for a peaceful sleep when needed. Rooms are modern and some of them offer panoramic views of Lisbon’s old town. Maria do Carmo Restaurant serves delicious Portuguese traditional dishes.
Why book – 5min walk from the Bairro Alto, fantastic buffet breakfast
Praça Dom Pedro IV – Where to stay in Lisbon for one night
The best place to stay in Lisbon for one night is Praça Dom Pedro IV, also known as Rossio Square. It is located in the heart of the city, the Baixa district, giving you immediate access to many attractions, shops and restaurants.
Praça Dom Pedro IV is a beautiful square, full of history. It boasts a stunning fountain, surrounded by elegant historical buildings. On the western side of the square, you’ll find the Rossio Train Station, which stands out with its striking Neo-Manueline architecture.
Staying near Praça Dom Pedro IV provides you with easy access to some of the city’s most popular landmarks, including Santa Justa Lift and São Jorge Castle. You’ll be also within walking distance of the historic Alfama district and Bairro Alto’s nightlife.
Why stay near Praça Dom Pedro IV for one night
- most convenient place for an overnight stay, thanks to its central position
- walking distance to numerous top attractions, including Santa Justa Lift, São Jorge Castle, Lisbon Cathedral, Rua Augusta Arch and Church of Saint Roch
- Rossio train station connects you to Sintra with its famous Pena Palace and the rest of the country
- easy access to the airport via the metro (from Rossio station take the green metro line to Alameda and then switch to the red metro line to Aeroporto
Hotel Santa Justa – Best mid-range
Located right next to Praça Dom Pedro IV, Hotel Santa Justa is the perfect place for a one-night stay. It’s super close to Augusta Street, packed with lots of shops and restaurants. And here’s the best part – their restaurant, Elevator, doesn’t just have amazing food, they also have live Fado music every Tuesday and Thursday.
Why book – next to Praça Dom Pedro IV and 2 metro stations, free minibar, excellent buffet breakfast
Altis Avenida Hotel – Best luxury
For a memorable one-night stay in Lisbon, book a room at the Altis Avenida Hotel. The hotel is housed in a stunning historic building that combines classic Portuguese architecture with stylish Art Deco design. The rooftop bar, Rossio Gastrobar, is perfect for relaxed meals or cocktails. Additionally, their wellness centre includes amenities like a heated indoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna, and oxygen Spa therapy.
Why book – next to Praça Dom Pedro IV and 2 metro stations, rooftop terrace with panoramic views, heated indoor swimming pool
Cascais – Where to stay in Lisbon near beach
Although located near the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon itself doesn’t have a beach within the city limits. The nearest beach to the capital of Portugal is in the coastal towns of Cascais and Estoril (a 30-40 minute journey by train).
If you want to spend a few days enjoying the sun at the beach, I’d suggest dividing your time between Cascais and Lisbon. This is in case your trip is long enough. Alternatively, you can base yourself in Lisbon and take day trips to the coastal town of Cascais for a beach excursion. Below, I’ve outlined hotel and area suggestions for both choices, allowing you to make your own decision based on your preferences.
The best places to stay in Lisbon for beach
- Cascais – a small picturesque town on the Estoril Coast, known for its stunning beaches
- Chiado – a central district in Lisbon close to Cais do Sodré station, perfect both for sightseeing and day trips to Cascais
Cascais, a charming coastal town in Portugal, sits just west of Lisbon along the Estoril Coast. Once a fishing village, it is now a popular beach destination with historic charm. Cascais is famous for its beautiful beaches such as Praia da Rainha, Praia da Ribeira and Praia da Duquesa. Also, the famous Praia do Guincho, a beach known for its natural beauty, is easily reachable with just a 30-minute bus ride.
How to get to Cascais
Take a local train (Cascais Line) from Cais do Sodré train station in Lisbon to Cascais (a 30min journey). The journey is very scenic, providing stunning views of the bay as it follows the coastline.
Hotel Cascais Miragem Health & Spa – Most popular
Situated directly by the Atlantic Ocean, Hotel Cascais Miragem boasts stunning views of the Estoril and Cascais Bay. The wellness centre, Miragem Water Lounge, features a swimming pool, salt lake, sauna and Turkish bat. There are 2 dining options to choose from – Gourmet (a fine-dining Portuguese restaurant) and Oasis Terrace (Mediterranean cuisine). Cristóvão Colombo Bar offers an impressive selection of wines and exotic cocktails, making it an ideal place to unwind.
Why book – 5min walk to the beach, outdoor infinity pool, fantastic buffet breakfast
The Albatroz Hotel – Best rated
Situated on the cliffs of the Estoril Coast, the Albatroz Hotel offers spectacular views of the Cascais Bay. The popular beaches – Praia da Rainha, Praia da Ribeira and Praia da Duquesa are less than a 5-minute walk from the hotel. The Albatroz Restaurant offers a gourmet experience by blending iconic dishes with innovative Mediterranean fusion cuisine.
Why book – right on the beach, swimming pool, gourmet shop, excellent breakfast
Chiado is the best place to stay in Lisbon, if you want to explore the city but at the same time have easy access to the sandy beaches. With its central location, right between the Baixa and Bairro Alto neighbourhoods, Chiado is a great base to tour the city’s most popular sights. Additionally, the district provides easy access to transportation hubs like Cais do Sodré Station, from where direct trains to the Cascais coastline depart regularly.
From Cais do Sodré Station you can take a direct train to any of the numerous beaches, situated along the train route. Some of the most popular beaches are Praia da Caxias (a 15min ride), Praia de Carcavelos (a 20min ride), Praia do Tamariz and Praia da Rainha (a 30min ride).
Corpo Santo Historical Hotel – Most popular
Corpo Santo Hotel boasts a central location, ideal both for sightseeing and day trips to the Cascais coastline. It is just steps away from Cais do Sodré Train Station, Tagus River and the famous Praça do Comercio. The Porter Bistrô Restaurant at the hotel features a relaxed atmosphere with unique dishes, while the 146 Bar boasts an impressive cocktail menu.
Why book – 5min walk to Cais do Sodré Train Station and metro station, excellent breakfast
The Ivens Autograph Collection – Best rated
Housed in a 19th-century building, The Ivens Autograph Collection combines modern luxury with historic charm through its unique design. The location is perfect for sightseeing, just a short walk from Praça do Comercio and Santa Justa Lift. The hotel’s Rocco Restaurant offers a gastronomic journey with local flavours and international cuisine.
Why book – 10min walk to Cais do Sodré Station, 3min to Baixa-Chiado metro station, exceptional breakfast
Faqs about where to stay in Lisbon
If you’re visiting Lisbon for the first time, stay in Baixa. It is the most central district, filled with historical charm and great for shopping, dining, and sightseeing. You’ll be within walking distance from top attractions such as Santa Justa Lift, São Jorge Castle and Lisbon Cathedral.
The best area to stay in Lisbon is Baixa. It’s the city’s vibrant downtown area, close to major sights (such as Santa Justa Lift and São Jorge Castle) and easy to explore. Baixa is packed with history, charming streets, and a mix of traditional and modern vibes. Plus, it’s well-connected by public transport, making it super convenient to get around.
No. Although Belém is a great area with historical landmarks such as Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower, I wouldn’t recommend it for first-timers. The neighbourhood is a bit farther out from the city centre (around a 40-minute trip using public transport). This means you’ll spend a lot of time travelling to get to most places, which will be inconvenient.
It’s better to stay in Lisbon and visit Sintra on a day trip. Lisbon offers more accommodation options and nightlife and there are plenty of attractions to visit. Sintra, while stunning, is smaller, making it ideal for a day visit rather than using it as a base to explore Lisbon.
No, Lisbon doesn’t have a beach directly within the city centre. However, it’s close to several stunning beaches along the Atlantic coastline. Some of the popular nearby beaches include Carcavelos, Cascais, and Estoril, easily accessible by train or car from Lisbon.
Best hotels to stay in Lisbon, Portugal
|🔝 Most popular hotel
|Browns Central Hotel
|8.9 | 4,310+ reviews
|🏩 Best mid-range hotel
|Portugal Boutique Hotel
|9.3 | 3,010+ reviews
|💎 Best luxury hotel
|Altis Avenida Hotel
|9.0 | 1,790+ reviews
|💖 Best hotel for couples
|Figueira by The Beautique Hotels & SPA
|8.8 | 3,490+ reviews
|👨👩👧👦 Best hotel for families
|Hotel Santa Justa
|9.1 | 2,810+ reviews
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