Bairro Alto – An overview of Lisbon’s most vibrant neighborhood

Bairro Alto is one of Lisbon’s most vibrant and trendiest neighborhoods. It has chic shops, beautiful parks, good transportation, and tons of bars and restaurants.

People gather in Lisbon's Bairro Alto prior to a night out
People gather in Lisbon’s Bairro Alto prior to a night out

Calhariz

Not far from Praça Luis de Camões is Calhariz. If we consider that Bairro Alto is on a slope, Calhariz is at the bottom, and it is flat.

Here you will find the upper terminal for the Elevador da Bica, and also a stop for Tram 28E. These are two of the most scenic rides in Lisbon.

Calhariz is just a few steps away from the Miradouro de Santa Catarina viewpoint, and a little west of the Chiado neighborhood.

Miradouro de Santa Catarina viewpoint

Wine Bar that overlooks the Tejo River at Miradouro da Santa Catarina, Lisbon, Portugal
Wine bar overlooking the Tejo River at Miradouro da Santa Catarina viewpoint

There is a kiosk with wifi at this scenic viewpoint.

If you don’t want to spend kiosk prices (which are quite reasonable), there is plenty of space just outside the kiosk’s area, where many young locals and tourists bring their own bottles to watch the sunset.

For more information: Ultimate guide to the Miradouro de Santa Catarina viewpoint

While there is a great view of the river and the bridge, the Miradouro de Santa Catarina is not the only free sunset view in Bairro Alto. There is also the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara.

Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara overlook

The fountain at Sao Pedro de Alcantara viewpoint in Lisbon lit up at night
The fountain at Sao Pedro de Alcantara viewpoint in Lisbon lit up at night

This park has a scenic viewpoint overlooking all of downtown Lisbon (the Baixa) and has views of the castle on the opposite hill.

It can be one of the more romantic spots in Lisbon, and in June, it is the site of a block party with a stage, picnic tables, and vendors selling food and alcohol.

For more information: São Pedro de Alcântara Viewpoint – How to visit and what to see

Igreja de São Roque

Golden Chapel that was built in Rome and shipped to Lisbon's Igreja de Sao Roque
At one time the most expensive chapel in the world, this chapel was built in Rome and later shipped to Lisbon’s São Roque Church

The humble exterior of this church gives no hints of what you will find inside – one of the most dazzling churches in the world. 

Even if you aren’t interested in churches, it is worth seeing the opulence and beauty of this one.

To learn more, see my article, São Roque Church in Lisbon – What to know before visiting

Elevador da Glória goes to Bairro Alto

Ascensor da Gloria funicular delivers passengersfrom Restauadores Square to Bairro Alto in Lisbon, Portugal
Ascensor (Elevador) da Glória

This funicular is an easy way to get to Bairro Alto from the lowlands without having to slog up the steep hills. The upper terminal is located right next to the São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint. The lower terminus is located just off of Praça dos Restauradores. Read my How to get to Bairro Alto? (Hint: Take the Glória Funicular) for more information.

Elevador da Bica also goes to Bairro Alto

Ascensor da Bica funicular going up to Bairro Alto in Lisbon, Portugal
Ascensor (Elevador) da Bica going up to Bairro Alto

This funicular is near the TimeOut Market in Cais do Sodré at the lower end, and carries passengers up to Calhariz, very close to the Miradouro de Santa Catarina. It traverses one of the most beautiful streets in Lisbon. Top things to know about the Elevador da Bica

Buses and Trams in Bairro Alto

Bus 22 is a van that does a circular route from the bottom of Bairro Alto to the top of the hill.  

Tram 28E is a moving monument that runs across the city from east to west and vice versa.  While some of the best scenery is found in Alfama on the other side of town, it is often easier to find room on the tram on this side of the city and ride it in reverse. For more information, see my Where does Tram 28 stop? All you need to know about Tram 28

Jardim do Príncipe Real

This garden is one of the best spots in Lisbon to have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Read more, Jardim do Príncipe Real – one of Lisbon’s most beautiful parks

Embaixada shopping

Embaixada Boutique Shopping in Lisbon's Bairro Alto / Principe Real neighborhood

A boutique shopping center filled with local designers, art exhibitions, and a beautiful gin bar.

Notable restaurants in Bairro Alto

100 Maneiras

One of the most notable restaurants in Bairro Alto is the Michelin Star 100 Maneiras (100 Ways).

Located at Rua do Teixeira 39, this project is owned by Yugoslavian celebrity chef and cookbook author, Ljubomir Stanisic.

Meals start at €95. To reserve: Home – 100 Maneiras For more information on the other Michelin Star restaurants in and around Lisbon, check my article, Introducing Lisbon’s Michelin Star Restaurants, 2022 edition

Tapisco

Chef Henry Sá Pessoa’s Tapisco, Rua Dom Pedro V 81 does not have a Michelin Star this year, but the chef does have a collection of them.  

The 32-seat restaurant is small.  Twelve of the seats are at the bar.  Reservations will ensure that you have one of those seats.

I ate there the other night.  My bill came to €54 with a tip and two glasses of wine.  It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. 

As an appetizer, I had La bomba de Lisboa, a small plate with two round potato and beef croquets that brought the flavor of the Basque country. 

For the main dish, I had a duck breast with bacon, potato, and celery puree.  

I highly recommend this restaurant and making reservations in advance.

Official site: https://tapisco.pt/lisboa_en.html

Cevicheria

Restaurante A Cevicheria in Bairro Alto, Lisbon is known for its ceviche, pisco sour drinks, clean decor, and giant octopus suspended from the ceiling
Restaurante A Cevicheria

Another highly rated and unique dining experience in Bairro Alto is the beautiful restaurant Cevichería.

Located at Rua Dom Pedro V 129 between Jardim do Príncipe Real and the São Pedro de Alcântara overlook, the house specialties are ceviche – raw fish cured in lime juice, and delicious Peruvian Pisco sour cocktails.

The clean and chic restaurant has outdoor dining (reserve in advance The Cevicheria | Chef Kiko | Lisbon (acevicheria.pt)) but is known for the huge octopus sculpture above the chef’s station / bar.

A nice meal at Cevichería with a cocktail or two could run between €25 – €50.

For those on a budget, there is plenty to choose from in Bairro Alto, including pastelarias selling pastéis de nata The big difference between Pastéis de Belém and Pastéis de Nata – lisbontravelideas.com, ethnic food Best places to try ethnic food in Lisbon – lisbontravelideas.com , and fast food Europe’s best fast food – the Doner Kebab – In Lisbon! – lisbontravelideas.com

Bairro Alto nightlife

Much of the vibrant nightlife is found between Rua do Norte, Rua da Atalaia, and Rua de Diário das Noticias. Other hot spots are around the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint and around the Jardim do Príncipe Real park on Rua Dom Pedro V.

Whether you are looking for a drag show, a wine bar A quick guide to wine bars, wine tours, and wine tastings in Lisbon , reggaeton, an Irish pub Where to watch a game in Lisbon – Lisbon’s Irish and English pubs, rock, techno, fado Everything you need to know about fado music in Lisbon, live music, or a place to shoot pool, you can find it in Bairro Alto. 

Bairro Alto is one of the most vibrant nighttime neighborhoods in Lisbon.

Bar Pavilhão Chinês

The main bar at Pavilhao Chines, Bairro Alto, Lisbon
Main bar, Pavilhão Chinês

Rua Dom Pedro V 89 – 91

One of the most unique bars in Lisbon. Pavilhão Chinês is famous for its decor. The bar with five rooms has displays of collections of coffee and tea cups, hats, toys, model airplanes, model trains, and more.

There are pool tables, and the bar has two senior bartenders who are the epitome of class and professionalism. If you pay attention as they create a variety of cocktails from all over the world, you will probably learn something about mixology.

Official site: PAVILHÃO CHINÊS (barpavilhaochines.blogspot.com)

Royal palace guard mannequin at Pavilhão Chines Bar, Bairro Alto, Lisbon
Standing guard near the door at Pavilhão Chinês

Popular hotels in Bairro Alto

Verride Palácio Santa Catarina

Rua de Santa Catarina 1

This five-star hotel is probably as good as it gets in Lisbon.  Guests can have breakfast on the terrace overlooking the Tejo River.  At night guests can watch the sunset from the in-house rooftop bar and restaurant, SUBA.  

While the hotel is located in Bairro Alto, it is on one of the rare flat streets in the neighborhood.  Tram 28E and the Elevador da Bica are both right around the corner, and Pracça Luís de Camões and the trendy Chiado shopping district are just down the street.  

Nominated for Europe’s Leading Luxury Boutique Hotel by World Travel Awards.

Pets are welcome.

This hotel has a pool, and paid, covered valet parking is available.

To book: https://www.booking.com/hotel/pt/verride-palacio-santa-catarina.en.html?aid=7930224&no_rooms=1&group_adults=2

Memmo Príncipe Real

Rua Dom Pedro V 56J

The first five-star boutique hotel among the mansions of the 19th-century Príncipe Real (Royal Prince) neighborhood. 

Their Café Príncipe Real offers traditional Portuguese dishes as well as international cuisine.

Rooms start at around 272€.

To book: https://www.booking.com/hotel/pt/memmo-principe-real.en.html?aid=7930224&no_rooms=1&group_adults=2

Hotel Anjo Azul

Rua Luz Soriano 75

Within a block of this small two-star hotel you will find two little supermarkets, a laundry, a bus stop, restaurants, and some of the best nightlife in Lisbon. Nonetheless, this hotel is fairly quiet.

The hotel has several floors, but no elevator. Specify if you need a room on a lower level.

Service at Hotel Azul Anjo is very good, and prices start at 100€ per night.

To book: https://www.booking.com/hotel/pt/anjo-azul.en.html?aid=7930224&no_rooms=1&group_adults=2

Independente Hostel and Suites

Rua de São Pedro de Alcântara 81

Independente Hostel and Suites has an excellent location across from the Ascensor da Glória and the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint.

There is a bar and restaurant on site.

Air-conditioned dorms start at 42€. Queen bed rooms start at 167€. Suites go from 244€.

To book: https://www.booking.com/hotel/pt/the-independente-hostel-suites.en.html?aid=7930224&no_rooms=1&group_adults=2

Alface Hall Hostel

Rua do Norte 98

Not just a hostel, but their bar is one of the top music venues in Lisbon.

Twin rooms start at 46€.

To book: https://www.booking.com/hotel/pt/alface-hostel.en.html?aid=7930224&no_rooms=1&group_adults=2

Thank you for taking the time to read about the Bairro Alto neighborhood. I also have articles about Alfama neighborhood, Baixa Lisbon’s downtown – Baixa: Everything you need to know – lisbontravelideas.com , and Belém. Lisbon’s historic Belém neighborhood | Everything you need to know

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