The 7 Best Places to Live in Lisbon
Lisbon is a historic, picturesque city overflowing with music, culture, and breathtaking views.
Portugal’s 2,800-year-old capital is the country’s cultural, economic, and political centre – plus it sits on the Atlantic coast, which means delicious seafood and stunning beaches.
And you won’t be alone as an expat. After all, there are more than 18,000 Brits enjoying life in Portugal, many of whom have found their slice of paradise in Lisbon (United Nations, 2019).
You deserve to find a home that reflects Lisbon’s incredible history, but with 24 parishes and more than 160 neighbourhoods to choose from, it’s not easy. Don’t worry, though – we’re here to help.
Whether you want an area with the best culture, the best food, or the best chance of finding a bargain property, we’ve got you covered – from Alcântara-Mar to Xabregas.
The best neighbourhoods in Lisbon for cheap property
If you’re looking to secure a bargain property near the seaside, Ajuda is the perfect place for you.
You can buy a three-bedroom house for around €600,000 (£510,000), which is especially cheap for the relatively expensive Portuguese capital.
And Ajuda is more than just a savvy purchase; it’s also a pretty face.
This southern area of Lisbon is home to the oldest botanical garden in the country, a tight-knit community spirit that you won’t find in the city centre, and a chunk of the glorious, enormous Monsanto Forest Park – plus the palace.
The mesmerising National Palace was initially intended to temporarily house the country’s royal family after the catastrophic 1755 earthquake and tsunami, but over the next 40 years, despite financial troubles and a French invasion, it was built into a masterpiece.
The royals then lived in the palace for 115 years, until the 1910 revolution overthrew the monarchy and created a republic.
Lisbon is gorgeous, warm, and culturally vibrant
London has Shoreditch, Manchester has Ancoats, and Birmingham has Digbeth. Lisbon has Marvila.
You can buy a two-bedroom home here for around €700,000 (£600,000).
On the eastern edge of Lisbon, next to the Tagus river, lies this former industrial area that’s been transformed into a hub of art, craft beer, and coworking spaces, as well as some intensely cool bars and clubs.
Property is still comparatively cheap, but with Marvila’s coolness level increasing rapidly, that won’t last forever – so now is the time to invest.
The best neighbourhood in Lisbon for green spaces
Just like fellow former European Cup winners Chelsea, Benfica is an area of the capital as well as one of its best football clubs.
The pitch at Benfica’s Estádio da Luz isn’t the only green space in the area, though – far from it.
The majority of Benfica is made up of the gigantic Monsanto Forest Park, and most of the park’s 10km² is located in this neighbourhood.
As well as the requisite walking and cycling trails, this enormous green space offers wonders such as adventure playgrounds and an amusement park for children, a race track for remote control cars, and the beautiful Fronteira Palace.
The best neighbourhood in Lisbon for culture
Lisbon is 16 times smaller than London. If it were in the UK, it would be our 18th-biggest city, just behind Stoke-on-Trent – so take in everything this wonderful locale has to offer, because there’s really no excuse.
With that said, Arroios is special.
This multicultural hub is summed up by its dining options, which range from unbeatable dim sum at Grande Palácio Hong-Kong, through tantalising Mexican fare at El Taco Chingón, to massive, mouthwatering seafood dishes at 70-year-old local institution Ramiro.
There’s always something happening at Anjos70, Mercado de Culturas, and Casa Independente, which all regularly host the coolest concerts, art exhibitions, and markets around – and if you enjoy historical culture, the São Lázaro Municipal Library is perfect.
However, despite including so many excellent establishments, Arroios encompasses just 1.1km². Our best advice is to embrace cultural offerings throughout the city, wherever you decide to live.
The capital contains countless museums and palaces, fantastic flea markets, as well as Livraria Bertrand, the oldest bookshop in the world.
Lisbon is also home to two of Portugal’s three most successful football clubs – Benfica and Sporting Lisbon – whose magnificently atmospheric stadiums are well worth a visit.
The two capital clubs are engaged in a seemingly endless three-way struggle with Porto for supremacy, and it’s gone well for Lisbon’s supporters recently – Benfica or Sporting have lifted the trophy in six of the past eight seasons.
The best neighbourhood in Lisbon for food
This is the home of the pastel de nata, a scrumptious egg custard tart invented by 18th-century Catholic monks who found a use for the yolks that were leftover from starching their garments with egg whites.
In 1837 that monastery closed, and the recipe was sold to new owners who opened the Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém to create and sell these delightful treats.
The recipe is a closely guarded secret, meaning you’ll never taste an authentic pastel de nata anywhere but here.
Belém is the Portuguese translation of Bethlehem, which is appropriate: both places have provided the world with a subject of widespread adoration.
Make sure you also enjoy some scrumptious seafood at Vela Latina, home-cooked Brazilian food at Solar do Embaixador, and dazzling creations at Michelin star recipient Restaurante Feitoria.
The best neighbourhood in Lisbon for nightlife
This one wasn’t close. Bairro Alto is filled to the brim with bohemian passion that finds expression in street art, traditional Fado music, and more hipster bars and clubs than you can count.
At night, the area truly comes alive, with crowds of happy revellers hopping from establishment to establishment in search of new experiences.
Enjoy a relaxed, cheap night in the quirky Loucos e Sonhadores (translation: Lunatics and Dreamers), or mix up your quirkiness with elegance at the peerless Pavilhão Chinês bar.
Look for the red door, ring the bell, and enjoy the vibes of this former grocery store, which can best be described as part-museum, part-curiosity shop, and part-Victorian era grandiosity.
And when it gets hot, head to the roofs.
Enjoy the stunning views at Park, a rooftop bar on the sixth floor of a multi-storey car park, and Insólito (translation: Unusual), a bar with delicious small plates and a deer bust with a bow tie that ensures the place lives up to its name.
The best neighbourhood in Lisbon for schools
This central area is home to some of the best international schools around.
From the ages of three to 15, your junior expats can attend Redbridge School, where they’ll have three dedicated teachers – one to teach them Portuguese, one for French, and one for English.
The school’s 22 classes contain 390 children, or around 18 kids per classroom, representing 19 different nationalities.
You can also send your children to the Lycée Français Charles Lepiérre Lisbonne, where they can graduate with a baccalauréat, or the more modern PaRK International School, a bilingual institution that can educate your kids from age one all the way to 18.
Finding a place to live in Lisbon
By now, you should have an excellent idea of where you’d like to live when you move to gorgeous Lisbon. That’s a huge step.
The next part is finding a home in the right neighbourhood and securing it.
That’s where PerchPeek can help. PerchPeek can provide you with specialists who know the local area, and are happy to talk any time of day.
They’ll help find you a place, get you a viewing, sort out the paperwork, and get you settled in.
Just pop your details in this short form to sign up for a free phone consultation.