Bairro Alto is one of Lisbon’s trendiest neighbourhoods, known for its charming shops, hip restaurants and vibrant nightlife. Climb aboard the Bica Funicular or stroll up to Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara for the best city views. Bairro is also a fantastic place to stay the night on a trip to the Portuguese capital, with a great range of boutique guesthouses, luxury hotels and budget hostels peppered throughout the district. Here are Culture Trip’s top picks to help you sleep right in the heart of the action.
The Lumiares Hotel and Spa is located on the eastern edge of Bairro Alto, directly opposite the Glória Funicular and a short walk from the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. From the stunning art deco chandelier by Scottish artist Beau McClellan hanging in its main staircase, to its apartment-style suites with modern Portuguese decor, the Lumiares oozes style. Don’t miss Lumi Rooftop, its top-floor bar and restaurant, where you can watch the sunset and sip on a cold vinho verde.
If you’re on a slightly tighter budget, consider staying at the Hub New Lisbon Hostel. At the northern end of Bairro Alto, this hostel takes fun seriously, with fantastic communal areas and an artisanal cocktail bar. It also offers plenty of great social activities, including regular pub crawls, billiard and foosball tables, and a large projector screen to watch movies or football. There’s even a pool here, though not the kind you might expect – hidden in the hostel’s basement is a ball ‘pool’ filled with over 70,000 plastic balls you can dive right into.
Found at the northern end of Bairro Alto, Lookout Lisbon! offers everything you’d expect from a top hostel experience: a welcoming atmosphere, knowledgeable staff, comfortable beds, well-designed rooms and a delicious breakfast to get your day started. Plenty of organised activities at Lookout Lisbon! Hostel will keep you occupied during your stay, such as regular excursions to Belém and the fairytale town of Sintra. Don’t miss the hostel’s free sangria nights.
For a more refined hostel experience, check out the quirky Independente Hostel and Suites. There’s something for everyone here, with a choice between well-priced hostel beds and stylish private rooms – all decorated with an eclectic mix of vintage furniture. Breakfast is served at the popular ground-floor restaurant, while evenings can be spent at the rooftop bar. The Independente is perfect for those seeking the affordability of a hostel with the style and comfort of a boutique hotel.
For a little luxury without breaking the bank, try the Palácio das Especiarias, or Spice Palace. This historic building dates to the 16th century, when Lisbon was the centre of a global empire and spices were imported from around the world. Located just outside Bairro Alto, on the edge of Praça Luís de Camões, the Palácio offers beautifully decorated rooms, friendly staff and an excellent breakfast. Highlights include dinner at the in-house Taverna Camões and breakfast accompanied by live piano music each morning.
Originally built as the residence of the Earl of Verride, this impressive 18th-century palace has had multiple uses over the years before its recent redevelopment as a luxury hotel. With only 19 rooms and suites, expect a personalised and intimate experience at the Verride. All rooms here come with designer sheets and toiletries, while the hotel’s excellent restaurants serve contemporary Portuguese cuisine. A rooftop, complete with a bar and swimming pool, offers stunning panoramic views of Lisbon.
Lisbon’s cultural scene includes plenty of fantastic art galleries – and here’s your chance to spend the night in one. Part guesthouse, part art gallery, Raw Culture is set in a former print factory in the heart of Bairro Alto. Its loft apartments, each equipped with kitchenettes and space for up to four guests, are decorated with retro furniture and pieces from the owner’s private art collection – including works by popular Portuguese artists such as Miguel Januário, João Castro Silva and Wasted Rita. Temporary exhibitions and events often take place in the ground-floor gallery space.
If you’re a bit of a party animal, the Alface Hostel is the place to be. Here, the lively bars and restaurants of Bairro Alto – including the renowned Adega Machado fado club, just a few doors down – are within walking distance of your bed, and as the hostel is budget-friendly, you won’t be strapped for cash. The hostel’s wooden floors and shabby chic design make for an authentically bohemian vibe. While the Alface Hostel may be relatively basic, its location right in the heart of Bairro Alto’s nightlife is hard to beat.
Couples with young children looking for a place to stay in Bairro Alto should book 9Hotel Mercy. You’ll have a choice of ten rooms that sleep up to three people, bottle warmers and cots are provided, plus there’s a babysitting service on request. Enjoy a meal for two in the rooftop restaurant – located on the sixth floor, it offers panoramic views across old town and São Jorge castle. Try one of the creative Tea Cocktails in the Double 9 Bar before bedding down for the night.
Nina Zietman contributed additional reporting to this article.
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