GQ (Australia) - - TASTE + TRAVEL -

Lisbon is a city of clearly de­fined neigh­bour­hoods, where just a short stroll can take you from the wind­ing al­ley­ways of an­cient Alfama to the wide boule­vards of mod­ern Chi­ado; from the rau­cous heights of party-town Bairro Alto to the sketchy port­side bars of Al­can­tara. De­spite its steep hills, this is a com­pact city eas­ily nav­i­gated on foot – though if walk­ing doesn’t ap­peal, trams still run through many of the pop­u­lar ar­eas, plus there’s a metro rail sys­tem, and taxis and Uber are more than af­ford­able.

Bairro Alto

Sprawled across a hill­top near the city centre, Bairro Alto is the heart of Lisbon’s nightlife, a neigh­bour­hood whose cob­bled streets are charm­ing by day, and teem­ing with rev­ellers at night. Drink­ing on the street is le­gal in Lisbon – the foot­paths here as busy as the pubs.


Those crav­ing his­tor­i­cal charm need look no fur­ther than Alfama, one of Lisbon’s old­est neigh­bour­hoods – a place of nar­row al­leys and steep stair­cases, of small squares sur­rounded by brightly tiled apart­ment blocks. Grand­moth­ers call out to each other from win­dows; kids kick soc­cer balls in the street. This is also the best place to see fado, Portuguese folk mu­sic, played live in a lo­cal bar.


El­e­gant, pic­turesque Belem has long been pop­u­lar with trav­ellers thanks to its wa­ter frontage, his­toric build­ings and mu­se­ums, and a lit­tle place called Pasteis de Belem – the pas­try shop that in­vented the Portuguese tart. There are al­ways long queues, but it’s worth the wait.

Principe Real

Think of Principe Real as Bairro Alto’s slightly more ma­ture sib­ling, a neigh­bour­hood that still has plenty of bars, cafes, restau­rants and gin­jin­herias – shops sell­ing tra­di­tional sour cherry liqueur – but they’re of the more laid­back, lo­cal va­ri­ety. Principe Real is also home to some of Lisbon’s best art and de­sign stores.


Down­town Lisbon is a per­fect grid of nar­row streets and pedes­trian malls that lead to the wa­ter­front. This is where you’ll find most of the city’s ho­tels, as well as some large plazas in which to sit with a beer and en­joy the scenery. Baixa has a no­table ad­van­tage, too: it’s dead flat, which is un­usual in this un­du­lat­ing city.

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