BAIRRO ALTO + CHIADO
Lisbon's cultural and bohemian heart; nightlife and shopping mecca
BAIRRO ALTO is a picturesque working class quarter dating from the 16th
century that has traditionally been the city's bohemian haunt of artists and
Its grid of streets is quiet during the day, but is transformed at night into the city's vibrant nightlife quarter. Behind colorful and graffiti-ridden façades is a variety of traditional and international restaurants, tourist-packed Fado Houses, and a multitude of bars and alternative shops that stay open until late at night. Throughout the week, and especially on weekends you'll find people of all ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles bar-hopping through the cobbled lanes or standing outside with a drink in hand enjoying the city's usual mild nights. It is possible to stay right in the heart of this district, with many self-catering holiday rentals offered by local owners, as well as many more traditional hotel offerings.
The main commercial streets are Rua do Norte, Rua da Atalaia, and Rua do Diario de Noticias, from where it is easy to reach Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara (a garden-terrace with a panoramic view over the city), and two of the city's most interesting churches: São Roque with its magnificent baroque interior and the romantic Gothic ruins of Carmo Church.
Neighboring CHIADO is an elegant, sophisticated district of theaters, bookshops, old-style cafes, art nouveau jewelry shops, luxurious international names such as Hermes, and local treasures such as the opulently gilded Tavares Rico Restaurant opened in 1784, the fine porcelain shop Vista Alegre, or one of Portugal's international fashion designers, Ana Salazar.
Much of the area was destroyed in a fire in 1988, but has since been reborn. It remains one of Lisbon's most beloved districts, with reminders of its past as the center of the city's intellectual life, with statues of literary figures such as Fernando Pessoa, Luis de Camões, and Eça de Queiroz.
Up the hill is PRINCIPE REAL, an area known for its antique and interior design shops on Rua Dom Pedro V and Rua da Escola Politecnica, and also for being the city's gay quarter with a number of gay bars and clubs. In the streets from the Principe Real Garden down to the riverfront, especially in Rua de São Marçal, are attractive 19th century townhouses and some of the most tranquil spots in the city, such as the leafy Praça das Flores.
To the west is the district of Estrela, dominated by a huge domed basilica. It is not too far from the country's parliament, the neoclassical São Bento Palace, and connects to the west to opulent Lapa, the diplomatic quarter with grand embassy buildings and old mansions. It is also the site of the Ancient Art Museum, one of the city's top attractions.
Bairro Alto + Chiado TIPS
The area's top 3 sights: São Roque
Church, St. Catherine Church
Don't forget to: Return to Bairro Alto at night for its vibrant nightlife and some of the city's best restaurants, bars, and alternative shops.
Off the beaten path: The popular tram 28 passes by, but few stop to see the pretty Estrela Basilica.
Transportation: Take the metro or walk from downtown to reach Chiado and Bairro Alto. To get to Estrela and Lapa, take tram 28 or 25.
Recommended HOTELS: Hotel do Chiado, Bairro Alto Hotel, As Janelas Verdes
Recommended RESTAURANTS: Pap'Açorda, Tavares Rico, A Travessa, Olivier
MAP of Bairro Alto & Chiado: Where to locate all of Bairro Alto and Chiado's sights
Bairro Alto + Chiado ACCOMMODATION
Bairro Alto + Chiado ATTRACTIONS
Roque Church - Home of the world's most expensive chapel
Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara - A garden with a panoramic view over the city.
Camoes Square - A busy square and meeting place between Chiado and Bairro Alto.
Chiado Museum - Museum of Portuguese contemporary art.
Sao Carlos Theater - The city's La Scala-inspired opera house.
Carmo Church - Romantic Gothic ruins evocative of the Great Earthquake.
Principe Real - Charming leafy square.
Miradouro de Santa Catarina - A terrace and cafe with a view.
Botanical Garden - An enchanting botanical garden.
Basilica da Estrela - Pretty domed basilica.
Estrela Gardens - Pleasant park with exotic plants.
Sao Bento Palace - The country's Neoclassical parliament.
Marionette Museum - Lovely collection of puppets from around the world.
Ancient Art Museum - Fascinating Oriental and European art.
Broad squares, 18th century architecture, patterned pavements, popular
Bairro Alto & Chiado - Vibrant nightlife, picturesque streets, classic and alternative culture, chic shopping, restaurants
Belem - The Age of Discovery, grandiose monuments, museums
Alfama - Medieval maze, spectacular views, an imposing castle, the sounds of Fado
Uptown - Masterpieces and museum treasures, shopping malls
Parque das Nações - The 21st century by the Tagus; futuristic architecture