What are the best Lisbon neighborhoods to live in?

Hello friends :slight_smile:

Moving to Lisbon with my gf for some slow nomadism in November '16 and could really use some recommendations as to where to set up a longer term residence! I just finished about 9 months in Brasil (Portuguese is still basic, but getting better everyday) and 10 months in Australia before that. I’ve applied for the residency visa so I won’t get the boot after 90 days like most US citizens in the Schengen zone.

Looking for something somewhat trendy, with good places to eat and near public transit. Would love to keep rent under $800/month for 1bd place, but can go up to $1000. I’ve heard about Santos and Alcantara from another nomadic blog, but would appreciate any insight on favorite hoods/locations and generally getting around Lisbon.

Cheers,
Kozy

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anywhere inside the green area will fit your budget and requirements.

santos and alcantara are nice but not as hot as bairro alto, rato, alfama, baixa

getting around lisbon really depends on where you live and where you want to go. but you’ll either be driving or taking the subway (or bus).

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Alcântara will put you near Lx Factory which is a pretty awesome mini-neighborhood with indie shops, bars, cafés and office spots. There’s also good transportation around, so could be a great option at a lower price point.

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Would it help to have a map where you can draw the areas and comment on them :wink:

Like this:

http://pickingplaces.com/b/areas/lisbon

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Hi Kozy

I lived in Lisbon for a few months, I loved it, and I think I could be of help here.

In my opinion, Avenidas Novas would fit your description “somewhat trendy, with good places to eat and near public transit” - this is a modern city area well-served by transport (unlike most historical ones) as it was built in the 20th century. I was able to work from a different wif-fi café/bakery almost every day, and never covered them all (check Linha d’Agua for example), an endless choice of local and international food and easy access to the party town (10-5 min via metro). My favorite spot was a park (Gulbenkian) with high speed wi-fi where I could work “in the nature” while the shopping center is 5 min walk. Another positive is that as this is the business City, you get things open until late.

Second best, I’d say São Bento - walking distance to party, the trendiest restaurants in town on your doorstep, again loads of wi-fi cafés. Downside is the transport - its an area built on a steep hill with the nearest metro (Rato) being on top of that same hill. However, compared to Avenidas Novas this area feels much more authentic with its tramways, 19/20 century buildings, markets. It is expensive but your indicated budget would be OK pretty much anywhere in Lisbon.

Alcantara, as somebody already mentioned, is great for nomads because of the LX factory and its under-the-huge-bridge appeal but for a longer stay you might get bored of LX and Alcantara is somewhat isolated from the city. Also, public transport is affected by mass tourism - you do have the trams but you might wait for 3-4 cars before you squeeze in. I prefer the relatively quiet metro station and trip from “Parque” million times.

If you feel adventurous (maybe for 1 week of your stay), have a look at Casilhas - its on the opposite side of the river Tagus (Tejo) and it is served by regular transport of a Portuguese kind - iconic orange boats which take 8 mins to get you to the Lisbon port, just in front of the bar area. I lived on the other side for a while too and travelling by boat twice per day (for 2.30 return!) with the great view this trip offers, tops all public transport in the world. It really makes your day. Living in Casilhas also means you have a selection of fish restaurants on your doorstep, and an awesome view of the city. It’s 2x+ cheaper. However, last boat is at 1.40 am and you might get stuck on the wrong side of the river later than that (taxi circa 25 euro). Nothings works late and the wi-fi cafés are limited edition.

My recommendation - Alcantara, Casilhas or Alfama for short (romantic/cultural) stay; Sao Bento/Rato or Avenidas Novas for longer term city life with easy access to anything.

This is obviously my view - if you need anything else, let me know.
P.s. I’ll be in town for the Web Summit in 2 weeks.

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@kolyo.g.kolev already said everything :slight_smile: I’d just like to add that almost every Portuguese person understands basic English, and most are proficient, so language won’t be a problem.

Also, Uber is your bestfriend in Lisbon when going out of the “touristic center” (pretty much the area in green), cheap, fast, transparent.

Lisbon is very car friendly (even tho the locals don’t think so), you can get anywhere really fast unless it’s rush hour.

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Thanks for the comprehensive reply! Lots of good info to digest.

Are there many coworking spaces by Avenidas Novas? I’ve found after some time nomading that I tend to be more productive/am more disciplined working from hotdesks than necessarily wifi cafes or even parks. I train parkour so enjoy my outdoor spaces outside of my normal work haha (extra points if you know any spots or people in that community!) The high speed wifi park sounds tempting though! Very much like that this neighborhood seems close to several metro stops (blue, yellow, & red lines if I’m not mistaken). How’s the view from there? Looks hard to beat Alfama’s view :slight_smile:

Was looking at a spot near Sao Bento that I liked quite a bit, but glad you mentioned the hill as it can be tricky to figure out the topography of the neighborhood you’ll be in without doing a full GoogleEarth tour.

Adding Casilhas to the list for maybe a nice long weekend to try it out!

I hear the trams are fairly packed from several people - so they’re not the most reliable to get around the old, touristic parts of the city? Not shying away from uber (long-time user and advocate) but know it can get expensive on a daily basis

Hi - glad to help, it’s no secret I love Lisbon!

The main coworking spaces in Lisbon are in Chiado/ Cais do Sodré/ Parque das Naçoes. I’m not an expert in these as I work from home, coffee shops or parks, but if you’re looking for an authentic and chilled out space, give Cowork Campolide a try https://www.facebook.com/coworkcampolide/ - about 10-5 min walk from Avenidas Novas. You’ll be treated well. There are others around Saldanha, but I found them more corporate and dry.

Regarding Parkour, you’ve probably watched the videos of the Line Team already - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzR_csffXWopRb64mkxZRgQ I don’t know them in person but they might be your best bet. Being the city of seven hills and offering a great staircase per capita rate, the entire city comes close to a parkourer’s dream, I guess.

Everything is on a hill in Lisbon, except for the small Baixa area and Santos. Avenidas Novas, unlike all the rest is on a hill which doesn’t challenge you to the extreme. I used to walk there as the weather in Lisbon is usually fantastic, and Uber/metro when it rains. Yes, all lines of the metro are also on your doorstep - it is the best connected area. AN has a nice viewpoint at the top of the Eduardo VII park, but it doesn’t feature in my Top 5 viewpoints (Miradouros) as these belong to the historical hills, closer to the river. One of the best being Miradouro da Senhora do Monte.

I would only take a tram if a friend was visiting me (the iconic 28 running from Alfama to Bairro Alto), or if i have the day to explore a new area of the old city. However, it is not a reliable day-to-day transport, with the exception of the Estrela/Santos neighborhoods where there are less or no tourists (but students) and better frequency.

Hope this helps, and anything else - let me know

Great recommendations again! Hahaha, that’s awesome…yeah Luis and Pedro of Line Team (in that video) are legends in the int’l scene. Trained with Luis once in Rio I think - awesome guy!

Getting around on the daily: since it’s so hilly are bikes or a boosted board (motorized longboard) not recommended? Fine with walking, but also like other options if they’re available.

Also, how do you recommend getting a place? AirBnb? Uniplaces?

Thank you!
Not an expert in boosted boards, so can’t comment there, but it’s a general consensus Lisbon is not a bike-friendly city, and once you land you will quickly understand why (traffic, roadworks, small alleys…). Then, you seem professional so these obstacles could make it more fun for you !

Accommodation (here I am more of an expert):

  1. Airbnb in Lisbon is OK but you will pay Tourist prices (x3 than the locals).
  2. Uniplaces - a local firm with amazing team but only if you have good 2-3 weeks + before you arrive, as landlords can take time to come back and they don’t advertise exclusively there. You should know this is not an instant booking app. Here you pay Erasmus* prices so 1.5x -2x than the locals.
  3. So what do the locals do? They have facebook groups where things get literally grabbed in seconds, request to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CasasparaarrendaremLisboapormenosde500euros/ - this one is up t 500 EUR per month
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/446389568835970/ - up to 300 EUR per month

*Lisbon has an incredible Erasmus (students on exchange) economy and also niche accommodation providers to cater for that audience. Bear in mind, we are in the middle of the academic semester, so you might need a student to drop off to take their spot, but their base can be excellent value for money:

  1. I stayed with these guys: http://www.ondacity.com/ - it’s a cool team - they speak English and if you’re staying for 2 months + they are likely to accept you in case there are vacancies (they have rooms/ studios/ flats). I needed to move in asap and they managed the sign in in less than 3 days, so this is a good emergency service.

  2. Similar providers are http://www.livinlisbon.com/student-rooms/.

  3. and if you are really lucky, you can get in http://www.uhub.eu/pt/residencias/lisboa/picoas - it’s great location, studio. There is also a huge city view terrace and air con working space on the top floor. Reasonably priced. I think it comes close to a nomad’s dream. It’s also 100 meters walk to metro and Virgin Active (https://www.virginactive.pt/ginasios/ginasio-lisboa-palacio-sottomayor) - one of Lisbon’s top gym+pool+sport centers (comes at around 60 Eur on an Erasmus deal). I went for a viewing at UHub’s Picoas location, and really liked it but then… the then current tenant extended her stay and I got left out! It still hurts to this day :smiley:

So here’s another advice to get the most out of Lisbon: the sentence “I’m Erasmus” opens doors for you, and you would never have a day without a party invite on facebook if you learn how to use it (“ESN Lisboa” is a good page to start from). One of the reasons I moved out of Lisbon after 8 months was that it was just too much fun !!

Enjoy and anything else, let me know

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So I assume they don’t make a big deal if you’re not a student? Would be easy enough to sign up for Portuguese lessons at a local Uni if need be, but just wondering if they start asking for student ID etc. at these spots.

Uhub and LivinLisbon looks currently sold out, but I hit them up about being put on the waiting list. OndaCity looks awesome though too!

Thanks again, mate! Saving the day! Sorry to have missed you for Web Summit - I touch down next week :-/

Parque das Nações isn’t on a hill, the area from Baixa to Marquês isn’t on a hill either.
Even Almirante Reis up to Alameda isn’t on a hill, though it’s starting to go up.

As for biking, while it’s not a great place to bike, a lot of people have started doing it on a day to day basis. Really depends on your commute.

You mean “Cacilhas”

I went to a coworking space in LX Factory, it was a good place to get some work done. And nice breakfast places, too!