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Bairro Alto neighbourhood guide - where to live in Lisbon

Francisco Peres

Bairro Alto is probably Lisbon’s most famous neighbourhood. It’s definitely Lisbon’s favourite neighbourhood for nearly every Erasmus student here. If you come here during the day, you’d be confused and ask why. If you come here at night, you’ll understand why the Erasmus and international students love Bairro Alto.

Bairro Alto student neighbourhoods Lisbon

Bairro Alto during the day is a charming and quiet neighbourhood…

A neighbourhood that can throw a party

There is no doubt that Bairro Alto’s greatest attraction is its street parties. The whole neighbourhood has dozens of tiny bars, far too small to hold the crowds that come here after dinner. So people buy their beers and cocktails in plastic cups and drink out on the streets. You hop from one bar to the other, up one street and down another. Erasmus students love Bairro Alto so much they’ve baptised a crossroads here as the Erasmus corner.

Quirky & odd

During the day, Bairro Alto is very quiet and peaceful (which you’ll be really thankful for if you’re recovering from last night!). The spaces that the bars didn’t occupy have been taken up by a variety of odd shops and really quirky food spots. There are pole-dancing studios, capoeira schools, some of Lisbon’s best tattoo parlours, and the trendiest clothes-shops.

Erasmus corner Bairro Alto at night

…but at night becomes one massive street party.

Transportation

Because of how narrow the streets are in Bairro Alto, you don’t have any buses, tram or metros running through it. But they’re all very close. For example, buses 202 and 758 as well as the typical 28E tram both stop in largo de Camões (Camões square). One of the city’s busiest metro stations, Baixa/Chiado has an exit in front of the famous café Brasileira. The station has both Blue and Green line trains, and so connects you to nearly the whole city.

Rental Rates

While living in Bairro Alto isn’t cheap, it’s definitely not the most expensive neighbourhood in the city: it’s neighbours Chiado and Principe Real, for example, have much higher rates. If it’s true that rental rates here vary, so do the apartments’ conditions. Recently renewed apartments in the area can be a bit pricey. It’s a very attractive area to live in because it’s so central: within walking distance of Baixa, Cais do Sodré, Rossio and many other central neighbourhoods. Live-alone options, such as studios or 1-bedroom apartments, tend to be somewhere between €550 and €700, but if they’re particularly new or luxurious, the rent will be around €900 and €1000. Apartments with more than 3 or 4 rooms in the area are priced around €300-€550 a month.

Student homes in Bairro Alto

The typical Portuguese architecture in Bairro Alto gives it its traditional atmosphere – ceramic tiles on walls and cast-iron balconies are two things to look for.

Fact sheet: Bairro Alto

One place to eat: Simplesmente Pizza Bar,  some of the best pizza in Lisbon. Address: Rua da Atalaia, 108

One place to drink: The Erasmus corner. Of course. Rua Diario de Noticias with Travessa da Queimada

One place to study: The tables outside the aptly name Espaço Academico (Students Space). Extra friendly staff, perfectly poured cold beer and some cool snacks to eat while you study. Inside, the incredible atmosphere and extremely good value for money meal-deals makes it a really great spot for group dinners. Travessa dos Inglesinhos, 50

One thing to see: The streets on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night.

One thing to do: Come visit our offices on Luz Soriano. Meet the team and have a drink on our balcony, enjoying one of the best views in Lisbon.

Interested? Check out our neighbourhood page about Bairro Alto, with all the available student accommodation listed there!

All photographs used from Flickr users: head photograph is taken by Paulo Guerra, first and second photographs by Carlos Mejia Greene and third photograph by Ramón Peco.

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