Life in Lisbon: little secrets of the big city

Lisbon is one of the most beautiful capitals of Europe, which managed to recover after the severe earthquake of 1755 and subsequently preserve the charm of antiquity: narrow cobbled streets, two-three-story houses with burgundy tiled roofs and flowers and drying laundry on the windows and miniature balconies.

However, modern areas are also growing in Lisbon, where new buildings prevail, built in accordance with the latest technologies, with green areas, children’s playgrounds and other infrastructure. Here you will no longer see old trams, the only way to avoid collisions is by clinging to the wall of the house.

Interested in real estate in Lisbon? You can select objects in our catalog.

Life in Lisbon – Historic Districts


Following the administrative reorganization, Lisbon has 24 districts (freguesias), each of which differs from each other in a number of ways. In general, life in Lisbon is typical of large cities, where world-famous companies set up their headquarters, although not all areas are suitable for doing business. For example, Baixa de Lizboa is not the best place to locate a company, and even less so for permanent residence due to the large number of tourists and the noise made by vacationers at night.

Belem and Campo de Curique can be considered alternatives. However, the first one is located at some distance from the center, and making daily trips by public transport will be somewhat tiring, and the second one looks too “intimate”, consistent with classical traditions.

Almost all the houses here are old, and sometimes it is not possible to find a parking space. On the other hand, everything you need is within walking distance.

Speaking about the history of Lisbon, one cannot fail to mention the Alfama quarter (Santa Apolonia metro station), which can surprise with its authenticity, from houses preserved after the earthquake to fado – national songs that are said to be a mirror of the Portuguese soul and are performed live in local restaurants.

As a rule, people in Alfama live in small houses for generations, and for foreigners accustomed to spacious premises, such real estate will seem unusual and uncomfortable. The narrow streets are filled with locals and tourists from 12 to 13 June, when the city celebrates the feast of St. Anthony. The rest of the time there is practically nothing to do here except for visiting historical attractions.

The historical districts of Lisbon have their own distinctive feature – often the walls of the houses are not painted in different colors, but are lined with blue and white patterned azulejo tiles.

The cheapest areas to live in Lisbon


Many visitors, in order not to spend money on buying or renting apartments in the center of Lisbon, opt for the outskirts of the Portuguese capital or its nearest suburbs. For example, in Amadora, where the Dolce Vita Tejo shopping center is located, renting a two-bedroom apartment will cost 450 euros per month. It costs half as much (on average from 200 to 280 euros) to rent a one-room apartment in places like Anjos, Arroyos, Alameda, Santos and Bairro Alto. It is close to public transport stations and universities, which is benefited by numerous students who have fun in bars and nightclubs in the evening.

Life in Lisbon, when it comes to buying or renting property, is not cheap; for comparison: a one-room apartment in Beleme of the same area, but with much better finishing, will cost 1,200 euros per month.

Prices for renting one-room apartments, not exceeding 500 euros per month, should be looked for in nearby suburbs, where you will have to get by train – for example, in Oeiras (another 1.9 euros per ticket must be included in the price).

An exception in this regard is Odivelash, from where you can get to the center by metro (the price of a single ticket is 1.5 euros, a daily ticket is 6.4). Life in the center for those who are not happy homeowners is becoming more and more difficult every year due to the influx of tourists, who cause the prices of literally everything to rise.

The best areas to live in Lisbon


However, there are also expensive areas to live in Lisbon that are considered the most prestigious. The list is headed by one of the newest, Parque das Nações (Park of Nations), quite removed from the bustle of the city. It was built for the world trade exhibition Expo-98, after which it began to develop at an accelerated pace. Among the attractions of the area, it makes sense to note the Vasco da Gama shopping center, the cable car, the second largest Oceanarium in Europe, the Oriente train station and many other interesting and unusual places.

Cost of apartments in the Park of Nations area (purchase/rent):

  • studio 250 thousand/900
  • with 1 bedroom 350 thousand/1200
  • with 2 bedrooms 550 thousand/1500
  • with 3 bedrooms 700 thousand/1950

The previously mentioned Belem has only one drawback – some isolation and distance from the center, but in all other respects it is perfect for making life in Lisbon comfortable.

Cost of apartments in the Belem area (purchase/rent):


  • studio 250 thousand/800
  • with 1 bedroom 350 thousand/1200
  • with 2 bedrooms 550 thousand/1300 with 3 bedrooms 700 thousand/2200

Expensive and prestigious areas of Lisbon also include Estrela and Alvalade. In the first, the price level is high due to the fact that the old houses have been beautifully restored, and look like new on the outside, and are equipped with the most modern appliances inside. The second one has many shops, small markets, cafes, fitness centers and other places for sports, which makes it suitable for living with children. In both Estrela and Alvalad you can find five-room luxury apartments, the monthly rent of which will cost 5 thousand euros.

You can learn more about the real estate market in Portugal from our articles.

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