Amazing Lisbon’s neighborhoods that aren’t in your travel guides

Jonas Romero Sanchez
Published in
3 min readMay 4, 2021


Lisbon is full of surprises. It doesn’t matter if you have visited it a thousand times, there will always be another little street, corner or “beco” that will lead you to a new square or to a colorful building that you have never seen before. Here is a guide that will lead you to those beautiful not-that-well-known neighborhoods!

The Bica neighborhood, near Lisbon city center. Credits: @francisco_crocco
  1. Madragoa

If you have been in Lisbon, it is likely that you have seen the Assembleia da República (Portugal’s chamber of Congress) or the Basílica da Estrela. Well, not that far from those places, there is a little neighborhood that has survived the last waves of tourism. It’s called Madragoa, and it’s one of the most authentic and beautiful places in Lisbon!

José Saramago, a portuguese writer and Nobel prize winner, lived in Madragoa. About it, he wrote: “in one of the hillsides of Lapa, it’s Madragoa, named that way after the people of the sea (or “mar”, in portuguese) came to live here after the XVI century”.

You can walk through the Rua da Esperança (the same street where Saramago lived) and see some cozy little coffee shops and traditional Tascas, or go uphill to Rua das Madres and be amazed with the colours of typical Lisbon’s houses.

Madragoa. Credit:

2. Penha da Franca

Penha da França it’s located above Arroios neighborhood, and right next to Graça. And even though it’s centrally located, not that many tourists knows about it. A main reason why many young locals have chosen this area to live.

Penha da França features two amazing view points: the Miradouro do Monte Agudo and the Miradouro da Penha da França. Also, you’ll find delicious nepalese restaurants, proper portuguese’s tascas and interesting antique shops. You can even go to the Alto de São João cemetery, which has unique monuments and amazing river views.

And because of it’s location, you can walk right into it! From OnJ S. Lázaro hotel, you’ll only have to walk through Avenida Almirante Reis, and the go uphill taking one of the many stairs, like the one in Rua Cidade de Manchester or Rua Cidade de Cardiff.

Escadas Cidade de Manchester, located in Penha da Franca. Credit: @super_lisboa

3. Bica

To be fair, it is likely that the Bica elevator will appear on your travel guide, or at least that your tour guide will recommend it to you. Not of that matters: we still think that the Bica neighborhood is wildly underrated.

First, as you can see from the main photography of this article (made by notorious @francisco_crocco), Bica is huge, colorful and hilly. Second: in the past years, it has become one of the coolest neighborhoods in Lisbon, and a lot of new restaurants have opened there, mainly in the Rua de Sao Paulo.

The stairs, the little squares or “largos”, and the notorious Miradouro de Santa Catarina definitely need a longer visit.

4. Obvioulsy, you can’t miss the rest of Lisbon!

By highlighting these neighborhoods of Lisbon, we don’t mean for you to skip the beautiful Alfama, Graça, Baixa or Bairro Alto.

As we said before, if you come to Lisbon, you’ll never stop to discover new corners to fall in love with.

Check out the rest of our posts, and see waht they have to offer!