Neighborhood Guide

Chiado, Lisbon

Rua Garrett, Chiado's main street

Lisbon's most elegant neighborhood is where everyone meets for coffee, shopping, or before a night out in neighboring Bairro Alto. Most of the buildings are from the late 1700s, but many were restored and altered in the 1990s by architect Álvaro Siza Vieira, after a devastating fire in 1988.

A Brasileira Café, Lisbon

Statue of poet Fernando Pessoa outside the "A Brasileira" café

It's a neighborhood that flashes back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the "Belle Époque" when writers such as Fernando Pessoa and Eça de Queiroz used to write at the now-historic cafés. One of the most photographed buildings is from 1863, and it faces one of the main squares, Largo Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro. It’s covered in tiles illustrating mythological figures representing Earth, Water, Science, Agriculture, Commerce and Industry, and at the top is the Eye of Providence.

Largo Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, Lisbon

Tiled building facing Largo Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro

This is also the neighborhood of classic theaters, bookshops (including the world’s oldest), sophisticated restaurants and Michelin stars, and the stores of international brands, giving it a lively cosmopolitan ambience at any time of the day.

Elevador, Lisbon

One of Europe’s first (and most beautiful) elevators, inside what is now a United Colors of Benetton store

Rua Garrett is the main street, with the Aramazéns do Chiado mall at one end and the landmark A Brasileira café at the other. In between is one of the city’s most beautiful stores (a jewelry store from 1909 that seems to belong to a Louis XV palace, and now part of the “Tous” brand), and one of Europe’s first (and most beautiful) elevators. That elevator was installed in the Ramiro Leão department store, which is now a United Colors of Benetton, and can be seen on the 4th floor. It’s protected like a museum piece, with a well-preserved mirrored and gilded interior, and displaying a velvet-upholstered stool used by the ladies as they were whisked up the store.

Calçada do Duque, Lisbon

The scenic staircase of Calçada do Duque

At the top of the hill, close to Bairro Alto, is a scenic staircase, the Calçada do Duque, with more restaurants and a postcard view of the castle.

What to See and Do in Chiado

Convento do Carmo, Lisbon

  • Convento do Carmo
  • For many people, the gothic ruins of this 14th-century church is one of Lisbon’s most hauntingly beautiful sights. The roof collapsed in the 1755 earthquake, and unlike the rest of the city, the church was never rebuilt, standing as a reminder of the disaster’s destruction. The chancel remains covered, and houses a small, eclectic archaeological museum, which includes sculptures and artifacts found around Portugal, plus a curious pair of South American mummies.

    See the Carmo Convent Visitor's Guide.

    Museu do Chiado, Lisbon

  • National Museum of Contemporary Art of Chiado
  • The National Museum of Contemporary Art of Chiado took over a former convent in 1911, and was completely renovated in 1994, when Lisbon was the European Capital of Culture. It expanded to an adjacent building in 2015, but there still isn’t enough space to show its entire collection of works by the biggest names of modern and contemporary Portuguese art, so selected pieces are shown in temporary exhibitions. End your visit at the landscaped, sculpture-filled terrace.

    See the National Museum of Contemporary Art of Chiado Visitor's Guide.

    Praça Luís de Camões, Lisbon

  • Praça Luís de Camões
  • Also known as “Largo do Camões,” this square separates Chiado and Bairro Alto. At the center is a bronze statue of poet Luís de Camões inaugurated in 1867, surrounded by eight smaller statues representing other personalities from Portuguese literature. Images of mermaids and ships created in cobblestone around the pedestal evoke Camões’ epic poem "The Lusiads."
    Behind the statue is a kiosk serving refreshments from morning to night.
    The square is one of the city’s favorite meeting places, especially at night, and is also one of the main stops of tram 28, and the terminal of tram 24.

    Terraços do Carmo, Lisbon

  • Terraços do Carmo
  • These terraces, previously occupied by police barracks, are part of Chiado’s renovation plan, projected by architect Álvaro Siza Vieira after the great 1988 fire in the neighborhood. They were designed to become a public recreational space, offering a beautiful view over Rossio Square and the castle. They’re found behind Carmo Convent and the Santa Justa Elevator, and have an open-air bar.
    Insider’s Tip: If you want to go to the top of the Santa Justa Elevator, avoid the lines on Rua de Santa Justa and access it through here.

    Basílica dos Mártires, Lisbon

  • Basílica dos Mártires
  • Dedicated to the martyrs who participated in the 1147 reconquest of Lisbon from the Moors, this basilica was built after the 1755 earthquake, on the site of a collapsed 12th-century church. It was where the first baptism after the reconquest took place, but today it's best known for having been where poet Fernando Pessoa was baptized. It was completed in 1784, in baroque and neoclassical styles, with a beautiful ceiling painted by Pedro Alexandrino de Carvalho, who was influenced by French rococo to create allegories of Portugal's first king, Afonso Henriques. The basilica also has a magnificent organ from 1780, considered one of the best in the country.
    Admission is free.

    Rua Garrett
    Opens every day

    Bertrand Book Store, Lisbon

  • Bertrand Bookstore
  • Founded by two French brothers in 1732, this is Lisbon's, Portugal's, and the world's oldest bookstore, as confirmed by a certificate from the Guinness World Records at the door. It's located on the main street, Rua Garrett, and is a mandatory stop, offering the latest bestsellers and the classics on wooden floor-to-ceiling shelves.
    There are also national and international newspapers and magazines.

    See the Bertrand Bookstore Visitor's Guide.

    Igreja da Encarnação, Lisbon

  • Igreja da Encarnação
  • Of the churches in Chiado, all built or rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake, this one on Largo do Chiado is the most beautiful. It’s a neoclassical reconstruction of the first one inaugurated in 1708, and was only completed in 1873. It features two 17th-century sculptures that were previously on the city's medieval wall, which stood on this spot. The baroque and rococo interior, covered in marble, features rocaille details and a sculpture of Our Lady of the Incarnation by Machado de Castro (Portugal's foremost sculptor). The paintings of the wooden ceiling date from between 1784 and 1824.
    Admission is free.

    Largo do Chiado
    Opens every day

    Igreja do Loreto, Lisbon

  • Igreja do Loreto
  • Built by a community of about 1,200 Italians (Venetian and Genoese merchants) in 1518, this church faces Igreja da Encarnação (see above). It was badly damaged in a fire in 1651 and in the 1755 earthquake, and was rebuilt in 1785. It’s still known as the "church of the Italians." The interior has twelve side chapels in Italian marble, trompe l'oeil paintings creating the illusion of statues, an 18th-century organ, and a painting on the ceiling illustrating Our Lady of Loreto. On the façade are sculptures by Borromini, one of the leading architects of Roman baroque.
    Admission is free.

    Largo do Chiado
    Opens every day

    Teatro São Carlos, Lisbon

  • Teatro Nacional de São Carlos
  • Lisbon once had Europe's largest opera house, but it was completely destroyed by the Great Earthquake of 1755 shortly after its inauguration. A new, smaller one was built soon after that, with fine rococo decorations and excellent acoustics. The exterior was inspired by Milan's La Scala, while the interior was modelled after Naples' San Carlo. It still presents operas throughout the year, and has a good restaurant with tables outside on the square, which turns into a stage for free classical music concerts on some summer nights.

    Rua Serpa Pinto, 9

    How to Get to Chiado

    Chiado can be reached by walking up Rua do Carmo from Rossio Square, or by taking the metro to Baixa-Chiado station (on the blue or green lines, exiting to Largo do Chiado).
    Tram 28 also makes a couple of stops in the neighborhood.
    You may ride the metro and the tram, as well as the city's buses, funiculars and trains for free with the Lisboa Card.

    Where to Stay in Chiado

    Chiado is home to small boutique hotels with some of the best views in town. They’re all in buildings dating back to the 1700s, and draw inspiration from the neighborhood and Lisbon culture in their décor. One of the best panoramic views of the city can be admired from Hotel do Chiado, while those who prefer to stay at smaller hotels should consider the Teatro Boutique B&B.
    For more details and recommendations, see the best hotels in Chiado.