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Bairro Alto, Lisbon's Historic Hilly District
Literally, "Bairro Alto" means "Upper District" and, it's one of Lisbon's most scenic areas, found on the western hills of the city.
Restaurant in Bairro Alto
Bairro Alto was formed as Lisbon extended to the western hills in the 16th century, which was then outside the protecting walls of the original city.
This is a scenic part of beautiful Lisbon, worth spending time and walking around.
You can get lost wandering on the streets of this historic neighbourhood, but I also recommend visiting the Miraduro São Pedro de Alcântara for admiring breathtaking views of Lisbon.
The more "romantic way" to get up there is to simply walk. But another way would be by taking the Elevador da Glória, which is one of Lisbon's old funiculars.
There are vast residential areas composed of mainly old buildings with Pombaline facades - typical to Portuguese architecture.
The buildings are most often 3-4 storey residential dwellings - like house blocks. The most beautiful ones are along the main roads.
I went on a complex walking exploration from the Baixa district, through Chiado.
It's a wonderful area of old Lisbon with vast networks of narrow streets, where I got lost a bit while photo hunting.
Zoomed in on the decorations
At around the 1500's, Lisbon's population grew at a staggering rate, as a result of commercial development.
The city started extending outside its walls already in the second half of the 15th century.
Bairro Alto had already appeared on the hills in the 16th century.
During this period, the Portuguese Empire was a global power - actually the first one.
No wonder the capital was thriving as a result of importing and exporting goods, therefore more people moved to Lisbon, thus the population has soared. More space was required.
Bairro Alto's establishment occurred in the same period.
Of course, throughout the centuries, the district has undergone slight modifications, but I admired the fact that there were very few modern buildings.
And even less from the second half of the 20th century...
If you take walks behind the main roads, then you'll come across some residential buildings that are more worn-down. But the area looks very good and it's safe too, don't expect slums.
A quiet alley
Bairro Alto is considered the district of the working class.
Today, it has a vibrant night life and boasts with a plethora of graffiti-covered walls and even entire houses covered in art.
Azulejo-covered building walls are also found in abundance.
All sorts of thematic bars, restaurants and fado bars too, are plentyful. So, if you want to have a great time in Lisbon with a group of friends, consider Bairro Alto.
It's sometimes difficult to say where Bairro also starts and ends.
Because, part of the Chiado neighbourhood is also found on the same hills.
Just that the latter is more of a luxurious nest with lots of fine shops and restaurants.
Anyway... In Bairro Alto I also came across beautiful street art creations.
Some of the ones I captured in Bairro Alto can be seen here.
It's needless to verbalize too much. Bairro Alto is a place more about sights than facts and information, so I am leaving you with a bunch of photos down below...
Getting out of Chiado, Bairro Alto starts here somewhere
Restaurant in a stylish old building (see the first two photos of it, at the top of the page)
Residential area - quiet and colourfully decorated
Wornd-down, but still beautiful
Beautiful old patina
These were found a bit higher in Bairro Alto
The lucky have balconies
Blue buildings at an intersection deep in Bairro Alto
It's a weird terrace. Thin and I bet it must feel rather dark inside.
Flowers flooding outwards
About the Author:
Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...
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