Commercial development caused a growth in population and Bairro Alto was born at the end of the 15th century. Bairro alto is located on one of the hills, opposite Saint George’s Castle and is one of the oldest quarters of Lisbon. It’s organized into a hierarchical scheme of roads and lanes: Main roads run perpendicular to the river while the secondary streets cut parallel to the river. One can easily get lost in the narrow streets and blind alleys. Asymmetry is the rule and houses are packed together. Balconies seem to almost touch the opposite building’s walls.
This quarter used to be a dangerous place at night. Prostitutes and thieves gathered in dark corners. Sailors were drunk and police… were not welcome. Now, after some hard work, the noisy pubs and dirty streets have given way to a trendy and pleasant quarter where designers and intellectuals live in their lofts with hidden terraces. The once busy streets are now pedestrian. Some consider that the “Portuguese Movida” was born here in the 80’s.
Nowadays, this is one of the best quarters to explore. Old “Tascas” like Tasca Do Chico are waiting for you. To enjoy a perfect view have a look at the terrace of Bairro Alto Hotel. Stop for some souvenirs at Bairro Arte and do as locals do: Grab a beer and walk through the streets looking for your friends. That’s what I always do. End the night at Capela and have fun at Bairro Alto!