Príncipe Real is an upscale area known for its 19th-century mansions, happening gay bars and fashionable shops. The Moorish-style Embaixada palace, is a premiere shopping destination showcasing local designers and concept stores. The neighborhood also has many small art galleries and antiques shops. Tranquil spots include the Príncipe Real Garden, with shaded benches under its vast, umbrella-like cedar tree.
Anyone who’s visited Lisbon and probably every guidebook will tell you that you can’t go to Lisbon and not see the Alfama neighborhood. And they’re right. The Alfama has the deepest history. It was one of the only areas spared from the 1755 earthquake/tsunami/fire nightmare. It’s home to the oldest cathedral, the biggest castle, the best miradouros, and its tiny alleys and winding streets are a magical maze to get lost in.
But, it’s Príncipe Real that is my favorite. It may be simply because of proximity; I only have to walk up and down one hill instead of three to get there from our neighborhood of Campo de Ourique. I’m more of a grow-to-love-through-repetition kind of person than a love-at-first-sight, so in all likelihood, that’s probably why. But I think even if I had to trek all seven hills of Lisbon to get to Príncipe Real, it would still be my favorite. Or maybe I’d just take the tram.