The best independent guide to Lisbon
The best independent guide to Lisbon
Cais do Sodre, once the toughest district of Lisbon has been transformed into the capital’s most trendy.
Found in Cais do Sodré is Lisbon’s most vibrant nightlife, which is centred around Pink Street, with its numerous bars and clubs that party until the sun rises. By day the district is a favourite with artisans and modern creatives, with the rejuvenated Tejo Estuary waterfront to hang out, or the varied food stalls in the Timeout Market for lunch.
Cais do Sodre may be fashionable, but it still retains its edgy atmosphere and gritty appearance and is certainly the most unique neighbourhood of central Lisbon.
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The Cais do Sodré district may not have the famed tourist attractions of other surrounding districts, but it is an area to meander and embrace the cool vibe.
Most tourists visit Cais do Sodré after the Baixa district, as it is the natural continuation along the waterfront. A typical tour of Cais do Sodré visits the Igreja de São Paulo, Pink Street, Jardim de Roque Gameiro, has lunch at the Timeout Market, along with visiting the Mercado da Ribeira.
Afterwards, most visitors head north to the Bairro Alto and Chiado districts, as there is not much else within walking distance to the west. The Rua do Alecrim is the main road north, out of Cais do Sodré, but a ride on the Elevador da Bica is much more enjoyable.
The suggested route is shown in the interactive map below, which combines both Cais do Sodré (green pins) and the Chiado district (yellow pins). The route begins at the Praça do Comercio and ends at the Rua Garrett, and the Elevador da Bica is marked by pin 8.
Cais do Sodré sights: 1) Ribeira das Naus 2) Jardim de Roque Gameiro 3) Time Out Market 4) Mercado da Ribeira 5) Pink Street 6) Pensão Amor 7) Igreja de São Paulo 8) Elevador da Bica
Chiado sights: 9) Miradouro de Santa Catarina viewpoint 10) Praça Luís de Camões 11) Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Loreto 12) Rua Garrett
Note: Usually the Chiado district is combined with the Bairro Alto district, and is to the north of the Praça Luís de Camões
Related articles: Bairro Alto and Chiado district
Until quite recently Cais do Sodre was a seedy and deprived area of Lisbon, which tourists were recommended to best avoid.
Originally the district was the docks of the Sodre company, and was home to dockworkers and sailors, brimming with brothels and tough bars. Even the main road, the Rua do Alecrim, skims above the neighbourhood, raised up by stone arches.
There have also been significant projects to improve the appearance of Cais do Sodre; the Jardim de Roque Gameiro is now a charming plaza, Ribeira das Naus is now a pleasant waterfront, and the Timeout market has brought life to the decaying Mercado da Ribeira.
To complete the transformation, the district is now a centre for modern creatives in the form of migrant freelancers and laptop workers.
A hotel in or near Cais do Sodre is ideal if you wish to be close to the centre of Lisbon’s nightlife and the cultural diversity this attracts. Nightlife and excitement will be on your doorstep, but the weekend noise continues until sunrise and your fellow guests maybe excessively drunk…
The district is just to the west of the historic centre and is only a 10-minute walk to the centre of Baixa, so is well suited to explore the city. Cais do Sodre has excellent public transport being served by the green metro line, trams to Belem and train services to Cascais and the beaches of the Lisbon coastline.
Related articles: Cais do Sodre Train station – E15 tram to Belem
The nightlife of Cais do Sodre is centred around Pink Street, so-called because of the pink colouring of the pavement. Cais do Sodré nightlife starts very late, with most revellers beginning the night in Bairro Alto and then moving to Cais do Sodre at the 2am Bairro Alto shut down.
Popular bars in Cais do Sodre
Cais do Sodre is not short of bars, but they tend to go from empty with no atmosphere to overcrowded in a very short space of time. Unique bars include:
• “Pensão do Amor” cocktail bar set in a former brothel that retains the original décor.
• “Bom, o Mau e o Vilão” a trendy cocktail bar and live music venue.
• “By the Wine” is the promotional bar of the José Maria da Fonseca vineyards and has an interior decorated with 3,200 bottles of wine.
• “Sol e Pesca” a fishing shop transformed into a bar which forgot to replace the décor
• Crafty Corner serving Portuguese craft beer
Cais do Sodre has the highest concentration of disco-bars and late-night clubs in all of Lisbon. Many of the clubs on Pink Street play commercial and popular tunes and post 11 pm the disco-bars all are very similar (such as Viking Bar, Liverpool, Bar Oslo, Tokyo). Enjoyable venues include; the Roterdão Club which is small and fun, the Jamaica has a Caribbean feel, while Rive Rouge and Titanic Sur Mer are always banging.
For something slightly different, “Lounge” has a more chilled vibe and cool clientele, or “Music Box” has an eclectic mix of live music (always check their listings).
There are no mega-clubs in Cais do Sodre, for those head down to Santos (500m to the west), where you have K Urban Beach Club, Kremlin, Kapital and Plateau.
Warning: Unfortunately, the progressive attitudes of Cais do Sodre have not been passed onto the door staff. There can be unfair discriminatory admission practises (mainly to groups of men), arrogance or simply heavy handiness.
One of the best ways to discover Lisbon and to meet fellow travellers is to join a guided tour. We have worked with Getyourguide.com for the last six years, and some of the best tours of Lisbon include:
The old municipal market of Lisbon was purchased by Timeout (yes, the magazine) and one half has been transformed into Lisbon’s trendiest eating venue.
The Ribeira das Naus is the newly constructed beach front and promenade of the Tejo estuary between Cais do Sodre and the Praça do Comércio. This rejuvenated area comprises of a stepped waterfront (ideal and popular for sunbathing) and a grassed area behind the promenade. The Ribeira das Naus is rapidly becoming a popular place for Lisbon’s residents to come and relax, as the inner city has few open green areas.
Hidden beneath the arches of the Pink Street is Lisbon’s coolest live music venue, Musicbox. The small venue has a diverse selection of bands playing and then DJ music until the sun rises. To see their listings, visit their website:
(link opens new tab and is Portuguese)
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