Length 3.4 km (2.1 miles), terrain contains one hill
Lisbon Running Routes:
Elegant Lisbon Downtown
Belem World Cultural Site
Cool Bairro Alto
For other running routes, see the Route List
Here's a short route that will take you through Lisbon's coolest spot for nightlife: the Bairro Alto (High Town), on the hill just west of the Baixa downtown. If you haven't been up there yet, now is the time to get to know this lively little neighborhood. There is a lot of creative energy in the air up there. That's one thing that I really like about Portugal and Spain: the people aren't usually very rich, but they have a very creative touch, and they exercise it in low-budget ways, like you'll find in Bairro Alto.
There are actually several small neighborhoods up there, each with its own style: Chiaro with its elegant cafés and lively plazas, Bairro Alto with its bohemian restaurants and boutiques, and Principe Real with its wonderful green plaza and the botanical garden.
Let's start the run in the heart of downtown, right at the Praça Dom Pedro IV (Rossio Square). Here at the base of Dom Pedro's column, on the wavy black and white mosaics, you can see where you are going when you turn towards the west: the hill with the ruins of the Carmo monastery just a few blocks away.
|Dom Pedro V|
|Santa Justa lift to Chiaro|
|At Carmo monastery|
|The café A Brasileira|
Bairro Alto begins right here, to the right. Bairro Alto is actually quite small, just a rectangle four blocks wide and eight blocks long. But it's a fascinating place: an old, working-class quarter that has become home for a variety of alternative shops, bars and restaurants. Most of the streets are pedestrian streets, or at least have very few cars.
Turn up Rua do Norte, and you'll pass some of the cooler shops. The neighborhood seems to be moving towards more tourist restaurants and fewer cool shops, though.
|Bairro Alto street scene|
Run until the street ends, where you turn right and come out at the Miradouro (scenic outlook). Take a loop through this pleasant, shaded plaza. There is a second level below with a formal gardens full of statues. The views to the castle and the river are worth a quick stop. There is also a café there where you can eat sandwiches and drink a glass of wine or beer later, if you come back.
|At the Miradouro|
You are now in the Principe Real neighborhood, full of students from the university up the street. There are some interesting bars, and amazing antique stores along this street.
In a few blocks, you'll come to Praça do Principe Real on the left, one of my favorite plazas anywhere. Cross the street into the plaza, and you'll go by one of the widest trees anywhere (I mean the branches of this amazing cedar are held out wide on top of a metal support structure).
|Principe Real cedar|
|Café among banyans|
NOTE: If you are running during the daytime, before about 6 p.m., you might want to add a small but beautiful loop through the botanical garden, the Jardim Botanico. It is just a few blocks further northwest past the plaza, behind the Museu National de Historia Natural, on the right. You have to pay a couple of Euros to get in, but it's a tropical paradise within, one of my favorite places anywhere.
|In the Jardim Botanico|
In two more blocks, you'll pass Praça da Alegria on the right. This beautiful little plaza is full of exotic tropical trees (seems like every plaza around here answers that description). Run across this half-circular plaza then turn left to continue downhill.
|Strange tree in Praça da Alegria|
Now, you turn right and run the last few blocks past the Rossio train station back to Rossio plaza.