Avenidas Novas neighborhood of central Lisbon is where we spent six of 12 nights in Lisbon. As a tourist in Lisbon I never heard the name Avenidas Novas or ‘New Avenues’ until after I returned home and started researching areas in the city we had been. Most Lisbon maps show more local neighborhood and Metro station names like Saldanha and Alameda. Many tourist hotels are in the area of Avenidas Novas, including Holiday Inn Express Plaza Saldanha, Holiday Inn Lisbon Continental and Holiday Inn Lisbon. I stayed at all three of these IHG hotels and Holiday Inn Express Av. de Liberdade closer to the waterfront.
Lisbon was administratively reorganized in 2012 into 24 municipal districts or freguesias. Avenidas Novas is a mixed business and residential freguesia of central Lisbon and home to many tourist hotels.
Holiday Inn Lisbon may actually be in the Areeiro freguesia, but when looking at the boundaries of Avenidas Novas, Areeiro and Arroios neighborhoods on Google Maps there is a gap for the streets where Holiday Inn Lisbon is located between these three freguesias. Regardless of its exact freguesia, these IHG hotels are in the same central area of Lisbon within 15 minutes walk of each other.
LisbonPortugalTourism.com has a good page on Avenidas Novas area attractions and other hotels recommended in this area. I like the neighborhood descriptions and list of mostly independent Lisbon hotels on that website.
Avenidas Novas had plenty of tourists in early July, yet the area seemed primarily local in character with an integrated mix of building types: residential, business, government, retail and services, and shopping centers spaced regularly throughout the district with green areas of trees lining many streets.
Many of the streets are tree lined with shade available much of the day in summer by positioning yourself on one side of the street or the other or directly in a center tree-lined path like one shown on the right side of the photo above.
Photoessay of Avenidas Novas, Areeiro, Arroios and Penha Franca Fregusias in central Lisbon
Campo Pequeno is the historic bullring building of Lisbon built in 1890-1892 and the centerpiece of a large square with a Metro station. The building was renovated and reopened in 2006 as a multipurpose event hall with a shopping mall, theaters, restaurants and live concert space for major acts. There are still bullfights held there. I’ve read bulls are not killed in Portugal during the events.
A fenced children’s playground is situated in one corner of Campo Pequeno square. When I walked through the square on a Wednesday there were temporary booths lining one side of the street with craft, food and antique sellers. They were not there when I returned with Kelley on a Friday shopping exvcursion.
Twelve days earlier on a Sunday we passed a long line of seller booths on Av. de Liberdade that had not been there on other days of the week. Apparently vendors set up in different parts of the city on specific days.
A t-shirt shop I entered had several Lisbon t-shirt designs for men and women. I purchased a sweatshirt and two t-shirts at lower prices than we saw in more touristy Bairra Alto shops.
A large, open green-space revealed Fonte Luminosa. There are fountain light shows at night. Seems like a great place for a concert event or rally with the large grass fields stretching into the distance.
Stairs from the fountain up to a park space above the fountain led me toward another street where buildings looked to be in their final years before urban renewal reconstruction takes hold of the city block.
The next block looked to be upscaled already.
After walking down Rua Barão de Sabrosa I turned left and after one block came to a small park with a cafe, Praça Paiva Couceiro. The cafe at Praça Paiva Couceiro charged 4.50 EUR for a cheeseburger with fries, tomato and lettuce for 4.70 EUR and add bacon for 4.90 EUR meal deal with 3.00 EUR half-liter beer. I felt like I had discovered my section of Lisbon for local dining.
That night Kelley sent me out to find food at 10:30pm, which turned out to be more difficult than I had anticipated as most of the neighborhood restaurants around Holiday Inn Express Saldanha closed at 10pm. Ended up at a trendy craft brew and burger bar called Ground Burger where I paid 15 EUR for a cheeseburger and fries.
April 25 is ‘Freedom Day”, a national holiday in Portugal. The Carnation Revolution on 25 April, 1974 was a coup by left-leaning military leaders to overthrow the Estado Novo (1933-1974) authoritarian regime that ruled Portugal.
Most movies I have seen about Portugal touch upon the repressive regime of Prime Minister António de Oliveira Salazar (1933-68). April Captains (Tubi), Night Train to Lisbon (Tubi), and Gloria (Netflix).
Google Maps shows I was minutes away from a Lisbon miradouro/viewpoint when standing at this spot, but I was not following a map on this walk.
Heading downhill toward the Metro line I came across a pub A Tabanca with two small empty tables on the tiled sidewalk outside the door and away from the busy and loud lunch crowd dining inside. A large Estrella Galicia beer cost 2.00 EUR.