Welcome to the Bairro da Pena
On the southern tip of the Arroios parish, Pena is a family neighbourhood, home to the Italian Embassy, German Embassy, grassy parks and ponds… and the birthplace of Amália Rodrigues.
It’s a non-touristy, quintessentially Portuguese residential area: no hotels, no all-night clubs, no panhandlers. Per the recommendation in “Junior Jetsetter’s” guide book:
“This experience is for those wanting to chat up old neighbours and dive into Lisbon’s rhythm.“
For more photos of our neighbourhood, view our Christmas in Lisbon Photo-Tour. (Photos courtesy of professional photographer, M. Achterman.)
The map below shows the triangular neighbourhood of Pena, bordered by the Avenida de Liberdade on the left, Rua da Palma (R.Palma) on the right, and the Campo Mártires da Pátria at the top, with the Rossio at its bottom point.
From Google Earth: Satellite Photo of VisitingPortugal Holiday Rentals
For another perspective, here are the various locations of our houses, seen from the Bairro Alto:
Our guests tend to over-estimate Lisbon’s climate, so it’s probably not going to be as hot as you imagine.All year long, our hill receives cool breezes straight off the River Tejo such that the average August high is just 82F/28C. This means many summer days will be cooler than this. On the other hand, yes, it will occasionally be in the 90s, but never for very long. (For these days, we installed AC!)
That said, if you live or are “sight-seeing” somewhere that doesn’t receive these unobstructed Atlantic breezes, the heat can build up and be oppressive.
Evenings: Even in August, the evening temps can be chilly. (Average August low is 63F/16C; expect lower temps at our places, because of those cool breezes.)
No matter when you visit: pack a sweater or light jacket.
Pena also hosts Lisbon’s open-air Restaurant Row, Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, a pedestrian-only boulevard devoted to gastronomical indulgence. Popular favorites include the Michelin-rated Gambrinus, Solar dos Presuntos and Bom Jardim.
Here is a link to an interactive googlemap of our favorite local restaurants and cafés: Local Restaurants and Cafés
Our neighborhood funicular (trolley), 120-year old Elevador do Lavra, is one of the most charming amenities offered by Casa Villa Serra, Casa Joaquina and Casa Pátria. (Casa Santana and Casa Travessa are too close to the Rossio to justify walking over to the funicular stop.)
The first funicular in Lisbon, Elevador do Lavra rattles up and down the hillside every 15 minutes, every day. Soon you’ll be riding like a local, cheerfully showing the tourists how and where to punch their tickets. In the picture, below, Elevador do Lavra is at its lower stop on the end of Rua das Portas de Santo Antão.
This meandering 14th-century stairway — with its famous 186 steps — is another favorite way to bop down from Casa Villa Serra, Casa Joaquina or Casa Pátria to the Rossio. Lisbon is criss-crossed with these medieval thoroughfares: we encourage our guests to spend an enjoyable day wandering the city along these lanes, accompanied by the beat of Lisbon’s ever-flapping laundry.
And here we have Lisbon’s Rossio square, with the imposing, white Dona Maria National Theatre guarding the entrance to Restaurant Row. Our neighborhood, Pena, is in the background.
Come and see!