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Driving in/out Lisbon and parking overnight (Alto Barrio)

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1,021 posts
14 reviews
Driving in/out Lisbon and parking overnight (Alto Barrio)

In mid-March we are going 8 nights to Lisbon. We are staying all 8 nights in Lisbon , Alto Barrio. We plan 4 days explore Lisbon (maybe on hope on hope off bus(, then rent car in downtown office (Europcar) and explore places outside of Lisbon. Thus we will need to drive 4 mornings from Alto Barrio and return at night. Could you please advise hoe difficult to go out/get in Alto Barrio? We drove in Ireland, Germany, France (include Paris and Lion), Austria, Czech Republic and never had any problems. Is driving in Portugal is different?

Another question about parking, as per my research, the closest parking to our accommodation is Emel's Calcada do Combro


They have pretty reasonable prices 13EUR for full day. The question if there can be case that this parking is full (and I'm talking about March that is not considered peak season)?

17 replies to this topic
Albufeira, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Algarve, Faro, Portugal
Level Contributor
57,806 posts
41 reviews
1. Re: Driving in/out Lisbon and parking overnight (Alto Barrio)

Lisbon has nightmare traffic and complex systems of one way streets. You will need your wits about you. That area of the city pre-dates cars by about 200 years, so there are design flaws like narrow and twisty streets.

I don't know that particular place, but from what I see and read parking in the centre of Lisbon, unless it is private parking, is virtually impossible at any time. You might leave in the morning and find it full when you come back.

Which places outside Lisbon do you plan to visit? Many are easily accessible by train or bus and at less cost than a night's parking in some cases.

Level Contributor
1,021 posts
14 reviews
2. Re: Driving in/out Lisbon and parking overnight (Alto Barrio)

In our pans to visit Sintra cascais natural park, Arrabida natural park, Fatima, Mafra, Evora, Palácio Nacional de Queluz, Cascais, Batalha, Obidos. To some it's impossible to get by public transport, to some - complicated.

Parking at Emel's Calcada do Combro has 280 or so places, cost 13EUR/day, so pretty reasonable..... the question is if in mid March, we will be able to find space in the late evening.

We stay close to Rossio , so another question is how difficult to get out and come in there

Level Contributor
1,021 posts
14 reviews
3. Re: Driving in/out Lisbon and parking overnight (Alto Barrio)

Another option I was thinking about ..... to leave car overnight at Emel's parking at Alto dos Moinhos. (10EUR/day) and take subway to Alto Barrio (8 stops). As per google maps, we can directly exit to highways from Alto dos Moinhos. Should be convenient, no?

Is anybody could suggest any other parkings working 24 hours that easily accessible by subway from AltoBarrio?

Lisbon, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Azores, Lisbon
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25,443 posts
57 reviews
4. Re: Driving in/out Lisbon and parking overnight (Alto Barrio)

The first thing that you have to correct is the name of the neighborhood, it's Bairro Alto. And no you don't want a car there, in fact many of the streets are for residents only, so you will not have the card that allows you in.

If you want to base yourself in Lisbon, especially chosing an old are downtown, a car is not an asset.

In our plans to visit Sintra - you don't want to take a car to Sintra (not only parking is an issue but the car will not be allowed in the historical center), take the train.

cascais natural park - what do you mean by this?

Arrabida natural park -

Fatima - one bus per hour form Lisbon.

Mafra - frequent buses from Lisbon, campo Grande.

Evora - one bus per hour from Lisbon.

Palácio Nacional de Queluz - easy train ride (same train line as for Sintra)

Cascais - as easier as for Sintra by train.

Batalha - buses from Lisbon at Sete Rios

Obidos - buses from Lisbon at Campo Grande, frequent.

What you can "do" easier by car is when doing Óbidos, Batalha and Fátima all in one day and the day at arrábida park.

Lisbon, Portugal
Level Contributor
139 posts
5. Re: Driving in/out Lisbon and parking overnight (Alto Barrio)


Driving in Lisbon is not easy but, if what you want is to get ouside Lisbon to explore, and park in a provite space, it will be ok. Just get a good gps.

At night in privite parks will hardely be full (except near places with a lot of night live) so, the best thing for you is to thing in at least 2 options and, you will be ok.

Just remember, don't spress with trafic, respect the sighns and, if you have someone to help you to look at the gps, you will be ok. I drived in other europeans cityes and, Lisbon is not worst than meny others

Lisbon, Portugal
Level Contributor
369 posts
18 reviews
6. Re: Driving in/out Lisbon and parking overnight (Alto Barrio)

It will be very hard to find a parking spot in Calçada do Combro park in late evenings as many people use it to leave the car when they're going out in Bairro Alto, Bica and to the restaurants in Calçada do Combro. Also there's a very popular rooftop bar at the top of that park (with great views btw) and that brings even more cars to that particular car park.

I would follow the advice of potnov64 and use public transport for the daytrips you have planned and maybe rent a car just for one day for the Óbidos/Fátima/Batalha day.

Lisbon, Portugal
Level Contributor
2,799 posts
16 reviews
7. Re: Driving in/out Lisbon and parking overnight (Alto Barrio)

It would be tiresome to visit Arrabida by public transport but all the other places on your list are easily reached by bus or train. Public transport in and around Lisbon is cheap, decently comfortable and efficient. Taxis are also very cheap by comparison to other western European capital cities.

Parking can be nightmarish; all year round; week ends it is a bit easier.

I am not a fan of guided tours but if there is a tour which takes you to and from Arrabida from central Lisbon and perhaps has some guided walks you might look into that.

Lisbon, Portugal
Level Contributor
870 posts
19 reviews
8. Re: Driving in/out Lisbon and parking overnight (Alto Barrio)


Its not Alto Barrio but Bairro Alto. It´s very, very dificult to park there, some streets are restricted, and all the parking stops are paid, except Saturday afternoon and Sunday. In other to avoid problems with the police, there are several underground parks in the area. There are also surface parking spots but they are almost all the time ocuppied. Don't forget you need some driving skills to park there, some streets are very narrow and steep, working with the clutch is a must while in Lisbon.

Here some underground spots near Bairro Alto:

Parque Camões:



Ask for the full day parking ticket

For Lisbon itself you don't need the car, don't use it there. Rent the car only for outside Lisbon. You can rent it in downton, Europcar Avenida Antonio Augusto Aguiar.

Even if you want to visit Sintra and Cascais you don't need the car, there's the train, both cities are very close to Lisbon.

Lisbon is very diferent from the places you mentioned, for start the streets are very narrow and steep. If you know Prague, imagine try to park in the Castle hill or in the narrow streets of the old town. In Lisbon is even harder because of the hills.

If you want to do some sightseing the best way is to walk everywere or catch the tram or metro. The hills tram car is the best way in my opinion, you'll travel in a vintage tram trought the old town:


You only need the car if you want to visit:

Óbidos medieval walled village

Évora unesco site

Batalha unesco site

Tomar Unesco Site

Nazare bigeest wves on the planet

Ericeira surf reserve

or Arrabida and Troia Peninsula

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
648 posts
38 reviews
9. Re: Driving in/out Lisbon and parking overnight (Alto Barrio)

As mentioned by others, most of the places you want to visit can be reached easily by public transportation. For those that cannot, it would probably be about the same price to hire a car and driver for that day rather than rent a car and pay for parking for four days.

If you are committed to making a number of day trips by car, I would not recommend staying in the Barrio Alto. A much better choice would be a hotel outside of the historic center of Lisbon that provides free parking.

It sounds like you want to "see everything" on your visit. I think you will find that when visiting Portugal, a slower pace of travel may be more fun. Most Lisbon visitors report that their best experiences have been cultural encounters and smaller scale discoveries of hidden delights.

Level Contributor
1,021 posts
14 reviews
10. Re: Driving in/out Lisbon and parking overnight (Alto Barrio)

Thank you everyone for replies!

I understood that it's not a good idea to park at Bairro Alto., so I'd appreciate a lot if you can give me feedback regarding our 2nd option. After extensive research I found 3 parking outside of old city and easy accessible by metro (all parkings are indoor). As per map, there is convenient exits to highways from all of them

1. Empark, Praça Humberto Delgado (very close to Jardin Zoologico Metro) 8.80EUR/day

2. Emel, Alto dos Moinhos, Rua João Chagas, nº 3 (close to Alto dos Moinhos) 10EUR/day

3. Emel, Telheiras Poente, Rua Professor Vieira de Almeida, 2 (close to metro Telheiras) 10EUR/day

Could I please get your feedback regarding this option? Which one from 3 parking above is better? Any other parking suggestions?

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