We stayed at an AirBnb in Barcelona in 2015 and knew we would go this route in Lisbon. We were pleasantly surprised at the quality and quantity of places to rent and the prices were very good. We could have gotten a great place for less than $100 per night, but decided to splurge and go slightly above that.
We stayed in the neighbourhood of Alfama. This is an older part of the city and is made up of twisty streets and hills. It was within walking distance of most things and we did not need to take the subway or any taxis while we were there. There are a lot of Fado (Portuguese folk music) restaurants serving traditional food but none of them really caught our eye so we didn't eat many meals in our neighbourhood. I think next time we would stay in Barrio-Alto or Chiado.
Our hosts offered to arrange for a private transfer from the airport to the apartment. Although it was more expensive than a cab would have been, it was great to skip the taxi line and not worry about how to tell the driver where to go. As I said the area is full of twisty small streets so it would have been difficult to find our way on our own. He also helped us carry our suitcases up the 50 steps to our front door from the street. Our hostess was there to meet us and we were able to check in right away which was great. She gave us a tour of the apartment with instructions, and then sat down with us to give some recommendations for restaurants and shops. She had previously provided us with a very good Google Map of the area with lots of things marked on it and it was useful throughout our trip.
The apartment had two bedrooms and was more than enough space for us and we used the second bedroom for our suitcases. The apartment had lots of light at all times of the day; the master bedroom was located on the waterside and had beautiful views. The living room windows faced a courtyard on one side and the steps of an old church on the other side. We did not cook any meals but the kitchen was suitable for doing so if we wanted to. It also had a washing machine and although we contemplated doing laundry we decided not to. The bathroom was spacious with plenty of hot water. We felt very safe the whole time and barely heard anything from our neighbours. We had very reliable wifi, and cable TV (although we didn't really watch anything on TV). There were guidebooks and maps in the apartment for us to use
My only two "complaints" if you could call them that was that the bathroom was far away from the master bedroom and right next to the living room. Not really a problem but something we commented on. And the second was that the apartment was cold. There was a space heater in the living room that we used and also a heat pump unit in the bedroom. We would turn the heat pump on before we went out for dinner and shut the door to our room and that kept it warm enough, it just meant the rest of the apartment was cold when we got up in the morning. Honestly I did not bring warm enough clothes for the entire trip so being cold was my own fault; I cannot expect central heating in a 200 year old building in a city that doesn't really get winter.
I didn't take a ton of photos of our apartment but here are a few. If you're looking on AirBnb, it is called "Feeling Alfama's Heartbeat".
(Tile in the bathroom, interesting decor choice of using "mismatched" tiles on the same colour scheme).
View from the living room
View into the courtyard from the living room
View from the bedroom. Photos never do the light any justice. Beautiful at dawn and dusk.
The front door. We were on the second floor up a small staircase.
The yellow building in the middle is ours.
Stay tuned this week for the recap of our entire trip.