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Estrela • district of Lisbon – Portugal

Estrela is a parish is a parish in Lisbon known predominantly for its cultural districts and luxury areas, falling under the Historic Center Zone of the capital city. Covering an area of 4.60 square kilometers and hosting a population of approximately 20,000 people, it has twice the population density compared to its western neighbor, Alcantara. Geographically, Estrela is bounded by Alcantara to the west, a 2km section of the Tagus River to the south, Misericordia to the east, and Campo de Ourique to the north. (Misericordia itself includes older Lisbon neighborhoods like Cais do Sodré, São Bento, and Bairro Alto). Estrela is primarily residential and is divided into specialized zones, including traditional residential areas of Estrela and Lapa, as well as Santos-o-Velho, marked by Rua das Janelas Verdes and Av. 24 de Julho, which are known for their discos and bars. The parish is renowned for its key landmarks such as the Basilica of Estrela, Jardim da Estrela, Necessidades Palace, and Cemitério dos Prazeres, along with its traditional residential sectors and downtown entertainment venues.

Residential architecture in Estrela

The Estrela district in Lisbon is situated on a hill, with its streets running from the elevated area near Jardim da Estrela down to the riverfront. The district is centered by Av. Infante Santo, Calçada da Estrela on the east, and extends towards the Palace of Saint Benedict/Assembly of the Republic, ultimately reaching Av. Dom Carlos I by the river. It shares its western border with the Alcantara district. The Basilica da Estrela marks the highest point in Estrela, and the area south of it is known as Lapa. The topography of the district significantly affects its residential architecture; buildings are often multi-level to accommodate the hillside. The narrow streets contribute to an intimate and traditional atmosphere, resembling that of Lisbon’s older districts. This sloping terrain also provides opportunities for panoramic views of the river.

Neighborhoods within Estrela include:

  • Lapa: primarily residential and known for its high-end real estate and foreign embassies.
  • Santos: characterized by its vibrant nightlife and emerging art scene.
  • Madragoa: a historic area with traditional Portuguese architecture and local markets.

The Most Known Tourist Attractions of Estrela

  • Basilica of Estrela: A baroque and neoclassical basilica situated at the highest point in the Estrela district. You might find the architecture and city views compelling, not to mention its historical and religious aspects.
  • Jardim da Estrela: Located near the Basilica of Estrela, this public garden offers landscaped paths and water features. It’s a good spot for a quiet break from the city.
  • Necessidades Palace: Formerly a royal residence, now hosting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If history and architecture interest you, the palace and its gardens might be worth a visit.
  • Tapada das Necessidades: This park and garden area is next to the Necessidades Palace. If you appreciate nature and outdoor spaces, you might enjoy spending time here.
  • Cemitério dos Prazeres: Located at the northwest extreme of the Estrela district, this is the largest cemetery in Lisbon. It’s a place where visitors can encounter funerary art and the historical graves of notable individuals from Lisbon. For some, it’s considered a cultural attraction
  • Museu da Marioneta: Located in the historical Convento das Bernardas, this museum focuses on the art and history of puppets. If you’re interested in cultural artifacts and puppetry, this could be a noteworthy stop.
  • National Museum of Ancient Art: An important art museum in Lisbon housing a wide range of historical artworks. I you’r interested in art history and understanding Portugal’s cultural evolution.
  • Museum of the Orient: A museum in Lisbon that focuses on the cultural history and art of Oriental countries. Significant for people interested in the cultural exchanges between the East and the West.
  • Calçada da Estrela and Largo da Estrela: A street leading to a significant square, both featuring 19th-century architecture and located near the Palácio de S. Bento. This can be relevant for those interested in historical architecture and urban development in Lisbon’s Estrela district.

Estrela shares its boundaries with the parishes of Misericórdia to the east, Campo de Ourique to the north, Alcântara to the west, and Tagus River to the south.