Lisbon has lived many lives, as one of the oldest cities in the world, and as Portugal’s capital and biggest city. Through the steady growth of the LGBTQIA+ community in the 90s and early 2000s – Lisbon is now regarded one of the globe’s most queer friendly destinations with many sought after events and venues.
Loud, vibrant, and incredibly welcoming, the city’s LGBTQIA+ community exists in two main spaces within the capital city. Bairro Alto and Principe Real: these areas are known for their queer circles, and they house many of Lisbon’s LGBTQIA+ venues. Discover them here ahead of your trip to Portugal!
One of the main up-and-coming venues located in Bairro Alto is Purex Clube – a fun and flirty queer bar known for its rocking dance floor, alternative music, and diverse crowd. Purex hosts many themed parties, and you’ll have to push your way through to the dance floor on weekends on account of the crowds. Looking for a more relaxed vibe? Purex also have seated spaces to chat and get to know your fellow community.
Friends Bairro Alto
A mere 5 minute walk through Lisbon’s queer epicentre brings us to another culturally significant LGBTQIA+ venue – Friends Bairro Alto. This friendly neighbourhood tapas bar is constantly brought up when discussing Lisbon’s ‘best bar’. Known for its legendary tapas and welcoming vibe, Friends Bairro Alto is an amazing place to start your night out.
Side Bar, also in Bairro Alto, resides on the district’s busiest corner – which has become one of Lisbon’s most famous queer places. Known for its non-stop bustling spirit – come to meet locals, fellow tourists, and observe the city’s most famous queer corners.
Zé dos Bois
Bairro Alto is also home to some of Lisbon’s most celebrated art galleries and exhibitions. Zé dos Bois is an Arts Centre that has helped spearhead the city’s contemporary art renaissance. With over 150 events per year, you should definitely take a look at their website before your visit to make sure you catch the ones you most want to see!
Late Birds Lisbon
Looking to stay in the queer hub of the city? Bairro Alto contains a variety of hotels, many of which are LGBTQIA+ centred. The Late Birds Lisbon is a ‘gay guesthouse’ located in the heart of Bairro Alto. Opening over 8 years ago, they are now a well-known queer hub that is perfect for LGBTQIA+ tourists. It’s also home to some of Lisbon’s hottest pool parties…
Baixa de Lisboa
Neighbouring Bairro Alto is Lisbon’s historically commercial core Baixa de Lisboa, home to the city’s Centro LGBT. Here, regular meetings, workshops, and events take place – all created to improve the quality of Lisbon’s queer community and increase support for LGBTQIA+ individuals.
Located slightly north of Bairro Alto is the historic Principe Real, home to beautiful architecture and the LGBTQIA+ community. Walking through this district, you’ll find 19th century Portuguese mansions, the trendiest of upcoming queer bars, and shops with the city’s most cutting-edge fashion.
Bar TR3S Lisboa
Bar TR3S Lisboa is one of the district’s many claims to fame as it’s one of the biggest queer venues in Lisbon with some of the most friendly LGBTQIA+ staff. The iconic outdoor terrace is a common meeting place for Lisbon’s queer community and many tourists congregate here on their travels.
Thanks to hard and dedicated work from Lisbon’s queer collectives, the city’s LGBTQIA+ scene is constantly evolving into a more wide-scale and inclusive space. For example, Dengo Club is a trailblazing Lisbon collective platforming Afro-Latin culture in Europe. They are a champion for black & queer spaces, and aim to make clubbing in the city safer and more accessible.
Created by Lisbon-based artist Saint Cabocloin 2021, Dengo Club recently celebrated their second birthday, and have stamped themselves as one of Lisbon’s most important queer collectives.
Looking to break the stiffness of the city’s techno scenes, Kit Ket creates a musical utopia which centres the safety and celebration of womxn and trans people. Pushing for a stronger feminine presence in the city’s nightlife, Kit Ket has collaborated with many fellow collectives, and big names such as Boiler Room…
Until the pandemic shut the city down, Kit Ket were renowned for throwing some of Lisbon’s best and wildest parties. Today they’re also home to a music label, and all the proceeds from this are used to support Casa T, a queer shelter devoted to housing the city’s immigrant LGBTQIA+ community.
Another collective making significant waves in the city’s community is Rádio Quântica. Identifying as the ‘manifestation of a movement’, this collective brings together the best of Lisbon’s queer DJs, record labels, musicians, and activists for groundbreaking events. Rádio Quântica have hosted events in several of the city’s favourite LGBTQIA+ venues, and also host festivals, DJ workshops, and music production sessions. Pushing new boundaries of music, fashion and art into the city’s queer scene, this is not a venue to miss!
Located a short journey from the city is Beach 19 in Costa da Caparica. Considered the largest queer beach in Europe, this nude beach is home to hundreds of LGBTQIA+ sunbathers everyday.
Nude beaches not your style? Costa da Caparica contains many non-nudist beaches with long stretches of warm sand and calming waves. If you’re looking to explore the city while also having time for pure relaxation, Costa da Caparicais definitely the right destination…
Lisbon has become very well-known for its wide selection of LGBTQIA+ spaces, events, collectives, music, and so much more. Similar to Barcelona, the city is undergoing a queer nightlife explosion, making it the perfect time to visit and discover the true magic of Portugal’s capital.