Pink Street has become the symbol of Cais do Sodré, Source: Unsplash

Where is Europe’s coolest neighbourhood?

Where is Europe’s coolest neighbourhood?

According to TimeOut’s latest publication, this year you’ll have to head to Lisbon to experience it

If you haven’t heard of Cais do Sodré until now, things are about to change, as this small district that forms the beating heart of Lisbon’s nightlife has been declared the coolest neighbourhood in Europe – and the second in the world, according to TimeOut.

Cais do Sodré has the highest concentration of nightclubs and bars in the Portuguese capital, and it is the place to be if you find yourself visiting Lisbon. But it wasn’t always like that. In fact, only a decade ago, visitors or anyone with common sense was advised to steer clear of that area, back then better known as the seedy underbelly of the city, with the usual social ills of drug use, crime and prostitution being common sights.

Transformation from a bad spot to a hot spot

Cais do Sodré was initially fishermen's and sailors’ quarter and thus one of unsightly reputation. For many years, Lisboners would only find themselves there if using the Cais do Sodre railway station, a major transport hub for suburban commuters.

Eventually, however, the capital party people made their way to the district after the Bairo Alto bars started closing at 2 PM following an ordinance. But these days, it is not just night vibes that draw people to that charming neighbourhood. There’s a whole new wave of cool restaurants and shops and not to mention the Instagrammable appeal of the Pink Street – formally known as Rua Nova de Carvalho.

The pavement of the latter has literally been painted pink perhaps as a wink to its former glory as a red-light district. It’s also a potent example of how gentrification doesn’t necessarily have to be a costly project and it can be a state of mind added by a dash of colour. Kind of like the Asphalt Art projects that seek to reduce traffic speed and incidents on city streets through some well-placed pavement art.

So, next time in Lisbon don’t be a square and visit the hippest new stretch in town and in all of Europe.



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