Here is everything you need to know to get those blessed Instagram photos.
Why Does Lisbon Have a Pink Street?
Lisbon’s pink street (in Portuguese Rua Cor de Rosa or Calle Rosa) is located in a part of the city just outside the main tourist area.
For many years Rua Nova do Carvalho was considered Lisbon’s red light district. Not just in modern times, but way back in the times of merchant ships and sailors too. The area was known for drinking, gambling, and brothels.
(The thought of Lisbon’s red light district in the 1700’s makes me think of Tortuga in Pirates of the Caribbean.)
In 2011 the street was painted for the first time, in an effort to gentrify the area and make it more attractive to tourists. The street is closed to traffic, so pedestrians can wander at will.
I don’t know what genius had the idea to paint the street a colour in order to fix all of its problems, but in a rare success story of the “build it and they will come” logic, it worked.
Lisbon’s pink street has become quite a trendy spot since it was painted.
How to Visit Lisbon’s Pink Street
The best time to visit the pink street for pictures, is very different from the best time to visit for something to do. You may have to visit twice if you want both.
Taking Pictures of the Pink Street
For the best Instagram photos, arrive early to Rua Nova do Carvalho – before 9 a.m. if possible. At 9 a.m some of the businesses in the area start to open and the street won’t be empty for long!
Garbage collection occurs in the morning, so if there is trash in the street, you may need to be patient until it is picked up.
Getting to Rua Nova do Carvalho (Rua Cor de Rosa)
Lisbon has really great public transport, so nothing in the city is too difficult to get to.
The pink street is located in the Cais do Sodre neighbourhood of Lisbon. It is near the waterfront and close to many other attractions in Lisbon. If you are staying in the city centre, you can probably just walk there.
You can access Rua Nova do Carvalho in about 15 minutes on foot from the famous Santa Justa Lift, which is in the heart of old Lisbon.
If you are coming from further away, take the metro to the Cais do Sodre stop. From here, the pink street is only about three blocks.
What to Expect at Lisbon’s Pink Street – Is it Worth the Visit?
Lisbon’s pink street is very short!
By my unofficial Google maps measurements, only about 60 metres (~200 feet) long. This is a slow travel blog, but even I wouldn’t suggest you allocate a lot of time to see it.
When I was trying to measure it, I found this street view image from 2009, before it was painted. Just thought it was interesting!
Is Lisbon’s Pink Street worth visiting?
Yes, but you need to set your expectations accordingly.
It is a street. It has been painted pink.
That’s it, that’s the draw.
You go there to see a street that is pink, snap a few photos, enjoy the surroundings, and other than that, it is a street like any other.
Google and Trip Advisor reviews are very mixed.
Some seemed to expect that it was a pink street and just something fun to see in about five or ten minutes. Others seemed to expect that it was going to be…well, more than a painted street.
Condition of the Pink Street
Like anything painted that sees a lot of wear and tear, the quality of the colour can fluctuate. After a busy night on the town the street can be sticky, dirty, and appear faded.
Once in a while the colour on the street is refreshed and is a sparkling glossy pink again. In between it can deteriorate until as one reviewer put it “You have to guess at the colour.”
As of Fall 2021 the street has recently been repainted and is a nice bright pink. If you are curious about the current conditions, Google reviewers seem to post their pictures pretty regularly, so you can see what it looks like before you go.
Again, the street is very short and easy to get to, so if it’s not the colour you hoped for, it’s not much time out of your holiday.
Things to do on Lisbon’s Pink Street
There are only a few types of things to do on Lisbon’s pink street:
- Take amazing travel photos
- Have something to eat
Taking Amazing Photos (for Instagram or otherwise)
There are a few great spots to take pictures on Lisbon’s pink street.
- At the beginning.
Snap a picture at the start of the pink street for the full effect.
- Under the umbrellas.
Rua Nova do Carvalho also features rainbow coloured umbrellas over the patio of one of it’s resident restaurants. The charming canopy over the pink street makes for great photos.
- Towards the yellow bridge.
Stop just past the rainbow umbrellas to get a picture of the pink street stretching towards the bright mustard yellow bridge.
- Under the yellow bridge.
Tucked under the bridge where Rua do Alecrim passes over the pink street, is the picturesque little door of Pink Wine Point – one of Rua Nova do Carvalho’s many bars.
There is also a fun mural painted under the bridge.
- From Rua do Alecrim.
Not many people bother to take the bridge over the pink street to get pictures from above, but it’s a unique spot, and barely out of the way. You just have to walk around the block to access it.
Have Something to Eat
If you are travelling with kids, like we always are, you might want an excuse to take a break on the pink street, particularly if you have arrived early for the best pictures.
Restaurante Rio Grande
The restaurant with the umbrellas, Restaurante Rio Grande, is actually open for breakfast. It has decent reviews on Google, but honestly even if it was just okay, it’s worth it for the vibe.
Rio Grande is open:
Monday & Tuesday: 12p.m.–1a.m.
Wednesday – Saturday: 9a.m.–1a.m.
The best time to visit is before 7 p.m. on any given day. Sundays are not busy.
Sol e Pesca
For the slightly more adventurous, Sol e Pesca is a humble but top-rated fish restaurant, that is also affordable.
Customers choose what kind of tinned sardines (or other fish) they want, and then they are served up on a plate. This is more of a snack bar than an actual restaurant, but again, very popular.
Sol e Pesca is open daily from 12 p.m to 1 a.m
It can be quite busy, so come between 3 p.m and 4 p.m for no wait. Sundays are the quietest day.
Most of the restaurants on this street are said to be a little overpriced for Lisbon, so if you don’t see a spot that you really want to sit at, just get your food or coffee elsewhere in the city.
As I mentioned, we travel with a tot, so we have little use for partying.
(Although we did precisely zero clubbing before kids too.)
Musicbox is a fairly famous nightclub on the pink street that is open until 6 a.m. They have live music in a cool historical building.
There is a cover charge and drinks are on the pricey side.
Musicbox does not have an especially good rating on either Google or Trip Advisor, but that’s because the reviews are either five stars or one star. It seems like this is a “love it or hate it” type of place.
Tokyo is the top rated night club on Lisbon’s pink street. It has great reviews for live music and affordable beers. It’s a small bar but nobody seems to mind.
Back in 2018 this popular club was supposed to be moving, but it seems that never happened.
One reviewer did mention that there was no obvious Japanese theme, which I thought was funny, but just to warn you: Not in fact, a themed club.
[As of October 2021 Tokyo is still temporarily closed.]
Is Lisbon’s Pink Street Safe?
The safety of Lisbon’s pink street is up for debate recently. I had read in older posts and reviews that the area was quite safe at all hours.
Maybe because quite a few places are still shuttered in 2021, recently people have been posting warnings about the area, saying they were approached repeatedly by drug dealers, or even robbed.
The larger area of Cais do Sodre does still have some problems and unsafe areas, so it it best not to visit at night alone.
Having said that, I think you are no more likely to be in danger at night on Lisbon’s pink street, than downtown in any major North American city.
Where to Stay in Lisbon
I go over some good areas to stay in my full Lisbon itinerary post.
In my opinion it’s good to stay central, since Lisbon is not an expensive city, and it’s nice to be able to get around on foot.
Try to stay in the general area of the Santa Justa Lift. That’s an easy landmark to stay in the city centre.
Lisbon’s transit system really is superb though, so you can easily get to all the right places no matter where you stay.
If you are staying for more than a weekend, I would recommend renting an apartment over a hotel. We like to live like a local as much as possible, and try out life in historic residential buildings.
Other Things to do Near Lisbon’s Pink Street
One of my favourite parts of Lisbon is a quick metro ride away.
Oriente Station is a major train station in Lisbon with major architectural vibes. Make sure to check out the middle level and the top level for the best pictures.
It’s attached to Vasco da Gama, a multi-story shopping centre with third floor patio restaurants, and even a grocery store. If you visit in winter, there is great seasonal decor!
From here you can walk a short distance on foot to either:
Lisbon Oceanarium – an impressive aquarium with huge tanks, as well as penguins and other aquatic creatures
Telecabine Lisboa – A cheep and cheerful cable car that takes you out over the ocean and past amazing views of Lisbon.
Heck do both!
You can check out all four of these less popular attractions in just one afternoon, because they are all so close together.
For another option, head to Praca do Comercio on foot from the pink street, and walk through the impressive Arco da Rua Augusta into the heart of old Lisbon. You can see basically all of Lisbon’s tourist attractions in this one small area.
For my full Lisbon itinerary, go here.
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