Estrela

Noble, elegant, rooted in tradition, Estrela vibrates with a youthful innocence thanks to the many schools and colleges scattered through its tree-lined streets. Like its next-door neighbour Lapa, Estrela blossomed during the 18th and 19th century when it became one of the favored residences of Lisbon’s bourgeoisie.  As a result,  its wide streets are lined with neo-classical mansions that now house art-galleries and antique shops, while a handful of innovative developments hint at the property boom spreading through Lisbon’s historic centre.

Life in Estrela pivots around the Jardim de Estrela, 4.6 hectares of tree-filled park-land and playgrounds considered one of Lisbon’s loveliest corners. The gardens stretch along the only flat part of the neighborhood, while the surrounding streets slope down towards the river Tejo and the up-and-coming neighborhood of Alcantara and hip design district Santos.  Spend an afternoon watching the world go by here, and you’ll get a snapshot of what makes Lisbon’s laid-back lifestyle so special. It’s here that parents bring kids to play football after school, while noble señores shuffle cards in the slanting afternoon sun under ancient trees and high-school students laze in shady spots pretending to study.

For locals,  Estrela’s pervading air of romanticism carries a sweet nostalgia as the place they socialize as teenagers before graduating to the buzzing bars and hip cafes of Principe Real, just a 10 minute stroll by foot.  If you are young in Lisbon, there are few places in town cooler to hang out than Estrela, and this ensures that this elegant, otherwise traditional neighborhood maintains a youthful edge.  A key factor that makes Estrela so popular with families is the large number of good schools within walking distance. French expats gravitate here because of the Lycee Francais Charles Lepierre, one of the best French schools in Lisbon. Wake up in the morning and you’ll still see small kids with backpacks on holding hands in groups of 4 as they head to school.

The experts say

Property prices here have yet to shoot up by the same growth rate as Lisbon’s historic centre, estimated at 30% in the past 2 years. For high-quality developments, you will be looking to pay €5,500 - €8,000 per square metre, and investments here are expected to increase in value as interests spread and the large numbers of foreigners moving to the city catch on to what a wonderful neighbourhood Estrela is to live and raise a family. It is also minutes away from Rato, one of the city’s central transport hubs, making the full range of the city immediately accessible.

The property market in Estrela

Located to the western edge of the city, Estrela is beloved by both surfers and beach-goers thanks to its convenient access to the highway that connects the city to the rugged coastline that stretches to the West.  One of the big misconceptions about Estrela is that it is tucked out of the way, while in reality, Principe Real is only a 10-minute walk by foot and Chiado, the heart of the historic centre, can be reached in 20 minutes. As Lisbon’s tourism booms and its cobblestones become ever-more crowded, Estrela’s quiet streets are increasingly counted as a serious blessing by locals who value the fact their neighbourhood still remains something of a well-kept secret. Those who invest at least €500,000 in property in Estrela can apply for a Portuguese Golden Visa. One of the best programmes of its kind, the Portuguese Golden Visa grants residency for investors and their immediate family. After five years, it is then possible to apply for full Portuguese citizenship and an EU passport.

Three insiders tips for Estrela

DO: Spend an afternoon watching the world go by in the Jardim de Estrela
EAT: Don’t miss paying a visit to the Mercado de Campo de Ourique, where you can snack on tapas from the many gourmet food-stalls - Gremio is a particular favourite
SEE: The spectacular view over Lisbon’s from the rooftop of the Basilica da Estrela.

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