A member of the Design Hotels group, Memmo Alfama is the only boutique hotel in the atmospheric old neighbourhood of Alfama – often touted as the city's most authentic quarter. You might want to avoid staying there in June when the area's narrow lanes and small squares are the focal point for a series of festivals, the most raucous of which is the Feast of St Anthony – or sardine festival (12 June). It's a great atmosphere, the air thick with the smell of grilled sardines on street barbecues and booming sound systems for the duration of the celebrations, but not conducive to sleep. The rest of the year, sit back with a glass of vinho verde on the hotel's terrace as you take in the glorious view of the white Santa Engrácia and Santa Vicente churches, the terracotta rooftops and the estuary of the Tejo river beyond, or take a dip in the blood red rooftop pool. Rooms are smart, with white walls and linens and wooden floors. Memma's owners commissioned art by the Portuguese street artist Vhils – enter the quiet alley that leads to the hotel and you will be greeted by the face of a man carved on the wall. Note: don't try to take the car there.
• Doubles from €135, +351 210 495 660, memmoalfama.com
The Independente Hostels and Suites is one of a new breed of classy hostels that's helped Lisbon gain a reputation for having the best budget accommodation in Europe. Housed in a historic building once occupied by the Swiss ambassador, its high ceilings, big shuttered windows and glossy wooden floors mean rooms are filled with light and a sense of grandeur. Its custom-made triple bunks may be bare chip-board but they come with proper sheets and duvets. The top-floor suites are great for those who want all the benefits of a hostel (buzzy atmosphere, helpful staff full of tips and recommendations) without being kept awake by someone else's snoring. Sitting on your private terrace admiring the view, it's hard to believe you're in a hostel at all. The ground-floor bar has a happy hour and Decandente, the onsite restaurant, draws as many locals as guests with its modern Portuguese menu and on-trend design.
The location is spot on too – opposite the São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint (grab a beer from the kiosk and admire the cityscape) and within walking distance of the smart areas of Principe Real and Chiado, as well as the bars and restaurants of Bairro Alto. A second property in the building next door, the Independente Suites is about to open, together with a rooftop restaurant.
• Dorms from €12 including breakfast, double rooms from €80, +351 21 346 13 81, theindependente.pt
Casa do Pátio
Hidden in a narrow street in the old neighbourhood of Santa Catarina, Casa do Pátio is close to the nightlife in the buzzy Bairro Alto nearby, but not so close that you'll be kept awake by its noisy streets. The highlight here is indeed the patio, where bright flowerpots and chairs provide splashes of primary colours against white-washed walls. The top two apartments (there are four plus nine bedrooms) on the 4th floor (word of warning – there's no lift) have a panoramic view of the Tejo river. The friendly staff are happy to give tips and recommendations for places to eat, drink and explore in the city.
• Double rooms from €80 B&B, apartments from €98 (breakfast extra €7 pp), +351 914 176 969, shiadu.com/Portugal/Lisbon/Casa-do-Patio.
Housed in a classic early 20th-century building with a beautiful tiled facade and wrought iron balcony, each of the 10 bedrooms at this stylish B&B is named after a Portuguese artist whose image hangs on the wall. A sunny patio provides a peaceful haven for breakfast or afternoon drinks, and the nearby Jardim das Amoreiras, a lovely leafy square surrounded by historic buildings, is the perfect spot for a stroll. Also nearby are the Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva art museum, a gallery dedicated to the work of the two artists and their contemporaries, the 18th-century Águas Livres Aqueduct – walk along it for great views of the city – and the Rato metro station.
• Doubles from €90 B&B, +351 919 300 317, casaamora.com
This 45-room hotel is located in one of the prettiest, most historic squares in Lisbon, Largo do Carmo, in upmarket Chiado. Dominated by the atmospheric 14th-century Convento do Carmo (it's well worth paying the €3.50 to stroll around the roofless ruins – all that's left after the devastating earthquake of 1755), the square was a focal point during the 25 April revolution in 1974, which ended the dictatorship. These days it's the picturesque setting for street musicians and a favourite place for a drink or alfresco meal – including the hotel's own restaurant and wine bar, Maria do Carmo. It's not quiet but the vibrant atmosphere is captivating, especially in spring when the Jacaranda trees are in full bloom, their purple flowers scattered about like confetti. The building has been carefully renovated and its top two floors offer views of the river and Sao Jorge castle. Good value for the location.
• Doubles from €110 B&B, +351 213 264 710, lisboacarmohotel.com
Dating from the 1940s, the Britania was designed by the modernist architect Cassiano Branco and restored in the 1990s. Original art deco details include marble floors, chrome light fixtures and a vintage barber's shop. The hotel celebrates its 70th anniversary in October. Located on a quiet street but just a block away from Avenida da Liberdade, one of the city's main arteries.
• Doubles from €125 B&B, +351 213 155 016, hotel-britania.com
Created by famous Portuguese theatre designer José Costa Reis, and close to Teatro da Trindade, in the heart of Chiado, its not difficult to guess the theme of the decor at this quirky B&B. Vintage stage posters hang on the walls while in the bedroom walls are covered in black and white sketches and frescoes of curtains, classical statues, cherubs and pillars. The 15 rooms are small, but the beds are comfortable and the decor helps detract from the size. The lavish bar – all mirrors and chrome – serves great cocktails.
• Doubles from €70 B&B, +351 213 472 024, teatrobb.com
City apartments are often bland, characterless affairs – but not this collection of 19 stylish studios and one-bedroom flats housed in a renovated 1960s building. Young Portuguese designers have used the walls as a canvas for cool graphic art inspired by the local area. There's a communal lounge in the basement with a TV and sofas, a small gym and, best of all, a roof terrace – the perfect spot to watch the sun go down over Lisbon's red rooftops. It's located on a quiet street near the starting point of the the Glória funicular, which carries passengers up to the Bairro Alto.
• Studios from €65 (sleep two, excluding breakfast), +351 912 769 797, lisbonaire.com
Inspira Santa Marta
Behind the traditional facade of this centrally-located building is an urban retreat with a restaurant and spa, and a strong focus on sustainability. Built using environmentally friendly materials, green features include 100% renewable energy. Sales of bottled water support Pump Aid, a social project in Africa. The 89 rooms – including two for disabled guests – are themed around the elements: water, earth, fire, metal and wood, and were designed according to Feng Shui principles. The Open restaurant offers a Mediterrean menu featuring vegetarian, vegan and lactose-free options and uses organic produce where possible.
• Doubles from €95, +351 210 440 900, inspirahotels.com/en
My home in Lisbon
If you like to immerse yourself in local life, this is the B&B for you. Set on a quiet street in Graça, there's a village feel to this neighbourhood, with a bakery (for your daily dose of custard tarts), mini-supermarket and a couple of churrascarias (grill houses) on your doorstep. But with the famous tram 28 running right through it, you're only ever a picturesque trundle from the action. Owner Maria has put her personal stamp on the B&B, filling the communal kitchen-lounge with treasures she's found in antique shops, junk yards and even skips. On sunny days breakfast is served in the small shaded garden – freshly-squeezed juice, homemade jams and cakes, yogurt, cheeses and tomatoes. The four rooms also have Maria's personal touch with mid-century furniture and vintage knick knacks. She also runs My Apartment in Lisbon, a collection of stylish flats dotted about the city, including one on a street in Graça protected by the Portuguese Architectural Heritage Institute. Beautifully decorated, again with covetable vintage furniture and features, they make the perfect base for friends or families who prefer to self-cater.
• Doubles from €100 B&B (minimum three nights from July-September), micasaenlisboa.com
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk