Alfama is one of the oldest districts in Lisbon and it wasn’t destroyed during the earthquake which hit the city in 1755. Perhaps you may have noticed Alfama before from the postcards as it is a really picturesque place that deserves to be visited by every person! The bohemian neighborhood is composed of a maze of narrow streets,winding alleyways, and steep flights of steps.
There are so many things you can do Alfama and here are 10 reasons why you should visit Alfama!
Special Note: Most of the pictures were taken by us during the Alfama Free Walking Tour!
1. Castelo de São Jorge
Gazing over the city, this beautiful Moorish castle provides fantastic views of the Baixa District and the Rio Tejo (River Tagus). It is a must to visit the castle as it is one of Lisbon’s most emblematic landmarks. After the earthquake , the castle was damaged considerably. What remains of the historical structure are the main walls of the fortification and some rooms were also rebuilt.
2. Miradouro das portas do sol
For magnificent views over Alfama you can visit the Miradouro das portas da sol. You can walk up from baixa or use the popular tram 28. Alfama is known to be one of the oldest disctricts in Lisbon so you can also admire the historical beauty of this place and the building that date back to many centuries ago. If you go during the sunrise you will be surprised by the peaceful atmosphere of this place. Here you can witness the authentic beauty of Lisbon.
Did you know that fado was born in Alfama? Wander through Alfama today and you’ll almost certainly hear the strains of fado drifting from open windows of dimly lit clubs. Performances range from fado jams between amateur singers to fully professional fado acts. It usually costs 50 euros to dine at a fado restaurant but the value is not usually worth the price. But do not worry, we have managed to do a tour for as low as €16 which includes tapas and wine. We know about the hidden places in Alfama that have the best fado music. Also, If you are interested more into Fado you can visit the “Fado Museum” where it features a very extensive collection of belongings that are related to it.
4. Get lost in the backstreets
Delve into the disorientating alleys of Moorish Alfama and who knows what you might find? Walking around Alfama is like stepping into a small village within the city, where everything can turn into a postcard. What’s nice about the Alfama district is that you can spend hours wandering without having to spend a penny. On every street you can find a new discovery. It is definitely a photographer’s paradise!
5. Observe Alfama’s azulejos
Though azulejos are originally from Egypt they are also considered an extension of Portugal’s personality. You can take some of the coolest pics with the many azulejos designs you can find around the historic neighborhood of Alfama.
6. Tram 28
There are many ways to get around Lisbon but the coolest way is definitely this cute yellow tram. Tram 28 goes through the most touristic places in Lisbon. It can get really crowded though during the summer months when the city is packed by tourists. Also be careful with your belongings while you ride the tram 28 is it is one of the favorite places for thieves. If you use it during the night it is less crowded than during the day.
7. Feira Da Ladra
Have you heard about one of the most popular flea markets in Lisbon? It is Feira da ladra and it translates to “thieves market”. You can visit the flea market every Tuesday and Saturday from 6am to 5pm. You can find some really cool and weird things in this market. So If you are a lover of flea markets you will definitely need to visit it. It is also really big and the variety of things you can find is huge!
We have written a blog post about it, you can read it HERE!
8. Drink Ginjinha
You can’t visit Lisbon without trying Ginjinha! Ginjinha is a portuguese liqueur made by infusing ginja berries in alcohol. During our Alfama Free Walking Tour , we stop at one of the best bars that serve Ginjinha for only 1 euro!
9. Observe the local life
Most people living in Alfama are old residents of Lisbon. You can see many housewives observing the city from their balconies and that is one of the most typical things in Lisbon. You can observe the locals going through their day to day routine, doing their laundry, buying groceries and having conversations in the streets. So If you want to discover Lisbon at a more intimate level, Alfama is a place to not be missed!
10. Street Art
Alfama is also a really artistic place so It is full of graffitis. While you wander around the bohemian streets of this old neighborhood, you can discover some great street art. There is also the most famous Fado graffiti tribute in Lisbon called Fado Vadio. It’s a wall located in the Escandinhas de São Cristóvão. The painting is full of symbols and references connected not only to Fado (it included popular fado singers like Maria Severa and Fernando Maurício), but also to the city and the neighborhood, like the image of São Cristóvão, patron of the travelers. It is a place that we stop during our Alfama Free Walking Tour.