top of page
  • Irene

Discover Lisbon's old town Alfama

Experience the beauty of old town called Alfama and listen to traditional Portuguese music

Craving for delicious Pastel de Nata and tasty Portuguese wine? Then it's time for a trip to Lisbon! If you can only spend one weekend in Lisbon, we recommend going directly to the old town of the Portuguese capital. Here you will not only find many colorful buildings and breathtaking views, but also the typical narrow streets that characterize this historic district. If you don't know what to do in Alfama, we have collected the most important spots that you should not miss. So, let's start!

The Alfama district: lose yourself in the narrow streets of the old town

The Alfama district is a popular destination for tourists who want to experience the beauty and culture of Lisbon. The thing that immediately catches your eye is the breathtaking view of the city. In fact, this part of the city is located on a hill, from which you will have a wonderful view of Lisbon and the Tagus River. The view from the Castelo de São Jorge, an 11th century castle perched on a hill overlooking the district, is particularly impressive.

Immerse yourself in the traditional Portuguese music of fado

We also love the narrow and winding streets of this district, which really come into their own here in particular. Here you can admire the old architecture and let yourself be infected by the lively atmosphere. You will also find many traditional restaurants and bars that offer typical Portuguese cuisine and music. One of the most famous streets of the district is Rua de São Miguel, known for its fado bars. Fado, if you are not familiar with it, is a traditional Portuguese music form often characterized by melancholic lyrics and guitar accompaniment. If you've never heard this music, be sure to listen to some playlists on YouTube or Spotify!

Marvel at the pastel-colored houses and the azulejos on the walls

Alfama is also known for its colorful buildings. The pastel-colored houses and the azulejos, which are typical Portuguese tiles that decorate the facades, give the district a special touch. A particularly beautiful example of azulejos is the Igreja de São Vicente de Fora, a Manueline-style church built in the 16th century. If you like the style of azulejos, you can pick up souvenirs to take home from numerous souvenir stores in Alfama to secure a piece of Portuguese history for yourself.

Visit historical museums and beautiful churches and monasteries

But Alfama is much more than that! It is also a place where you can learn a lot about the history and culture of Portugal. The district has many historical sites, including the Museu do Fado. This is a museum dedicated to the history and culture of Fado. We also recommend visiting the Museu de Arte Antiga, the museum of ancient art. You will also find many old churches and monasteries in the district, including the Igreja de São Miguel and the Mosteiro de São Vicente de Fora, which you should definitely visit - even if only briefly!

The Praça do Comércio: a popular meeting place with an impressive view

Another must-see is the Praça do Comércio, a large square on the Tagus River that was once used as a trading post. Today, it is a popular meeting place for tourists and locals and offers an imposing view of the Ponte 25 de Abril, which crosses the river. By the way, from here you can also get on the line 12E. This is a public streetcar with which you can travel through the entire old town of Lisbon and thus reach the above-mentioned sights in a relaxed manner.

Streetcar line 12E: perfect for a relaxed sightseeing tour

We recommend this line, especially if you want to experience Lisbon in a very authentic, relaxed, and sustainable way. Anyway, Lisbon is not the best city to get around by car. Instead, better use public transportation like the 12E! We also recommend this streetcar line because it is much less crowded compared to the 28E, where you usually must wait for several streetcars to get in.

Explore Praça da Figueira and enjoy a snack

By the way, whether you take the streetcar or walk, you will pass by Praça da Figueira in Alfama. This is a square in the heart of Alfama, surrounded by restaurants and cafés. Here you can relax with a coffee, watch the hustle and bustle, and treat yourself to a snack to fortify yourself for the other highlights in Alfama.

A culinary experience at the Mercado Fusao

You should pay special attention to the Mercado Fusao. This is a market that takes place on Praça da Figueira, where you can buy regional products such as fresh seafood and local wines. Be sure to grab a snack here for later because after this, your next stop will be the Miradouro de Santa Luzia. This is one of the best viewpoints in all of Lisbon, giving you a breathtaking view of the city and the Tagus River. Here you can unpack your snacks from the food market, enjoy the beauty of Lisbon to the fullest and view some of the city's famous landmarks, like São Jorge Castle, from above.

When does your way lead you to Alfama?

Alfama is an indispensable part of your visit to Lisbon. With its authentic atmosphere, rich history, and picturesque viewpoints, it's a place you must visit to experience the true and authentic Lisbon. Head to Praça do Comércio, hop on one of the streetcars, and get soaked into Lisbon's unique atmosphere. When will your trip to Lisbon and Alfama start?

Who is writing here?

Hi, we are urban adventurers, and we love discovering the beauty and culture of cities all around the globe. We are always seeking exciting spots in urban areas. What will be your next urban adventure? Learn more:

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page