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One perfect day in Alfama

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With its Roman and Jewish past, its Moorish heritage and architechture, its unpretentious churches and magnificent tilework, its off and on riverviews and fado houses, its web of narrow "becos" (alleys) and "largos" (squares), its musuems and modern cafes, its sun-drenched houses with wi-fi antennas, its colors and smells, Alfama is Lisbon at its best, where past and present intersect in prefect harmony. A visit to Alfama is an ethereal experience and a discovery of Lisbon's eclectic soul.

Good for
  • Solo
  • Friends
  • Couples
  • Family
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • LGBT
  • Trendsetter
  • Like a Local

10 Places

2 City Tips

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Map

10 Places

Tram 28

Tramways

Castelo de S. Jorge

Castles, Historic Sites

Miradouro de Santa Luzia

Historic Walking Areas

Santo Antonio de Alfama

Restaurants

Se de Lisboa ( Igreja de Santa Maria Maior )

Architectural Buildings, Sacred & Religious Sites

Santo Antonio de Lisboa

Sacred & Religious Sites

Pois Cafe

Restaurants

Museu do Fado / Fado Museum

Speciality Museums

Bica do Sapato

Restaurants

Clube de Fado

Bars & Clubs

Shankar C's City Tips

  • While Alfama is easily accessible through public transportation, walking is the best way to get a true flavor of the character of the district, especially of its interior sections.
  • Keep your camera ready as you might like to preserve images such as that of a street sign for what used to be the Jewish quarter, or a view of the river framed by an arch.
  • Save
    Tram 28
    Tramways
    See more photos
    Shankar C Says:

    A visit to Alfama remains incomplete without a ride on Tram 28. Alfama serves as the perfect backdrop for riding Tram 28 which has been in operation since 1914. This vintage tram with its slow pace and rattling sound perfectly complements the medieval look and feel of Alfama. Perhaps it is also the most practical mode of transportation to maneuver through its narrow and winding streets. Equally important it provides a sense of immediacy and intimacy with surrounding sights and scenes from a touch and feel range. The Alfama portion of the tram ride stops at important sites such as the Castle of St. George, The Cathedral, and Church of St. Antonio as well as viewpoints such as Miraduoro das Portas do Sol and Miraduoro de Santa Luiza. To avoid a crowded tram, take an early morning ride to St. George Castle from either Rua do CONCEIÇÃO or from Graca and get off either at Portas Sol or Santa Luiza stop and then walk up to the castle.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Prepaid tickets or the Lisboa Card is the cheapest and most convenmeient way to travel on Tram 28, especially if you plan to get on and off to see various other sites.
    • Tram 28 is well known for pick pockets; so try not carry any expensive stuff in plain sight and use your front pockets to keep your wallet or purse.
    • Do remember to validate and scan the card on the machine behind the driver each time you get on the tram.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #23 of 492 things to do in Lisbon
    • Fun ride 14/08/2018
    • Can’t leave without a ride 14/08/2018
    • Tram 28
    Phone:
    +351 21 350 0115
  • Save
    Castelo de S. Jorge
    Castles, Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Shankar C Says:

    Castelo de Sao George (St. George Castle) is one of oldest and most towering structures of Lisbon. Situated at the very top of Lisbon's highest hill, it had been built or reinforced by the Moors around the 11th century over structures/artifacts built by the Phoenicians and the Romans. The castle served as the Royal Palace after it was wrested from the Moors in 1142. Declared a National Monument in 1910, it has gone through various restorations. The Castle Museum Center serves as a permanent exhibit and displays objects and findings unearthed at the site from various cultural periods that contribute to our knowledge of the various facets of Lisbon's long history and tradition. An archaeological area displays structural objects from the 7th century B.C., the Islamic period and the earthquake ravaged Condes de Santiago Palace, originally constructed by the Moors. It's the view from the castle that is also one of its strongest attractions. From the ramparts of the inner courtyard one gets a stunning and sweeping view of Lisbon and the surrounding areas. The Tower of Ulysses houses a Camera Obscura Periscope (supposedly the only one in Portugal) that offers a sweeping 360 degree view of Lisbon in real time. You appreciate your view from the castle even more if you locate and read Sophia de Mello Breyner's evocative poem "Lisbon" inscribed on a panel in the viewing area.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • This should be your first destination in Alfama. Get there close to opening. Guided tours are available. Inquire about them at the ticket counter or call beforehand.
    • There is a coffee shop/restaurant on the premise if you need to have a drink or a break.
    • Spend a minimum of two hours. Walk around the gardens and enjoy the roaming peacocks.
    • The Sao Vicente monastery has the world's largest collection of baroque tiles; the Pantheon is the masoluem of famous Portugese icons including famed Fadista Amalia Rodrigues.
    • If you have half a day to spare on another day, you should revisit Alfama to see the monastery of São Vicente de Fora and the National Pantheon, both very close to the Castle.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 492 things to do in Lisbon
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fantastic sunset 15/08/2018
    • Beautiful views 14/08/2018
    • Castelo de S. Jorge
    Address:
    Rua de Santa Cruz do Castelo
    Lisbon 1100-129
    Portugal
    Phone:
    +351 21 880 0620
    Price range:
    US$10 - US$10
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 18:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Miradouro de Santa Luzia
    Historic Walking Areas
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    Shankar C Says:

    After having seen the Castle, your next destination should be Miradouro de Santa Luzia and Miradouro das portas do sol, both in close proximity to each other. The terrace by the Church of Santa Luzia offers a stunning view of the Tagus River and house and church rooftops along with important landmarks such as the Church of Santo Estavao (St. Stephen) and the dome of the National Pantheon. Two historic tile panels grace the east wall of the church facing the terrace. One of the panels depicts the siege and re-conquest of St. George Castle from the Moors in 1147; the other depicts Terreiro do Paço (Palace Square) before it was destroyed in the earthquake of 1755. Embellished with gardens, bougainvillea and trellises’, Miradouro de Santa Luzia is a great oasis for enjoying the surrounding while getting a sense of Lisbon's past. After Miraduoro de Santa Luzia, stroll to Miradouro das portas do sol which also offers an equally stunning view of the panorama. A statue of Lisbon's patron saint St. Vincent is at the center of the plaza and the nearby Cafe Portas do sol is an excellent spot to relax over a drink or cup of coffee while enjoying the sight. From Portas do Sol viewpoint you could also walk over to the nearby Decorative Arts Museum to get a glimpse of 18th-19th century tapestries, porcelain and furniture of the Portuguese nobility.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Having covered the Castle and both the miradouros, you should be ready to walk down to the interior of Alfama.
    • Adjacent to the terrace at Portas Dol sol is a flight of steps on Rua Norberto de Araújo that will lead you down to Alfama's winding streets. Look for sign of Rua de San Miguel.
    • If your smartphone has a google map application, you may like to to activate it now. You would invariably get lost in Alfama, but fear not, you will also find your way out.
    • Getting lost in Alfama is one great way to know the various factes of this magical place. When in doubt, ask for direction mentioning the name of your destination.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #55 of 492 things to do in Lisbon
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Look-out points in Lisbon 10/08/2018
    • Amazing viewpoint-Red tile roofs 22/06/2018
    • Miradouro de Santa Luzia
    Address:
    Largo de Santa Luzia
    Alfama
    Lisbon 1100-487
    Portugal
    Phone:
    0351-218811200
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 00:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Santo Antonio de Alfama
    Restaurants (Mediterranean, European, Portuguese)
    See more photos
    Shankar C Says:

    This should be your next destination for lunch break. Set back from the street, this restaurant is not easy to locate. Grape vines serving as a canopy over a courtyard is the signature hallmark of the front section of this restaurant. Inside there are three serving areas with their walls adorned with pictures of Hollywood and other international celebrities of yesteryears. Popular among the locals, this place is worth having meal. Have your lunch in the courtyard. There could not be a better setting to enjoy food and view the flow of life and activities down below. The views of St. Miguel Church across the street and that of St Antonio's at a distance make this spot extra special. However, even before you get here through the winding roads, keep your eyes open for the gallery of baroque tiles on the facades of various buildings on Rua San Miguel, especially on the side walls of St. Michael (Miguel) Church that depicts Our Lady of the Rosary with baby Jesus above St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Family
    Tips
    • If you plan to be here later on or another for dinner, you must make a reservation as it gets full very fast.
    • Authentic Portuguese food enhanced with international flavors is a specialty of this restaurant. If you haven't fried potato skins with mayonnaise before, try them here.
    • As you go down the hill you will see Rua da Judiaria which used to be the center of the old Jewish quarter. Nearby on Campo das Cebolas is the famous archway Arco de Jesus.
    • It's one of the few resturants in Alfama that also offer vegetarian options.
    • After lunch, you will follow landmarks such Beco de Cruzes, Largo De Santo Estevao (St. Stephen's Church), Casa dos Bicos, Rua dos Bacalhoeiros and Escadinhas dos Remédios.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1,076 of 4,074 restaurants in Lisbon
    • Nice food, staff could be better 11/08/2018
    • Hidden gem 31/07/2018
    • Santo Antonio de Alfama
    Address:
    Beco Sao Miguel 7
    Lisbon 1100-538
    Portugal
    Phone:
    +351 21 888 1328
    Price range:
    US$25 - US$50
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:30 - 02:00
  • Save
    Se de Lisboa ( Igreja de Santa Maria Maior )
    Architectural Buildings, Sacred & Religious Sites
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    Shankar C Says:

    One of the city’s oldest structures, Se de Lisboa or the Lisbon Cathedral was built in 1150 after Christian crusaders led by King Afonso Henriques had captured the city from the Moors. It was built on the site of an Arab mosque and an English crusader named Gilbert of Hastings was placed as the first bishop due to his assistance in fighting the Moors during the crusades. It has been the see of Lisbon archdiocese ever since. Because of major earthquakes in 1344 and 1755, the successive reconstruction of the cathedral led to an eclectic mix of Roman, Gothic and Neoclassical styles. Romanesque columns coexist with Gothic tombs and Rococo styles in the main chapel. In the Baroque sacristy, built during the 1600s, you can visit the cathedral's treasures of numerous sacred objects and the St. Vicent (São Vicente) relics, Lisbon's patron saint. A neoclassical chapel contains King Afonso’s tomb. One can also locate the spot where St. Anthony was baptized as Fernando Martins de Bulhoes in the Se in 1195. A recently excavated courtyard reveals the site’s Roman and Visigoth remains, as well as a portion of the former mosque wall.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The Cathedral is free to visit, but the combined ticket to see the cloisters and church treasures, including the St. Vicent relics, is 4 euros (check for any price increase)
    • Pay attention to the fact that each oranate circular window over the twin arches in the Gothic cloister has a different pattern.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #107 of 492 things to do in Lisbon
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Pretty cool cathedral, but nothing special 15/08/2018
    • Beautiful 😍 06/08/2018
    • Se de Lisboa ( Igreja de Santa Maria Maior )
    Address:
    Largo da Se
    Lisbon 1100-585
    Portugal
    Phone:
    +351 21 886 6752
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 19:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Santo Antonio de Lisboa
    Sacred & Religious Sites
    See more photos
    Shankar C Says:

    This church is built on the site where Saint Anthony (later canonized as St. Anthony of Padua) was born. A statute of the Saint stands in front of the Church. As is the case with its bigger neighbor, the Cathedral, the architecture of Santo Antonio reflects a combination of various styles from baroque to neoclassical, largely necessitated by damages from repeated earthquakes. Inside, a tile panel commemorates the visit of Pope Jon Paul in 1982 when he came to inaugurate the statue of Saint Anthony and prayed at the spot where the saint was born. A small underground chapel marks the exact location where Saint Anthony was born in 1195. A small museum displays images and manuscripts about his life. On Saint Anthony's Day in June, mass weddings take place here and in the city's cathedral in the Saint’s honor as he had been well known as a match-maker. It is a tradition for newly married couples to visit here and leave flowers, asking Saint Anthony to bless their marriage.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Those interested in enhancing their knowledge of Lisbon’s Roman past, may also visit Galerias Romanas in Baixa distrtict.
    • Before heading next to the next destination Pois Cafe for a coffee break, you should also briefly stop at the Museu do Teatro Romano or the Roman Theatre on Patio de Aljube.
    • You should visit the church right after or right before your visit to the cathedral given their shared history and close promixity to each other.
    • While quite small, the Roman Theatre brings alive a great piece of Lisbon’s past through a display of the actual ruins of a theatre from first century in its original site.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #53 of 492 things to do in Lisbon
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice church 13/08/2018
    • Religious Spot 30/07/2018
    • Santo Antonio de Lisboa
    Address:
    Largo de Santo Antonio da Se
    Lisbon 1100-499
    Portugal
    Phone:
    +351 21 886 9145
    Other:
  • Save
    Pois Cafe
    Restaurants (Cafe, European, Portuguese)
    See more photos
    Shankar C Says:

    After visiting Lisbon Cathedral St. Anthony's Church and the Roman Theatre, you should head out to nearby Pois Cafe for a coffee break. Many Lisboetas claim they prefer this place over other more well-known establishments like Café A Brasileira. I can see why I would tend to agree with them. This place has a certain cozy and homey feeling that you may not get in other eateries. A variety of fresh salads, pastries, and soups in an open space with Moorish styled arched ceilings heighten your culinary experience. One can easily linger a good chunk of an entire afternoon at this relaxing place lounging, chatting, reading, reflecting or watching the world go by.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    Tips
    • Great place to meet up with friends or discuss a movie or book.
    • They have free wi-fi if you would like to go online or check for your messages.
    • Besides coffee and other variety of stuff, they also serve unique dishes such as lamb curry with egg plants.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #466 of 4,074 restaurants in Lisbon
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Good Breakfast 15/07/2018
    • Good brunch 09/07/2018
    • Pois Cafe
    Address:
    Rua Sao Joao da Praca 95
    1100-521 Lisbon
    Lisbon 1100-521
    Portugal
    Phone:
    +351 21 886 2497
    Price range:
    US$0 - US$13
    Hours:
    Mon
    12:00 - 23:00
    Tue - Sun
    10:00 - 23:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Museu do Fado / Fado Museum
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Shankar C Says:

    It’s fitting that the museum is based in Alfama where Fado emerged as a distinct music genre in the taverns and bars in working class neighborhoods. The Museum traces the evolution of Fado – designated by UNESCO as world’s intangible cultural heritage in 2011 - with various combinations of audiovisual presentations, multilingual information panels, and musical archives. Very interesting is its portrayal of biographies of well-known Fado personalities such as Amalia Rodrigues and Mariza as well as its description of the evolution of the 12 string pear shaped Portuguese guitar. It also displays how Fado influenced the works of a whole genre of Portuguese artists for over a century beginning with works of Jose Malhoa in 1910 and continuing through the works of João Vieira completed as recently as 2005. Fado’s impact as a social force in the trade union movement and social protests is also fascinating to learn about. A visit to the museum is a must if you’re truly interested to getting a solid perspective of Fado's role in shaping and enriching Portugal’s cultural identity.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • You can use a multilingual audio guide for your tour of the museum.
    • You can also listen to the recordings and biographic information of all the major Fado personalities in the museum’s multimedia section.
    • There is also a café and restaurant that often host live performances. Digital albums of various Fado artists are available for purchase at the musuem shop.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #104 of 492 things to do in Lisbon
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Perfect for Music Nerds! 11/08/2018
    • Music 22/07/2018
    • Museu do Fado / Fado Museum
    Address:
    Largo do Chafariz de Dentro 1
    Alfama
    Lisbon 1100-139
    Portugal
    Phone:
    +351 21 882 3470
    Other:
  • Save
    Bica do Sapato
    Restaurants (Seafood, Mediterranean, Sushi, European, Portuguese, International, Contemporary, Fusion)
    See more photos
    Shankar C Says:

    The museum visit should be followed by your dinner at Bico do Sapato which is about a 10 minute walk from the museum, very close to the Santa Apolónia train (subway) station on the waterfront. Part-owned by film personalities John Malkovich and Catherine Deneuve, this restaurant is one of the hippest places in town with its artful yet minimalist décor along with excellent gourmet cuisine. The food here is both Portuguese and International with some of the best sushi, tempura, and kushiyaki dishes in Lisbon. The wine list is extensive and well complements the variety of dishes. Bica do Sapato is divided into three spaces, each with its own ambiance and menu: the cafeteria, the restaurant (both offering Mediterranean food), and the top floor where Japanese cuisine is served. There is also an open air terrace where one can dine in even closer proximity to the water. While the restaurant's association with celebrities has made it into a hip place to dine, the quality of food and the atmosphere have also been large drawing factors.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Family
    • Trendsetter
    Tips
    • Those interested in ending the evening in a trendy nightclub should head out to next-door Lux, also partly owned by John Malkovich. Be prepared to pay a hefty entrance fee though.
    • Three course specials are a great treat and budget friendly as well. Try the soup with figs, if available. Get a seat in the terrace to enjoy the view of the river as well.
    • Being next to the Santa Apolónia subway stop, the restaurant is easy to get to.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #592 of 4,074 restaurants in Lisbon
    • Horrible experience 14/08/2018
    • Dinner 07/08/2018
    • Bica do Sapato
    Address:
    Cais da Pedra
    Lisbon 1900-264
    Portugal
    Phone:
    +351 21 881 0320
    Hours:
    Mon
    17:30 - 01:00
    Tue - Sat
    11:00 - 01:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Clube de Fado
    Bars & Clubs
    See more photos
    Shankar C Says:

    An ideal trip to Alfama should and must end with a visit to one of its Fado houses. Fado, Portugal's most unique music genre of mournful songs, was added to UNESCO’s list of World’s Intangible Cultural Heritages in 2011. Clube do Fado is one of the most professional and internationally known fado clubs in Lisbon. Led by Mario Pacheco, the well-known Fado guitarist, the club has a large following among foreign visitors. Pacheco has also released various albums of his music performed with accomplished singers such as Mariza, Rodrigo Costa Félix, Camane and Ana Sofia Varela. The atmosphere of the club is very appealing with stone columns, arches, and a Moorish well. You could combine your visit with both dinner and fado performance or you could decide to opt for a drink and show and forego the dinner, especially if you show up after having dinner at Bico do Sopato or elsewhere. Enjoy the show as singers rotate and the music gradually intensifies as the night wears on.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • You need to make a reservation in advance as most shows tend to sell out and you cannot expect to just show up.
    • You can take a taxi back to your hotel after the show ends. If you request, the Club would hail one for you.
    • Many Lisboetas dislike the commercialized nature of the big fado houses and recommend places such as Guitarras of Lisboa, Mesa de Frades and A Baiuca for more authentic experience.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #27 of 224 Nightlife in Lisbon
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fabulous fado but tourist trap 13/08/2018
    • A sure choice! 06/08/2018
    • Clube de Fado
    Address:
    Rua Sao Joao da Praca 92 4
    Lisbon 1100-521
    Portugal
    Phone:
    +351 21 885 2704
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    20:00 - 02:00
    Other:
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