Sprawling down the southern slopes of Lisbon, Alfama is the capital’s oldest and most picturesque district with steep cobblestone lanes and a sea of terracotta roofs. Head there in the day to take in the sights, browse the flea market, and ride the historic tram, then come back after dark to soak up the atmosphere at the many fado bars.
The colorful Alfama neighborhood is a highlight of any Lisbon sightseeing tour, and the maze-like quarter is best explored on a walking tour. For an even more unforgettable experience, ride the famous Tram 28 up the hill, zip around on a Segway tour, take in the views from afar on a Tagus River cruise, or attend an evening fado show with dinner.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Wear comfortable shoes, as steep sidewalks and cobblestone lanes are the norm in the Alfama district.
- Getting around Alfama can be tricky for wheelchair users, so it’s best to book a taxi or join a tour.
How to Get There
The Alfama district is located around 2 miles (3 kilometers) south of downtown Lisbon, on the Tagus riverside. The easiest way to get there is to catch the No. 28 tram from Martim Moniz Square.
When to Get There
Alfama is a lively place to visit at any time of the day or night, but the most atmospheric time to explore is around sunset, when the district’s many bars, cafés, and fado restaurants spring to life. It can be busy during the summer months, so get an early start to avoid the crowds.
A Walking Tour of Alfama
Start your tour by riding Tram 28 up to the Miradouro da Graca, then walk down, stopping to admire the views from the Portas do Sol viewpoint, the Sao Jorge castle, and the National Pantheon. After browsing the stalls at the Feira da Ladra flea market, learn more about Portugal’s renowned folk music at the Fado Museum, and pay a visit to the Lisbon Cathedral, St. Anthony’s Church, and Sao Vicente de Fora church.