Alfama Lisbon

Considered one of the more cherished jewels in Portugal, the Alfama district in Lisbon is a must-see. Traveling back in Portugese history, whitewashed building walls topped with bright red rooftops dominate the area. Dating back to the 12th century, Alfama provides a glimpse at traces of the lives of both the Romans and the Arabs.

Translated from the Moorish word “Al-hamma,” which means “baths” Alfama’s streets are slim and hilly and flanked with bars and restaurants where tourists will hear an earful of “fado,” traditional Portugese music. Running alongside of the Alfama district is the Tagus River and a nice view can be had when up high.

Alfama Lisbon survived the earthquake of 1755 yet many old houses can still be found down winding alleyways. The Alfama Lisbon area is home to many traditional grocers and workshops and daily life carries on at a slower pace than most are used to in the rest of the city. Most rewarding for photographers and walkers Alfama Lisbon provides a backdrop of medieval quarters with twisting alleyways and spectacular views. St. George’s Castle is the biggest attraction in Alfama Lisbon dating back to the 6th century and can be seen from most spots in the district.

There are so many Lisbon attractions that planning ahead can be the best way to see as much as possible. The Gulbenkian Museum features works from a private collection including Egyptian sculptures and fascinating Persian art. The Bairro Alto area is fantastic for shopping and turns into a club-hoppers dream at night. The Oceanarium is another of the Lisbon attractions and is found situated in a dramatic spot at the harbor and is the areas aquarium providing live displays, interactive media and environmental soundscapes.

The Igreja de Sao Roque, or Saint Roch Church is of particular interest as is Se Cathedral which is a large and ancient fortress dating back to circa 1150 A.D. Lisbon attractions also include the Museu do Chiado home to some magnificent artwork and the Tile Museum which is a favorite among visitors.

Shopping in Alfama in Lisbon provides more traditional souvenirs and navigating the old alleyways and streets can be exciting in itself. Off the beaten path, find the Doca do Jardim do Tabaco"s trendy eateries and shops and relish in an afternoon of retail therapy. Alfama in Lisbon is also home to numerous excellent restaurants and many visitors go there to eat in more traditional setting.

Restaurants in Alfama are often small and only provide a few tables but the food is unbeatable. The medieval maze of Alfama in Lisbon is much like the Gothic quarter of Barcelona and is really an attraction itself providing endless entertainment from just walking around.

A Portugal tour can be a great way to take advantage of much of what the country offers. Tours operate on many different time lines from a half day to a week or more. A Portugal tour almost always takes visitors through Lisbon and the Alfama district. Some tours have themes such as shopping or visiting wineries, while others focus on a variety of attractions.

A Portugal tour is not hard to find and can be arranged ahead of time or found when arriving. In the busier season it’s best to arrange a Portugal tour ahead of time to get exactly what you’re looking for. Costs vary depending on length but a Portugal tour still remains a favorite way to see the best of the country.

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