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Alfama (Portugal)

Explore Moorish castles and medieval alleyways in Lisbon’s oldest district before an evening of traditional live music at an authentic Fado bar.

Alfama has retained many of its medieval buildings and unusual architecture from a period of Moorish rule. When the Lisbon earthquake hit in 1755, the district in the center of Lisbon was one of the least devastated areas. The Moorish Castle of Saint George looms large on the skyline from on top of a hill. Roman ruins and brightly colored houses add to the charm of Alfama. 

To get a different view of the major architectural attractions, head to the Portas do Sol lookout and café for stunning views over Lisbon’s medieval heart. Start your history lesson in Roman times at the ruins of a Roman theater and museum displaying unearthed carvings and artifacts.

Walk a few blocks through the charming tree-lined streets to the Castle de São Jorge. The fortress was constructed by the Moorish rulers in the 6th century and captured during the Crusades, after which it underwent renovations and became the Royal Palace. In one of the rebuilt rooms of the Royal Palace you can watch a multimedia film on Lisbon’s history. 

Don’t miss the Cathedral of Lisbon. The city’s oldest surviving building was constructed in 1150.

If you’re interested in imagining Alfama before the earthquake, head to the Tile Museum, housed in an old and lavish monastery. View five centuries of tile artworks, including a 75-foot (23-meter) tile cityscape created in 1738. 

Enjoy the opulent painted roofs, artworks and furniture of a 17th-century palace in the Museum of Decorative Arts, housed inside the Azura Palace. Next door you can watch artisans creating replicas of the antiques using age-old techniques. 

Go to the waterfront nearby the Santa Apolonia train station for modern boutiques, restaurants and nightlife. For the best traditional fish dishes try the area around the Casa dos Bicco, a 16th-century palace encased in spikes. 

The center of Lisbon is best explored on foot. Further out there are trams, buses and an underground metro system.


Guide to Exploring Alfama


Top Hotel Deals

See all 236 Hotels in Alfama
$101
Hotel Convento do Salvador

Hotel Convento do Salvador

Rua do Salvador, 2 B, Lisbon
4.8
of 5, from 17 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Alfama, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Fado Museum, Castle of Sao Jorge, and Lisbon Cathedral. Santa Justa Elevator and Rossio Square are also within 1 mi (2 km).

Sweet Lisbon Apartments

Sweet Lisbon Apartments

Rua de Santa Marinha 48-50, Lisbon
4.1
of 5, from 7 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Alfama, this apartment is within a 10-minute walk of Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora, Castle of Sao Jorge, and Lisbon Cathedral. Rossio Square and Santa Justa Elevator are also within 1 mi (2 km).

$264
Memmo Alfama

Memmo Alfama

Travessa das Merceeiras, 27 - Alfama, Lisbon
4.8
of 5, from 251 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Alfama, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Lisbon Cathedral, Castle of Sao Jorge, and Santa Justa Elevator. Rossio Square and Gulbenkian Museum are also within 3 mi (5 km).

$141
Hello Lisbon Castelo Apartments

Hello Lisbon Castelo Apartments

Rua de São Tomé, 26, Lisbon
4.1
of 5, from 180 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Alfama, this apartment is within a 10-minute walk of Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora, Castle of Sao Jorge, and Lisbon Cathedral. Santa Justa Elevator and Rossio Square are also within 1 mi (2 km).

$153
Olissippo Castelo

Olissippo Castelo

Rua Costa do Castelo, 126, Lisbon
4.4
of 5, from 324 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Alfama, this romantic hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora, Castle of Sao Jorge, and Lisbon Cathedral. Rossio Square and Santa Justa Elevator are also within 15 minutes.

$134
Dalma Old Town Suites

Dalma Old Town Suites

Rua dos Cegos 2 a 6, Lisbon
4.7
of 5, from 7 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Alfama, this aparthotel is steps from Portas do Sol Viewpoint, Artes Decorativas Museum, and Ulysses Tower. Miradouro de Santa Luzia and Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora are also within 10 minutes.

$275
Santiago de Alfama - Boutique Hotel

Santiago de Alfama - Boutique Hotel

Rua de Santiago, 10 a 14, Lisbon
5.0
of 5, from 14 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in Alfama, this family-friendly Lisbon hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Lisbon Cathedral and Castle of Sao Jorge. Santa Justa Elevator and Rossio Square are also within 1 mi (2 km).

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