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My Escapes Portugal Another Lovely Trip to Portugal! Lisbon Dipping Into Lisbon Captivating Alfama

Captivating Alfama

September 11, 2014
November 21, 2014

Alfama is a scenic historic district established on the slopes between the São Jorge Fortress and the wide Rio Tejo.
This is Lisbon's oldest district and, it's also one of the most beautiful ones with wonderful views, winding street networks and the famous Fado bars.

The name "Alfama" is believed to come from Arabic (but the exact meaning is uncertain).
Before the Christians took Lisbon in 1147, it used to be ruled by the Muslim Moors. In fact, the São Jorge Fortress is a Moorish fortress.

If you miss out on visiting Alfama, you missed out on one of Lisbon's very top attractions.

As my photos will reveal, it's a scenic historic area. I seized the opportunity to immortalize the views.

Miraduro Portas do Sol

View of Alfama from Miraduro Portas do Sol

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Not many were wandering out here on that very warm June afternoon, so there were no crowds.

Among Lisbon's best viewpoints is the Portas do Sol. Another one is the Miraduro Santa Luzia - found near the church with the same name.

S&atildeo Vicente da Fora Monastery

São Vicente da Fora Monastery on higher ground

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Alfama is a great place for spotting vintage trams (this is where tram 28 runs) and, it's also a adequate for eating and also buying souvenirs - the streets are bustling with small shops.

Igreja do S&atildeo Miguel

Igreja do São Miguel

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Back in the ancient times, when the Moors ruled today's Portugal, Alfama constituted the entire city. It later extended towards the west (Baixa).

Azulejos in Alfama

Alluring painted tiles cover the buildings

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For centuries under Christian rule it was inhabited by fishermen and low income people. The latter still constitute the majority population.

The Lisbon Cathedral

The Lisbon Cathedral and a red vintage tram

Also check out the entire Lisbon Photo Gallery

Alfama still retains much of its old layout and many old buildings still stand, because the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake didn't have such a devastating effect on this part of the city.

There are less massive buildings here, more small ones like houses, some churches and narrow winding streets.

The Fado bars and restaurants (where Portuguese melancholic music is played) are found here in abundance.

I also encountered a number of individual musicians - some of them very talented, to my ears.

The Santa Engrácia Church (Baroque) and the Lisbon Cathedral (12th-14th centuries) are also found in Alfama.

Due to lack of time, I was forced to leave the Santa Engrácia Church (also known as the Portuguese National Pantheon) and put it on the list of my Lisbon return trip.

Too bad I had no time, nor energy to visit the São Jorge Fortress either, nor the further located São Vicente da Fora Monastery - also on higher ground.

In the end, experiencing Alfama was a soul-warming experience, but I had to leave late in the afternoon, because of my schedule.

With strong nostalgia I still recall the warmth of scenic Alfama...

Escape Hunter

About the Author:

Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...


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