"Alfama" Alfama Quarter Tip by J_Antunes

Alfama Quarter, Lisbon: 67 reviews and 136 photos

by J_Antunes

Alfama is probably my favourite neighbourhood in Lisbon. Its narrow streets, beautiful belvederes, old churches and nice restaurants are their basic characteristics. In the streets you can hear the sounds of Fado from the many taverns/restaurants.
- Mesa de Frades (Rua Dos Remédios, 139-A, Tel:21 887 1452)
A beautiful fado house in an old chapel with beautiful glazed tiles.
- Chafariz del Rey - www.taverna-del-rey.com/
- Casa de Linhares - www.casadelinhares.com
A beautiful house in an old palace.
- Parreirinha de Alfama (Beco do Espírito Santo, 1, tel: 21 886 82 09)
Traditional house by the fadista Argentina Santos.
- Marquês da Sé - www.marquesdase.com
Beautiful XVII century house with Alexandra, a famous fadista singer.
- Dragão de Alfama (Rua Guilherme Braga, 8; Phone:21 886 77 37)
A simple and cheaper fado house but with a long history.
- Casa de Fado - www.clube-de-fado.com

You can also know more about Fado in Fado Museum (open from Thuesday to Sunday from 10h-18h; entry €2,20). Madredeus and Wim Wenders have turned Alfama renowned, here is a video of part of the movie Lisbon Story with a beautiful fado http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bOhxGBRXAU. There are also other Fado Videos about Alfama such as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DoxP54sMJ4 (From Cristina Nóbrega).

The name Alfama comes from the arabic name Al Hamma, that means baths/fountains. The area has indeed many waters and fountains and probably in the arabic time was used to those functions (Chafariz de Dentro is a beautiful water fountain that still exists nowadays, and there is also Chafariz D'El Rey). Some waters have temperatures above 20ºC and in times they were called medicinal. Alfama has indeed an arabic look with its narrow streets, white houses and cloth hanging.

This district started to be a place of wealth even during the arabic period. But soon became a neighbourhood of fisherman and poorer people. Even today the neighbourhood has a very close community that protects each other.

The district has many belvederes like Portas do Sol and Santa Luzia. Above Alfama there is the beautiful castle dominating the city.

Inside Alfama there are some important churches Santo Estevão, Chapel of Senhora dos Remédios and São Miguel Church (the first two churches are National Monuments). There are also some remainings of the old city walls. All this district is an insight of what Lisbon looked like before the 1755 earthquake since, although many things were destroyed, the global planning of the area remains the same.

Beside the fado houses Alfama has many nice restaurants. Museum of Decorative Arts close to Portas do Sol Belvedere is a nice museum with furnitures, textiles, tiles, china and other arts (entry 4€; open 10h-17h). There are also artists working inside and keeping alive these traditions.

The night from 12 to 13 of June is the big night of Alfama when all the people of Lisbon come here to celebrate the party called Santos Populares (Popular Saints). There are sardines and other food on the street and also beer. And people keep drinking, eating, talking and dancing until morning. Every May there is usually the Lisbon downtown an international competition of urban downhill where some of the most experienced bikers of the world come down the hill from the castle to the river.You can see the path and a video of one of the performances of the winner in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTDpF87XOos.

There is an interesing and different tour that can be done in Alfama. Every last Saturday of the month, for 20€ Lisbon Walker organizes blinded trips to Alfama. A different way of feeling the city, informations through lisboa.sensorial@lisbonwalker.com.

Address: Alfama District
Directions: The most pitouresc way to arrive is getting in 28 tram, 12 E or 37. Coming by the river you can get 28, 35, 745, 759 or 794. Santa Apolónia Subway Station is not far away either.
Website: http://www.golisbon.com/sight-seeing/alfama.html#_=_

Review Helpfulness: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 8, 2009
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