Alfama, the Fado district

Alfama is the historical district of Lisbon where it is still possible to experience the magic of a romantic city on the melancholic notes of fado.
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Located between São Jorge Castle and the Tagus river, the Alfama district preserves the traditional soul of Lisbon. It is a picturesque neighborhood made of ups, downs and a series of  houses perched on its sloping alleyways; sometimes the houses are so close that they seem to be touching each other.

In order to explore the Alfama district do not follow any itinerary; just get lost among alleyways, streets, squares, staircases, small gardens, and panoramic terraces.

Being one of the less affected areas after the devastating earthquake of 1755, Alfama represents the historic heart of the city; it is that place where time seems to be suspended and where Lisbon reminds of the times before the earthquake. Popular houses with clothes hanging from the balconies alternate with elegant Manueline palaces and with the remains of the old Jewish district.

This neighborhood is also the cradle of fado, the traditional and moving music of Lisbon. Have a magic night eating at one of the many traditional fado houses around the neighborhood. Enjoy the sound of romantic and melancholy notes during your dinner.

Places to visit in the Alfama

São Jorge Castle

R. de Santa Cruz do Castelo, 1100-129 Lisboa, Portugal

Perched on the top of a hill, the medieval Sâo Jorge Castle dominates the city from above. The view from here is majestic and comforting at the same time.

By visiting the castle you will have the opportunity to admire: the fortress built by the Moorish in the XII century, the ruins of the old royal palace, archeological digs, and a 360° live view above Lisbon. You can walk along the tree-lined avenues of the castle and stop at one of the many panoramic points from where you can enjoy a breathtaking view.

Read moreBuy the ticket from 19,50 €

Lisbon Cathedral

Largo da Sé 1, 1100-585 Lisboa, Portugal

Tram 28 in front of the Cathedral

The most important catholic religious site of the city of Lisbon is its Cathedral known as Sé Patriarcal or simply Sé.

The church is an incredible mix of French romanic and gothic style; its massive towers stand high in the sky while its interior, which is simple and austere, is home to the tombs of the king and benefactors of the city.

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Santo Antonio da Sé

Largo Santo António da Sé, 1100-401 Lisboa, Portogallo

The Church of Santo Antonio da Sé, which is less known than the Cathedral, was built towards the end of the Eighteenth century on the remains of the birthplace of Saint Anthony of Padua. The Saint was from Lisbon; however, in Italy his name is associated to the name of the city where he died.

Panoramic terraces

The miradouro, or panoramic viewpoints, are some characteristic elements of Lisbon; from the miradouros you can admire the whole city. In the Alfama district there are two miradouros: the Miradouro de Santa Luzia and the less famous Miradouro das Portas do Sol4, located a little bit higher.

The Il Miradouro de Santa Luzia5 is located next to the small homonymous chapel and it overlooks the Tagus river, the moorish walls, and the roofs of the Alfama district. It is a pretty large terrace featuring bushes, benches, and a covered walkaway decorated with colorful azulejos.

Museu de Artes Decorativas

R. São Tomé 90, 1100-261 Lisboa, Portogallo

Located inside a palace from the 17th which is now home to the Superior School of Decorative Arts, the Museum of Decorative Arts of Lisbon exhibits a collection of decors and furnitures that will take you straight into the elegant homes from the 17th until the 20th century.

Fado in the Alfama district

Due to the number of traditional taverns offering live music, the Alfama is known as the “fado district“; this is by far the best area if you want to listen to a moving concert of traditional Portuguese music.

The Alfama is also the birthplace of one of the biggest fado singers of all times, Amália Rodrigues; during her 60-year-career she managed to take fado to its highest expression and to make it famous all over the world. Her extraordinary voice was compared to the one of great international artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Maria Callas.

Attending a fado concert in the city that gave birth to this music genre is a unique experience; not all music genres manage to touch the heart of people with such intensity.

Fado bars in the Alfama

Some recommended bars where to listen to some fado:

Museu do Fado

Alfama, Largo do Chafariz de Dentro 1, 1100-139 Lisboa, Portugal

If you feel like learning more about this music genre visit the Museu do Fado, a permanent exhibition located near Sâo Jorge Castle where you have the opportunity to learn more about the history, the protagonists, and the main peculiarities of this traditional Portuguese music.

You will have the opportunity to admire historical documents, stage costumes, and other personal objects of the greatest performers who have shaped the history of fado.

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Getting there

There are different ways to get to the Alfama district, these are some of the most interesting ones:

The most fascinating and fun way to get to Alfama is by exploring it aboard the historical tram 28, which passes through the narrow streets of the neighborhood.


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São Jorge Castle

São Jorge Castle

One of the most famous attractions of Lisbon, the São Jorge Castle is both a great place to visit and the best viewpoint where to admire the city.
Sé Patriarcal, Lisbon Cathedral

Sé Patriarcal, Lisbon Cathedral

Sé Patriarcal Cathedral is a Romanesque fortress church of great beauty. Inside decorations and Romanesque and Gothic elements blend superbly.
Fado Museum

Fado Museum

The Fado scene, connected to the traditional Portuguese music, is very alive in Lisbon. A museum celebrates the centennial history of this moving music.
Miradouro de Santa Luzia

Miradouro de Santa Luzia

The Miradouro de Santa Luzia is a romantic rooftop terrace that allows views of the old Alfama neighborhood and the Tagus River from above.

How to save on transport and entrance fees

City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.

Lisbon Card: 24, 48, or 72-Hour Pass
Lisbon Card: 24, 48, or 72-Hour Pass
Enjoy free admission to top attractions and discounts at various landmarks. Available for 24, 48, or 72 hours, the Lisbon Card provides unlimited free access to the public transport system.
From 27,00 €