Alfama, a quirky haven with great views.

places + travel

It’s been a while since I’ve explored new parts of Portugal but a few Mondays ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Alfama district in Lisbon. Alfama is one of the oldest areas in Lisbon that spreads out from the Sao Jorge’s castle on the hillside to the Tejo River down below. With the exception of the centre of town where the famous Praça and Rossio are, the rest of Lisbon is pretty hilly with steep roads. I don’t tend to explore those areas since I opt to travel on foot most of the time and climbing up and down hills can be physically demanding. There are buses and trams that service the area, like Tram 28 which is relatively famous, but sometimes the queues for those services can be fairly long especially during tourist season.

But honestly, Alfama is one of those areas in Lisbon that you will want to visit. The climb is worth it once you get to the various vantage points along the way up to Sao Jorge’s Castle. The view is fabulous!

But that’s not all. Even though I live here and am quite used to Portuguese architecture, there’s something about the gritty, undulating streets and kitsch decorations that make the area so charming. I had a companion with me, but I certainly wish I had more time to explore slowly and take tons of photos. There were plenty of photographers there, with their DSLRs, huge lenses and tripods. I wasn’t one of those as I like to keep my setup fairly small and unobtrusive (Fujifilm XT-20 + 18-55mm kit lens.) It does attest to the fact that Alfama is worth photographing.

There are even some streets with lovely murals and paintings all over them. There’s an overall vibe that really makes you feel incredibly European, especially if you enjoy sitting out in the sun with a cup of coffee, which I tend to do fairly often nowadays. The cold winter weather has me craving for some sun. There are loads of cafés and little rest stops along the way where you can have lunch or even bring your own lunch and sit in the park if you want to. I love it.

One thing for sure: I’ll definitely be revisiting this lovely spot again. Perhaps on another day where I have all the time in the world to relax. It would be lovely!

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