The Streets of Alfama Lisbon Portugal

Out our front door in Lisbon: The streets of Alfama

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Part Four in a series: Out our front door: The streets of Alfama. Every time we book accommodations in a new city we are taking a leap of faith. We rely on reviews and attempt to seek out places with local flavor that are still within walking (or public transportation) distance to sights. We couldn’t have been more spot-on with our stay in Lisbon.

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, spreads out from the banks of the Tagus River; many neighborhoods cover the hilly land, each with their own distinct personality. To the east of the city center is the Alfama district, it nods to the past with a tangle of narrow, cobblestone streets and laundry drying on lines outside windows. Our apartment is in the heart of it. Although tourists flock to the area for the Castle of Saint George, the Se Cathedral and the National Pantheon, it doesn’t feel touristy, but rather like a community.

Bright colored buildings line the streets of Alfama.

Trolleys ramble down the tracks on the streets of Alfama.

It would be simple to stick close to the touristic sights and claim that we’d ‘experienced’ Alfama, but the charm of the neighborhood seems to come alive on the less traveled streets. It is easy to get off the beaten path by roaming – with no set agenda, except to get lost. We’ve wandered the maze of alleys and found quaint squares, small churches, hidden cafes and lookout points that are local hangouts.

We found several chic cafes on the streets of Alfama.

Open squares and titled art are two things easily found on the streets of Alfama.

The streets of Alfama are often not wide enough for cars.

Women hang out their windows gossiping as they put sheets out to dry. Trams ramble down tracks on streets barely wide enough for the car (and we press up against the building to make sure we are out of the way!). Many building exteriors are covered in traditional tiles and the ones that aren’t are often covered in graffiti instead.

Residents perched in their windows is a common sight on the streets of Alfama.

Hanging laundry is a signature look on the streets of Alfama.

Some of the streets of Alfama are only wide enough for a single trolley to pass through.

Graffiti is popular on the streets of Alfama.

We climb steep hills only to find that once we arrive at the top, there is yet another road leading up, stairs leading down or a path that curves out of sight – rarely finding the end to the road. We pass by homes with doors that are only four feet tall and easy-to-miss mini-markets selling a small selection of fresh produce, wine, and pantry essentials. Cafes are easier to spot as they usually have a few tables and chairs set up outside and offer incredibly inexpensive pastries, sandwiches, beer and wine. Not, perhaps, the ambience most visitors desire, but we enjoy watching the local clientele and can appreciate the Portuguese-only speaking staff (even though we clearly struggle).

The streets of Alfama often lead to sights, like the National Pantheon.

Some of the doors on the streets of Alfama are particularly short.

Hidden cafes are fun to find on the streets of Alfama.

Every street is a new adventure as we explore the area right out our front door.

We want to know: Have you spent time wandering the streets of Alfama? What did you discover there? Tell us in the comments!

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The Streets of Alfama Lisbon Portugal JetSetting Fools


15 thoughts on “Out our front door in Lisbon: The streets of Alfama

  1. Oregon Follower!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh to be like you guys and wander away the days!!!! Just like the guy in the bean bag!!!

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