Alfama: The oldest neighbourhood in Portugal

Alfama, from the Arabic, Al-hamma, which means “hot fountains” or “baths”, is a historic neighbourhood in Lisbon, Portugal and is known for its narrow, winding streets, charming alleyways, and colourful buildings. It is considered one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city and is a hub of cultural activity, with a rich history and a vibrant street music and nightlife scene. Here is everything you need to know about the oldest neighbourhood in Lisbon and why it should be at the top of your list of places to visit in Lisbon.

viewpoint santa luzia, miradouro de santa luzia, lisbon, alfama viewpoint
View from Miradouro de Santa Luzia, Alfama, Lisbon.


Alfama is steeped in history and is a melting pot of Portuguese and Moorish cultures. The neighbourhood is famous for its historic churches and chapels, such as the Church of São Miguel, the Chapel of São José, and the Chapel of São Vicente de Fora. Visitors can also explore the medieval castle of São Jorge, which offers panoramic views of the city and is a symbol of Lisbon’s rich history.

escadinhas de são cristóvao lisbon, bar in alfama, alfama lisbon
Escadinhas de São Cristóvão, Alfama, Lisbon


This area of Lisbon is renowned for its musical heritage, particularly its association with the traditional Portuguese music genre of Fado. Visitors can experience live Fado performances at many of the neighbourhood’s bars and restaurants, such as the Adega Machado and the Clube de Fado. Fado is a form of emotional and soulful music that tells stories of love, loss, and longing, and is an integral part of Lisbon’s cultural heritage. If you are looking for a particular concert in your house or a restaurant, connect with the best musicians of Portugal on

viewpoint Portas do sol lisbon, gates of sun, portas do sol
Musician busking in Lisbon

Bars in Alfama

Alfama is known for its vibrant nightlife, with a wide range of bars and taverns that offer everything from traditional Portuguese cuisine to live music and dancing. Some of the most popular bars in the neighbourhood include the Tasca do Chico, A Travessa, and the Tasca do Zé. These bars are a great place to sample local delicacies, such as grilled sardines and port wine while enjoying live music and the convivial atmosphere of Alfama.

Tejo bar, bar in alfama, alfama bar
Tejo bar, Alfama, Lisbon

The beauty of Alfama

The neighbourhood has undergone significant changes in recent years, with a number of new bars and restaurants opening up, offering modern takes on traditional Portuguese cuisine and cocktails. For those looking for a more relaxed and intimate experience, there are also many conventional Fado houses, such as the Casa de Linhares, that offer a more authentic experience.

alfama, the oldest neighbourhood in Lisbon
Calçada de São Vicente, Alfama, Lisbon

Visitors to Alfama can explore the neighbourhood on foot, taking in the sights, sounds, and flavours of this historic part of Lisbon. With its narrow streets and charming alleyways, Alfama is a great place to wander, getting lost in the winding streets and discovering hidden gems along the way.

Alfama is a must-visit destination for anyone travelling to Lisbon. With its rich cultural heritage, vibrant music and nightlife scene, and charming streets, it is the perfect place to experience the real soul of the city. Whether you’re interested in history, music, or simply soaking up the atmosphere, Alfama is a neighbourhood that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

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Discover the best to do in Lisbon! Editorial profile of Do in Lisbon. Socials: @doinlisbon

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