A maze you want to get lost in
Narrow cobbled paths, hidden stairways, discreet cafes and restaurants, ancient houses, disrupted by magnificent cathedrals, Panteão Nacional and churches such as Sé Cathedral, make Alfama a roaming paradise. Nested between the Tejo river and the Castle of St. Jorge, Alfama was once occupied by the Moors, where narrow and curvy labyrinth of streets and passages had very important functions: defence and maintaining houses cool during summer. Its name stems from Arabic al-hamma meaning hot springs, and the layout resembling a village within Lisbon evokes the Moorish heritage. Alfama is defined as much by this random maze, as it is by its inhabitants that greet passers-by with warm smiles and invitations to charming little taverns called tascas, where the melancholic sounds of Fado spill out onto the streets.
Alfama is perfect for patient explorers. It hides some beautiful pieces of ancient architecture - you can find wonderful renovated little houses and apartments that preserve the authentic sense of what is quintessentially Lisbon. Alfama is crisscrossed by yellow landmark tram no. 28 and served by metro on the margins of the neighbourhood. The area has seen a number of small, new developments pop up in recent years but more common is the occasional individual apartment renovated to modern tastes and standards. Given the popularity of the neighbourhood with visitors, most of these properties are ideal for short- or mid-term rentals.