Lisbon is Europe’s second oldest capital city. Founded in 1200BC it is a story so old its origins are shrouded in mystery. What we do know is that the city’s earliest occupation was in the Alfama. This is the site of Lisbon’s earliest places of worship, the heart of Rome’s occupation, the center of the Moorish city and its Christian reconquest, and one of the few areas to survive the earthquake of 1755.
Things to Do in Alfama, Lisbon
Our walking tour will wind through the vertiginous streets of Alfama, a far cry from the orderly grid of the downtown Baixa, taking in some of its most important sites. This is more than just a historical tour, this is an anthropological look into the very heart of what makes Lisbon so uniquely special.
- Sé de Lisboa: The solid and imposing Se Cathedral is Lisbon’s most important and iconic religious building. Since the 12th century, the Se Cathedral has been entwined in Portugal’s early history, which bore witness to the baptism, marriage, and passing of Portugal’s nobility and elite. The exterior of the grand old church resembles more that of a fortification than a religious center, with massive solid walls and two imposing clock towers.
Inside your guide will explore the origins of the church and Lisbon by exploring the archaeological excavations at the back of the church. Islamic foundation cut through Roman roads, which in turn layover Pagan temples, revealing the deep and complex tapestry of Lisbon.
Admission is €2.50 so have small change available.
- Castelo De S.Jorge: The castle of St. George is one of Lisbon's most iconic monuments, we will explore the outer walls of the castles exploring its history and importance to the region.
- Miradouros das Portas do Sol: The miradouros of Lisbon offer breathtaking golden views over the city. This one is not to be missed. Sitting just outside the old portas do sol, or sun gate, this was the only gate in Lisbon's defensive walls that faced the rising sun, hence its name.
- Museu do Fado: We may not go inside the museum, but as we finish just next door it seems the perfect place to discuss that hauntingly melancholic music that is Fado.
- Old Town Alfama: To see Lisbon and not see Alfama is not to see Lisbon at all. This small medieval neighborhood was the birthplace of Lisbon and if not its beating heart it is definitely Lisbon's soul. We will meet the locals, try the liqueur and discuss daily life in modern and old Alfama.
The tour duration is 2.5 to 3 hours at a medium pace, we do cover a lot of steep ground. The tour is not accessible for those with walking canes or wheelchairs, but please contact us and we will be glad to work out alternatives to accommodate any needs.