In the Alfama district, narrow, twisting streets and soaring flights of steps wind up to an imposing castle on one of the city's highest hills. This is a grand place to get your bearings and take in supreme views. Because its foundation is dense bedrock, the district—a jumble of whitewashed houses with flower-laden balconies and red-tile roofs—has mostly survived the wear and tear of the ages, including the great 1755 earthquake.

The timeless alleys and squares have a notoriously confusing layout, but the Alfama is relatively compact, and you'll keep circling back to the same buildings and streets. Once rather run-down, it now throngs with tourists as cool bars, boutique hotels, and restaurants are moving in.


Castelo de São Jorge

Although St. George's Castle was constructed by the Moors, the site had previously been fortified by Romans and Visigoths. To…

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Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa)

Lisbon's austere Romanesque cathedral, Sé (which stands for Sedes Episcopalis), was founded in 1150 to commemorate the defeat of the…

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Mosteiro de São Vicente

The Italianate facade of the twin-towered St. Vincent's Monastery heralds an airy church with a barrel-vault ceiling, the work of…

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Ready for a trip of a lifetime to Alfama?