Alfama Neighborhood Tour

Uncover the cultures that shaped the destiny of Lisbon's oldest quarter
From US$294 privately
Book a Tour
Tour Details
Duration
3 hours
Product Type
Tour
Venues
  • São Jorge Castle
  • Miradouro das Portas do Sol
  • Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa)
  • Alfama Neighborhood
Photos & Highlights
  • A great orientation tour for first-time visitors to discover the rich history of Alfama, Lisbon's Old Town
  • Led by an expert local guide or scholar
Select a date
Tour Description
Join us on a fascinating 3-hour walking tour, led by an expert guide throughout Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood Alfama. While enjoying expansive views overlooking the River Tagus, we will learn human stories via the historical architecture of São Jorge Castle, Lisbon Cathedral, and Miradouro das Portas do Sol. From Phoenician settlers to the ruling of the Moors, Euro integration to Lisbon's working class, and the rise of the emotive and nostalgic Fado music and culture. We will explore winding hills, cobblestone streets, and narrow hidden avenues, to experience the fascinating history of Lisbon. This tour provides a fascinating insight into what has given rise to this exciting and vibrant historical neighborhood. 

Sites Visited 

  • São Jorge Castle (exterior)
  • Alfama Neighborhood
  • Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa)
  • Miradouro das Portas do Sol

Itinerary Details

Meeting in the Praça da Figueira in Baixa, we'll journey with our guide by elevator to the top of Alfama Hill in Lisbon's Old Town. Here we'll find the splendid São Jorge Castle, one of Lisbon's most visited sites. Much of what exists of the castle today was constructed during the Moorish occupation of the 10th and 11th centuries. However, there is archaeological evidence that fortifications have existed on the site as far back as the 2nd century BC when Phoenician traders settled in this area. 

Our guide, a trained historian, will discuss the early history of Lisbon and how Moorish influence can be traced through architecture and design throughout the city. Continuing our walk further into the neighborhood, we'll uncover other archeological ruins, such as a Roman theater, another fascinating addition to the rich and complex history that created Alfama.

As we arrive at the Miradouro das Portas do Sol, one of the most iconic lookout points in Lisbon, we can delight in the sweeping views of Alfama and observe some of the principal structures in Lisbon's skyline. Here we can compare contemporary and historic maps to grasp the complex maze of narrow streets that weave amongst Alfama’s beautiful buildings.
 
Next, we will make out way to the Lisbon Cathedral, or Sé, and focus on the exterior, gaining insight into the Christian experience during the Moorish occupation, as well as the period following the 1147 reconquest. Construction began on the church, the oldest in the city, that same year, though its architectural identity has changed over the centuries with modifications made necessary after various earthquakes. The building is also a wonderful introduction to understanding Alfama and Lisbon in more recent times.

During our walk, our conversation will most certainly turn to Fado. One of Portugal's best-known exports, this genre of music is said to have originated in the popular port districts of Lisbon, particularly Alfama. Raw, sultry, and often spontaneous, the songs of Fado tell the daily narratives of Lisbon's working class. We'll pass by historic spots in the story of Fado, while our discussion covers the social significance of the genre and how it fits in with Alfama's greater history.

By the end of our time together, we'll have a better sense of the people and events that have formed Lisbon's captivating history and created the unique personality of Alfama.
 
This tour is nicely complemented by our 3-hour Introduction to Lisbon Walking Tour, which includes the central Baixa, Chiado, and Bairro Alto neighborhoods.

FAQ

For more information about Context tours, please visit our FAQs.

Book with confidence — see Context's flexible cancellation policy here.

Will we hear Fado on this tour? 
While we will most definitely discuss the origins and social significance of Fado music on this tour, we will not attend a concert.
 
Does this tour include a visit to São Jorge Castle? 
Our tour will meander through the streets of Alfama, incorporating some of its most iconic monuments, like the São Jorge Castle. We will certainly discuss the castle from its exterior from various vantage pointsbut do not tend to include the interior.
 
Is this tour walking-intensive, and/or wheelchair accessible? 
While we don't cover a large distance on the tour, nor do we take a fast pace, Lisbon is the City of Seven Hills and Alfama is no exception. We will be walking up stairs and inclines, as well as on cobblestoned streets. If you have mobility concerns, please feel free to contact us before booking; we can help you decide if our group walk or a private walk, with a modified route, will be best.

Will we see the interiors of the castle and the cathedral?
No, the stops do not include the interiors.

Can I do this tour by car? 
No, unfortunately, due to the width of the hilly streets of Lisbon there isn’t a way to do this tour by car. We have designed this tour to generally walk downhill although there are occasional uphill stairs and inclines. 
Where You'll Start
(4.88) 197 Reviews

Reviews can only be left by Context customers after they have completed a tour. For more information about our reviews, please see our FAQ.

Tiago is an outstanding guide because of his knowledge, enthusiasm, and ability to bring history alive. We loved our historical tour and time with Tiago and felt we got a better aporecuaion of Lisbon’s history in this tour. Times well spent.
An insightful tour with a knowledgeable tour guide and insights into both the history and everyday life of the neighborhood.
The Alfama's a great place to visit, and Bert's an incredible guide. He's smart, funny, engaging and knowledgeable, an insightful original thinker with a storytelling gift. We learned not only about the Alfama district, but also about the arc of Iberian history and how it shaped the Portuguese soul and culture. Don't miss this opportunity, highly recommended.