Lisbon: Textures and Treats of the Alfama

The Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood, was one of the spots I was most excited to visit during my weekend in the city. And though I ended up loving the Bairro Alto neighborhood just a bit more, the Alfama was a highlight of my time in Lisbon nonetheless.

While there, I spent most of my time wandering the Alfama’s narrow streets, which were filled with an array of colors, graffiti, and buildings whose textured, gritty exteriors I loved (and endlessly photographed). To me, the buildings lining the Alfama’s streets perfectly summed up the character of Lisbon itself: elegant and picturesque, yet also a bit ramshackle and gritty. In other words, beautiful, but also real.

I also stopped by Sao Jorge Castle, not so much for the castle but rather for the spectacular views of Lisbon and the Tejo River that can be found on the castle’s hilltop. And, of course, after walking up and down the Alfama’s hilly streets, a treat was in order: sugary, custard-y goodness in the form of pastel de nata from Nata Lisboa, whose apt slogan is “the world needs Nata.” Indeed it does, and so do you when you visit Lisbon.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon in the Alfama. While there wasn’t much to “do” in the neighborhood, the streets themselves were the attraction; peeking down the Alfama’s narrow lanes was like peeking into the past of Lisbon itself.

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