As I mentioned earlier, taking in the view of Lisbon from one of its many miradouros is hands down the ultimate Lisbon experience. But don’t ever think only from a high altitude can you enjoy Lisbon’s distinctive beauty, a walk through the streets of this fine city, especially in Alfama–the oldest neighborhood of Lisbon, is nothing sort of an incredible experience.
I miss Alfama. That photogenic little village within a metropolitan city. That old-fashioned neighborhood with medieval alleys bringing you back in time. That historical quarter, which bravely survived the 1755 earthquake, with a maze of narrow, cobbled streets, with tiny squares, white churches, colorful houses, drying laundry and flower pots. Words hardly do justice to Alfama. Its unstated, quiet charm is something along the line of Venice’s or Anafiotika in Athens. Unlike Venice, however, Alfama does not radiates a melancholic romance that is hard to put into words; Alfama is romantically beautiful, but is also full of life and colors. Its main streets are relaxedly occupied from morning till night, its people busy roaming the streets, terrific aromas continuously permeating the air from the numerous restaurants, drying laundry flying in the wind, and orange trees lighting up every corner even on the gloomiest of day. I love Alfama, so much, to the point of actually feeling a physical pain in my heart typing down these feeble lines.
Use Lisbon Cethedral–the oldest church in the city–as your landmark to discover this neighborhood. You have two choices of itinerary: 1/ follow the tram line or 2/ get lost. The latter is highly recommended.
Once you find yourself within Alfama, the rest is, of course, history:
So lovely I couldn’t take my eyes off them:
These classic images never get old:
Perhaps one of the first things that catch your attention is the extensive use of ceramic tiles to cover the lower portion of a building’s wall all over the city. This old tradion, dated back from mid-15th century, is sure something that only adds up to the city’s creative charm.
You, however, don’t have to confine your walk within Alfama for these visual treats. Rest assured that every walk you take, Lisbon’s beauty will take you by surprise.