Old City

Lisbon, Portugal cityscape in the Alfama District.

You cannot come to Lisbon without exploring the city’s old quarter.

You will enjoy simply getting lost on its narrow and labyrinthine streets with architecture ranging from medieval to 19th Century buildings. Everywhere you look you will find historical and cultural landmarks as well as pleasant restaurants, cafés and Fado clubs.

How to get there The bus 781 or 728 will take you from the marina to the city center. Get off at Santa Apolónia and from there start exploring the old city. Highlights include the Castle of São Jorge, Santa Lúzia scenic view point, and the medieval Lisbon Cathedral.

The neighbourhood features:

Lisbon Cathedral – The city’s Romanesque cathedral, the Sé, was founded in 1150, three years after King Afonso Henriques recaptured Lisbon from the Moors. It stands on the site of a mosque and earlier Roman foundations. It is easily recognized by its twin castellated bell towers, an architectural feature that lends the building an odd military character.

São Jorge’s Castle – Arguably the most popular tourist attraction in Lisbon, St. George’s Castle crowns a hilltop in the old part of the city. From the millennium-old battlements of this castle you have a bird’s-eye view of the city in the company of roaming peacocks.

Alfama – This is the city’s medieval neighborhood, still bearing signs of the Moorish presence in the city, with the buildings very close to each other, and very irregular streets. It’s very picturesque and a great spot in which to wander around, exploring the maze of its medieval alleys and crumbling houses with drying laundry on wrought-iron balconies, peeking into tiny shops and terraces with perfect postcard views.

Panteão Nacional – The National Pantheon, located in the historic district of Santa Clara, occupies the building originally intended for Santa Engracia church. It is a beautiful and unique church that acts as the national pantheon of Portugal and the final burial location for many important Portuguese like Amália Rodrigues, the most famous Fado diva. Situated in the old city, it’s massive white dome is a prominent feature of the skyline of eastern Lisbon.