As quintessentially ‘Lisboeta’ as they come, authentic Alfama will have you charmed in seconds. A picturesque labyrinth of narrow paths winding down the hill, intriguing aromas infuse the air and charming vignettes of daily life abound.  Stroll the streets to catch lamenting rifts of Fado, Portugal’s national folk music, which was born here in Alfama. Once home to the city’s fisherman, you can still find some of the tastiest sardines in town.

Spread over the south-eastern slope of the hill, and crowned by the Castelo de São Jorge, Alfama is the city's ancient Arab district. The name Alfama is derived from al-hamma, meaning baths or fountain, and the kasbah-esq layout, with its atmospheric, narrow lanes, small archways, and cobbled terraces derives from this heritage. A village within a city, Alfama’s convivial atmosphere is defined by locals who know each other by name, chatting as they go about their day-to-day lives. Lately, the neighbourhood has experienced a regeneration thanks to the restoration of old houses and the opening of new restaurants. Metro transit is available on the outskirts of the barrio, with a handful of bus routes and Tram 28 covering much of the area.

The experts say

A people pleaser thanks to its charming atmosphere, views over the hills, central location, architecture and authenticity, Alfama is a good choice for both short and long term rentals and, as such, a versatile investment. While prices for high-end new developments range between €7,000 - €9,000 per square metre due to limited stock, there remains strong potential for further developments. There’s the feeling that Alfama holds a strong hand and has good room to grow.

The property market in Alfama

Home to some of the city’s most traditional residents who have lived here all their lives, today many of their formerly rent-controlled homes have fallen into disrepair.  In recent years, a growing number of wealthier investors have begun to renovate and restore the crumbling façades, although high-quality renovated properties are still few and far between. Other renovated buildings directly below the castle have been converted into some of the city's most atmospheric and unique hotels.

Three insiders tips for Alfama

GET - lost (sometimes unavoidable) wandering through the enchanting streets to get to know the charm of the area.
DO - experience the iconic Fado music playing from any number of street bars and restaurants.
SEE - explore the graffiti and street art that decorates the crumbling façades in Alfama.

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