Travel

Alfama

Establishment neighborhood
Palacio Belmonte
14 Pátio de Dom Fradique, Alfama
Located inside a 15th-century castle in the historic Alfama District, this boutique hotel is one of Lisbon’s hidden gems. Its eleven private rooms are infused with a sense Portuguese history, decorated with blue and white 17th-century tiles and antiques throughout, with views of the city's rooftops and the Tagus River. Just a 15-minute walk from the main square, it's at once secluded, yet central—an ideal respite for those looking to escape the bustle of the city. Plus, the property itself boasts its own beautiful outdoor café and patio, as well as a private restaurant; a library, ballroom, music room, garden, and pool all round out the experience.
Santa Clara 1728
128 Campo Santa Clara, Alfama
In the center of the city right by the Fiera de Ladra, Lisbon’s flea market, Santa Clara 1728 is a beautiful 18th-century palace that has been transformed into a quiet, romantic sanctuary. Reminiscent of a chic, upscale bed and breakfast, this hotel has six spacious suites and a dining room where the owners (a family who also calls the space home) host delicious dinners open to all guests. Limestone staircases, minimalist wooden furniture, and impressive artwork all complement the beauty of the building itself. Bonus: luxurious, heated bedroom floors, along with views of the Tagus River and National Pantheon.
Lux Frágil
Av. Infante D. Henrique, Armazém A, Cais da Pedra a Sta Apolónia, Alfama
One of Portugal's most popular venues, Lux Frágil has remained a fixture of Lisbon nightlife since opening in 1998. Located near the waterfront, with three distinct but connected areas—a club, a bar, and a rooftop lounge—the interior is a sleek and fashionable setting for weekly events consisting of mostly house, techno, and disco music, presented by an impressive selection of well-known DJs. If you’re not a hardcore dancer, you can stick to the upstairs bar, which is a bit more laid back. Beware: As one of Lisbon’s most famous clubs, the line gets pretty long on the weekends, so it's best to arrive on the earlier side.
Castelo de São Jorge
Rua de Santa Cruz do Castelo, Alfama
Set on the city's tallest hill (where its Middle-Age inhabitants could best see incoming threats), São Jorge Castle was originally built by the Moors, before it was captured by the Christians who eventually ruled the city. Despite its dramatic history, today, the castle is one of the city's most relaxing and tranquil places—there are peacocks wandering around the grounds, and gorgeous views of the city from the defensive towers. Leave a little time to explore the camera obscura.
Explore Alfama
Alfama
Alfama is one of Portugal's oldest districts, and since the hilly area is filled with sets of stairs and narrow alleys, it's best explored by foot (though the 1930's-style tram that makes up the only public transportation here is worth hopping on for fun). The neighborhood's never really been tony, and though hipsters have taken over several restaurants and storefronts, the original community is still very much intact thanks to generous rent control programs. There are several attractions worth exploring while you're here. Start with Castelo de São Jorge, the beautifully restored site of the Christians' 12th-century defeat of the Moors, where there are tons of lookouts with views of the sea and surrounding neighborhoods. Also visit the Church of St. Anthony, the birthplace of its namesake, the patron saint of lovers—newly married couples often leave flowers here in hopes of a happy marriage, and single people try to throw coins into his book for good luck finding a partner. Though it's not a must, it's fun to check out the Fado Museum, which memorializes a specific musical style born in Alfama: a solemn, dramatic singing and guitar style…
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