lisbon: meandering through the alfama district & LOSTin bairro alto

Monday, July 22: After leaving Castelo de São Jorge, I head out into the charming Alfama neighborhood surrounding the castle.  It’s a lovely little warren of cobbled streets where you just want to wander around forever.  Entrancing.  Bewitching. Beguiling.  Utterly captivating.🙂

the neighborhood around the Castelo de São Jorge
the neighborhood around the Castelo de São Jorge
the Alfama neighborhood around the Castelo de São Jorge
the Alfama neighborhood around the Castelo de São Jorge
charming window in the the Alfama neighborhood around the Castelo de São Jorge
charming window in the Alfama neighborhood around the Castelo de São Jorge
a little shop in the neighborhood
a little shop in the neighborhood
another charming window
another charming window
a Portuguese woman and her colorful laundry :-)
a Portuguese woman and her colorful laundry🙂
pretty walls and windows
pretty walls and windows
I love the colorful buildings
I love the colorful buildings
pretty little balcony
pretty little balcony
an inviting doorway
an inviting doorway
Portuguese tiles on the facade
Portuguese tiles on the facade

I then meander my way to the spot close to where the Lisbon Sightseeing Bus dropped me off; here I have some mediocre lunch at an outdoor cafe.  I then decide to take the iconic Vintage Tram 28 down the hill all the way to the end of the line.

on Vintage Tram 28
on Vintage Tram 28
Vintage Tram 28
Vintage Tram 28

At the end of the line, all passengers are told to disembark; we have to get on another tram to go back up the hill of Alfama.  We wait a while in the new tram until it climbs back up the steep hill.  We pass other colorful trams along the way.

another tram in Lisbon's Alfama
another tram in Lisbon’s Alfama

I dip into a church along the way, but I’m not sure what this one is called.

a church in Alfama
a church in Alfama
a beautiful church in Alfama
a beautiful church in Alfama

And then I walk down the narrow street, where trams are going up and down, until I reach a pedestrian shopping street.

a tram in Alfama
a tram in Alfama
a pedestrian shopping street
a pedestrian shopping street

At this pedestrian street, I stop for a little lunch and then I make my way, walking, back up the hill.   Walking in Lisbon is not easy as it has so many steep hills!  I pass some pretty shops and beautiful buildings.

a building in Alfama
a building in Alfama

I make my way further up the hill to The Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Mary Major, also known as Sé de Lisboa or simply Lisbon Cathedral. The oldest church in the city is the see of the Archdiocese of Lisbon. Since the beginning of the construction of the cathedral, in the year 1147, the building has been modified several times and survived many earthquakes. It is nowadays a mix of different architectural styles (Wikipedia: Lisbon Cathedral).

Sé de Lisboa
Sé de Lisboa
Sé de Lisboa
Sé de Lisboa
Sé de Lisboa
Sé de Lisboa
Sé de Lisboa
Sé de Lisboa

And then I find a cute little cafe where I decide it’s about time for a glass of wine.

a colorful cafe in Alfama
a colorful cafe in Alfama
wine and snacks
wine and snacks
giving my legs a rest!
giving my legs a rest!

I ask the owners if they’ll take a picture of me in front of the colorful and paint-chipped doors.  It looks a little strange because the door is either really small, or I’m really big!

me in Alfama
me in Alfama

I ask the owner where I can find Clube de Fado, because I’ve heard it’s around this area and I’d like to make a reservation to see some Fado and have dinner for tomorrow night.  He tells me it’s behind the Sé de Lisboa, whence I just came, so, guess what, I get to walk back down the hill I just came up.

I head back down hill past colorful buildings
I head back down hill past colorful buildings
and pretty balconies jutting out of tiled facades
and pretty balconies jutting out of tiled facades

I finally find the Clube de Fado, and I pop inside to reserve a spot for tomorrow night.  After this, I make my way back UP the hill, passing by the Igreja de Santiago and other interesting buildings.

Igreja de Santiago
Igreja de Santiago
the streets of Alfama
the streets of Alfama

Finally, I end up right back where I started from this morning, at the Miradouro of Santa Luzia, where I get more astounding views of Lisbon and the Rio Tejo.

view from Miradouro of Santa Luzia
view from Miradouro of Santa Luzia
view from Miradouro of Santa Luzia
view from Miradouro of Santa Luzia
view from Miradouro of Santa Luzia
view from Miradouro of Santa Luzia

Here, I hop back on the Hop On Hop Off bus to head back to my hotel, where I need to get off of my feet for a while.  On the bus, we pass hundreds of colorful buildings.

buildings we pass on the Lisbon Sightseeing Bus
buildings we pass on the Lisbon Sightseeing Bus
I pass this man and he seems startled to catch me taking a picture of him
I pass this man and he seems startled to catch me taking a picture of him

I get dropped off at the bottom of the hill again, and have to make my way back up Calcada de Gloria.  This time I decide to take the Elevador da Gloria up.  I just don’t think I can walk up any more hills today!

Elevador da Gloria
Elevador da Gloria
at the top of the hill of Bairro Alto
at the top of the hill of Bairro Alto

Of course at the top of the hill, I must stop at Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara for another view of the city and a cold beer at the little cafe.

Fountain at Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara
Sculpture at Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara
cafe at Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara
cafe at Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara
view from Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara
view from Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara
view from Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara
view from Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara

Finally, I’m at the top of Bairro Alto where my hotel, Pensão Londres, sits pretty in green.

Pensão Londres
Pensão Londres

I am so happy to relax in my room for a while before I go out to have some dinner.  My feet and legs are killing me from walking up and down Lisbon’s hills.  This time, I go to LOSTin, an Esplanada Bar.  It is an Indian snack-like restaurant that serves meals like toasts, wraps and sandwiches, but with an Indian flavor. The best thing about LOSTin is its gorgeous view over downtown and Lisbon castle; the cafe sits under the shade of beautiful trees with Indian umbrellas and cushions and pink and green wicker chairs. It’s a perfect place from the bustle of the city.  Plus, it’s right across the street from Pensão Londres, which means I don’t have to walk far.🙂

view from LOSTin
view from LOSTin
view from LOSTin
view from LOSTin

My dinner is Gratinado de Gorgonzola, which of course is accompanied by a glass of red wine; though it doesn’t look that enticing from the picture, I can guarantee it’s delicious.

Gratinado de Gorgonzola
Gratinado de Gorgonzola

I go back to my room, feeling like I definitely got the most out of my day.  I loved all the views of the beautiful old city of Lisbon, and its charming and labyrinthine neighborhood of Alfama.

21 thoughts on “lisbon: meandering through the alfama district & LOSTin bairro alto

  1. Phew! I’m exhausted now – all that up and down you did in Alfama! We were lucky enough to come across another elevator just below the castle which took us back down to street level close to the Praça do Comércio which is where that shopping street led to. It is a hard city on the feet, but the best way to see all those great (if somewhat in need of some TLC) buildings. Lovely photos too, I have enjoyed my wander with you today🙂

    BTW we never had great food in Portugal either, except in Cascais where we discovered a great Brazilian restaurant! Good beer though!
    Jude xx

    1. Haha, Jude, I was exhausted just remembering and writing about that day. It also came on the tail end of nearly a month of travel and a stressful time leaving Oman, so I was exhausted. It is definitely a hard city on the feet and on the knees! I’m really glad you enjoyed coming along though!🙂

      1. Yes I did thanks to Mrs C. Have been trawling around some of your other stuff too Cathy. Very interesting.
        .. and many thanks for the lovely mention🙂

    1. Me too, Tahira. I find myself missing Europe every day, now that I’m back in the USA. Europe is infinitely charming and I’m always yearning to go back, not only to visit, but to live there!! But I need an EU passport!!!🙂

  2. Never mind counting Joao’s, I’m exhausted from counting all those drinks and snacks you had, Cathy! 🙂 I know, I know- it was a long day, lot of hills, etc!
    Thanks for making me smile. So many shots I loved- the little plummy coloured window, the cafe with the olives and the tiny door, those lovely evening shots looking out over Alfama- and I could picture you doing all that and more. Fabulous post! I only realised yesterday that I haven’t been to Lisbon since 2007, and you know what that means! 🙂
    I was living in hopes this week of a fleeting visit to Tavira because we have some friends we met on Madeira on my 60th going out there on Sunday for a week. I so wanted to go, just to overlap a couple of days, but after a rubbish Summer workwise, Mick’s finally really busy and can’t spare the time. I’m kind of sulking (but only a bit🙂 )

    1. Haha, Jo, you are so right! As someone else mentioned, I think I did have two lunches that day! Chalk all that munching up to needing a rest here and there, and feeling guilty for not buying anything wherever I stopped!

      It was very charming in Alfama, but also quite a hot and tiring day; I’m glad you enjoyed it through my pictures; you may have enjoyed it more than I did in actuality! I think it’s time to go back, Jo, and lucky for you, you could easily go in the fall when it’s cooler! You know how I dislike the heat.

      Too bad you can’t escape to Tavira on your own. Leave Mick behind, and go for it!🙂 (Don’t tell him I said that!)

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