Alfama

Before there was Lisbon, there was Alfama. It’s the oldest part of the city, and it remains a charming warren of narrow streets and alleyways. The neighborhood miraculously survived the devastating earthquake of 1755 that destroyed much of Lisbon, so its historic architecture is largely intact (or decaying in a glorious way). Now it’s a must-stop on every visitor’s itinerary, and one of the best places to buy traditional crafts, listen to traditional fado music, savor the stunning views, or simply allow yourself to get lost. It’s also home to major landmarks including Castelo São Jorge and the 12th-century Sé Cathedral, the oldest in the city. Although the streets can be quite hilly, Alfama is best seen by foot, slowly, so as to allow its charms to unfold.

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