Alfama is the kind of place where you can easily get lost. The kind of lost that anyone likes and everyone needs. Living in Alfama you won’t only feel the true essence of Portugal in the air, but it’s also the place where you will be transformed into one of Lisbon’s locals yourself. After walking through its charming maze-like streets, while listening to Fado as background music, our national music genre, you will fall in love with Lisbon and really understand why you chose this city as the place to live part of your life.
From the Castelo de São Jorge (Castle of Saint George) where you will have an amazing view over the city, to the well known Portas do Sol (Gates of the Sun) where you can take the picture of your life with its amazing viewpoint, to the little stairs that will lead you to the heart of Alfama and where you will inevitably notice the women who’ve been living in Alfama all their lives speaking out loud between themselves and offering you the great local sweet and fresh drink, ginginha!
Living in Alfama is a hipster and cool thing to do. Unlike Bairro Alto, Santos, and other crowded areas – mostly famous for its bars and nightclubs – Alfama has the other side of the coin. Being a local even though you’re from abroad – this is what living in Alfama does to you! It adopts you and helps you feel the energy of the city while sitting down at a nice little hidden bar, listening to Fado and getting inspired for the beginning of your night out!
Having lived in Lisbon since I was born, this is still the city of my dreams. I have travelled to so many places and have met so many people but this small city inside this small country, nearly forgotten at the western end of Europe, has been more than an inspiration for me all this time and I always end up missing it when I am abroad.
Nevertheless, there is one time of the year when Lisbon becomes even more of an amazing place to be at and that time is June! During June, Saint Anthony’s Festivities take place around the city. Everybody gets out on the streets and party altogether! Whatever age they are, it doesn’t matter – we are all looking for the same thing: good food, good sangria and a whole lot of “pimba” (cheesy Portuguese folk) music to dance to! This is the best time to be living in Alfama.
The streets of Alfama, Bica and Bairro Alto get completely crowded especially during the evening of the 12th to 13th of June due to the fact that on the 13th it’s the national holiday for the official Saint Anthony celebration and everyone takes the day off! Although during the entire month of June you will find parties and gatherings happening every day especially around the streets of Alfama, the evening of 12th to the 13th is the night in which you will literally find everyone you know, out having fun!
Music is loud, typical food is being sold very cheaply everywhere and the smell in the air is incredible! Your eyes will see colors all around you because of all the buntings that are put up for the celebrations and the sound of people singing and cheering will keep you happy not only that night but the entire month!
Photo Credits: Thanks to all these wonderful photographers for contributing: Maria Almeida (who is living in Alfama herself), Eric Hossinger and Pedro Prats. Check out their profiles on Flickr!
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