Alfama is the ancient heart of Lisbon and features some of the most fascinating sights in the capital. This hilly part of town offers spectacular views of the River Tagus, a variety of bars and restaurants, and traditional cobbled streets. Here are some of the best hotels in Alfama.
Alfama is Lisbon’s old city, with steep cobbled streets, fado musicians strumming their guitars and older women selling €1 shots of ginjinha to tourists year-round. Its prominence on many travel itineraries means that Alfama hosts a wide range of accommodation, from budget hostels to historical mansions. Here are some of the best places to stay in Alfama, where you can expect to experience Lisbon’s famously relaxed and friendly hotel staff.
Hotel Convento do Salvador
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Contemporary art adorns the walls of the Hotel Convento do Salvador | Courtesy of Hotel Convento do Salvador / Hotels.com
Once part of a 14th-century convent, Hotel Convento do Salvador is just minutes away from Castelo de São Jorge and Sé Cathedral. With the well-connected number 28 tram stopping just outside, its location is perfect for exploring the area. The hotel’s public spaces have the feel of a modern art gallery – clean and light with walls adorned with a wide array of work by some of Portugal’s most celebrated contemporary artists. As for its rooms, they are cosy, and some even have river views.
The modern design of this former palace thoughtfully reflects on the building’s original 15th-century decor, and even features some of the Roman remains found during its reconstruction. A 10-minute walk from Castelo de São Jorge, the five-star Santiago de Alfama won the 2019 Condé Nast Johansens Award for Best Urban Hotel in Europe and is a favourite of international celebrities. Every room is unique, with some overlooking the River Tagus.
The rooms at Memmo Alfama are what you hope to find at a countryside retreat, complete with earthy wooden tones, bare brickwork and unassuming complexity. The rooftop bar, which offers panoramic views of the historic area and the River Tagus, is a big draw here, as is the exceptional service. It is just a short walk from the cathedral and castle, and the hotel offers free tours of the area.
Perfect for solo travellers or those on a budget, the Suave Lisboa Hostel is an excellent place to meet new people in the well-maintained common areas, have a barbecue or play a game of darts. It is just minutes away from the many food stalls and free concerts found in the multicultural Martim Moniz area. Your booking comes with a complimentary breakfast.
You can rent colour-coded studios or apartments, complete with kitchenettes and private bathrooms, in this cheerful venue near the scenic Miradouro das Portas do Sol. Outside, you can listen to local live music with a drink as you look across the old city’s red roofs that spread down towards the Tagus from the miradouro (viewpoint). The owners of the Alfama Yellow House are helpful and friendly, which only makes it feel even more like a home away from home.
These stylish serviced apartments sit in a calm oasis tucked away from Alfama’s bustling streets and come with an outdoor lawn and patio, where you can collapse onto a deck chair after a busy day of exploring. The Alma Moura Residences is a short walk from the Jardim da Cerca da Graça, a public park with exceptional views of the city.
These modern yet inexpensive apartments and rooms feel like a private sanctuary but with the friendly services of a hotel. Alfama – Lisbon Lounge Suites sits directly on a typically steep cobbled street just wide enough for the popular number 28 tram to pass by (which you can see from the rooms’ large windows if you don’t feel like squeezing onboard).
The Hotel Riverside Alfama is about as close to the River Tagus that you can get, offering the perfect starting point to any stroll by the water or adventure into the neighbourhood’s narrow streets. This lobster-red hotel has 21 stylish but minimalist rooms that feature striking hand-painted tiles (the owners also run a nearby tile shop) and a good complimentary breakfast. It’s a popular hotel, so be sure to book early.
Live like the old Portuguese aristocracy at Palacete Chafariz D’El Rei. This magnificent and eclectic building from the 19th century underwent years of restoration, reopening as a boutique hotel in 2010. It feels like a stately home, complete with stained-glass windows, glass chandeliers and a wood-panelled library. Magnificent views of the nearby Tagus await you from the rooms and terrace, as does your butler.