Wander down (to save your legs) through Alfama's steep, narrow, cobblestoned streets and catch a glimpse of the more traditional side of Lisbon before it too is gentrified. Linger in a backstreet cafe along the way and experience some local bonhomie without the tourist gloss. Early morning is the best time to catch a more traditional scene, when women sell fresh fish from their doorways. For a real rough-and-tumble atmosphere, visit during the Festas dos Santos Populares in June.
As far back as the 5th century, the Alfama was inhabited by the Visigoths, and remnants of a Visigothic town wall remain. But it was the Moors who gave the district its shape and atmosphere. In Moorish times this was an upper-class residential area. After earthquakes brought down many of its mansions (and post-Moorish churches) it reverted to a working-class, fisherfolk quarter. It was one of the few districts to ride out the 1755 earthquake.
This was one of the best private tours we have ever taken! My husband was a bit skeptical beforehand, but he was totally won over by both the tour itself and by Daniel, our Driver/Guide. Daniel is a Lisbon native and he has so much knowledge about his beloved home town. My husband rode on the motorcycle, and I rode in the sidecar. People stopped and stared, pointed at us, smiled, waved, laughed, or even insisted on photographing us! I felt like a celebrity or royalty, and having so many people pause at the sight of us added to the enjoyment of our afternoon with Daniel in Lisbon. We originally chose this tour as a different way to spend our third time in Lisbon, but we saw virtually ALL of Lisbon during the tour, so it really is a great introduction for first time visitors to Lisbon too. I highly recommend booking it!
This was a spectacular way to see the heart of Lisbon. Our guide Simon provided excellent commentary and led us around without a problem. We were a bit apprehensive about biking up and down the hills of Lisbon, however, if the electric bikes make it easy 70 year ollds, anyone can make this trip.
Best bicycle tour yet--I've done Bacelona, Paris, Rome and Sydney. The electric bikes make it possible to visit places that you wouldn't think of going to, even in a car! And there is no substitute for a guide who knows the area---the guys at rent a fun are the best. Julio took us to places not on the usual tours, plus they gave me a map with the location some of the best eateries in the city.
---PS - thanks to "the girls" for picking up the soda tab...
The best way up the hill is the number 28 tram from Martin Moniz Square, look at the views, then enjoy the wander back down.