Alcântara is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Lisbon. With its narrow, cobbled streets and old buildings, this neighborhood resembles a charming medieval village.
This hidden gem is not the most well-known or famous, but it has some of the best views of Lisbon and is full of great restaurants, cafes, and bars. Many expats have found their new home there because they find the place friendly, affordable. Plus there are many recreation options nearby. Moreover, it’s a short drive to downtown Lisbon.
Where is Alcântara
Alcântara sits on Portugal’s easternmost point with 25 de Abril Bridge overlooking it across the Tagus River in Lisbon. It’s situated in the west of the country, and on its eastern border lies Ajuda as well as Belém.
Alcantra has always been close to these major cities throughout history. But, it still managed to maintain some sense of individuality.
This district was once known as Santa Maria de Belém. The name is coming from the monastery that stands on grounds just west of today’s Torre de Belém lighthouse. After many years underwater, this area now thrives with life, thanks to a mixture of new and old-style buildings, quaint cafés, and lively streets.
It’s a perfect place for shopping or strolling around admiring the architecture. The Alcantra district also boasts one of Portugal’s newest museums, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga.
Evolution of Alcântara
Being an important district in Lisbon, Alcântara has experienced significant development over recent years. In the middle of Lisbon, at its base and along the Tagus River, lives a district with roots that stretch back to Roman times.
Once a desolate wasteland, Alcântara has grown into an economic powerhouse with potential for the development of industries and plants. The valley and river provide powerful natural resources.
Connection With Other Districts
Alcântara has quick and easy connections to the rest of Lisbon. It makes this place ideal for people who want to live in a friendly environment with all conveniences nearby.
The Alcântara district has some of the best transportation options in Lisbon. With various means of transportation, you can be anywhere else within 30 minutes, including Praça do Comércio, Belém (where they’ve delicious pastel de natas) and Basílica da Estrela (built by Manueline King Dinis).
There are bus or Cascais line trains for those preferring public transport that can get you across town quickly. The Fertagus train station also provides convenient links north-south across the 25 de Abril Bridge and fast access into Portugal’s national rail network. If driving isn’t your thing then it doesn’t matter because roadways are simple and affordable, too.
Alcântara is a bustling district of Lisbon with much to explore. The south side, as it’s called, has many attractions that are worth visiting if you’re in the area. However, don’t forget about the north side of Alcantra. It’s home to one spectacular landmark, “Aqueduto das Águas Livres” which crosses over from east to west and provides an iconic view.
Some of the must-visit historical buildings in this area include: Quinta do Monte do Carmo, Palacete da Ribeira Grande, Palacete dos Condes da Ponte, Capela de Santo Amaro, Palácio Vale Flor, Palácio Sabugosa, Palácio dos Patriarcas, Igreja e Convento das Flamengas and Igreja de S. Pedro de Alcântara.
Doca Santo Amaro
The Doca Santo Amoro is an enchanting piece of Lisbon’s cityscape with its location right under Ponte 25 de Abril. It’s a place for chilling out and enjoying some drinks in the afternoon. If you want to experience the nightlife, come here after dinner. There are many different restaurants, from fish restaurants to burger joints, but also cocktails bars and ice cream parlors.
But where’s the catch? Well, everything here is available at a very reasonable price, from snacks to meals and drinks.
Ponte 25 de Abril
The Ponte 25 de Abril is a cross-river bridge that connects the city of Lisbon in Portugal with Almada on the left bank. It was completed and opened to traffic in July 1966 after ten years of construction work.
Each day, 150,000 vehicles cross the bridge. It offers a beautiful view of Almada with Cristo Rei and Lisbon’s Monument in sight at night. If you want to enjoy this for an extra-long time, start driving during rush hour – there will be traffic here.
In 1998, the Vasco da Gama Bridge was opened on the East side of Lisbon that offered protection from congestion due to heavy vehicle flow crossing over it daily.
Monumento Cristo Rei – Rio on the Tagus
Next to the striking Ponte 25 de Abril, another eye-catcher is on the other side of the river: Monumento Cristo Rei statue.
Eating & Drinking
There are a wide variety of restaurants and bars in Alcântara, but it all depends on what you’re in the mood for. If you want to try something new and different, then check out Vaivém de Sopa. If you’re looking for lavish traditional food with an international flair, look for Restaurante Dom José Maria da Fonseca.
Alcântara sure is a lively little district that always has something going on at all hours of the day or night. It doesn’t matter what time zone you’re from; Alcântara will have an event for everyone who wants some excitement in their life. This neighborhood has plenty to offer for those of us who like the nightlife.
For further reading, you can refer to our Alcântara Real Estate Guide.