Covering everything from the major news of the week and burning social issues, to expat living and la vida local, EL PAÍS’ team of English-language bloggers offers its opinions, observations and analysis on Spain and beyond.

Lovin' Lisbon

Por: | 15 de octubre de 2013

AMSTERDAM 172 to use
Photo Credit: Bon Voyage Magazine

By Sheridan Becker
BARCELONA, Spain -- Most folks dream about winning $2 million dollars, not losing $2 million dollars. But the latter nightmare befell a Californian man who last week mysteriously left behind his wallet in the Madrid subway -- a wallet containing a check for $2 million.  It was lucky for the careless millionaire that he lost his wallet in Madrid. The wallet was turned in to authorities there, and reportedly will be returned to its owner, complete with credit cards and multi-million dollar check. In Lisbon, the wallet might have experienced a different fate.
According to a recently published Reader's Digest, wallets were left in various cities across the world to see how many were returned by good Samaritans. Surprisingly, Lisbon ranked dead last.  However, our family trip to Lisbon this past summer was criminally spectacular. Since I tend to travel with a crew of swashbuckling prepubescents, my experiences in Lisbon resulted in a few family-oriented insights and finds that I'd like to share.
Don't even think about visiting sun-drenched and colorful Lisbon, capital city of Portugal, unless you purchase either a 24-, 48- or 72-hour Lisbo Card. Your Lisbo Card may very well be the closest you will ever come to winning a lottery ticket. It allows easy, convenient access to just about every top-tier museum and historic site the city has to offer (no waiting in lines, whatsoever), as well as free and unlimited travel on buses, trams, or you-name-the-mode-of-transport. Here's a lucky number tip: Purchase your Lisbo Card in-person and request the family day card (for two adults and two kids under the age of 14), and you will be saving a few euros by the end of the day. Be sure to plan out your day accordingly and double check that your places of interest are listed on the Lisbo Card. Now, that's a winning ticket!
1-2-3 BAM!
Hop on tram Line 15, head out to Belém, and make a day of it if you can. When it comes to family-travel ease, Belém is a dream: All the top attractions the area has to offer fall within walking distance of each other. For example, there's Torres de Belém (Belém Tower). Built in 1515, Torres de Belém is to Lisbon what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.  It is the city's most photographed landmark. Nearby, you will find the Monument to Discoveries, which was built in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator. The monument represents a three-sailed ship ready to depart, attended by sculptures of important historical figures. Then, there's Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, a elaborate and ornate monastery that began as a chapel built by Henry the Navigator around 1459, but was expanded upon from 1501 to 1601. It's nothing short of specatacular, and today, its main visitors entrance and wings house Portugal's Maritime Museum and the National Archaeology Museum.
Note: Be patient and wait around, if you can, to ride one of the few operating centennial wooden trams that head in and out of Belém parish.
In between all of the family fun, take a break and refresh yourselves with a delicious custard tart. I'm specifically referring to the world-famous pasteis de natas from the Antiga Confeitaria de Belém. Since 1841, the bakers of Antiga Confeitaria de Belém have dazzled countless taste buds with their delicious custard tarts served warm with a light sprinkle of cinnamon. These magnificent tarts are treated like they're solid gold, carefully placed into decorative handmade boxes by staff members. Most folks slowly and delicately enjoy their tart while hanging around outside of the cafe. Don’t let the long lines fool you. The employees of the Antiga Confeitaria operate surprising fast. Speaking of speed, my kids and I swiftly learned why there is always a long line at Antiga Confeitaria de Belém: These tarts are so fantastic that they need to be eaten and enjoyed right on the spot. You'll want to buy them one at a time and then immediately savor them -- hence, the lines.
Alas, all good things must end. The sights are seen, the tarts are eaten, and I'm back in Barcelona again. But now that I've gotten to know my new-found neighbor Portugal a bit and enjoyed its lovely capital city, I look forward to my next trip "next door."
Photo Credit: Bon Voyage Magazine Caption: Martinao, the oldest cafe in Lisbon, sits a few yards away from tram Line 15 that heads out to Belém.

Hay 2 Comentarios

Very nice. I hope to have the opportunity to Lisbon. Good day and Relax with funny flash games -

I have never been to Lisbon, but from what I can see in the pictures, I should definitely go there soon...

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Authors (Bloggers)

Chris Finnigan is a freelance journalist based in Barcelona. He writes for Barcelona Metropolitan and is a book reviewer and reader for The Barcelona Review. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics. You can find him on twitter @chrisjfinnigan

Ben Cardew is a freelance journalist, translator and teacher, now resident in Barcelona after growing up gracefully in Scotland via Norwich. He writes for The Guardian, the NME and The Quietus, among others, on everything from music to digital media. You can find him on Twitter @bencardew

Fiona Flores Watson is a freelance journalist, guide and translator who has lived in Seville since 2003, and has been a writer and editor for more than 20 years. She writes for the Guardian, Telegraph and Sunday Times Travel Magazine. Originally from Essex, Fiona is also Consulting Editor of and has her own blog, Scribbler in Seville. She has been contributing to Trans-Iberian since 2014 and tweets at @Seville_Writer

Jeff Brodsky is a freelance writer. He arrived in Barcelona in 2013 via an admittedly indirect route, living in Chicago, Arizona, Seville, Amsterdam, North Carolina and Madrid. Despite not having stepped foot in Seville for over five years, he still speaks Spanish with an Andalusian accent. Jeff’s writing has been published in newspapers and magazines in America and Europe.

Koren Helbig is an Australian freelance journalist and blogger enjoying a life of near-eternal sunshine in Alicante. She writes for publications in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, focusing on stories exploring smart and positive approaches to social issues. She hangs out on Twitter at @KorenHelbig and keeps a selection of her favourite stories at

Julie Pybus lives in a small off-grid house on a hillside in Catalunya. She usually focuses on helping charities and social enterprises with their publications and websites, but has also written for The Guardian, Country Living and The Observer. Julie launched and runs a hyperlocal website which endeavors to increase understanding between the different nationalities in her area @JuliePybus

Paul Louis Archer is a freelance photographer, multimedia storyteller and artist educator. A cross-disciplinary worker, who endeavors to encompass the mediums of photography, audio design and writing. Born in Hertfordshire of an English father and Spanish mother. Based in the United Kingdom. @PaulLouisArcher

Vicki McLeod is a freelance writer and photographer. She has lived in Mallorca since 2004. Vicki writes about her beloved island for The Majorca Daily Bulletin, the only daily English language paper in Spain; produces regular columns for the Euro Weekly News, and articles for Vicki runs PR strategies for several businesses in Mallorca and London as well as working on her own blogs and projects. She and her husband, Oliver Neilson, supply photo and text content for private clients via @phoenixmediamlr. She tweets at @mcleod_vicki.

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne and based in Barcelona, Alx Phillips writes about contemporary art, dance and theatre in a way that human beings can understand. For more previews, reviews, interviews and extras, check:

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