We hope you’re enjoying our new series of blogposts on accessible getaways in Europe. For this post we’re heading to a city that is becoming increasingly popular for visitors from across the world, and with good reason. Although (like Rome) Lisbon is famous for its seven hills and its cobbled streets, it is still a surprisingly accessible city to get around for those of us who use mobility scooters and wheelchairs. Here is our accessible guide to the best that the Portuguese capital has to offer.
Tuck into the greatest custard tart on the planet
It’s a bold claim, we know. And you might not think that you like custard tarts. But the poor excuse for a custard tart you can buy in British bakeries really doesn’t do them justice: the Portuguese make the original and best. The ones to go for actually come from somewhere very specific: the Pastéis de Belém bakery in Belém, on the edge of Lisbon. The team there have been making custard tarts since at least 1837. The great news is that the whole of the restaurant and bakery is fully accessible to wheelchair users, so grab yourself a coffee and a plate of Pastéis de Belém, and enjoy.
While you’re in Belém, we also thoroughly recommend that you pay a visit to the Jerónimos Monastery. This peaceful place offers a welcome break from the busy city and was built originally to commemorate the discoveries of the great Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama. Remarkably it took over 200 years to compete, but the craftsmanship and effort that has gone into this beautiful building is absolutely breathtaking. Despite its great age, the church and its peaceful cloisters are both accessible using a ramp.
Enjoy the sound of Portugal
If there is one thing that defines the Portuguese spirit (aside from incredible custard tarts and global exploration), it is the idea of ‘saudade’. It is one of those words that doesn’t really have an equivalent in English: it is something along the lines of ‘melancholy’, or ‘longing’, but neither of those really do it justice. It is a word born out of the Portuguese people’s love of exploring, but also of the love and longing for home that they feel when they are away. One of the best ways to get a sense of the feeling of ‘saudade’ is to listen to the traditional Portuguese folk music, fado. It is the music you will hear everywhere in Lisbon (and the country’s greatest fado singer, Amália Rodrigues, is buried in the city too). Our tip is simply to head out in the evening and follow your ears to find the best live singers.
Make a splash at the Lisbon Oceanarium
The sea is everywhere in Lisbon, in the history of its most famous explorers and in the smell of grilled fish that fills the air. So, it is no surprise that the city is also home to one of the best aquariums in the world, the Oceanário de Lisboa. It is absolutely vast and has a huge range of creatures to see, with everything from live shows to exhibits examining how we can work to rid the oceans of plastics. It is also completely wheelchair accessible to all, and while it isn’t in the city centre you can easily reach it using the metro.
Did you know?
The city has a ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue overlooking it, just like Rio de Janeiro.
Getting to Lisbon
While there are often more affordable flights to Faro in the Algarve, flying to the Portuguese capital from the UK is still relatively cheap and easy. Fly direct, every day, from London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and Edinburgh.
Once you’re there, you will be impressed by just how accessible Lisbon airport is too. The team there offer an assistance service for travellers with special mobility requirements. It is called MyWay and you can find out more here. As always, we’d suggest getting in touch with the team there to make arrangements before you get on the plane.
It is also relatively straightforward to get from Lisbon airport into the city centre. We recommend using the Aerobus shuttle service, which runs every 10 minutes into the city centre. It is fully accessible for all, and is only €3.60 for an adult ticket.
Lisbon has both trams and an extensive metro system, although not every platform or stop is fully accessible to those of us who use wheelchairs or scooters. The official advice is to check the metro map before you head out.
Travelling with scooters
The great news for those of you travelling abroad is that Quingo Scooters are all approved for air travel by IATA so you won’t have any problems taking them on the plane. That said, it is always well worth getting in touch directly with any train, bus and airlines you want to use just to double check their rules on scooters before you go. For more handy tips on travelling with your scooter by air, take a look at our page here.
Share your accessible getaways abroad with us
Do you have any accessible getaways abroad recommendations? In Europe or perhaps further afield? If you do, we’d love to hear from you, so drop us a line and we’ll feature them.
About Quingo Scooters
The Quingo Scooter range features six models to suit your needs and budget. New models are now available from just £22/week on our new contract hire scheme which includes all servicing and maintenance, Insurance, Roadside Recovery, Call Outs and Consumables including Batteries and Tyres. For more information on this or the latest Quingo Scooter range, please visit our website. Alternatively, if you have any Service questions you can always contact us or call customer services on 01582 430 900.
Keep up to date with the latest mobility scooter advice, tips and interesting places to visit on the Quingo Scooter Users Blog. Connect with Quingo and keep up to date with all our latest news on Facebook and Twitter.
All Quingo Personal Mobility Vehicles are provided by Forever Active, the UK’s exclusive distributor. Forever Active is a trading name of Advantage Marketing Corporation Limited (AMC). AMC Limited is an appointed representative of First Senior Insurance Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. First Senior Insurance Services FSA Register number is 30847