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José Saramago Foundation (Fundacao José Saramago)
José Saramago Foundation (Fundacao José Saramago)

José Saramago Foundation (Fundacao José Saramago)

Rua dos Bacalhoeiros, 10, Lisbon, Portugal

The Basics

José Saramago was an acclaimed writer who wrote, in great length, about the human experience through his metaphorical books. Manuscripts, notebooks, photos, and international editions of his books are on display in this museum, as are his Nobel Prize medal and a screening of the documentary José and Pilar. Most Alfama district walking tours discuss the prolific writer, whose ashes were scattered in front of the Casa dos Bicos after his death in 2010.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • The José Saramago Foundation is an absolute must for literature lovers.

  • There is an on-site bookstore as well as an 80-seat auditorium for cultural events.

  • The museum and the entire Casa dos Bicos are accessible to wheelchair users.

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How to Get There

The José Saramago Foundation is in Lisbon’s historic Alfama district. Take the blue metro line to Terreiro do Paço, or take one of many city buses to the museum, including the 210, 728, 759, or 782. Alternatively, the 15E and 25E trams stop at Praça de Comércio, a 5-minute walk away.

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When to Get There

The foundation is open 10am to 6pm Monday through Saturday. Given that the museum is rarely crowded, plan to visit early in the day before touring other popular attractions such as the Lisbon Cathedral (the Sé) and St. George’s Castle (Castelo de São Jorge). To avoid peak heat and peak crowds in Lisbon, come during the shoulder months of April, May, and October when there are fewer people and the weather is pleasant.

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Casa dos Bicos

The José Saramago Foundation is located in the former viceroy of Portuguese India’s home, which is also one of the few buildings to have survived the devastating 1755 earthquake. The structure’s facade features more than 1,000 diamond-shaped stones—giving it the nickname House of Spikes—as well as Manueline-style windows on the upper levels. The ground floor also features an archaeological site of ancient Roman and Moorish ruins that are free for visitors to explore.

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