Today, we have a wonderful guest, Tara, with us. Tara is the creative mind behind a fantastic vegan family travel blog called Vegan Family Adventures. Originally from Oregon, she now calls Portugal home, having moved there in July 2021.
Tara’s journey is a testament to her adventurous spirit. After completing her degree in Psychology and Spanish at the University of Oregon, she pursued an intensive ESL teaching program in Mexico before teaching ESL in Guadalajara. She later backpacked through Central America with friends and settled in Santiago, Chile, where she met Fernando. They eventually moved to Oregon, spent 17 years in Austin, Texas, and in 2021, decided to make Portugal their new home.
Now, Tara’s blog is a valuable resource filled with travel advice, itineraries, and, of course, delectable vegan food recommendations. Today, she’ll be sharing her experiences in Portugal, her new home.. We’ll delve into their firsthand experiences, and insights, that are going to be invaluable to you if you decide to plan a trip to Lisbon
Discover the intricacies of relocating your family to Lisbon, Portugal, and gain valuable insights into practical aspects like visas, education, healthcare, and the pursuit of Portuguese citizenship. We’ll then navigate the charming streets of Lisbon, known as the City of Seven Hills, exploring its iconic trams, breathtaking viewpoints, and cultural gems. We uncover the city’s unique activities, day trips, and hidden delights. Plus, find out why Lisbon’s vegan food scene is thriving and why it’s the perfect destination for plant-based travelers. From delicious veganized Portuguese dishes to global cuisines and sustainable shopping, Lisbon has it all. We’ll also touch on essential considerations for travelers and potential expats, making this episode a must-listen for anyone interested in discovering Lisbon for a vacation or starting a new life in this vibrant European city.
In this episode we discuss:
- Living as a vegan family in Lisbon, Portugal
- The challenges and joys of traveling as a vegan family
- Practical aspects of living in Portugal
- Recommendations for viewpoints, parks, and museums
- Various activities to explore in Lisbon
- Availability of vegan options in nonvegan restaurants
- vegan grocery stores and eco-friendly shops
Learn more about what we talk about
Chapter 1: Introduction to the Guest and Vegan Travel Expert
Tara’s interview with an expert on vegan travel and living as a vegan family in Lisbon, Portugal.
The guest’s background as a content creator for Vegan Family Adventures.
Chapter 2: Challenges and Joys of Vegan Family Travel
Discussion of the challenges and joys of traveling as a vegan family.
Emphasis on the importance of finding vegan options while traveling.
Insights into the guest’s blog, where they write vegan guides for various cities worldwide, including Lisbon.
Chapter 3: Relocating to Lisbon, Portugal
The guest’s decision to move to Portugal and their desire to live abroad.
Moving with children and raising bilingual kids.
Practical aspects of living in Portugal, including visas, affordability, education, and healthcare.
Chapter 4: Unique Aspects of Lisbon
Lisbon’s distinctive feature of trams and its comprehensive public transportation system.
Interesting places and neighborhoods to visit in Lisbon.
Recommendations for viewpoints, parks, and museums.
Chapter 5: Activities and Day Trips
Various activities to explore in Lisbon, including bike and tuktuk tours.
Suggestions for day trips to nearby areas with vegan restaurant options.
Chapter 6: Vegan Food in Lisbon
Information on veganized Portuguese dishes and traditional specialties.
Highlights of the thriving vegan food scene in Lisbon, including international cuisines.
Availability of vegan options in nonvegan restaurants.
Chapter 7: Vegan Shopping and Sustainability
Details on vegan grocery stores and eco-friendly shops.
Innovative vegan products, such as shoes made from pineapple and mushroom materials.
Accessibility for travelers and navigation options in the city.
Other World Vegan Travel content connected with this episode
- Discover 11 Vegan Menu Options Hidden in Non-Vegan Restaurants in Italy
- Rated V Food: Vegan Foodie Shares Three Favorite Cities in Spain | Eunice Reyes | Ep 87
- Reflections on our Incredible Northern Italy Vegan Tour | Northern Italy 2022 Travelers | Ep 80
- Best Restaurants for Vegan Italian Food in Italy
- Tuscany Through the Lens: Exploring Photography Retreats | Enzo Dal Verme | Ep 127
Connect with Tara
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Hello Tara. Welcome to the World Vegan Travel podcast. It’s so exciting to have you on here at long last.
Tara: Yeah, it’s great to be here.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: I’m thrilled to have you on the podcast because of what it is that you’re doing in the vegan travel space and what you’re going to be talking about, which is a destination that I don’t I think we’ve had a topic on before, which is Lisbon, and you are an expert in Lisbon. We’ll talk more about that as well. But why don’t you tell us what it is that you do in the vegan travel space?
Tara: Yeah, so I’m a content creator. We have Vegan Family Adventures, and I write about our vegan family adventures all around Europe, in the United States, and South America. But, we’re focusing on Portugal and Europe right now as we live in Portugal.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: I love that. And was it difficult to start traveling, not only with your family but also as a vegan family?
Tara: Yeah, so we’ve been traveling since the kids were babies. I was traveling before that. I lived in Mexico before I lived in South America. And so I knew when we had kids that we would want to travel internationally with them and really, open the world to them. So even when they were babies, like in a little baby carrier, they were traveling abroad. So we’ve traveled all over with them. They’re quite adaptable and so it’s been great.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: And tell me a little bit more about your blog. What is the kind of things that you write about on your blog?
Tara: Yeah, so I write about basically vegan guides to all these different cities worldwide, and I have Vegan Guide to Lisbon. We’ve been living here for two years. I feel like I know Lisbon very intimately, and I know everything that Lisbon has to offer for vegans. I also write about other places in Europe and every place that we’ve traveled to, and I like to focus on traveling with families and finding vegan options wherever we go.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: I see, yeah, these vegan travel guides that a lot of bloggers put together, I think they’re often overlooked as a resource for vegan travelers, but I think that’s probably a mistake, and the reason why I say that is my knowledge of SEO and, websites generally from my own business. If you search for, “vegan travel Lisbon,” for example, or “Vegan Travel Guide Lisbon”. The ones that are at the top of the list, ranked highly on there. They’re very often, very frequently updated, and they are very useful, and the vegan community has interacted with them a lot so that does tell you that this article is probably very useful, maybe better than some websites, or maybe more up to date than Happy Cow in this way. So it’s a resource that I encourage listeners to do when they’re researching destinations.
Tara: Yeah, I agree. And one thing that we do is we write about places that we’ve been. There are some blogs out there where they’re vegan or they’re just travel blogs and the people haven’t traveled there. So I feel like it’s much better if you’ve actually been there and how to get around, where the best places are, what makes sense logistically.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Yeah. These guides are amazing for that. I’m so curious about how it is that you ended up in Portugal, in Lisbon, with your family. This is not something that many people do; take their family and move to another country. What was it that made you want to do it, and what was that transition like?
Tara: Yeah. So like I told you before, I lived in Mexico for two years, in my twenties, and then I went backpacking through Central America and I ended up in Santiago, Chile for two years. I met my husband in Chile. We moved back to the United States and we were in the United States for almost 20 years. We traveled extensively with our children. We were always looking for options to actually live abroad. And we knew that we wanted to live in Europe. We just did a lot of research. At first, we thought Spain would be the best place for us since we speak Spanish, but Spain requires a lot more to be able to live there and immigrate there. We started looking at other options, and Portugal just kept coming up high at the top of the list of great places for people from the United States to move to.
We did a lot of research. We have some friends that are from Portugal, and so we were asking them and they connected us with their family members and so forth. The more research that we did, Lisbon looked really good. So we ended up moving in July 2021. Our kids at the time were 13 and 15, about to start eighth grade and 10th grade. A lot of people don’t move with kids that age as well because it’s a very precarious age where they’re, you know, getting into their friend groups. But Covid actually helped us with that because they hadn’t been seeing their friends, and so it wasn’t quite as difficult or quite as dramatic for them. So we ended up moving, and thankfully they’ve embraced the culture here, and they’re at public school, which also is not very common. Most of the people that come here with children, put them in an English-speaking international school. We knew that wouldn’t be an option for us because, you know, international schools cost about 1500 to 2000 euros a month. And if you have two kids, that’s very unaffordable. They’re in public school. I tell them every day how brave they are for going to public school. Even though at the beginning they didn’t speak any Portuguese. They do have Portuguese classes for foreigners. So they take that class a couple of days a week and that’s helping them with the transition as well.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Yeah, that’s so interesting. I’m a former educator in an international school and my job was an ESL teacher where I would support kids who, you know, their English wasn’t good enough yet to completely access the curriculum or to access the curriculum at all. And it’s very challenging for these kids. It’s also very, what’s the word, character building, I would say. And I think for many of those students, they come through that process of being able to speak English very well, and quite well integrated, and in some cases, bilingual, and belingual, they’re just as fluent in their first language as they are in their second. I mean, if they can get through that, I think it’s such an amazing lesson for life because once you have gone through something so difficult at an early age and been successful, what else can you get to grips with as well? It’s just so cool.
Tara: Exactly. It shows how resilient they are and how adaptable they are, and I just think that can only help them in the future, like when they’re working, or even moving to a different place and living. It’s gonna help them because they have that in their background as they are able to adapt.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: And while we want to talk on this podcast about Lisbon as a destination, maybe there are some people listening who would love to move to Europe or to take their family and live somewhere else. You mentioned how Portugal is easier for Americans to move to. Could you talk a little bit about that? And maybe if you don’t mind sharing, what is it that you and your husband do? Because very often… that can be challenging in terms of getting visas. For example, maybe you can be a digital nomad, getting paid in the United States, but you can’t necessarily work. So, would you mind sharing how that has fallen into place for you?
Tara: Sure. So we are on a D7 Visa. So that’s the passive income retirement visa. The D8 Visa is the Digital Nomad visa. The D7 is more for families, I feel, because we’re immigrants here, we’re gonna stay, we’re adapting to the culture. So we did the D7 Visa, which doesn’t require as much as some other visas. So for example, you have to have the minimum wage for each person, basically. So the adults are full minimum wage, Portuguese, and then the children are half a minimum wage. That’s the amount of money that you have to have saved,
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Oh!
Tara: That you have to have in your bank account to show that you can support yourself. You have to have a job or be retired and get retirement checks. As I said, I have a vegan blog and my husband is a graphic designer, so he still does his graphic design work. And then he also has an art studio here at Elf’s Factory. And then with the D7 Visa, it does allow us to work in Portugal if we want to, but we are not going to work here.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Wow, that’s really interesting. And if I understand well, because you’re paying tax in Portugal, so your kids get to go to the local schools free of charge, or is that correct?
Tara: Correct? Yes. The kids get to go to school for free. We have free medical care, although we also have private healthcare, so we don’t overuse their system. We do have access to healthcare as well. And then we get our transportation passes that we pay a monthly fee for, but as residents, we get a discount. So it’s pretty great. And the good thing too, is that in Portugal, after you’ve been living here as a resident for five years, you can apply for citizenship. So that’s one thing that deterred us from Spain because we had heard that with Spain it takes 10 years.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: I see. And have you been able to learn some of the local language? I’m guessing your kids have probably got pretty good fairly quickly because they are in immersion for seven hours a day.
Tara: Yes, exactly. My daughter’s now in 12th grade, so she’s in her very last year of high school. About to go to college next year, and her Portuguese is so good and her accent is so good. I’m really impressed by that. My son, he’s a little bit more shy, so he’s not quite at that level, but he’s getting there. And then for me, I’m at a pretty advanced level, but still, it’s hard to understand because it’s very different from Spanish, and Portuguese people like to cut their words, so it all blends together. And so it’s a little difficult to understand but we’re working on that.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Amazing. Awesome. Yeah, I mean it’s just so fascinating to me that you’ve taken your family to Portugal and really become part of that community, and I guess you’ll be there for the long haul. Will your daughter go to a Portuguese university or somewhere in Europe or will she go back to the US?
Tara: Yeah. Yeah, she’s going to go hopefully to Paris. She wants to study animation and unfortunately, Portugal doesn’t offer that program at any of the universities here. So she’s hoping that she gets to be accepted to her dream school next year in Paris.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Fantastic. So as a resident of Portugal and of course being in the EU, I imagine that she wouldn’t be paying full international fees at this university in Paris. Is that fair to say?
Tara: Yes, correct. They get, I think, a 5,000 euro per year discount for being an EU resident. And then for example, the second school that she wants to apply to is in Denmark, and for EU students, it’s actually free.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Wow. Yeah, I think this is something that a lot of people don’t know about is, being a resident of the EU or a citizen of the EU, and I’m really impressed that just residents get these benefits as well, is that you can go and study in all of these different institutions throughout Europe, and many Europeans or European residents, they take advantage of the Erasmus program, where they’ll spend one year of their university in a completely different country of the EU, and just go and learn there, even if they don’t speak the local language, there’ll often be a an English program there. It’s so cool. The opportunities that are available to EU residents, and citizens, and personally, that would be something that I would be considering. Maybe this was a big factor for you as well, just these incredible opportunities that you get when you’re an EU resident.
Tara: Yes, I was going to say, hot tip actually, even if you are not an EU resident, a college is much more affordable in the EU and many of their programs are in English. Actually, most of their programs are in English. All the countries, they all speak different languages, but the language that they have in common, is English. So thankfully, there are all these programs in Germany Denmark, and the Netherlands that are free, absolutely free. They just pay a registration fee for your books and housing costs, and your schooling is pretty much free.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Yes. Yeah, I did not know about that as well, but I’m sure that must be shocking to many people who are listening. I remember when I was teaching in an international school, and some of my colleagues, were teachers, and their children were students at the school as well. And as a result, they were very internationally minded and learned about these things. I had many colleagues who were not from the Netherlands, but they would send their kids to that particular university in the Netherlands because it had this amazing program that was so much cheaper.
Tara: Yes. It’s insane. In the United States, the cost of college is just out of this world. It’s ridiculous, and it’s really sad that so many students, they graduate and they have crippling debt that they’re paying off for 20, 30, 40 years even.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Yeah, yeah, for sure. Yes, I’m sure that this has been very informative for our listeners already, who are maybe thinking about doing something completely different and moving to Europe. But let’s talk about the topic of this podcast, which is Lisbon, a country that you’ve been in for a couple of years now, and I’m sure you’ve explored it from top to bottom. Before we talk about specific stuff. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about where Lisbon is in Portugal, and how you can get there?
Tara: Okay, so Lisbon is pretty much in the middle of the country. They don’t consider it Central Portugal because Lisbon is just Lisbon by itself. But if you go North, you get towards the Camino de Santiago. A lot of people know about that in Spain. So there’s a little bit of Spain, to the north of Portugal, and then you start going farther down and you have Porto, which is considered the northern part of Portugal. And then you have other towns such as Aveiro, and then you go a little bit further South, and it’s Leiria. And that’s considered Central Portugal. And then, of course, you have the Alentejo region, which is the east part. But Lisbon is basically just in the middle of the country. It’s really easy to get to Lisbon by plane, train, bus, or any motor transportation, really. Yeah, it’s a great starting spot. If you’re going to Spain, you might as well add Lisbon and Portugal to your list.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: What is it that makes Lisbon unique in your eyes compared with other cities in Europe or in the Iberian Peninsula?
Tara: Yeah, so one, I feel like Lisbon is a lot more affordable, compared to other major cities in Europe. The food, the drinks, especially the drinks. If you wanna get a glass of wine or a glass of beer, it’s like one euro. It’s so cheap. It’s much more affordable than in a lot of other European countries. For example, we went to Copenhagen this past summer and I’m like, “Oh my goodness, these prices,” we have to get back to Lisbon. But, Lisbon just has something special about it. It’s just such a beautiful city and it’s cool how like, you’ll have these beautiful baroque or mandoline-style buildings and they’re really interesting. And then next to it you’ll have a dilapidated building. So it’s kind of interesting to see that, like the richness. Yet there’s also that aspect of being a little bit dilapidated, and it’s really interesting too, just to walk all over the city and go to all the viewpoints and see how the city looks from high above. I think there are like 10 viewpoints in the city of Lisbon. So it’s just, it’s such a beautiful city. Every time I’m exploring and walking around. I’m so happy, I’m so fortunate to be living here.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Yes, yeah, I’ve never been to Lisbon. I’ve been to Porto and I did a vegan river cruise on the Douro River, and I saw that thing that you’re talking about. It is a little bit gritty. It’s not super wealthy compared with other European countries, and you’ll see that dilapidation from time to time or villages and towns that; seem a little bit sad in some ways. But, on the other side of that, is that it’s got plenty of character and a great population, and it’s cheaper. You get a lot for your money.
Tara: And the people are very friendly here. They’re very accommodating. They make you feel welcome. And it’s nice too when they see you’re struggling maybe to speak the language, they’ll try to help you. They speak English so well here, so I think that’s another reason why it’s a little hard to learn the language quickly because as soon as they hear your accent if they speak English, they just start speaking English to you.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Yeah, that often happens, doesn’t it? Yes, and something as well, I think, that’s interesting about Portugal, is that it’s quite progressive in many ways. One of the things that really surprised me, I learned about some time ago, is that all drugs have been decriminalized, is that correct?
Tara: Yes, that is correct. Basically, if somebody is caught with drugs or doing drugs, they’re pretty much sent to rehab. Yeah. So instead of going to jail, they’ll find some interventions for them. So they’ll go to rehab or go to mental health services. People there are living on the street. It’s pretty much by choice because they have places for people to go. So that’s really good. They say that it’s helped a lot with crime and with just the whole jail situation. And then most of the people that are on the street, if they’re selling drugs, it’s not actually true drugs. A lot of people say they sell hashish, but it’s actually like Laurel leaves, is what I’ve heard. They can’t get caught because if the police go to them and they say, okay, what are you selling? And it’s Laurel leaves.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Right.
Tara: Yeah. Wow. Super interesting. And you mentioned how Lisbon is built on a hill. I think I’m recalling pictures of these incredible trams that go through the city uphill.
Yes. Yes. Lisbon is known as the City of Seven Hills, and they have a few trams that go up the hills, basically in the Alfama District and the very hilly areas. It’s very interesting because you’ll be walking on the sidewalk and all of sudden this tram will come and you’ll have a very small amount of space. Like basically, you have to be like right up against the building so you don’t get hit by the tram. But, I don’t take the tram very often. It’s kind of like a tourist thing to do.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Oh, really?
Tara: If I take it, it’s usually like late at night when nobody’s on it or I typically just do what the locals do. I’ll just walk everywhere, take the metro or a bus.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Oh, wow. Do they have a metro even in such a hilly place?
Tara: Yes. We have everything. There are buses, metro, trams, which they call electric cars, and then they have the ferry, they have trains. It’s insane like the amount of public transportation they have here is, it’s so great.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Is it pretty easy to navigate even as a visitor?
Tara: Oh yeah. Yeah. I always recommend people get the City Mapper app, and that’s the best to get around to know what time the transportation is coming.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Fantastic. What are the things that you can actually do in Lisbon that would be interesting to a vegan traveler? Now, of course, we’ll talk about your favorite restaurants towards the end, and how people can experience vegan food, but, upside from that, what are some great things to do?
Tara: My favorite is to go check out all the viewpoints. So whenever I have friends visiting, I always take them to the viewpoints. Of course, I take them to the LX factory. LX Factory was an old warehouse that they have converted into a district of restaurants, hostels, boutique stores, and art studios. My husband has an art studio there. And it’s just such a fun, interesting place to be. They have live music. They have a weekend market and, an outdoor pop-up market, and there are cool murals and just really cool art to see. So I always recommend people go there. And then, of course, the main area, is PraÃ§a do Comercio and Chiado. That’s the main touristy area. Then a lot of people like to go to Alfama. That’s actually the most diverse neighborhood in Lisbon. I think they said they have 90 nationalities that live in that little area. And that’s probably the hilliest area of Lisbon. You have to go there like usually first thing in the morning, when you’re nice and rested, and ready to walk up all the hills. So that’s a very popular area. A lot of people like to go to the castle at the top. It has such a spectacular view of the city, the river, and the bridge. So you get to see everything. But my favorite viewpoint is actually Eduardo Park. It’s a little bit north of the city, and I don’t know if you’ve seen pictures of greenery where it stretches down towards the river. And it’s really cool. It just looks like a bunch of green cubes, but it’s grass or plants. Yeah, it’s really cool. So I just like to walk around the city all the time. They have these things in Lisbon called drink kiosks. So every little area will have these little kiosks that are converted into drinks and snack places to just sit down and have a quick drink It doesn’t have to be quick. A lot of times they’re overlooking nice viewpoints, and so that’s one of my favorite things to do. You can get very affordable little cups of beer or wine for one euro. Water’s actually more expensive than beer and wine.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Is aperitivo, or whatever the Portuguese equivalent, a big thing in Lisbon? Is that something that Portuguese people love to do?
Tara: Yeah. Yeah. They love to have little snacks and drinks before they actually have their meal. So a lot of times when they get off of work, that’s what they’ll do. They’ll meet up with friends or they’ll stop and hang out at a kiosk for a little bit before they go home or before they go out to get something to eat.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: I absolutely love the ritual of aperitivo. It is amazing, and it’s these drink kiosks, they seem different and interesting. Really cool.
Tara: Yeah, they’re so much fun.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Tell me, are there interesting museums that people might like to check out in the city?
Tara: Yeah, so I actually have a blog post about that. I would say for my family, our favorite is the coach museum. So it’s like these carriages from a long time ago and they’re just really ornate and spectacular. That’s really cool. And one thing that’s really awesome is that if you are a Portuguese resident, you get to go see these museums for free on Sundays. It’s free, all throughout the city. That’s a really nice benefit and helps people that live here. And then another one that’s really popular is called the Maat. I think it’s a Museum of Architecture and Technology, and it’s housed in the former electric station, and that’s actually really cool to see. And they have a beautiful view. It’s right on the river. And so it’s really nice to walk along the river and then stop at that museum.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Are there any activities that are really interesting to vegans? I’m thinking, for example, bike tours or guided tours of certain areas or anything like that. I’m just thinking of some activities that listeners of this podcast who are going to Lisbon might like to check out.
Tara: Yeah, so they do have a lot of bike tours all over the city. It’s usually with electric bikes because there are so many hills. A lot of people don’t want to be biking up the hills. And then something that’s very popular are the tuk-tuk tours. So people love those. They go crazy for them. A lot of people will do the tuk-tuk tours all over the city, and it’s a good way of seeing a lot and not having to walk everywhere. So if you have mobility issues, I’ve got that might be a good option for you. And then I always recommend when anybody goes to any like city and there’s a lot to see, it’s good to get a ticket for those hop-on, hop-off buses because especially on your very first day. Because if you go on one your very first day, you really get oriented on how the city is laid out, and what areas you want to return to on your own. So I think that’s a really good thing to do as well. But they have lots of great, fun, activities to do.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Yeah, that’s a really great recommendation. I also encourage people to jump on some sort of guided walking tour as well or in place of what you suggested. Definitely, what you suggested is going to give a bigger overview, but a walking tour, a guided walking tour is fantastic too. And I’d be curious, maybe you don’t know, whether Lisbon has this as well, but they have a lot of these free walking tours now, and you just pay a tip at the end to the guide. I’ve had amazing walking tours that way, and through that, you could also ask a lot of questions and get recommendations from the guide. It’s super cool! Is that in Lisbon too?
Tara: Yes. There are all sorts of walking tours. There are the historical ones. My personal favorite is the tours that they take you to see the street art, because I love street art, so I’m always looking for that kind of activity for people to show me maybe the street art that you can’t just see on the main streets. You have to go into the little hidden enclaves or little alleyways that you don’t really see unless you know somebody who knows that area.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Oh my goodness, that sounds awesome. And I’m curious, obviously, Lisbon is quite a large city, but are there some interesting things to do on the outskirts, or things that would make a good day trip from Lisbon?
Tara: Oh Oh my gosh. There are so many good places to go. Where do I begin? There are so many awesome places around. You’ll have endless opportunities if you come here. There are of course little areas that are basically in Lisbon, but not so close to the center, that are really interesting to see. For example, the neighborhood of Alvalade is really cute. It reminds me of the West Village of New York City. And then, there’s an area called Campo Grande, and that’s actually one of my favorite parks to walk down. And that’s actually my favorite drink kiosk because every Friday they have live music there. They either have live music, people playing instruments and singing, or they have a DJ. So you get all of that for the price of your one-euro beer.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Incredible!
Tara: It’s pretty amazing. Yes. So there are some really cool places to go. Very close to the beach, like there are so many beaches that are so close. Cascais and Estoril are the most common ones because you can take the train from the center, by the timeout market. You take the train all the way to Cascais, a lot. And Cascais is an adorable city. It’s really cute. That’s actually where, I don’t know if you know the soccer star, Ronaldo, he’s having a huge mansion built there. So it’s a hot place to be. A lot of people love Cascais. And then if you cross the bridge, you can go to the beaches of Costa da Caparica, and I love Costa da Caparica because it’s not as fancy as Cascais. And there are three fully vegan restaurants there. Costa da Caparica is small. It’s a very small town, but yet they have three delicious all-vegan restaurants.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: incredible. Wow. So let’s talk about the food a little bit in Portugal and Lisbon. Of course, I’m sure, like Spain and France, there are some specialties that definitely are not vegan. So I’m curious to know about how our listeners who go to Lisbon might be able to sample traditional Portuguese food, made vegan. Can you recommend some places and some dishes?
Tara: Yeah, so there are actually, I think, three or four restaurants in Lisbon that specialize in veganized Portuguese food. So Portuguese food in itself, I’ve heard that it’s not super tasty because they don’t really like spicy food very much here. So it’s not, full of a lot of flavor. But the veganized versions of those dishes that I’ve tried have been really good and flavorful. So there’s a restaurant called Pong, and they’re known for their veganized Portuguese food, the bacalao, which is like a fish. And they actually have an octopus salad, but it’s not an octopus. I think they use some sort of mushroom to mimic that flavor and texture. And then they have a dish called the francesinha, and it’s actually like a sandwich with tomato sauce. So it’s not my favorite, but my son likes it. But I don’t like soggy bread, so
It’s not my favorite.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: I’m familiar, can you tell me the name of that sandwich again? Francesinha? Okay, yeah, I think I’ve heard about it. Yeah, it’s definitely a Portuguese specialty and I think I might have tried it when I was in Porto, perhaps.
Tara: Yeah. I think it’s one of those things, you either love it or you don’t. And I’m on the don’t side, but my husband and son adore it, so.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: I think I love it. If I like poutine, which is french fries with vegan cheese curds or cheese with tons of brown sauce or gravy on it, then I think I would love this.
Tara: I think you would. And then, of course, they’re famous for their dessert, the pasteis de nata. So that’s like a custardy little pie-type thing. And they have a fully vegan one called vegan nata, and that’s in the touristy area, so perfect. You can get them. You won’t feel like you’re being left out of having this delicious dessert because you can just go to vegan nata.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: So how is the vegan scene in Lisbon? Are there a few vegan restaurants?
Tara: There are more than a few. There are so many, and they’re opening new ones every other week. I have to add them to my list of my Vegan Guide to Lisbon. The vegan scene is really great here. It’s improving every day. Thankfully we’re getting newer people who are making more, like creative dishes. So we’re really spoiled here. And then of course there’s a lot of foreigners moving here, a lot of people from other European countries, and they’re bringing their flavors here. So one of my favorite restaurants is actually owned by a Lithuanian. And yeah, so they have delicious food, like the flavors of their country. Another really popular restaurant, El San Pietrino, they’re from Italy, so it’s vegan Italian food.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Wow, that just sounds so delicious, and I love this idea of having Portuguese food but also being able to try all of these other foods as well. Because if I understand well, Portugal and Lisbon, of course, there are a lot of EU members coming to live there because mobility is so easy, but it’s also got a lot of people from other places as well, like I’m guessing there’s going to be quite a few North Africans or Africans living there, and lots of amazing food options too. Is that fair to say?
Tara: Yeah, and there’s actually some Syrian restaurants, and I’m trying to think, Damascus. There’s food from everywhere. Unfortunately, I have not found any Ethiopian restaurants yet, and that makes me so sad. Because that was one of my favorite foods to eat when we were in the United States. So I keep hoping some Ethiopians will come here and open up a restaurant.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Yes, Ethiopian food is just so vegan-friendly, and just so darned delicious, and it’s definitely a really great thing to search for in a big city when there aren’t many vegan options because it’s so good.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: So I am sure people listening to this podcast are going to want to head to Lisbon and take advantage of all of the recommendations that you’ve made, maybe even to move there for a longer period of time. Are there any particular tips that you have that will help make travel easier, whether it’s vegan or not vegan?
Tara: Yeah. Thankfully, pretty much everybody knows what vegan is these days here, and the good thing is you can go to any restaurant and you will find at least one or two vegan options. Even my kids at school, on the daily menu, they have one vegan option every single day.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: What?
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: That’s incredible
Tara: Yes, it’s incredible. And it’s not just like salad, it’s actually like seitan and tofu. And like all these amazing dishes for about one euro 50 a day. Thankfully Portugal has made this a priority and so anywhere you go you can find great vegan food. But of course, I prefer to support the vegan businesses, so I tend to only go to vegan restaurants because that’s where they say, vote with your dollars, vote with your euro. So I would rather pay and keep the vegan businesses afloat. And another great thing is, in Lisbon, they actually have two or three all-vegan grocery stores where you don’t even have to look at the labels. They’ve already done the work for you. Everything is vegan. It’s so amazing. And my favorite is called Green Beans. And it’s in the Chiado neighborhood, which is actually a very touristy area. So if you come to Lisbon and stay in the touristy area, you’re within walking distance to this amazing vegan shop, and they even have a cafe that they just opened. So that’s pretty awesome. And then also in the city, there’s a couple stores, that make vegan shoes and they’re actually eco-friendly, sustainable. A lot of shoes are either made out of court or they use, the Pinatex from the pineapple, or they have the mushroom-based shoe as well. So it’s pretty amazing that they have all these great options these days. One of the stores is in LX Factory and the other store is in Chiado, again, in a very touristy area. So if you come to Lisbon, you’re really within walking distance to pretty much all the hotspots.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: I really like that. And something that listeners might not know about Europe, in the EU, is because of the way the European Union does trade, it’s very easy to import and export products to other EU countries. So I’ve never been to this shop, and I’m going to make a prediction, and you can tell me whether I’m right or not. I think that probably in this little Portuguese shop, they probably have a huge selection of vegan cheeses from all over Europe. Is that fair to say?
Tara: Yes, definitely. There are some, made in Portugal. A lot of the products are made in Portugal, but of course there’s things that come from Italy, from Greece, from France. So, yes, it’s from all over.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Yeah, yeah. Just incidentally, the podcast, my podcast, the guest that I was talking to, just before I got on the phone, on the call with you, Tara, was Jason. And he owns Vegan Supply in Vancouver, where I live, which is a vegan grocery store, and we talked about how challenging it is to import products from around the world. Because of these very strict rules, that in this case, Canada has, about getting stuff in and of course the expensive shipping, and the labeling that needs to be done and all of that, but in the EU, most of this stuff is just non-existent. So it’s so cool, and definitely, I recommend people go and check out these incredible vegan grocery stores and take some products home. It’s also really great for picnicking and stocking up on items if you’re going to the countryside and going to be self-catering. We do it all the time.
Tara: Yes, I agree. And that my husband will tell you, that’s one of my favorite activities when I go anywhere. I like to go to grocery stores and check out what they have. It’s amazing what Lidl has, and I don’t know if you’re familiar with Lidl and Aldi. They always have. It’s like Trader Joe’s but in the EU. Well, they’re all over, but Lidl has a great selection of vegan items and they even have special vegan weeks where they bring more stuff on, which I wish they would just have all the time.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Yeah, it’s so cool and just how Europe is really jumping on the vegan trend. Even regular supermarkets in the French countryside will have quite a few great options in terms of vegan meats, vegan cheeses, and yogurts, which just makes self-catering a breeze, even if there are not a lot of vegan restaurants around. It’s so cool.
Tara: Exactly. I love that.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Do you have any other tips to share?
Tara: Like I said earlier, if you come to the city, if you’re gonna use public transportation, definitely get the City Mapper app. And then if you don’t want to use public transportation and you want to use a car, you could use Bolt. That’s my favorite app for getting around if I’m not using public transportation. So there’s Bolt or Uber, they’re much cheaper than the taxis. I think they said that the drivers actually get paid a pretty fair amount. So that’s a good trick. My favorite is just to walk around the city because you really get the vibe of the city that way. And Lisbon has a very special vibe. And I think that anybody that comes here falls in love with the city.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Yes, I think you’re right there. I was just on social media looking at some of our former travelers, they traveled with us a couple of times. Two sets of travelers actually, and they just finished their trip to Portugal and absolutely loved it. I think there is a reason why Portugal is really hot right now, both in terms of just visiting as a tourist, but also doing what you did and taking the opportunity of the ease in which most people can emigrate there, and just enjoying life, and just having access to Europe, and all of the wonderful benefits that it has.
Tara: Exactly, I think the secret has gotten out. Portugal is definitely a hotspot now. You see it in magazines and then articles all the time about being a great place to retire.I think if you’re gonna move here, you should do it soon before everybody moves here.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Yes, and that they changed the rules maybe.
Tara: Yeah, exactly.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: I did see something online, that maybe they were considering that, I can’t remember any details, but, yeah, we can’t always necessarily expect these incredible visas to be available to everyone forever.
Tara, thank you so much for taking the time to be on the podcast. I really appreciate it. Before we go, would you mind sharing your website again and your social media handles so people can go follow and check out your blog as a great tip for vegan travelers.
Tara: Of course. So my blog is veganfamilyadventures.com. You can find me on Pinterest. Also, Vegan Family Adventures. And then on Instagram and Facebook, it’s Vegan Family dot adventures.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: Got it.
Tara: So definitely follow me. I love posting about everywhere that we travel and I love posting about food, so you always find some food pictures as well.
Brighde | World Vegan Travel | She / Her: I love it. Thank you so much, Tara.
Tara: Thank you for having me.