5 ways to have a #GayAutumn in #GayLisbon

It is the sad fact of summer that soon it will come to an end… but that doesn’t mean your autumn has to be boring! On the contrary, there are plenty of great options to make this the most fun autumn ever in #GayLisbon

1. Get cultured…
The iconic gay and a bit else film festival QueerLisboa returns from 15-23 September, jam-packed with great films to watch.

2. Party, party, party…
Downside of August? No parties. So check out Conga, Spit N Polish and Maria Lisboa for the party schedule in autumn.

3. Get social…
Films, parties, concerts, dinners… Add some social events to your life with the Meetup.com LGBT Social Group.

4. Get active…
It is never to late to join BJWHF for some gay rugby and co… or why not join the HikingGays for some walks?

5. Get naked…
Why not show off your sexy tan-lines (or lack of them) at the Hanging Out Nude Portugal group for gay men and make some new friends.

Above all: have a great Autumn!

Lisbon Gay Beaches

With beach season in full swing, here are a few tips for days where you want to cool off by the sea side close to Lisbon…

Praia 19 / Beach 19 (Costa de Caparica)
Possibly the largest and definitely most famous gay beach of Lisbon. The fame of it helped by a Antonio Da Silva arty porn movie shot there. The easiest way to reach it is to head for Fonte da Telha, using the ferry from Cais do Sodre and then buses 127 or 145 (see here for timetables).  Then, on the beach, head a little north and you will arrive there. Alternatively, follow the directions here – though using the small train from Costa de Caparica is more expensive and times consuming.

Praia da NATO (Costa de Caparica)
If you don’t fancy going to the “big one”, head south from Fonte da Telha and head for Praia da NATO or sometimes called Praia da Adiça. It’s pretty much a continuation of Praia 19, but much less busy. There also isn’t any bar or café on the beach – so bring your own supplies.

Praia do Meco (Sesimbra)
A little further south, is the granddaddy of all nudist beaches in Portugal: Praia do Meco. It’s a little hippie, a little gentrified and touristy by now, but can be quite fun. To get there, catch the bus from Praça Espanha in Lisbon to Santana (207) and then get a local bus to Meco. Not easy, but remember you are visiting history.

Another beach to check out in the “far south” is Praia de Galapinhos between Sétubal and Sesimbra. Again another beach that has been votes best in Europe and lost much of its original clientele … but it is pretty!

If you don’t fancy a trip south of Lisbon, you have two options almost next to each other – but both hard to reach by public transport:

Praia da Ursa (Cabo da Roca)
Voted somewhere to be the prettiest beach in Europe has done more harm than good to this fairly isolated beach. But it is pretty and a few gay guys can still be found among the visitors checking out this beauty spot between Cascais and Sintra. Best reached by bike or car though…. (see google maps)

Praia da Vigia (Carvoeira)
A little further north than Ursa, this is another pretty beach – so far fairly untouched by tourists. But again, unfortunately the transport options are really limited. So the only realistic way to get there is by car (see map here).

Finally, if you don’t really care so much about a beach or fancy cliff climbing, there are the Cliffs of Sao Pedro near to Estoril (map here). The advantage is that it is really easy to reach from central Lisbon by train (Linha de Cascais from Cais do Sodré), but an area of outstanding beauty it is not. A few guys sunbathe nude on the cliffs, but most don’t really care about their tanlines.

Happy Summer!

April in GayLisbon … Eggs and chocolate please!

Getting ready to have eggs and chocolate?  Here are the dates for your GayLisbon diary in April 2017 as far as I could find them. The recommended party of the month: Conga Club… because it is all about getting fit for summer!

Conga Club:
Freedom feels Good
1 April
– check their Facebook or Instagram Page for details

Maria Lisboa
10 Anniversary
7 April
Check their Facebook page for details

Spit ’n Polish:
Silver
8 April
@ Ministerium Club – check their Instagram page for more details

MeetupGroups
International LGBT Network Lisbon
Cusek Bar LGBT Evenings

Sports in Lisbon
Check this post

Centro LGBT:
More details on their Facebook page (in Portuguese)

For an annual overview of events, see annual LGBTQ+ events in Lisbon (useful if you are planning a trip to Lisbon!). To make sure you receive next months list – and all the blog posts in a neat and easy to read format – sign up to my newsletter here (it’s free… and I won’t ever sell your address! Promised!).

For the regulars and a guide to bars, like Finalmente, Trumps, Construction and Co: check Patroc here, or the listing of the best gay bars/clubs in TimeOut Lisboa (in Portuguese).

Got an addition? Get in touch!

March Agenda for GayLisbon

Getting ready to welcome spring?  Here are the parties in Lisbon in March 2017 as far as I could find them. The recommended party of the month: Conga Club… because it is all about getting fit for summer!

Conga Club:
Dance for Fitness and Fun
4 March
– check their Facebook or Instagram Page for details

Maria Lisboa
Enigma
3 March
Check their Facebook page for details

Spit ’n Polish:
Silver
11 March
@ Ministerium Club – check their Instagram page for more details

Centro LGBT:
More details on their Facebook page (in Portuguese)

For an annual overview of events, see annual LGBTQ+ events in Lisbon (useful if you are planning a trip to Lisbon!). To make sure you receive next months list – and all the blog posts in a neat and easy to read format – sign up to my newsletter here (it’s free… and I won’t ever sell your address! Promised!).

For the regulars, like Finalmente, Trumps, Construction and Co: check Lisbon Gay Circuit here.
And Comunidade Queer & Friends on meetup.com has an agenda of various other activities.
Got an addition? Get in touch!

February Agenda in GayLisbon

Getting ready to welcome spring?  Here are the parties in Lisbon in February 2017 as far as I could find them. The recommended party of the month: Lesboa Party – not just for girls.

Conga Club:
Sado Maso Disco
4 February
– check their Facebook or Instagram Page for details

Lesboa Party:
Decadence avec Elegance
25 February
– check their Facebook page for details.

Maria Lisboa
Maria Lisboa Airlines
3 February
Check their Facebook page for details

Spit ’n Polish:
White
4 February
@ Ministerium Club – check their Instagram page for more details

Centro LGBT:
More details on their Facebook page (in Portuguese)

LGBT Meetup:
Wednesday Social
01 February
– check the Lisbon LGBT Social Meetup group for more details.
Sunday Drinks (Valentine Special!)
19 February
– check the Lisbon LGBT Social Meetup group for more details.

For an annual overview of events, see annual LGBTQ+ events in Lisbon (useful if you are planning a trip to Lisbon!). To make sure you receive next months list – and all the blog posts in a neat and easy to read format – sign up to my newsletter here (it’s free… and I won’t ever sell your address! Promised!).

For the regulars, like Finalmente, Trumps, Construction and Co: check Lisbon Gay Circuit here.
And Comunidade Queer & Friends on meetup.com has an agenda of various other activities.
Got an addition? Get in touch!

Running routes in Lisbon

Lisbon is famously hilly… which is great news if you are into hill training. Unfortunately, for runners favouring a more gentle run, running in Lisbon can be a bit of a challenge. But there are some great running routes – so don’t despair! Here is a summary of my favourites:

Riverside: Baixa/Cais do Sodré to Belém
This is probably the most popular route for anyone visiting Lisbon: Running along the river Tejo/Tagus. It is completely flat, and the route is easy to follow much Praça do Comércio all the way to Belém and beyond. Most of the street works in the area are completed, which makes this route easy to follow – and you’ll be rewarded with some of the most amazing sights: From the breathtaking start in Praça do Comércio, along the port and reclaimed docks and passing April 25th Bridge, MAAT and finishing in Belém.
The full route to Torre de Belém is a little over 7 km – so a neat 15 km run for the weekend if you run around the Praça once or twice. For a shorter run, an alternative is to take public transport out to Belém – and return one way.

Riverside: Parque das Nações and Vasco da Gama Bridge
This is a much more modern scenery around the riverside on the other side of Lisbon: You can get to Oriente station, and run along the riverside (again, flat) to Vasco da Gama Bridge, then back up, and run to the other end of Parque das Nações – and back again to Oriente. The run is a bit shorter than the one to Belém: around 6km one way, 12 km by the time you return to Oriente.
The main attraction here: Modern Lisbon at it’s very best.

Town running: São Sebastião to Praça de Comércio
This is a pretty nice route for a relaxed run: Take public transport to São Sebastião (El Corte Ingles). You need to get up the hill at the start (to the oversized Portuguese flag) – but from there on it is an easy run almost straight down to Praça de Comércio along Avenida and Baixa. Amazing architecture, grand buildings and regular stops at intersections make this a perfect run for an easy start.
One way is 3.5 km.

Monsanto
This is far more hilly … but the rewards are great views over Lisbon. If you are serious about training up hill – this is probably for you. You can make up different routes as you go along. Overall, you could spend a long time running around here – or just run across the mountain: one way is around 5 km.
The highlight: The derelict old restaurant with the most spectacular view over Lisbon.

Serious running:
If you want to run (nearly) a marathon, the easiest way is to run from the Vasco da Gama Bridge all the way to Algés – and back. A less ambitious version: Take the metro to Moscavide and then run along the riverside one way, taking the train back from Algés. The full run is roughly 20km – and you get to see all of the stunning riverside of Lisbon (and a few more “up and coming places”) on the way.

Happy running… For more ideas about runs and different routes (although some going up steep hills), you can also check out the Nike Run LX facebook page. They post maps of their forever changing runs mostly starting at the Nike store in Chiado (Sadly only in Portuguese).
Have you got a favourite run in Lisbon? Please share your favourite running locations below!

 

January Agenda in GayLisbon

These are the cooler and/or irregular parties happening in Lisbon in January 2017 as far as I could find them. The most noteworthy: the return of Maria Lisboa – the legendary lesbian and friends club (see below).

For an annual overview of events, see annual LGBTQ+ events in Lisbon (useful if you are planning a trip to Lisbon!). To make sure you receive next months list – and all the blog posts in a neat and easy to read format – sign up to my newsletter here (it’s free… and I won’t ever sell your address! Promised!).

Conga Club:
Fonda!
Sorry… you missed it (on the 30 December) – check their Facebook or Instagram Page for details of the next party (likely early Feb).

Lesboa Party:
Decadence avec Elegance
25 February
– check their Facebook page for details.

Maria Lisboa
NYE Party – return of the iconic Lesbian and friends party legend.
Tonight: 31 December
Check their Facebook page for details

Spit ’n Polish:
– no current date announced – Check @ Ministerium Club

Centro LGBT:
More details on their Facebook page (in Portuguese)

LGBT Meetup:
Wednesday Social
04 January
– check the Lisbon LGBT Social Meetup group for more details.
Sunday Drinks (Valentine Special!)
22 January
– check the Lisbon LGBT Social Meetup group for more details.

For the regulars, like Finalmente, Trumps, Construction and Co: check Lisbon Gay Circuit here.
And Comunidade Queer & Friends on meetup.com has an agenda of various other activities.
Got an addition? Get in touch!

Agenda for GayLisbon in 2017

Planning your next getway to Portugal?… Here are some of the LGBTI+ events taking place (as far as I can find them) in and around Lisbon in 2017:

25 February: Lesboa Party – not just for women 😉

31 May – 5 June 2017 Lisbon Bear Pride

17 June: Pride March Lisbon – the actual march
TBC: 24 June: Arraial Lisboa Pride – Pride festival on the Terreiro do Paço – 12 hours party on Europe’s most iconic square. Don’t miss it! [Date to be confirmed!]

Early July: Hot Season Festival – Trumps Club [Date to be confirmed!]
13-15 July: Pitch Beach – Rugby, Volleyball, Swimming, Football Sports Weekend
Late July: Summer Action [Date to be confirmed!]

August – stay tuned!

15 – 23 September: Queer Lisboa – Film festival
18-15 September: La Demance – The Cruise

Others that come and go: –
Lisbon has quite a few cool but irregular parties every month, in addition to the regular parties which can be found in Lisbon Gay Circuit .
Conga Club – irregular parties – tends to be 1st Saturday of the month, but varies sometimes
Spit & Polish – irregular parties at Ministerium

Check monthly updates for details – or get the dates by subscribing to the newsletter!

Looking to meet new people? Try Meetup.com

If you haven’t tried it yet, Meetup.com is a great platform to meet all sorts of interesting people (gay, straight and all). It is a pretty popular platform in London, where you can join (I’m focusing on the gay/LGBTQ+-groups here) anything from naked yoga groups to learning to speak French.

Sadly, in Lisbon it isn’t quite as big and varied… but it is still a great, free resource to connect with others in town (not just LGBTQ+ folks). On the “comunity” side, there are at the moment basically two main groups:

The Comunidade Queer & Friends-LGBTQIA Portugal is a VERY active group that combines many events, not all of them LGBT-events. The group offers you the chance to connect to many people from all across the LGBT spectrum in Lisbon – and many events are arty and cultural in nature – and really showcase queer life in the city. Don’t be afraid if you don’t speak Portuguese – most of the events are more than happy to welcome non-Portuguese-speakers.

For alternative, arts and community LGBTQ+ events in Lisbon check out this meetup:… Click To Tweet

Lisbon LGBT Social Meetup Group has been a little dormant recently, but the new organiser (cough, cough, yours truly) is trying to revive the group at the moment. The idea for that group is to be more social and international, so doing things like bar crawls, brunches and regular drinks.

For drinks and socials in #gayLisbon with an international touch, check out… Click To Tweet

Please bear in mind that you don’t really to choose between the two groups: membership to meetup.com is free for people joining one, two or twenty groups – so you can simply join both. So, whether you’re visiting Lisbon – or staying here for good … remember to come along and make some new friends 🙂 !

Lisbon In Books: The Two Hotel Francforts

It was actually quite a coincidence that I picked up this book… Wandering into the lovely Daunt Bookstore in London, which orders books by the place they are set in, I stumbled across The Two Hotel Francforts. The cover was intriguing, as it showed a couple in the 1940s on Rossio Square – a time that I find quite fascinating for all sorts of reasons (including the fact that my mother happened to be living in Lisbon at that time). Not knowing too much of the book (and the cover not being much of an enlightenment), I decided to give it a read – originally thinking it would be some sort of detective story or spy story, which seemed quite appropriate given the time it is set in.

Well.. I was pretty wrong: what the cover doesn’t give away is that it is actually very much a gay story, albeit of two married men, set in Lisbon. This came as a bit of a surprise to me – although the author has previously written extensively about this (and maybe I should read a review next time before starting to read a book… or does that spoil the fun?).

The basic premise is that two American couples meet in Lisbon. They are refugees fleeing the Nazis via the last open port in Europe – and by coincidence end up in the same café, though living in two very different, but named the same, hotels in Lisbon (yes, there actually were two hotels Francfort in Lisbon – see here for more information and pictures [in Portuguese]).
Just when I wondered where the plot was heading (still expecting a few spies to pop up), on a “boys night out”, the two husband start an affair – all against the backdrop of both couples trying to secure passage out of Lisbon and to America with their wives – and not entirely happy to leave the old continent behind.

I’m not trying to give too much of the plot away, only to say, it does take a lot of unexpected turns. But it is not just the love (or sex?) story that is intriguing and well written… it is also the backdrop of 1940s Lisbon live among people trying to escape – and the description of the atmosphere surrounding this extraordinary situation and time in this city.

As you might expect, this book is not much about Portuguese – nor does it venture much beyond the refugee circles and their life, as none of the characters interacts with locals. Of course, this is very much the story line, and although this could be read as somewhat disappointing, it would only be so if you expect a character study of the Portuguese. Don’t expect much in terms of local habits or local psyche… even Salazar and his policies only appear in very small doses. If you see the book as an atmospheric description of life as (very wealthy) refugees in this strange neutral country – then you will love it… if you happen to read it in Lisbon, you’ll be even more intrigued as it talks about some of the places which are still here, taking into account how they were at that time. For example, there is a lot of talk about Pastelaria Suiça… the way the author talks about it is very much how my mother talked about it. If you look at what I’d call one of the worst tourist traps on Rossio square today, you wonder why anyone would want to be there – but those were different times, and the author does well in reviving them.

Overall, if you are interested in any of these:
– Lisbon in the 1940s
– wealthy people fleeing the Nazis
…or just want to read a gay (I’m not sure I’d call it love-)story…
this is your book. If all three interest you – you’ll have trouble putting the book down.
And although it had no murders and spies, as I originally thought, I definitely enjoyed reading it tremendously.

David Leavitt (2013), The Two Hotels Francfort, New York: Bloomsbury USA