Instead of crossing the river from Lisbon, why not stay in Barreiro?

Instead of crossing the river from Lisbon, why not stay in Barreiro?

In early 2020, a couple of weeks before the lockdown, I wrote this article for Lonely Planet that lists the best day trips from Lisbon. Aiming for a balanced mix between the destinations everyone typically recommends and a few I believe are worth the trip, I included Barreiro in my six suggestions.

Barreiro is a post-industrial city, where a little under 80.000 people live, with a vibrant and alternative art scene, decent river beaches, and a great public transit network that takes you to the downtown of Lisbon (by ferry) in 20 minutes and Setúbal (by train) in about half-an-hour.

In 2020, I suggested this Lisbon south bank city as a cultural tourism destination precisely because of the active art scene (Vhils, Portugal’s most famous urban artist abroad, had decided then to set his workshop in Barreiro, at the old factory now turned into a business center). Before that, I interviewed local artists (a section I’ve since let idle): musician Nick Suave, photographer Vera Marmelo, and music producer RT-FACT.

Although I have “predicted” a couple of things since I started this blog in 2014 (the importance and rise of cultural tourism as a sustainable approach to the industry was one of them), I’m hardly a trendsetter. That said, I have noticed more tourists crossing the Tejo River to explore Barreiro; some of them, I suspected, even stayed at short-term rentals at times when Lisbon is too crowded for comfort.

Having “nothing to see” doesn’t make or break a destination, and Barreiro was Barreiro. Simply not trying to be something it’s not. But the city needed more accommodation alternatives to Airbnb and other such platforms, which was an obstacle to attracting more travelers. This is why Barreiro was promoted as a “day trip destination from Lisbon.”

Until now.

The opening of a new business popped up on my Facebook feed yesterday evening: Lizbon South Bed Hostel. Fourteen bedrooms (for two or four guests), an indoor pool, and an in-house restaurant (opening soon, at the time I’m writing this); within walking distance from the ferry and the train station, the river beaches, and bars and restaurants.

This is not a sponsored post. I’m genuinely happy to share the news, and I wish them all the best. It’s time.

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