Casa Jose Saramago
Casa Jose Saramago

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319 reviews
Very good

Flitwick, UK11 contributions
Jul 2022 • Family
It was fantastic to visit Saramago’s house and to see how he lived, his books, objects and the place where so many masterpieces have been written! I definitely recommend the visit… we had the pleasure to be greeted by his niece, Carmen, who welcomed is warmly. Oh, and the “biblioteca”… WOW!
Written July 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

David B
El Barco de Avila, Spain567 contributions
May 2022
I would give this house 6 stars if I could! José Saramago, the Portuguese writer and Nobel prize winner set up home in Tías when he left Portugal and he wrote many of his best works here. The house is a monument to the man, and really gives a sense of his personality and interests. It is a fairly small house consisting of an entry hall, bedroom, study, living room, kitchen and garden. You also visit the author´s library in the building which houses the reception area. You have an audio guide, but are accompanied by a guide who provides lots of information on Saramago´s life in the house and the artefacts you see. There is a fine collection of modern art (often associated with Saramago´s work) and all sorts of personal items. There is also a large well-stocked book shop. An extremely interesting and rewarding visit.
Written June 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Hillam, UK300 contributions
Mar 2022 • Couples
We arrived here on a wet and windy morning, which made a museum visit a very suitable thing to do. It is called a museum, but has a different feel to it. My knowledge of Saramago was zero before this visit but I was enthused and inspired by the mans words and deeds after this experience. The guide was fluent in at least three languages and she had a detailed knowledge of Portugese, Spanish, South American and other literature. Well worth the experience.
Written March 15, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Guildford, UK183 contributions
Feb 2022 • Couples
You learn something new every day. And this was well worth learning about. I’d never heard of José Saramago to my shame. I am now halfway through Blindness, a book I reserved at the library as soon as I left this house/museum. I am thoroughly enjoying it as I did the very personal almost private tour. I found the house tour very moving as you see the room where Saramago died. There is also a screen print of Manrique’s African mask which I was so pleased to see being a huge admirer of this man. Sadly I learnt that a meeting between the two men never happened as Manrique was tragically killed the day before. There is a wonderful private library housed in a separate building where I learnt the female authors were shelved separate from the male authors as suggested by Saramago’s wife due to some of the latter being contemptuous of female writers. I hope the English translations of his novels have now arrived in the shop as they were lost in transit when we were there!!
Written March 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Northampton, UK140 contributions
Nov 2021
I thought about writing this review in Portuguese for obvious reasons but due to wanting people to visit this place, I will write in English.

This was a very emotional experience for me and one who changed me. Walking through the home where Saramago wrote many of is fantastic books was out of this world. There aren't enough words to describe the experience. I'm actually getting emotional just thinking about it.

The guide told us that he could understood Portuguese very well, which leads me to believe that he was Saramago's stepson... what an honour!!! Pilar was also around to celebrate Saramago's "centenario" and we were in awe.

Everything is very much untouched so you see the bed where he passed away, the kitchen table where he had so many important people sitting with him and Pilar for dinner... the place where he used to sit at the end of the day looking at the ocean... it's such an intimate experience.

If you can, go, it's 100% worth it. We then spent nearly 100€ in books and other stuff from the gift shop.
Written November 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Xavier M
Lier, Belgium8 contributions
Sep 2021
My visit already dates from Tuesday last week (14 September) but I could not find enough time until now to write this review.

Most touristic guides, reception desk leaflets and even the road signs on Lanzarote’s motorways will guide the average tourist either ‘upwards’, towards the volcanic scenery of the mountains in Timanfaya, or ‘downwards’, in the direction of a gorgeous beach or one the vibrant entertainment zones bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Hence, as a gullible and ignorant tourist visiting Lanzarote for the very first time, it is almost impossible to be even aware that José Saramago used to live here - unless one holds at least a MSc in Portuguese literature, of course.

Nevertheless I knew about the great Portuguese writer, albeit on an average’s layman’s level. I still recall having read the novel ‘Seeing’ (in Dutch translation) around the year 2008 or 2009, when the author was still alive. I was very charmed by the anarchist and even libertarian tenets endorsed throughout the story. So when I rather accidentally found out about the whereabouts of Saramago’s house - actually I discovered the museum very haphazardly by navigating on Google Maps during a day trip on Lanzarote - I did not hesitate to book a visit. Actually my visit took place the day before my return to Belgium, so I was very thrilled that I could still visit the site in the nick of time.

It is actually misleading to speak about ‘the house’ of José Saramago, as the site actually consists of two houses located on both sides of the road. One house consists of Saramago’s working spaces, his (most impressive!) library and more ‘formal’ milieus; the other building hosts the private quarters where Saramago lived together with his spouse. Since she is still alive and in good health today, the private rooms are actually still being used for which they are meant to be used when there are no visits taking place. The visit - which lasts about approximately an hour - starts here. The visitor will then be able to see the spaces where Saramago lived, invited his friends and family, had lunch, enjoyed the scenery of his garden, slept and, ultimately, where he embarked on an eternal journey across the river Styx. The tour is supplemented by a series of QR-codes (yes, you will need a smartphone in order to fully enjoy the tour) that regularly pop up. By scanning the code, a voiced record will start to speak on your device, unveiling more details about the location you find yourself. The recordings are available in Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, German and Italian.

It is abundantly clear that the curators of the museum have done their utmost best to keep the spirit of José Saramago alive. Or even the author himself. Saramago’s writing desk(s) are still crammed with papers, books, letters and even a computer. On the cabinet in front of his desk, numerous picture frames reveal which persons and events Saramago held dear. The voice on your smartphone will tell you more about this, sometimes unpacking each object in minute detail.

Even though the whole stage and setting of the museum grants the whole experience a most personal touch and feel, this is at the same time its downside as well - and which is the reason why I rate this museum “a mere” 4 stars. Namely, after the visit I may have been fully informed about José Saramago’s favourite Portuguese painters and sculptors that have decorated his house, yet, without knowing anything about the importance of Saramago as a writer of the 20th and early 21st century. For example, why did Saramago send himself into voluntary exile to Lanzarote back in 1993? Of course, it had to do with the publication of his novel ‘The Gospel according to Jesus Christ’ the year before which sent a shockwave throughout the political, religious and artistic communities of Portugal. But why, then, was this novel so controversial and even controversial enough to instigate a furious Portuguese prime minister in sabotaging Mr Saramago from winning the annual Aristeion Prize? Unfortunately, the curious visitor bewitched with such questions will leave the museum empty-handed. Or to take yet another example: it is known that José Saramago joined to Portuguese Communist Party and remained a member until the rest of his life. Again, many open questions will immediately come to the fore: what did Saramago find so attractive in communism as a political ideology? In what sense did communism - or political themes in a broader sense - influence Saramago’s literary work? As I wrote at the beginning, reading his novel ‘Seeing’ more than ten years ago really stirred my heart. So I was quite disappointed not having learned anything new about the intellectual, philosophical and/or ideological background against which the novel has been written.

Perhaps it was a deliberate strategy of the curators to circumnavigate these hot topics during the visit, in order to render the visit a light-hearted experience. This might be a praiseworthy strategy to pursue, yet, in that case I would strongly advise the museum’s curators to compile a more dense guidebook, or even a full-blown biography, covering these topics in more detail and have it for sale in the museum’s shop. Of course, provided that the book will be available in English translation as well… :-)
Persons eager to delve into the intellectual background of Saramago’s works may find Mark Sabine’s “José Saramago: History, Utopia, and the Necessity of Error” a useful companion (I haven’t read this book myself though).

Speaking about which. The museum’s shop is a genuine treasure trove where one can purchase most, if not all, of Saramago’s literary works. Visitors that do not master any of both ‘Spantuguese’ languages do not need to worry, as most of the books are also available in a dazzling variety of translations. I even noticed that there were some translations available in my own native language (Dutch) which enchanted me very much.

By stark contrast, the official website of the museum is currently only available in Spanish, which is an unacceptable state of affairs. At least the opening hours and contact information (and perhaps some itinerary descriptions) should be available in other languages as well.

In short, despite my comments this museum is definitely worth your time and money and I hope that the tourist agencies and other organisations involved on Lanzarote will increase their efforts to make the whereabouts of this museum more publicly known. Indeed, even if you have only one day to organise some excursions on Lanzarote, and even if you had not visited the island before, please make sure that THIS museum is on your bucket list.

I definitely hope to visit this marvellous place again one day.
Written September 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Fran Machado
Pontypool, United Kingdom117 contributions
Feb 2020 • Couples
A fabulous intimate tour of Jose Saramago’s home in Lanzarote. Alba our guide was informative and only too pleased to answer questions in Spanish, English and French. Walking through his home and library, seeing where he worked, rested and entertained was privilege. I loved his library built to house all and his wife’s books. Allow and hour and a half and make sure you are there for opening at 10.
Written March 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Zoe E
Chelmsford, UK65 contributions
Jan 2020
Had not heard of the author before we came here but what an interesting house and person. There is an audio guide and tour guide who was excellent in showing us around the house but not rushing us in any way. The house has a lovely feel to it, you see the study, bedroom, kitchen, sitting room and the impressive library. Beautiful views from the garden, would recommend.
Written January 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Helsinki, Finland66 contributions
Nov 2019
We took the local bus to Tias and wanted to see the home of the author José Saramago. We thought it would be a quick visit. But little did we know! A great guide took us to see the home and the library and told about the author and his life, also of his books. We didn't notice how much time we spent there because it was all so interesting. Thanks for the guide!
Written January 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Débora R
Swords, Ireland1 contribution
Sep 2019 • Couples
The guide was one of the best I have encountered. The visit is very intimate. You can almost feel Saramago's presence.
Written September 26, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Casa Jose Saramago (Tias) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Casa Jose Saramago

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