Built across seven hills that overlook the Atlantic Ocean, this coastal capital of Portugal is a feast for the eyes from both land and sea. With its winding cobbled streets, calm sandy beaches and beautifully tiled and textured architecture, it’s hard to believe that Lisbon is one of the least travelled to capitals in the whole of Europe.
Being that it is not only safe but also very budget friendly, it is a great place to visit as a family. Much like Lisbon and Portugal, even Spain can be seen on a budget.
Before we dive into the many things to do in Lisbon with kids, here are a few tips to keep in mind when travelling with kids in Lisbon:
- Given that most of the streets are cobbled, pushing around prams or buggies become a bit of a task. Opt for a baby carrier or better yet, use the reliable public transport to get around the city.
- Try looking for accommodation away from the party neighbourhoods (such as Cais do Sodre and Bairro Alto where the parties are known to be loud and go on through the night) to avoid sleepless nights for your little one.
- Springtime is a great time to visit Lisbon as you get great weather at slightly lower temperatures.
Now for the fun part! Listed below are a few of the most popular tourist activities that are kid friendly, and that you are sure to enjoy as well:
Hop-on-hop-off tram tour:
Take a tour past all of Lisbon’s most historic monuments in the equally historic, iconic city tram. Since the tour pass is valid for 24 hours, you can customize your tour as per your preferences. The very popular tram 28 is another popular ride as it traverses routes that other local trams do not. Board the tram early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the peak hour crowds.
Another great way to see the city without the hassle of the steep climbs and weary feet are the tuk-tuk tours available all around the city.
An even more exciting way to sight-see is the amphibious Hippotrip which starts on dry land at the center of the city and slowly makes its way into the waters of River Tagus. This novelty ride is sure to raise the excitement level of the kids and is a great way to see all the historic sited of the city (both land and sea) without leaving the comfort of your seat!
Sao Jorge Castle:
Situated atop one of the hills of Lisbon, it towers over the city and is one of its top attractions. Kids love this castle as they get to play prince/princess for the day while adults can immerse themselves in its long history and rich culture. Inside the Ulysses tower, a camera obscura offers views of the city using its unique lens and mirror system. ( Bonus: Entry to the castle is free for kids below the age of ten)
Parques das Nacoes:
Located on the Tagus River, this is a great place to take your kids as it has many interactive exhibitions and outdoor activities to occupy them while you relax with a cup of coffee at a nearby cafe. Take a trip on the cable car for panoramic views of the city.
The Lisbon Zoo is understandable the most popular kid-friendly activity in the city. Home to lions, snakes, giraffes, birds, primates and everything in between, you’ll have hours worth of uninterrupted entertainment.
Oceanario de Lisboa:
With over 450 species of aquatic life, the Lisbon Oceanarium is Europe’s largest indoor aquarium. The inhabitants are well looked after and housed in tanks that mimic the flora and fauna of their natural habitat.
A trip to the beach:
The beaches in Lisbon are safe and easily accessible, perfect for a family picnic. Relax on the soft sandy beaches and give your feet a well-deserved break. What better way to end your day than with a refreshing dip in the cool waters followed by some freshly cooked seafood and some great ice cream?
While Lisbon might not be a very popular tourist destination (and this fact continues to baffle me), most tourists who have had the pleasure of visiting this incredibly vibrant and lively city have inevitably fallen in love with its larger than life personality. And, once you get there yourself, you (and your family) are guaranteed to do the same!