Visiting Lisbon with kids wasn’t high up on our priority list of European cities. Having experienced it first hand, I’m wondering why it isn’t as well travelled as other destinations? It really surprised me!
It seems to have everything! From history, architecture, charm and culture, to an abundance of family-friendly activities and attractions.
Four to five days is a good amount of time to explore the city. Anything less and you will be missing out, especially in the spring and autumn month when the weather is good.
Based at the mouth of the Tagus River, Lisbon City is stacked on steep hills. The architecture boasts patterned tiles on the exterior, whilst other buildings have crumbly pastel coloured paint.
It makes for a great view from many of the elevated points throughout the city, especially at sunset. Many of the cobbled streets are steep and windy. Every once in a while a yellow tram chugs along.
Laundry hangs from the windows above giving the streets even more vibrant colours.
When we travelled to Lisbon the first time I was pregnant and with a toddler. The layout of the city made sightseeing a little more strenuous. The cobbled streets are not so good for pushing buggies with small wheels.
If you plan on taking a stroller with you, it might be best to have a carrier for when you are out site seeing and a stroller for places like museums.
City trips are always generally more active, so in order to ensure we were rested, we mixed our Lisbon trip with a stay on the coast a short distance away at Cascais Martinhal.
The hotel actively encourage guests to stay at both of their properties and even offer a free transfer between both. They also have Martinahl Chiado in Lisbon.
So if you’d like the culture of the city mixed with some relaxation, Martinhal are incredible in providing this as part of one trip.
I have travelled to over 60+ countries with kids and Martinhal is very unique in how it caters to families. It is honestly one of the most family-firiendly hotel chains I know of!
It is not all about the kids, they also cater heavily to the parents to make their life that little bit easier and luxurious on holiday with kids.
This post is all you need to know about travelling to Lisbon as a family. Things to do in Lisbon with kids, where to stay, places to eat and we cover all the frequently asked questions such as when to visit and how to get around the city.
Things To Do In Lisbon For Kids
There is plenty of things to do in Lisbon with kids both indoor and outdoor, making it a great city break all year around no matter the weather.
If you plan to visit a few of the paid attractions, it is quite cost effective to purchase a Lisbon city card. There is an option to buy for 24, 48 or 72 hours.
You could get lots out of a 2 day pass for a fraction of the price. You can buy a Lisbon City Card here.
1. Visit The Oceanario Aquarium
The Aquarium in Lisbon is based at Parque Das Nacoes which was originally the grounds of Expo 98. It is built on a pier in an artificial lagoon filled with seawater from the Atlantic Ocean.
The aquarium has a large collection of species. From penguins, to sea otters and coral, to luminous jellyfish, the kids absolutely loved this aquarium.
It is quite a large building so you will need a few hours to explore. Everything rotates around a large central aquarium.
With 4 tanks filled with natural habitual floral and fauna from the North Atlantic, Antartica, Pacifica and Tropical Indian Ocean, there is plenty to see.
The aquarium is involved in a multitude of conservation projects from breeding to medical projects. If you have read any of my blogs previously, you will know I am skeptical of any attractions involving animals or sea life. Oceanario is the largest aquarium in Europe.
What I really loved about it is there are no oversized mammals that shouldn’t be trapped in a tank.
There is plenty of room for all of the species to move around. The imitation of the natural environment was more than impressive.
It’s best to buy tickets online before arriving. We spent most of the morning at Oceanario, there are plenty of other things to do nearby, we really loved the onsite gardens and green area outside the cafe.
2. Ride On The Cable Car
The cable car ride runs along the edge of the Tagus River and is just outside the aquarium. The views along the way of the pretty Vasco da Gama Bridge in the distance are stunning.
The 3/4 of a mile journey takes around eight minutes, allowing plenty of time to take in the scenery and snap pretty photos. This was one of our favourite things to do in Lisbon with children.
It is best to buy tickets before to avoid any queues. You can buy tickets here for the Lisbon Cable Car and skip the queue.
3. Take The Infamous Route 28 Tram
We jumped onboard one of the iconic yellow trams, not realising we would see some of the best sites in Lisbon along the way. It goes around in what feels like a big loop of the city.
At only €2.90 per person, it’s a bargain. The only issue is if you don’t get a seat, its hard to see everything.
Its best to go mid-morning to avoid the crowds. Our daughter enjoyed this different experience.
You can ride on public transport for free with the Lisbon City card or you can also purchase a tram ticket with a walking tour!
On Tram 28 you will see some great sites such as:
- Praça Luís de Camões
- Praça Martim Moniz
- Monastery of São Vicente de Fora
- Portas do Sol
- Lisbon Cathedral
- Baixa & Terreiro do Paço
- Ascensor da Bica
4. Have Fun On A Tuk Tuk Tour Of Lisbon
There are so many tuk tuks around the centre of Lisbon that are readily available for sightseeing tours.
A tuk tuk tour is a great way of seeing the city with kids without it being arduous and boring. It’s worth speaking with individual drivers to get the best offer.
As previously mentioned there are a lot of cobbled streets and steep climbs in Lisbon that can make it difficult for little ones. A tuk tuk is a great alternative way of getting around to see everything.
If you prefer to be organised, you can arrange a tuk tuk tour with a hotel pick up and drop off here.
5. Experiment At The Electricity Museum
The electricity museum is also on the edge of the Tagus River. Housing an old power station and many experimental electrical activities, there is something for adults and children alike.
My personal favourite was the body heat map. We had some great fun playing around with that. Our daughter spent a long time in the experiment section. At only €5 an adult, it was a bargain for an hour of entertainment.
6. Learn Something New At The Science Museum
The Lisbon Science Museum is a great place to visit with kids. It is another place located in the Parque das Nacoes and provides children with an interactive experience of science and technology.
The museum has an area for children up to 12 years old, where they can learn about the world around them through hands-on exhibits, games, experiments, workshops, and more.
You will need a few hours to explore Pavilhao Do Conhecimento. The name of the museum translates to the museum of knowledge. It is a highly educational and fun place to visit!
7. Snap A Shot On The Historic Gloria Funicular
The Gloria Funicular, is a railway linking the lower and upper parts of Lisbon. The line was inaugurated in 1885 and it is one of the most popular attractions in Lisbon, pictured on many posts cards and tour books.
It costs €3 for a one-way trip. It takes about five minutes to get from the bottom to the São Pedro de Alcântara Miradouro overlook above Lisbon.
There are a lot of cafes and restaurants in this trendy area of Lisbon. The ride is sometimes called the Elevator Da Gloria which is a somewhat misleading name since it is a funicular / tram.
8. Learn Some History At Lisbon Maritime Museum
Lisbon is a city with a rich maritime history. The Maritime Museum of Lisbon is the perfect place to go if you want to learn more about this story.
This museum is located in the Belém area, has several exhibitions that explore different aspects of Portugal’s maritime history and culture.
You will find many interesting pieces of art and artifacts that are related to Portuguese sailors and their adventures, as well as interactive installations that will help you get an idea of what it was like for people living on board ships during the 18th century.
The Maritime Museum is a great place to visit in Lisbon with kids as there are many hands-on installations designed for children. This museum offers an educational experience with lots of interactive activities, so it’s not just about looking at pretty things.
9. Splash Into Lisbon On A Hippotrip
Have you ever been on a Hippotrip before? You get to see the city from land and water. It is always super fun when the vehicle just drives into the water and turns into a boat!
It’s a super engaging and fun activity for the kids. The Hippotrip is a great way to explore the city and learn about its history.
The tour lasts about 90 minutes as the guide tells you about Lisbon’s history, architecture, rivers, bridges, monuments and more in a fun way for kids.
Expect lots of cheering as you explore Lisbons beautiful waterways. The starting point of the tour is at Dock of Santo Amaro.
You can book Hippotrip tickets here, it is always worth purchasing in advance.
10. Explore Lisbons Coast On A Guided Kayak Tour
The coastline of Lisbon is absolutely stunning. Exploring it on a kayak is a fun way to see it. You can jump off at some beautiful beaches for a swim along the way.
This activity is better for the older water confident kids and it is best to go on a guided tour. Some of the kayak trips are quite long but this two hour one is the perfect amount of time to get out on the water.
11. Discover The Forest At The Adventure Park
My kids are super adventurous and love the outdoor activities. The Adventure Park in Lisbon is amazing with treetop rope adventures. Not to mention zip lines, canoeing and long treks through the forest.
There is a specific rope course for smaller children as well as orienteering and laser tag games for the older ones. The landscape is beautiful and different to other areas of Lisbon.
12. Day Trip To See The Historical Town Of Sintra
If you have the time to make a visit to the historical town of Sintra it is well worth it! At just 25kms from Lisbon, Sintra has some of the most stunning castles and palaces.
You can either take a train our a tour from Lisbon. The train takes around 50 minutes. You will want to check out Palacio Nacional Sintra, Castelo Dos Mouros and Palacio Da Pena.
Visiting all spots will depend on the age of your kids and how much you can manage. Even if you just see one of the three places mentioned above and explore the town for lunch, it is worth it.
Check out this Sintra Day Trip from Lisbon with kids.
13. Stroll Around The Parks Of Lisbon With Kids
There are lots of green spaces to explore around Lisbon with kids. There are a few parks to choose from if you fancy checking one out.
Parque Eduardo VII is the biggest park in the city and has somewhat of an elevated view of the river.
Looking over what is like a hedge maze it certainly is a beautiful photograph when visiting Lisbon with kids. It is a bit of a climb to get to the best viewing point but it is worth it.
Bring a picnic and enjoy a lazy afternoon in the park after strolling some of the beautiful walkways. It is the perfect respite from the hustle of the city.
Another great park particularly for kids with an incredible playground, splash pools and shaded seating area is Alvito Recreational Park. If you are visiting during the warmer months, the kids will most certainly love to cool off in the splash pools
Alvito Recreational Park is another great option for a picnic and a place for the kids run around. Don’t forget to bring some swimming togs! It is open from 9am to 8pm daily.
14. Try The Local Delicacy Pastel De Nata
If you’ve been to Portugal before you will know Pastel De Nata can be found on every shop corner around the country. Generally tourists eat a fair few when they visit!
The small custard filled pastry tarts are loved by locals and tourists alike. They are made with eggs so not ideal for vegans, however vegan versions can be found at Vegan Nata Campo ! They are an absolute must try.
Great Places To Eat In Lisbon With Kids
Lisbon is quite multi-cultural in its variety of restaurants and eateries. From sushi, to traditional Portuguese food, you will find whatever you are feeling like. Our daughter is quite fussy but we had no issues in finding things she likes to eat.
Many of the traditional Portuguese restaurants in Lisbon provide cheese, bread, olives and other snacks as soon as customers sit down at their table.
It’s worth noting, they are not complimentary, however they are still put on your table without ordering them. It racks up around an extra €10 on the bill, they can be politely declined.
Here are the best restaurants in Lisbon, that we found. If you need more options, you can check out this Lisbon food guide.
15. Pick Up Lunch At Time Out Food Hall
Based in a historic hall full of character, are 24 fine dining restaurants. It’s an absolute foodie’s heaven and a great place to grab a bite to eat in Lisbon with kids.
Long wooden benches fill the centre of the hall where punters eat together.
It goes without saying, it’s a really busy area at peak meal times. So if you intend to visit with little ones, try to go early.
The table set up isn’t ideal for kids but there is a playground and grassy park just outside the door where a takeaway could work perfectly. We were amongst plenty of families eating here.
16. Have A Portuguese Meal on Rua Bartolemeu Or Run Garett
Very close to the Belem Palace is Rua Bartolemeu, a street full of restaurants with outdoor dining space. It’s the perfect place to have lunch after visiting some of the nearby attractions. The majority of the options are Portuguese food.
We ate at Dino’s but there are plenty of others that looked really good. Next to Rua Bartolemu, is a large open green space where there is a playground and ice cream stand. Perfect for a dessert perched in the grass whilst soaking up the sun.
Rua Garett In Lisbon With Kids
Rua Garett is a pretty courtyard area in the Chiado District. Its tucked away from the busy streets and has three restaurants with indoor and outdoor dining space.
The most popular of the three places seemed to be Mezo Giorno restaurant. They serve a variety of pizzas, pastas and salads. The food was great and quite reasonable too. This was definitely one of the nicer areas we found in the Chiado area.
17. Stay at The Incredible Family Friendly Martinhal Chiado
The Best Place To Stay In Lisbon With Kids
We got lucky in our search for where to stay in Lisbon with kids. We stayed at the fabulous Martinhal Lisbon Chiado Family Suites.
They offer spacious serviced apartments in the centre of Lisbon, specialising in luxury family stays. They are in a great location to access both central Lisbon and the shoreline of the Tagus River.
Martinhal is most certainly the ‘go-to’ company if you want an easy trip to Lisbon with toddlers. From free baby concierge, to pyjama parties and freshly made food for kids of all ages, it really changed our thoughts on how we travel.
Check pricing and availability for Martinhal here for the best stay in Lisbon with kids.
Martinhal Apartments In Lisbon With Kids
We stayed in a one bedroom apartment in Lisbon with kids. It had open plan living and dining space, a large fully equipped bathroom with a walk-in shower and separate bath.
They even had a potty and stepping stool for our daughter. There was another separate toilet and an area which could realistically be considered a second bedroom. It had two bunk beds that can be neatly folded onto the wall if not in use.
Martinhal think of everything for kids, as they also had a bed rail for our little one. All of the spaces were modern, clean and fresh with a splash of colour in the soft furnishings and Portuguese inspired art on the walls. It was such a lovely place to be.
The kitchen was fully equipped with all of the appliances including a washing machine and an espresso maker! It felt so nice to come home with little or no laundry after a holiday.
I love how they leave an essentials pack for all guests inclusive of milk, orange juice, water and children’s savoury snacks.
They really have the family at heart with all of these little gestures that make such a difference. Not to mention the gifts every child gets on their arrival. Esme hasn’t put down ‘Rasphino the Fox’ since we’ve left.
Eating at Martinhal Chiado In Lisbon With Kids
Having a kitchen in the apartment is super handy for making homemade meals. However, I must admit, we were quite lazy and ate out mostly.
If we were staying for longer, I am sure we would have made some meals ourselves to maintain our budget.
Within the hotel, is M Bar/Cafe. Hotel guests tend to have breakfast there, we loved the continental option. They also serve a variety of light bites throughout the day. Inside the cafe, it has its very own old-school BMW mini!
It was a real hit with all the kids who spent more time inside it than eating. The children’s menu was perfect, with plenty of healthy options and they even have baby food. It was so nice not worrying about what our little one would eat.
The Kids Club at Martinhal Chiado Lisbon
The hotel has its very own secure play area, staffed with the kindest childminders
They run a variety of activities throughout the day and commence ‘pyjama party’ from around 5:30pm. Some of the activities include story telling, art and treasure hunts. They also have a different areas for babies.
All of the facilities were clean and tidy with lots of toys. Esme just loved it! Let’s say it was embarrassing getting her to leave. She always wanted to stay for five more minutes!
Daytime childcare is complimentary. However PJ party costs €5 for four hours or €15 for the party and dinner.
They take orders and discuss the meals with parents at the time of booking. We loved the options they had, all healthy but not boring,
Any report of Esme cleaning up her food is a win for us. Similar to the daytime child care, the PJ parties are themed.
What was really fantastic, we had no guilt leaving her for some much needed adult time out. We knew she was having lots of fun.
Martinhal offer a free baby concierge to all guests. Strollers, sterilisers, baby baths and cots are just some of the items that can be reserved.
You can even pre-order nappies. We made use of the potty with our toddler. This is the first holiday we have gone on where we haven’t taken ten steps back with toilet training.
All you have to do is contact the reservations department by email to reserve what you need.
If you fancy combining a city and resort break, Martinhal also have a five star hotel in the Cascais less than an hour away. We had three days there before arriving in Lisbon.
It was quite a nice balance of experiences and is also a great option for travel with kids in Portugal.
The Best Time Of Year To Visit Lisbon With Kids
The spring and autumn is the perfect time to visit Lisbon as the weather is not too hot. The temperatures in summer and winter are more extreme hot and cold.
March, April, September and October are the best months with lows of 17 c and highest of 26 c. That being said, they tend to also be the busier months. Surprisingly there are Christmas Markets in Lisbon running from November.
Lisbon is not the first place to come to mind when you are thinking of visiting European Markets.
However although the low is 9c it is still probably warmer than most other Christmassy destinations in Europe so strikes a good balance of festivities without bitter cold.
I love the look of this Lisbon Christmas Lights tour for kids 3 and above. Similarly there are plenty of indoor activities with all the museums too!
Getting Around Lisbon With Kids
The best option is to use public transport, we found the Lisboa Pass amazing as we could jump on any of tram, bus, metro or elevators. Public transport is regular and everywhere is well connected.
If you are visiting Lisbon with kids may also like
- A review of Martinhal Cascais (the coastal Martinhal property)
- Lisbon City
- Best Traditional Portuguese Food
- Florence with kids
- Bruges with kids
- Adult Things To Do In Lisbon
- Best Places To Live In Portugal
- Lisbon attractions
Have you been to Lisbon with kids? Or maybe you are thinking of going? I love hearing from you. Leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon possible.
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