Our complete guide to visiting Lisbon with kids, with must see attractions, family friendly hotels and practical tips to make the most of your time in Lisbon as a family.
Our family loves Lisbon. I visited the city for the first time many years ago, on my own, and since then I had a bit of an obsession about going back with my husband and the kids. Something told me they would adore the city and sure enough: I was right!
My husband got hooked by the culture and the food, the kids loved the weather and even my dad, who visited with us and my mum, declared he would like to go back.
Now, when three generations agree, I believe it is fair enough to say Lisbon is a hugely family friendly city and a destination you should definitely add to your Europe travel list.
We have written before about Lisbon but until now, we hadn’t written just one guide collecting all our tips on how to visit Lisbon with children.
So here we are: today we present you our complete guide to visiting Lisbon with kids!
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Travel tips for visiting Lisbon with kids: overview
If heading to Lisbon with family shortly, you may also like:
- The best day trip from Lisbon (family friendly)
- Fun things to do in Portugal with kids (beside the beach!)
- Lisbon is a very family friendly city that can be visited all year round. The best time to visit Lisbon with kids in tow is the spring (see below ‘Best time to visit Lisbon’)
- The city offers a vast selection of hotels and apartments that are welcoming to families with kids and suit all budgets (see below)
- The best way to get around Lisbon is on foot and using the handy tram / metro / lifts system.
- Lisbon is mostly stroller friendly but with some noticeable exceptions. The Alfama, the old part of town, and some or the areas on top of the Lisbon hills can prove hard on stroller wheels because of steps, cobbles and narrow lanes. Do bring a carrier for days when you may be exploring these neighborhoods!
- Many Lisbon restaurants are family friendly and offer high chairs or are accommodating to you using your own. Even if not advertising kids menus as such, we found many were willing and able to make simple and smaller portions for the kids when asked.
If visiting Lisbon with kids of school age, there are several books they can read or you can read to them to motivate them and inspire them. Here is a selection of our favourite books about Portugal.
The best time to visit Lisbon with kids: weather and what to expect
Lisbon is a good year round destination but some seasons are without a doubt more pleasant than others.
Lisbon in spring
The best time to visit Lisbon with kids is the spring: at this time, the city tends to have good weather and warm temperatures but does not experience the scorching heat of the summer.
This is the time when we visited last and it was a delight (you can read our trip report here).
The weather was warm enough to wear t-shirts and the kids even wore shorts and you only needed a light cardigan or possibly a light jacket in the evening.
You might get rain this time of the year, like everywhere in Europe in spring, so it is wise to still bring closed shoes and an outer layer and to keep an eye on the weather forecast for the specific days of your visit.
If visiting Lisbon with kids in the spring, make sure you avoid the busy Easter week or book accommodation in advance: it gets very busy, very fast!
Lisbon in summer
Lisbon in summer is hot and oppressive and not the best place to visit if you have small kids or you cannot take the heat. At this time, temperatures soar and the sun get relentless.
If visiting Lisbon with kids in summer, make sure you are equipped for the sun (sun cream, sun hats, lots of water etc) and consider day trips to the beach or possibly even a base on the coast for day trips into the city.
Lisbon in Autumn
If visiting Lisbon with kids in autumn you can expect mild to chilly temperatures and a mix of nice crisp days and rainy ones. This is a good time to visit Lisbon if you are on a budget as this is when crowds are lowest.
Lisbon in winter
Lisbon gets reasonably mild winters but it is not a year round sun destination.
In winter, you have frequent grey sky and rain and you need to wrap up but is it a great time if you want to visit museums or get lover prices. If visiting Lisbon with kids in winter, pick a hotel close to public transport so you can avoid long walks in case of rain.
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Where to stay in Lisbon with kids: family friendly areas and hotels
Lisbon has several family friendly areas parents can consider as a base. The ones we prefer and recommend for families with young kids visiting Lisbon for the first time are:
Baixa, centrally located, well served and flat, something important to know if moving around Lisbon with a stroller!
Chiado, immediately above Baixa, a charming and atmospheric neighborhood with the only hotel in the city entirely designed with families in mind.
Avenida da Libertade, elegant, well served with hotels and public transport options
Belem, immediately outside the city centre but perfect for families with kids thanks to the vast green spaces, good accommodation options and a quite feel, away from the busier central districts.
Some of our favourite hotels for families in Lisbon are:
Martinhal Chiado (5 stars), fabulous family hotels with kids club.
Charming Apartments Chiado, lovely and family friendly 1 or 2 bedroom apartments
You can read our full guide to our favourite family friendly hotels in Lisbon here.
How to use Lisbon public transport with kids in tow
Lisbon has an excellent public transport system made of metro, trams and elevadores (lifts).
The metro is the most efficient way to cover long distances in Lisbon with kids in tow. The Lisbon metro connects the airport to the city centre and has quite and extensive network withing the city too.
The system is fast, clean and efficient and children under 5 go free.
However, using the Lisbon metro with strollers does sometimes provide challenges: while many metro stations are accessible, others are not and you may have to lift the stroller to negotiate steps or awkward spaces.
Buses and trams are another good way to travel across Lisbon and one kids can enjoy as can double up as a sightseeing opportunity!
You can travel on both bus and trams with strollers but how easy or hard it is depends on the specific mean of transport: modern trams can take strollers not problem but the old one, such as the n28 is not accessible as such as you may find you have to fold the stroller to get in and allow space for all passengers.
Lisbon is famous for one more mean of transport that is peculiar to the city and immensely handy: the lifts.
Lisbon is built on 7 hills and the road climbing up to their summit are very steep. The ascensor is the city answer to this problem.
They are cable cars and do in a matter of minutes what would take quite a while to negotiate on foot.
These are lifesavers if visiting Lisbon with kids! You can use them with the same tickets you use on the other public transport system, they are included in the transport covered by the Lisbon card and they are great fun.
Ticket options to use the Lisbon public transport system with kids
The most hassle free way to use the public transport system in Lisbon with kids in tow is to get a Lisboa Card.
You can by them in the arrival hall of the aiport, at the tourism kiosk, in town or you can purchase it online before arrival.
Other ticket options are:
Carris / Metro single tickets: these can be bought in advance and are the perfect solution if you need the occasional hop on bus, trams or metro. These tickets have a validity of 1 hour from the first use.
Day tickets: valid on Carris and Metro networks for 24h after the first validation
What to pack when visiting Lisbon with kids: travel essentials
What to pack to visit Lisbon with kids varies widely depending on the season. however, these are some must haves:
- A good city stroller with wheels that can take cobbles and bumps (find our favourites strollers for European travel here)
- Comfortable shoes with cushy soles to allow long walks such as these ones for adults and kids
- Sun protection for the summer
- Warm and waterproof layers for the winter
- Lisbon city guide
- Travel adaptor for Europe and spare battery pack for your tech
What to do in Lisbon with kids
We have written extensively about our favourite things to do in Lisbon with kids but this is an overview of our top 5.
Visit the Castelo de Sao Jorge
Located at the very top of the Alfama hill, this is a wonderful place to visits if you want to to mix proper sightseeing with a kid friendly activity.
The castle has a large terrace overlooking the city with stunning views and friendly peacocks, a guaranteed hit!
Explore the Oceanario
The world famous Lisbon Oceanarium is a great place to visit with kids as it is informative, interactive and out them in close contact with the marvels of the ocean.
Get on a Hop-on Hop-off bus
The best way to visit Lisbon without getting little legs too tired is to get onto one of the city hop-on hop-off bus tours. They cover several areas and are a great way to cover long distances fast.
‘Fly’ on Lisbon’s Cable Car
If you are not afraid of heights, a fabulous way to view Lisbon from above is to catch the Telecabine, the city’s cable car.
The gondola starts from Parque das Nacoes and can easily accommodate a family: each cabin takes up to 8 people and offers a 360 view over the city.
This may be an obvious point but if you have any issues with high places, this is not the attractions for you!
Discover at the Pavilhao de Conocimiento
Lisbon has many fabulous museums for kids and the science museum is one of the best of them.
The space is fantastic and there is a whole pavilion that is just for the kids where parents are allowed, of course, but invited to ‘think like their children’. A super family friendly space where children are kings.
Where to eat in Lisbon with kids
Eating out in Lisbon with kids is easy and a real pleasure.
Portuguese food is fresh, healthy and varied and we felt welcome in all the restaurants we tried, even if some were not equipped for small children as such (many didn’t have high chairs, for instance). Our two favurite places were the Time Out market and the Cerveceria trinidade.
Time out Market is a large market with stall with food from all over the world, from Portuguese fish to Italian pizza and Asian noodles).It has tables in the centre and is an informal, stroller friendly space, albeit often busy. Our kids loved the variety of the food and the extra treat of the small playground just in front.
Cervercaria Trinidade, in Chiado, is a traditional restaurant, very big and with excellent food where we had our dinner.
The restaurant is equipped with high chairs and a kids menu and while it is very used to tourists with menus in several languages, still manages to keep an local feel and a high standard of food.
We were recommended it by a friend of my dad as we were delighted with it: the meal was truly delicious,
I hope you enjoyed this practical guide to Lisbon with kids. Safe family travels!