Our round up of the top 10 things to do with kids in Lisbon: where to go, what to do and what you cannot miss when visiting Lisbon with kids
When we booked our Easter holiday to Lisbon, I knew we would enjoy the city. I knew we would love its relaxed vibe, its bright light and its beautiful architecture, crumbling yet grand, elegant yet welcoming. I knew we would love its fresh food and its stunning surroundings.
What I didn’t know was that we would love the city so much it would leave us with a great longing for its charming streets and a desire to go back for more.
Enjoying Lisbon with kids is easy: all you need to have a good day there is to stroll around its historical centre and take long breaks in street-side cafes and restaurants, where you can indulge in delicious Portuguese food and listen to the melancholic notes from the local radios. Add to the mix some of Lisbon’s kid friendly attractions and you will have a holiday both parents and kids will remember fondly.
Here is our selection of the top 10 things to do with kids in Lisbon both kids and adults will love.
- Top 10 things to do in Lisbon with kids
- Take a rickety tram ride
- Be king for the day in Castelo de Sao Jorge
- Channel your inner Octonaut in Lisbon Oceanarium
- Become a scientist in the Pavilhao de Conocimiento
- Explore Bairro Alto and Chiado
- Take a break in Lisbon’s beautiful parks
- Spend a day in Belem
- Sample Portuguese food in Mercado da Ribeira
- Get in water with a hippotrip
- Go to the beach
Top 10 things to do in Lisbon with kids
Take a rickety tram ride
Kids have a fascination with trams and the ones in Lisbon are exceptionally atmospheric. Lisbon trams crisscross the city and the most famous of all is the n 28, which goes from the area of Baixa, in the city centre, up to the top of the Alfama, meandering its way up through beautiful street lined with shops and decorated with tiles.
The rickety tram ride is fun and a great way to save your legs from Lisbon famous hills but due to its popularity, you may find yourself queuing up for well over an hour just to get a seat.
Go early to avoid long lines or kill the time waiting like we did: tasting the sweets from the patisserie just in front of the tram terminal!
Family Travel Tip: while we enjoyed the ride on tram 28 and marveled at its expert climbing up the tiny streets of the Alfama, we found the experience overrated and not worth the long wait. If you want to read more about the experience on the tram 28, have a look at our weekend in Lisbon itinerary here. My advice, in case of a long queue, is to get to the top of the Alfama with an alternative mode of transport (taxi or metro + walking) and board tram 28 on the way down, since the demand is lower. Even better, you can get the thrill of the ride on the handy Ascensor da Bica, climbing up Bairro Alto, which offers a short and fun ride up a steep and beautiful neighborhood.
Be king for the day in Castelo de Sao Jorge
At the top of the Alfama, the historical district of Lisbon, sits the Castelo de Sao Jorge, a imposing castle dating back to Moorish times and commanding amazing views over the city.
The castle has two main attractions for knights and princesses in the making: a large garden with binoculars to spy over the city and peacocks!
The inside of the castle is open to visitors too but if you are short on time, I suggest you limit your visit to the gardens: the view is what is truly special here.
Channel your inner Octonaut in Lisbon Oceanarium
Lisbon Oceanarium is often descried as one of the most impressive aquariums on the world and it’s a firm favourite with families. The Oceanarium holds 5 million litres of salt water and has a permanent exhibition featuring terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
It recreates marine environments with temperate, tropical and cold water and is the home of plants, fish and super cute mammals (they have sea otters!). The Oceanarium is easy to reach by metro and it’s also a great activity in case of rain!
Become a scientist in the Pavilhao de Conocimiento
An incredible museum for both adults and kids is the ‘Knowledge pavilion’, Lisbon’s science museum. Located in Parque das Nações, in the former grounds of Expo 98 and not far from the Oceanarium, this is a large, interactive space where kids can explore and experience the wonders of the laws of physics and the chemical formulas that shape our planet.
The museum is organised in several areas where you are encouraged to learn by seeing, touching, experimenting and doing: touching the objects on show here here is not only allowed but compulsory!
Explore Bairro Alto and Chiado
When visiting Lisbon we stayed in the area called Chiado and spent most of our time in this district and in the neightbouring Bairro Alto.
Change of scenery this week on our feed as we leave Ireland to retrace our steps around wonderful Lisbon, Portugal! We visited earlier in the year and loved it: friendly, beautiful, full of history – every corner seems to tell a story! If you are thinking of going, we have our full itinerary on our blog: link is is bio ⬆️ Do you like going on city trips with kids? Or do you prefer outdoorsy destinations? #lisbon #lisbona #lisbonlovers #nothingisordinary #tourist #tourism #vacation #ilovetravel #travelpics #travelphoto #visiting #instatbn #travelphotography #wonderful_places #travelpics #aroundtheworld #worldcaptures #worldplaces #lifewelltravelled #globe_travel #livetravelchannel #exploringtheglobe #ig_travel #bestview #welltravelled #travelherenext #cityscape #cityviews #cityview #citybestpic
Both these area are charming, easy to enjoy on foot and host some of the attractions we were most fond of such as impressive Elevador de Santa Justa and stunning Convento de Carmo.
At the top of Bairro Alto, make sure you stop at Miradouro Santa Caterina for beautiful views over the city and if you fancy a break, take a seat in the outside terrace of the Pharmacy Museum: this is a family friendly space serving juices and lovely cocktail with pharmacy inspired names and presentations.
Family travel tip. If you don’t feel like exploring on your own, Little Lisbon offers family friendly tours to suit most ages and perfect for both first timers and Lisbon lovers
Take a break in Lisbon’s beautiful parks
Lisbon has some lovely parks that are a lifesaver especially when summer temperatures envelope the city.
A favourite with local families and a tip we got from a local friend for family days out is Jadim de Estrela, where you find exotic plants and trees, a small pond (with ducks!), a children’s playground, and pond side café. Worth visiting are also Parque Eduardo VII and Jardim do Torel. You can find a good list of the most beautiful parks in Lisbon here
Spend a day in Belem
The district of Belem, just to the west of Lisbon city centre, makes for a lovely day out with kids.
Here is where you find the beautiful Belem tower, the monument to the discoveries, many museums and the stunning Jeronimos monastery, guaranteed to impress even the most jaded of architecture lovers.
Belem is also the place where you can taste great pasteis de nata, the local and delicious custard tarts: the place for this is Pasteleria de Belem which is said to have elevated these simple pastries to legendary status.
The best way to discover Belem is to take the (long walk) from the tower to the pasteleria, taking the time to stop at the small playground along the way. The walk is flat and easy and if you are travelling with a baby or toddler you will be happy to hear it is buggy and stroller friendly.
Most Lisbon itineraries devote a full day to Belem but if you are short on time, even just few hours are enough to enjoy this area. A quick a fun way to reach it is to take a moto-rickshaw, worth especially for numerous families – our took up to 6 people and came with a good commentary from the driver.
Sample Portuguese food in Mercado da Ribeira
One of our favourite things to do in Lisbon with kids and not just for food is strolling around Mercado da Ribeira, aka the Time Out market.
This is a fantastic space with food stalls to suit everyone, from traditional Portuguese fair to a Asian street food, via pizza and burgers! Just outside, there is a small playground with a coffee kiosk and a resident flock of pigeons that offer endless chasing opportunities (just make sure you don’t feed them: it is illegal).
Inside, you have table with both tall stools and normal chairs and basic but adequate baby changing facilities. Strollers are welcome but can be challenging at busy times.
Get in water with a hippotrip
Very few things get kids more excited than a ride on an unusual vehicle and, in Lisbon, it doesn’t get more unusual than a hippotrip vessel!
Hippotrip offers tours of the city in amphibious carriers that shows you the city from land and water. It is the quintessential tourist activity to take and you need to go in with a good dose of self irony but it is fun and the moment the vessel enters the water is pretty cool! You can find info and prices here
Go to the beach
Lisbon’s body of water is the river Tejo, rather than the Ocean, but the city is close to many glorious beaches where you can take long walks in the sand, sunbathe, swim and of curse make sandcastles!
Our favourite beach is the one in Cascais, a small locality on the Atlantic coast connected to Lisbon by regular train (the journey costs less than 5 euro and takes about 30 minutes. Here, you can stroll around manicured yet atmospheric streets (Cascais is very elegant), have fresh fish in one of the many restaurants and of course sunbathe on one of is beautiful, family friendly beaches just in front of the main square. Not in Lisbon proper maybe, but so easy to reach I highly recommend to stretch there even if you only have few days in the city.
Tips for visiting Lisbon with kids:
- Lisbon is served by an excellent metro, bus and tram system. The most convenient ticket is the Lisbon Card, a combined tickets that allows you board all public transport and give discounts to many attractions both in Lisbon and surrounding area
- The best areas to stay in Lisbon with kids are Baixa/Chiado and Belem. Out top picks are Martinhal Chiado Family suites (luxury, you can read our review here) and Lisbon charming apartments Chiado (budget).
I hope you enjoyed our tips about what to do with kids in Lisbon. Have you been yet?