If you are headed to Lisbon, Portugal, don't hesitate when it comes to taking the family because there are so many things to do in Lisbon with kids. A family vacation in central Lisbon may not seem like the best idea but there are really a great variety of things to do in Lisbon with kids that there is just no reason not to bring them. Belem Tower is one place the family will love, and everyone will enjoy riding the cable cars above the steep hills and over the River Tagus to see the Vasco Da Gama Bridge as well as other sights.
At almost 100 feet in the air, the Lisbon Cable Car at Parque das Nacoes was built for the World Expo in the 1990s and is still one of the most enjoyable 10-minute cable car rides you will ever take. Another fun thing to do in Lisbon with kids is the Oceanario Aquarium right there in the park. This Lisbon Aquarium boasts more than 16,000 marine animals in about 450 species with a massive central tank full of marine life.
Another place to explore in Lisbon is the Jardim da Estrela, which is one of the biggest parks in the city, great for younger children. You can find it right in front of the Basilica da Estrela. Besides duck ponds and a playground, there is also a quaint little cafe where they sometimes host activities for the kids. No family vacation is complete without a castle so make sure you visit the Lisbon Castle while you are in town too.
Now you have to start planning when to go, where to stay, and where to store your luggage while you enjoy the city. You do not have to worry about that either because there are plenty of places to store your bags in and around Lisbon. Just drop them off at one of our Lisbon luggage storage lockers and get out there and have fun.
Fun things to do indoors with the kids
Learn About Lisbon's Seafarers
Museu de Marinha (Maritime Museum), also known as the Navy Museum, in Belem is a fun place to spend the day with the family. You can see more than 17,000 artifacts including model ships, a wooden figure of Archangel Raphael from 1498, and a bunch of maps from the 1500s.
The kids will enjoy seeing the models and archaeological items and you will also be able to get some selfies with some of the historical paintings. You can see the huge display at Jeronimos Monastery along the Tagus River or the Maritime Museum in the City of Belem. Both of these are fun for the kids and you.
Kidzania is an indoor theme park for kids of all ages. You will notice that it is designed to be a copy of the city on a smaller scale for kids to enjoy. Let them choose from more than 60 professions to practice. The Lisbon Kidszania town is comprised of an airport, factories, a theatre, shops, a police station, a fire station, and a football stadium.
Role-playing is the main idea in this park, and the kids will not even realize they are learning real life skills that they can use as they mature. Your little ones may discover that they have a passion for taking care of people, flying an airplane, or one of the other careers. This is a stop you won't want to miss while visiting Lisbon with kids.
Pavilion of Knowledge
The Pavilion of Knowledge in Ciência Viva is Lisbon's science museum, which opened in 1999. It is an essential part of the Ciência Viva Centres Network and is home to the Circus of Science Experience with all sorts of interactive experiments the kids can enjoy as you explore Lisbon.
Some of the main exhibits in the science museum include Water - An Unfiltered Exhibition, Hit and Run Experiments, and the Enlarged Workshop. The kids love the Fishanaro exhibit that teaches all about the ocean and the creatures that live there like sea otters and other magical marine animals.
Have fun outside with the kids
Little Lisbon with Kids Tours
Little Lisbon is one of the only tour companies that specialize in family tours for enjoying Lisbon with kids. They all have their own theme and include a detailed but fun commentary about interesting parts of the city. They are typically geared toward ages six through 12 but adults will love these as well. Most tours are three to four hours, but others can be a full day so choose according to your child's attention span and endurance.
Essential Lisbon is a classic tour for the whole family. Lisbon's Flavours is a delightful food tour where you can try the local delights. Sea Heroes delivers all sorts of stories about the sea including creatures as well as pirates. No matter which tour you take, be sure you are all prepared with comfortable shoes, clothes that are good for Lisbon weather, and bring along water and other necessities like diapers, wipes, and similar items.
Trip to Belem City Center
Take one of the day trips to visit Belem while you are in the city. Belem is a village along the banks of the Tagus River near Lisbon where you can explore the Monument of the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos) and the Belem Tower (Torre de Belem), which was built in the 1400s.
The square used to be the seat of Portugal's Royal Palace until it was destroyed in the Great Earthquake of 1755. The 25 de Abril bridge is another awesome sight to see, and many Americans say it looks like the Golden Gate Bridge. You can get there in less than 30 minutes by tram and you do not want to miss this trip.
Visit Lisbon to Conquer the Castle
You cannot visit Lisbon with kids without seeing the Castelo Sao Jorge (also known as St. George Castle). Most of the castle, including parts of the castle walls, dates back to the 6th century. This Moorish structure stands tall above the ancient medieval streets, giving it an even more authentic look.
See the Black Chamber using the 360-degree camera with real-time views and do not miss the archaeological remains of the royal palace that stood there before the 1755 earthquakes. At certain times, they have archers and knights as well as the many peacocks roaming the grounds.
Visiting Lisbon with young kids
Ride the Trams
Speaking of trams, many visitors like to ride them as part of their sightseeing trip. This is especially fun with younger kids because you can see so much, and you do not have to walk. No matter what ages your children are, everyone loves to see the spectacular sights from these antiquated cable cars built back in 1873.
The city boasts 63 trams with six different lines to take you to the west and southern part of the city. Many of the stops go to the city center and along the western part of the river. Many of the locals use it instead of the bus system so it can be crowded on weekdays. See the Santa Justa Lift while you are there, which is the only remaining vertical lift in the country.
The Lisbon Zoo is a wonderful way to experience the local wildlife, such as the majestic mountain gorillas. Jardim Zooologico was established in 1884 It was the first zoo in the Portuguese capital and has approximately 2,000 animals in over 300 species. These include amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. You can also enjoy some of their daily shows.
In addition, there is a cable car that takes you right through the forest canopy to see how the monkeys and other treetop creatures live. Or take a ride on the zoo train for a view of the whole park or to get around with less walking. The rare black tigers are the most popular spectacle to see.
Do you want to visit the water with the little ones, but you do not want to swim? Take a Hippo Trip, which is a tour bus that will entertain you all for about 90 minutes of excitement and fun. The guides will entertain you as well with energy and antics to keep the kiddos laughing.
The bus takes you around the city on land for a while before splashing into the Tagus River. The tour guides give you all a plethora of information about the city, its people, and the attractions. Then, the driver will drive you right into the river. But don't worry, it floats.
Where can I stay in Lisbon with the kids?
Martinhal Lisbon Chiado Family Suites
The Kids Club at the Martinhal Lisbon Chiado Family Suites is definitely a special feature you don't want to miss. This is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Lisbon with kids because it is free, and you can relax at the pool or bar while the "childminders" keep an eye on your little ones. They even have their own kids' area with activities like storytelling, art, and other fun.
Staying at Martinhal is like being in a one bedroom apartment will all the comforts of home. It will make your kid-friendly family holiday one to remember. You really should visit Lisbon this summer or even during the winter because there is always something fun to do with the family.
Where to eat with kids in Lisbon
A Beirense Faca & Garfo
The food in Lisbon is extraordinary and ranges from Portuguese to just about any international food you can imagine. Faca & Garfo is a tiny family-run restaurant offering traditional Portuguese food like kebabs, steaks, and salmon. Portugalia is a nationwide chain of restaurants with an emphasis on seafood at reasonable prices. The cream brulee and Pastéis de Belém (custard tarts) at Majestic Cafe in Porto are magical, and the kids will love the burgers and fries.
How do I get to Lisbon with the kids?
Humberto Delgado Airport is less than five miles from the Lisbon city center and is one of the largest airports in Europe in the volume of passengers. Lisbon Airport is the travel hub for many European countries and is easily accessed by the metro. Also, the Aerobus takes about 1/2 hour to get to downtown Lisbon from the airport so you will not be on the road too long. We know that kids don't like to be confined too long.
Exploring Lisbon's family friendly places
Now that you know there is so much to do in Lisbon with kids, you are probably ready to pack your bags and go. Getting there is not as long as you would think. You can take a comfortable six-hour flight from New York or another major airport on the east coast. Finding out what to do in Lisbon with kids is the easy part!