Traveling with kids to Lisbon? We rounded up all the fun kid-friendly things to do in the city to turn your trip into an unforgettable adventure.
Family travels are as fun to plan as they are challenging. Ideally, you’ll want to keep every member entertained while learning something new about the destination. But that’s easier said than done—how do you pull it off?
We’ve done the planning work for you with this list of fun things to do in Lisbon with kids. All you have to worry about is enjoying the city.
1. Spend the Day at Parque das Nações
Parque das Nações, on the eastern side of Lisbon, is a lot more than a must-stop for contemporary architecture enthusiasts. It’s also the perfect place to entertain your kids for a few hours while they learn by playing.
Mixing fun with learning, Oceanário and Centro Ciência Viva are family favorites, especially when you’re looking for things to do in Lisbon in the rain. Both places are within five minutes’ walking distance from one another at the Parque das Nações complex, so we suggest starting the day learning all about the oceans at Oceanário and then moving on to discover science’s mysteries next door at Centro Ciência Viva.
If you have the extra time or prefer to do something different, take a ride on the cable car to see Parque das Nações from above.
2. Tour the Natural History Museum
Most of the permanent exhibitions at the Natural History Museum in Lisbon appeal to older children. From the 19th-century chemistry lab and classroom, to the skeletons in the “whale room,” there is a lot to explore indoors.
Weather permitting, you can also explore the botanical garden outside the museum. Initially started as a study aid for university students, this garden is a haven of shadowy tall trees in the heart of Lisbon. In the spring, a section of the garden called the borboletário truly comes alive as different species of butterflies break out of their cocoons.
3. Become a News Reporter in Sintra
In an increasingly connected world, where we access news on our electronic devices whenever we want, how well informed are we? The topic seems more urgent than ever, and, in case you need an excuse to take the kids on a Sintra day trip, there’s no better place to ask all the hard questions than the NewsMuseum.
From a VR experience to recording a live news report that you can share on YouTube, kids will learn about the news in a fun and engaging way. They might even be inspired to become a journalist in the future!
4. Watch a Classic Movie at Cinemateca Junior
For families of movie buffs, skip the popcorn and take the kids to one of the Saturday afternoon sessions at Cinemateca Júnior. It’s a rare opportunity to catch a favorite movie or watch a classic animation for the first time. Unless stated otherwise, none of the films are dubbed in Portuguese, so you won’t have to worry about missing out on the story.
Before or after the film, browse the permanent exhibition that tells the history of cinema from its first gadgets and contraptions to the slightly more sophisticated tools of the early 20th century.
5. Learn the City’s History at the Lisbon Story Center
If you only have the time (or the energy) to visit one place in Lisbon with kids, make it the Lisbon Story Center. It’s a series of interactive exhibitions that explain the history of the city, but perhaps the most impressive one is the recreation of the 1755 Great Earthquake—one of the largest ever recorded in Europe so far.
On the way out, the kids will look at the historic center of Lisbon from an entirely new perspective.
6. Explore Monsanto, Lisbon’s Forest Park
It’s hard to find a Lisboeta who doesn’t have a fond memory of a childhood moment spent at Monsanto Forest Park. Known as “the lung of Lisbon,” it’s one of the largest forest parks in Europe and you could easily spend a whole day exploring it.
If you have older kids, consider biking or hiking on the marked path from Restauradores to Monsanto and then relax or have a picnic at one of the parks. Smaller children will prefer the activities of the Serafina recreational park within Monsanto, where colorful swings, slides, and tipi tents will keep them busy until their energy runs out.
7. See Puppets from Around the World
The Museu da Marioneta (Puppet Museum) occupies part of an old convent in the Madragoa neighborhood, but don’t be underwhelmed by its size. The small museum showcases the history of puppet theater through unique puppets, masks and short videos.
The museum’s pièce de résistance, though, is the one-of-a-kind collection of traditional Portuguese puppets.
8. Deep Dive in the History of Lisbon’s Largest Soccer Team
The soccer team Benfica is the biggest in Lisbon and the country, no matter what fans of rival Sporting try to tell you. But of course, out-of-towners don’t need to get into that discussion between the reds and the greens. Instead, visit the Benfica Museum, where interactive exhibitions tell the story of the club from its foundation in 1904 to current times.
In the area dedicated to Benfica’s soccer legends, “Black Panther” Eusébio gets most (if not all) of the attention. Not only was he a notorious soccer player who was famous worldwide, but he remained loyal to Benfica from his early days as the team star until his passing in 2014.