Lisbon is an ideal destination for families. Find out how to make the most of your trip with our ultimate guide to visiting Lisbon with kids!
Family trips are a true travel challenge. They can either be stressful and exhausting, or a chance to make precious memories…or a little of both. A key part of planning the perfect vacation is choosing a family-friendly destination that everyone will enjoy. And we know just the place: Lisbon, a city your kids will love just as much as you do.
If you’re planning on visiting Lisbon with kids, we have all the tips you need to be fully prepared in order to minimize conflict and keep things running smoothly. To help you do it, here are our picks of the best hotels, activities and kid-friendly cuisine in Portugal’s capital!
Where to Stay in Lisbon with Kids
First things first: you’ll need to find family-friendly accommodation. This starts with choosing an area of the city to be your home base. The clearest choices are Baixa and Chiado, central districts that are close to many main attractions, but not as hilly as other neighborhoods.
This is where you’ll find Martinhal Lisbon Chiado Family Suites, a hotel specifically designed for travelers with kids. It has a kids club, “baby concierge” service and suites with plenty of space. Also in Baixa is Pestana CR7 Lisboa, a bold and colorful hotel where sports take center stage. Any young soccer fans will be in their element here!
Another great place to stay with kids is Estrela. It’s a calmer area that’s packed with cool cafés and picturesque streets, as well as the Jardim da Estrela for outdoor fun. Great family-friendly accommodations include the Hotel da Estrela, as well as the amazing Estrela Penthouse apartment for those who want plenty of space, plus games and toys for kids.
Finally, we recommend the Avenida de Liberdade area, which is within walking distance of the center but much less crowded. Book a room at the luxurious Hotel Tivoli, featuring a pool for the kids and a spa for adults. Or settle in at Cruz Apartments, where you can spread out over several bedrooms and enjoy a private terrace or jacuzzi.
What to Do with Your Kids in Lisbon
Portugal’s capital is full of fun activities for all ages, from discovering its vibrant cultural sites to enjoying the wonderful weather. Here are some of the best activities for kids in Lisbon!
Take a Ride or Get a Lift
Lisbon is famous for its steep hills, which might be tough for little ones—or parents carrying them around. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out. This city is also known for its unique forms of transportation, starting with the iconic yellow trams. Hop on Tram 28 for a scenic journey through the city’s historic neighborhoods. It’s Lisbon’s version of an authentic and educational roller coaster ride!
In addition to trams, Lisbon’s public transportation system also includes three famous elevators and the amazing Santa Justa Lift. Kids will love the excitement of rising up into the sky, and everyone else will appreciate a nice break for their legs.
Bring Out Your Inner Royal
Every kid dreams of being a prince or princess, and every prince or princess needs a palace. Luckily, Lisbon has a real castle! Take your kids up to the Castelo de São Jorge, where they can wander among ruins straight out of a fairytale—or, more accurately, a history book. There are even cannons, plus a population of resident peacocks.
For an even more unique experience, take a day trip to Sintra in the mountains north of Lisbon. Here you’ll find the bold and beautiful Pena Palace, surrounded by gorgeous gardens. Take some time to explore the mysterious wells, tunnels and statues of the Quinta da Regaleira, which is like a massive playground for kids and parents alike.
Meet Some Animals
If your kids are obsessed with animals, they’ll love the Jardim Zoológico, Lisbon’s urban zoo. It’s only a few metro stops from the center, with around 2,000 animals and a strong commitment to conservation. Attractions also include a miniature train, petting zoo and botanical gardens.
To experience more incredible wildlife, visit the Lisbon Oceanarium, the largest indoor aquarium in Europe. It’s located in Parque das Nações, the city’s most modern area, which also has tons of fun activities like a cable car and bike rentals.
Enjoy the Sun and Sand
When the weather is nice (which is often), we suggest heading straight for one of Lisbon’s best beaches. The easiest ones to get to are Carcavelos, Estoril and Cascais, which can be reached by train from Cais do Sodré. All the beaches along this stretch of coastline are perfect for families, with lots of restaurants and easy access to everything you need.
Alternatively, head across the river to the family-friendly Praia da Alburrica or Costa da Caparica. You can relax on the sand, have a snack at a seaside café, or even sign up for a family surf lesson! And if someone comes wandering down the beach selling bolas de Berlim (sugary cream-filled doughnuts) out of a box, get one. Or several.
Discover Belém and Alcântara
These two neighborhoods are located just beyond the center in the direction of Cascais. Alcântara is an up-and-coming area best known for LX Factory, an epic cultural center with tons of local shops and gourmet food. Kids will love Ler Devagar, a breathtaking bookstore complete with towering shelves and ladders.
No trip to Lisbon is complete without visiting Belém. Visit the impressive Jerónimos Monastery, Torre de Belém and Monument to the Discoveries, and spend some time in the tranquil parks nearby. The MAAT is also a great place to go with children, offering interactive exhibits on art, architecture and technology.
Before you leave Belém, it’s obligatory to stop by the famous Pastéis de Belém pastry shop, the first place to sell Lisbon’s legendary pastéis de nata (often called pastéis de Belém for that very reason)! And speaking of sweets…
How to Devour Lisbon with Kids
There’s no reason why traveling with kids should keep you from fully enjoying Portuguese cuisine! Lisbon offers options for all tastes, from the most adventurous to the pickiest eaters. Even super traditional tascas will have something for everyone, as long as you know what to ask for.
First of all, Lisbon is heaven for anyone who loves sweets—kids included. In addition to pastéis de nata, traditional treats like pão de Deus (a sweet bun with coconut) and pão de ló (sponge cake) are crowd favorites. Kids will especially love baba de camelo (literally meaning “camel’s drool”), a super sweet caramel pudding, and salame de chocolate, which is basically chocolate cookie dough made to look like salami.
Learn how to make baba de camelo, salame de chocolate and more classic dishes with our new digital cookbook!
Savory Snacks for Kids in Lisbon
No one can survive on sugar alone. When it’s time to switch to savory, go for the simple stuff—like soup! Healthy and delicious vegetable soups are a central part of traditional Portuguese cooking, making it easy to get kids to eat their veggies—even on vacation. Other options include salgados, savory pastries stuffed with chicken, meat or seafood. This bite-sized street food is perfect for keeping hunger at bay.
Finally, there’s the classic combo of bread and cheese. Most Portuguese cafés offer a variety of tostas: toasted sandwiches with cheese, ham, tomato and other fillings. And whenever you sit down at a restaurant, they’ll bring out a selection of bread, butter, cheese and olives, perfect for picky eaters. Just keep in mind that whatever you eat will be added to your bill.
Where to Eat in Lisbon with Kids
While most cafés and restaurants in Portugal are kid friendly, certain spots are particularly well suited to families. The secret is going somewhere with lots of options, so that everyone gets their ideal eating experience. Our advice? Head to the Time Out Market to get an incredible selection of food in one place.
For a simpler vibe, A Merendeira is a great place to sample authentic caldo verde, pão com chouriço and arroz doce: all crowd-pleasing and iconic dishes. If you’re in the mood for something cold and sweet, head to Nannarella for gelato or Quinta dos Açores for ice cream with traditional flavors from the Azores.
Other must-visit spots include Manteigaria for the best pastéis de nata outside Belém, and O Trevo for no-frills bifanas and salgados. To visit both of these spots—plus several more— join us on a family-friendly food tour in Lisbon!
Melissa first moved to Madrid to explore her interests in linguistics and communication, and quickly fell in love with the city’s culture and cuisine. She’s particularly passionate about Spanish vermouth and canned seafood, and makes it a point to drench absolutely everything in olive oil.