We had been to Lisbon during a trip to Portugal before and had checked off the things to do in Lisbon, but this time, it was a different experience with the kids a bit older. I was surprised to find out so many attractions in Lisbon that make it a perfect holiday getaway for families.
I discovered the things to do in Lisbon with family, especially with kids. I am presenting you this side of Lisbon for families! Here is how you can enjoy Lisbon with kids.
Things to do in Lisbon Portugal
Lisbon is often described as “The city of Seven Hills”, Lisbon receives more days of sunshine than any other European capital. Lisbon is well known for its cafe culture, fado music, suspension bridge, tiles and the gateway to Sintra.
According to legend, the city of Lisbon was named for Ulysses, who founded the settlement after he left Troy to escape the Greeks. With all this in mind here are our 5 spots not to miss in Lisbon.
Poulation: 530,847 (2012)
Fact: Lisbon is the oldest city in western Europe even pre-dating Rome
Facts: The Vasco Da Gama bridge is the longest in Europe measuring 17 kilometers.
Fact: The 1755 great earthquake flattened most of the city
Fact: Lisbon is 17,925km from our home.
5 Things not to miss in Lisbon
There are so many things to do in Lisbon that you will find your days filled with adventure as you wander this beautiful city.
Santa Justa Lift
Santa Justa Lift is an iconic sight in Lisboa and connects the lower city area with the higher Square Largo Do Carmo and Biaxia neighbourhood. The elevator was opened in 1901 consisting of a metallic tower, observation platform, walkway and base. On the top floor of the Santa Justa Lift, there is a kiosk and lookout, with panoramic views of the city.
Connections to the floors below can be made by two spiral staircases, with different patterns on each storey as well as the Lift. The view at night from the top platform is amazing, the streets of Lisbon light up for the evening.
If you catch the Santa Justa Lift up to Carmo it will cost 5 Euro a person. If you enter from Carmo for the view it costs you nothing. Santa Justa Lift is one of the 5 things not to miss in Lisbon
Family Travel Tip: Have an ice cream or drink in square Largo Do Carmo after dinner with the kids and head out to the viewing platform in the evening when the sun is setting for an amazing view of Lisbon.
Lisbon Attractions: Arc Rue Augusta / Praca do Comercio
Arc Rue Augusta dominates the entry to Praca do Comercio on the Tagus River in Downtown Lisbon. The Arc was built to commemorate the 1755 earthquake. The Arc is over 100 metres high at its tallest section. The terrace at the top of the Arc can be accessed by elevator.
The terrace provides amazing views of downtown Lisbon. Praca do Comercio ( commercial square) is where the Royal palace stood until 1755 earthquake. The square is typical of Europe with cafe’s, tourist offices and museum in the building that surround the square.
A statue of King Jose on horseback sits in the middle of the square to commemorate his former home. Commercial square is home to Christmas activities, markets, and events such as the gay Pride week celebrations. This area is certainly one of the 5 things not to miss in Lisbon
Family Travel Tip: At the bottom of Commercial Square where Lisbon meets the Tagus River is a boat landing dock. This is a great place in Lisbon for kids to paddle their feet in the river and cool down on those hot summer days.
Things to do in Lisbon: Torre de Belem
Torre de Belem Lisboa was built in1515 to guard the city. Belem tower was the last thing many of the Portuguese explorers seen of their country during the age of discovery. Portugal was a leader in discovering new lands and trade routes during the middle ages. Belem Tower is reachable on tram 15 from the Commercial Square. The Lisbon to Belem tram takes 15-20 minutes to reach Belem then another 10 minutes on foot.
The tower is a mix of designs based on Moroccan and Venetian influences. Belem tower features 16 canons in the lower section that points out towards the river that was to protect the city. The tower has balconies on all levels of the monument. The most popular view is the one facing the river. Belem Tower is a UNESCO world heritage site. Belem is one of the top things to do in Lisbon.
Family Travel Tip: Belem Portugal is world famous for its custard tarts. Take the kids tp Pastel De Belem the world famous shop that makes the best custard tarts in the world. Grab a few and head to the parks on the other side of the road from the shop
Castelo St George sits on one of the seven hills of Lisbon overlooking the Tagus River. It sits high looking to protect the city from invaders. There has been a settlement on this hill since 48BC. The castle provides the most breathtaking views of Lisbon.
We have viewed Paris from Sacre Couer, we have viewed Barcelona from Montjuic but I must say the view you experience here is just about the best in Europe in my Opinion. It was amazing, inspiring the mix of the colour roofs of Lisbon, the river and hills of the city all laid out front of you.
You enter the gate in the shadow of a statue of king Afonso seeming still overlooking his royal palace. Canons adorn the edge of the high walls a permanent reminder of the original use of the castle.
A stroll along the outside walls is highly recommended for the panoramic views it provides of Lisbon. The view stretches from the top of Avenida da Libadade, Edward V11 park down to the River Tagus and Arc rue Augusta out to the Pont 25 suspension bridge and beyond. Take a stroll around the castle remains, the archaeological site and the museum. Castelo St George is one of the top 5 things to do in Lisbon.
Family Travel Tip: Have a bite to eat at the cafe inside the the grounds. There are peacocks that will approach the tables for food. Our kids loved this and were fasinated by these beatifully colored birds.
When in Lisbon don't forget to check out the quirky Pink Street. The kids will find the Pink Street in Lisbon something very different to any other street they have visited.
Lisbon to Sintra day trip
Not exactly in Lisbon but a must short day trip from Lisbon. We caught the Lisbon to Sintra train from Rossio station. The train from Lisbon to Sintra was under 1 hour to this amazing UNESCO World Heritage site. Sintra is dotted with Royal palaces and castles that the royalty used it use as an escape from Lisbon. By the start of the 20th century, Sintra was popular with the aristocrats and millionaires who built estates here.
The Pena National Palace is the most famous castle at Sintra. It sits high above the town on the hill. The Pena Palace is characterised by its bright colours and Moorish influence. The town also features the National Palace of Sintra, the ruins of the Moorish castle.
Quinta da Regaleira is an estate located near the historic centre of Sintra. This estate features some amazing gardens, caves, wells and a small castle. We recently visited on our second visit to Sintra in December of 2016.
The Pena Palace is characterised by its bright colours and Moorish influence. The town also features the National Palace of Sintra, the ruins of the Moorish castle, National Palace of Queluz and the Monserrate Palace. Sintra is also a great place to escape the heat of Lisbon on those really hot summer days.
We found that it to be at least 10 degree's cooler the day we visited than the city. There is a bus that takes you in a loop past all the Castle's and Palaces in Sintra a hop on hop style of transport. A trip to Sintra is the best thing to do in Lisbon.
Family Travel Tip: Walk from the National Palace of Sintra back to the train station. Its all down hill. There are traders selling souvenirs and handcrafts such as necklaces and bangles that our kids loved.
More great family ideas for Things to do in Lisbon with kids. Below is ticketing and booking options. Just click to browse and book!
- We can definitively say the Lisbon Aquarium is a must. Get your tickets HERE
- Buying The Lisbon Card is a great way to save on many attractions
- Our kids love Segway tours. Book the Lisbon Segway now, you won't regret it!
- Cruise on the Tagus River, kids love boats
- The Hippo Trip part Bus part Boat full on Fun, Get on HERE
- Rent a bike yourself and ride to Belem or go on a bike tour to Belem
- Visit the Lisbon Zoo. Its one of the fun things to do in Lisbon Portugal.
- Don't have kids complaining about walking jump on the Lisbon Yellow Bus Hop On Hop Off Tour
We hope our 5 things not to miss in Lisbon inspires you to visit Lisbon soon. Whether its things to see and do in Lisbon or 15 things for under 15 Euro's there is plenty to do in the Portuguese capital. We have now been to Lisbon twice and can't stop dreaming about returning and experiencing more cool things to do in Lisbon. There are plenty of things to do in Lisbon with kids or just as a couple or single traveller.
Getting to Lisbon:
- Lisbon is the capital and biggest city in Portugal.
- Humberto Delgado Airport is located 7km from Lisbon City Centre
- It is the 24th largest airport in Europe in terms of passenger volume, having served 22.4 million passengers in 2016
- Lisbon Airport is served by 121 destinations with 47 airlines
- Lisboa is serviced by many international airlines and budget carriers.The airport is a hub for TAP Portugal. Lisbon is a focus city for easyJet, Ryanair, Vueling and Azores Airlines. You can check the prices of international flights to Portugal with cheapOair. Domestic flights can be booked with Expedia
- The airport and city are connected by the metro. Aeroporto Saldanha line takes approximately 20 minutes to reach downtown Lisbon
- The Aerobuses is accommodating for travelling with large luggage. The departures are available at Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 between 7:30 and 23:00 daily, and connect the airport with a number of major destinations in the downtown area. Information and bookings available here.
- Santa Apolonia and Lisbon Oriente are the two major trains station for domestic and international arrivals by train
- Check your trains prices here.
- Most international buses arrive at Lisbon's Estação do Oriente bus station. Check your bus prices here.
- You can book an airport transfer with Suntransfers who we have personally used on many occasions.
- You can book a rental car with AutoEurope and have it waiting for you at Lisbon Airport.
Getting around Lisbon:
- Lisbon features an extensive public transport network, comprising both underground and surface means of getting around. The metros, buses and trams of Lisbon is one of the most cost-efficient and flexible manners of discovering the city
- Ticket prices on the trams (streetcars) is now 2,85 Euros with the object being to make more users buy pre-pay passes. A single ticket on the metro is €1.90 without a rechargeable card, €1,40 with. There are a variety of passes available which reduce those costs considerably.
- Children under the age of 4 travel free of charge on the Metro, as long as they are accompanied by an adult.
- The popular Lisbon Hop on hop off bus is a great option for tourists wanting to see the main sights of Berlin. This tourist bus has 2 different routes that travel the sights of the city on a loop basis. For more information Look here!
- The Lisbon Card offers tree public transport and entries to major Lisbon sights.
Where to stay in Lisbon:
- Lisbon has accommodation options for every budget from Hostels, to apartments and hotels rooms.
- Hostels in Lisbon can start from as little as 15 euro's a night for a shared dorm room.
- You can search Airbnb for their Berlin accommodation offerings. If you have never used Airbnb before get yourself $50 credit by signing and booking a stay right HERE.
- Hotels in Lisbon generally start from around $70 a night for a double room and increase incrementally as the luxury rating rises towards 5 stars. Google states that 3-star averaging $92, 5-star averaging $226 for a night stay.
- You can compare and book your stay on Priceline
( All coloured text in the Getting to Lisbon, Getting around Lisbon and Where to stay in Lisbon links to the pages mentioned for your information and booking convenience. We at Wyld Family Travel will make a small commission from any bookings you make. This money goes into maintaining our website. )
For more great Portugal content Wyld Family Travel have selected two more articles for your reading pleasure. Click the image to start reading about the Lisbon hop on hop off bus tour and the Amazing Porto in Northern Portugal.
About the Author
Mark Wyld is a father, husband and traveller. Having been to over 30 countries worldwide I think I know a thing or 2 about travelling with kids. I have been writing about travel on our website for the last 4 years and have featured on numerous other websites. When I am not talking, dreaming and planning travel I can be found working in disability support .