5 things not to miss in Lisbon

Home » Family Travel » 5 things not to miss in Lisbon

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.

Lisbon Facts:

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.

Santa Justa lift Lisbon

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.

Booking.com

Lisbon Attractions: Arc Rue Augusta / Praca do Comercio

background

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

Belem tower

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


See all the highlights of Belem. Belém is a historic district of Lisbon with much to discover. it boasts two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, many striking monuments, and even a world-famous delicacy – Portuguese custard tarts!  Book your Belem experience HERE

By the Tagus River Castelo St George

Castelo St George

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

Sintra Palace

Not exactly in Lisbon but a must short day trip from Lisbon. We caught the Lisbon to Sintra, one of the best cities in Portugal. 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.

Sintra Portugal

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 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, traveler, and chief destination marketing manager at Wyld Family Travel. Having been to over 35 countries worldwide he knows a thing or 2 about traveling with kids and now traveling with teenagers.  He has been writing first-hand, expert travel guides on this website for over 6 years and has featured on numerous other popular well-known websites. When he is not talking, dreaming, or planning travel he can be found working in disability support.

follow me on facebook

Click the image to join us
Click the image to join the community
5 things not to miss in Lisbon

57 thoughts on “5 things not to miss in Lisbon”

  1. The Royal Palace looks beautiful. I’d love to visit that one, especially with its gorgeous colors. Oh…and that custard sounds amaaaazing…

    Reply
  2. First time visitor to your blog and it looks like a lovely place to keep visiting 🙂 Lisbon seems to be a wonderful city. How many days would you say is ideal to explore Lisbon as a tourist ?

    Reply
  3. Hey Mark,

    Great review of a city I have only just yet seen by air. I often read that Lisbon is quite a small capital city, yet from your interesting facts it is certainly one of the more interesting. I never knew it was the oldest capital in Europe nor that it got the most sunshine. Seems like a great few reasons alone to go.

    Reply
  4. I haven’t been to Lisbon or Portugal for years now, but I’m actually planning another visit very soon. I loved the chilled atmosphere, small side streets and the local music scene. I haven’t seen all the things on your list though, so I’ll defiantly need to do something about it!

    Thank you for sharing your tips.

    Reply
  5. One of my favorite cities in the world. Great collection of unmissable spots! I would add the Jeronimos Cloister too. It is a bit expensive now but I loved it when I was a kid.

    Reply
  6. I LOVE Lisbon! I just went over the summer and definitely want to go back. I definitely agree with you on the things not to miss although I’d have to add LX factory as well.

    Reply
  7. Amazing photos! I haven’t been to Lisbon yet though but I have surely been eyeing that region. Hopefully, I get to visit sometime this summer 😀 Thanks for the tips too — I’ll keep them in mind!

    Reply
  8. I haven’t been to Portugal yet, but it’s on my list and I definitely want to spend some time in Lisbon. I love that photo of Arc Rue Augusta, the light in the centre of the photo is fantastic.

    Reply
  9. I love Lisbon, was just there last summer, what a great city. I loved riding around on Tram 28. The little yellow streetcar.
    I walked by Santa Justa Lift, but the line was so long… I also really loved Sintra and the colourful Pena Castle. Great post !!!

    Reply
  10. These pictures makes me want to go back to Lisbon. We thoroughly enjoyed Sintra and Torre de Belem but looks like there is so much more to visit. Especially liked the part when we stopped by Pasteis de Belem! Did you guys end up stopping there too?

    Reply
  11. I’ve never been to Lisbon (just Oporto) but it really looks great! The elevator is so cool but also the colors of Sintra (I haven’t heard about it, gasp, a bit ashamed of it 🙁 ) looks grand.
    I’ll read on! Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  12. Looks beautiful. I would love to visit. Peacocks walking around and up to you while eating sounds pretty cool.

    Reply
  13. We haven’t been to Lisbon yet, but it is on our list of places to visit. Nice to know some of the highlights of things to see and do. I appreciate your “family tips” My son would love to have a bite to eat with the peacocks.

    Reply
  14. Why haven’t I been to Lisbon yet?! Seeing this amazing pictures I am kicking myself for not visiting this beautiful city! Thanks for the post and I have marked it down for a future visit:-)

    Reply
  15. What a fantastic tour, I definitely would be up at the castle above looking for all the best views to photograph of the city below.

    Reply
  16. I love that you used your instagrams in this post… creative idea! Lisbon is a destination I haven’t visited yet, but I very much looking forward to when that time comes. I would DEFINITELY have to hang out with the peacocks. 🙂

    Reply
  17. Great photos of Lisbon and that is an elevator unlike any I’ve seen before. I’m heading to Spain in the summer and I hope I can head into Portugal for a week and explore Lisbon.

    Reply
  18. Haven’t been to Lisbon yet, but my friends and I are considering going there this summer. Will keep your tips in mind for the trip!

    Reply
  19. Great read, knowing that Lisbon is actually one of the oldest cities in Western Europe was a great way to preface everything else. Really happy you discussed Sintra, despite being a different city, I had been eager to visit it as a quick diversion. The view from the Pena National Palace has to be incredible. Definitely would be one of the highlights for me, as would be visiting the ruins around the city!

    Greig

    Reply
  20. Looks so beautiful!!! I haven’t been to Lisbon but I will make sure to check back on this list when I do! Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
  21. I misread the title at first (I’ve been awake for a long time lol) and I thought it said “5 things I don’t miss about Lisbon”. I read the whole thing thinking, “that’s weird, these things seem great!” I realized my error though and the article got even better. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  22. The Santa Justa Lift is gorgeous, actually, the whole place looks beautiful, definitely on the list for a visit.

    Reply
  23. Great call-out that Sintra is an easy day trip from Lisbon. It specifically has been on our must-visit list for a long time. It’s good to hear that a chunk of time doesn’t have to be aggressively carved out for the trip to work.

    Reply
  24. What a fabulous city! I’ve only been there pre-kids but really want to go with them, so this post is now bookmarked for reference!

    Reply
  25. Great article! I love to travel with my daughter and would love to take her for a custard tart at Belem tower!

    Reply
  26. Thank you so much for these fab recommendations! We are traveling to Spain with our kids in July and are trying to spend 1 week in Spain and 1 in Portugal. I am really hoping we can use these tips. I love your recommendations at for how to best optimize your visit when traveling with your family. Thank you!

    Reply
  27. I loved Portugal when I went, but only did the Lagos area. I’ve heard great things about Lisbon, and this convinced me I must make it back sooner than later!

    Reply
  28. I love the Arc Rue Augusta! This definitely makes me want to visit Portugal and Lisbon soon! great pictures

    Reply
  29. Portugal has been on our list for sometime now, would love to visit at the earliest, your post motivates us to get there asap.

    Reply
  30. Wow I never realised that Lisbon was the first Western European city! Fascinating! It looks like a really livable city.

    Reply
  31. I love the vibe and atmosphere in Lisbon. What is also worth seeing are the little trains that drive uphill on the narrow streets. Oh, I also loved seeing that huge lift in the middle of the city centre 🙂

    Reply
  32. Torre Belem looks very looks intriguing to me! I can’t wait to explore this part of the world and I will surely keep these places in mind 🙂

    Reply
  33. Great share. I loved my time in Lisbon! Hit up most of these spots but never took the famous lift. I guess I just have to go back!

    Reply
  34. So may historical places to see! I wanna see the Belem tower and Castelo St George, when I get to visit Lisbon soon 😉

    Reply
  35. Thanks for writing this, very timely as we’re going to have a couple of days in Lisbon later this year enroute to elsewhere, and I’ve not done any research yet. The views from Castelo St George look stunning, think that would definitely be top of my list!

    Reply
  36. Lisbon is one of my favorite cities in Europe! It’s spectacular! The Jerónimos Monastery is also definitely worth visiting! I think I actually could make a list of 100 things… I am in love with this city. Thanks for taking me back with your post! Greetings from 99 lives!

    Reply
  37. I definitely agree that the view over Lisbon from the castle is one of the best views of any city ever. I’ve just written about our trip to Lisbon too. My kids really loved the Belem tower, the castle and of course, the wonderful palaces of Sintra.

    Reply
  38. Great summary of Lisbon highlights. I’ve been before and loved Sintra castle – so colourful! Happy to have found you via

    Reply
  39. Wow, I never knew that the first picture is actually a lift. I have seen that picture before and thought it was a tower or something. Great pics, and looks like I have to head to Lisbon perhaps next year. A very close of friend of mine lives there – she recently visited me in Malaysia and is urging me to visit her the soonest possible! Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading your post 🙂

    Reply
  40. I’ve wanted to visit Lisbon for a while now – having been to Portugal so many times but never to this city and it looks fabulous. The Sintra is just beautiful, I love the colours. Great tips and suggestions as always.

    Reply
  41. Having lived in Lisbon most of my life, I can’t stop to notice a couple of things.
    The arco da Rua Augusta is definitely not over 100m.. You might have meant 100ft.
    Second, I would not get in the river.. Cascais is just around 45mins by train and that’s already the sea which is much cleaner.. Or even better than that, rent a car, take a tour to Sintra in the morning and in the afternoon go to Guincho (getting from Sintra to Guincho by public transportation is not an easy or quick task).. Make sure it is not windy, this beach can either be extremely nice, or extremely windy..

    Reply
  42. You have to visit Coimbra too. The City of students (“cidade dos estudantes” in portuguese.) The university and the downtown they’re beautiful!

    Reply
  43. Thanks for sharing such great tips. We are planning a trip to Portugal and this post will definitely be used for reference. Would love to use Santa Justa Lift. 🙂

    Reply
  44. wow! amazing pics and such a helpful post. i am going next year (finally) so that helps a lot. thank you 🙂

    Reply
  45. Sintra is fantastic. I didn’t go the palace, because I spent 5 hours in Quinta da Regaleira, which is the most awesome place that I have been in Portugal. Full of hidden caves, paths, secret passages. It’s fun, fresh and perfect for children. It’s an adventure hard to forget.

    Reply
  46. I am now not sure the place you’re getting your information,
    but great topic. I needs to spesnd somne time finding out much more or figuring out more.
    Thanks for wonderful information I was looking for this info
    for my mission.

    Reply

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share
Flip
Tweet
Pin
Share