How to discover Lisbon with kids – And survive to tell the story!
If discovering Lisbon and treading its seven hills might be already challenging by itself, imagine going up and down each and every one of these hills with one, two or three children, tired, hungry and always asking: Are we there yet? Are we? ARE WEEEE? Or with teenagers asking to take a picture of them at each viewpoint or begging for a WIFI password to update their social media.
Indeed challenging, but the truth is those are the moments you will remember. The secret is to enjoy each moment the best way you can and provide good family moments for your long-lasting memories. To do that, there is nothing like planning every detail of your trip to Lisbon, even if you have to ask the youngsters for advice on what they would love to do or discover, so you can include activities and experiences that cover their interests and aims, and yes, also to tire them out and be able to sleep a restful night!
The good news is that Lisbon has several attractions that will delight children and teenagers, from nature lovers, to the more adventurous, including food lovers, tik tokers, youtubers or even extreme sports fans. Get to know your children’s preferences and plan a perfect day to:
The food lovers
The devourers will be delighted when they will realize they will be able to spend 3.5 hours tasting several local tidbits while a Lisbon native host tells them curiosities about Portuguese food, stories about the city, its people lifestyle and habits. Ok, it is true that they will have to walk, but the prospect of discovering real hidden treasures around Lisbon convinces anyone.
At Taste of Lisboa Food Tours has the ideal experience for both parents and good mouth children, joining useful and enjoyable cultural information, paired with new flavors tastings that otherwise would go unnoticed in traditional Portuguese menus (we know translation doesn’t help much), and revealing the less touristy and therefore more authentic corners of typical Lisbon neighborhoods like Mouraria and Campo de Ourique.
Don’t miss: Those with a sweet tooth will love learning to do the Lisbon Market, Gastronomy & Culture Walk.
Don’t forget that, as strange as the dish or snack may seem, the most important is to taste and discover new flavors.
Where: Campo de Ourique.
When to visit: Tuesday to Saturday at 10:30 AM.
Where to buy: Online ticket from €30/person at www.tasteoflisboa.com
If you have children who seem to have springs on their feet, from jumping all day long and can’t stop still, a visit by foot through the several viewpoints in Lisbon could be an alternative so they can release (and deplete) all that energy. That or visit Bounce, a facility with more than 100 trampolines where younger children, as well as parents, can defy gravity rules and jump until they get tired. And as everything is allowed here, they can even climb walls at The Wall.
The place has changing rooms and lockers where you can change clothes (don’t forget to take something comfortable, like a tracksuit) and is mandatory to use non-slip socks, available on site, to ensure safety. The thing is you have to go to Carnaxide, on the outskirts of Lisbon, to find the place.
Don’t miss the opportunity to jump together with the family pack.
Do not forget that children under 3 years old are not allowed.
Where: Avenida dos Cavaleiros, 35, Carnaxide.
When to visit: Monday to Friday, from 4pm to 9pm, weekend from 10am to 9pm.
Where to buy: Online ticket at www.bounceinc.pt. There are family packs between 32 and 38€.
And if you believe your children’s energy is inexhaustible, put it to the test in Hello Park, a playground surrounded by nature in the heart of Monsanto Park, just outside Lisbon. With several activities, from inflatables, climbing walls, tree climbing and a rope spider, it was planned to amuse children from 4 to 9 years old.
Don’t miss the opportunity to rest (and breathe fresh air) at Green House, a terrace outside the enclosure especially designed for parents.
Do not forget that the entire park is fenced and has a check-in and check-out system to ensure the safety of the youngest.
Where: Monsanto Natural Park, Lisbon.
When to visit: Tuesday to Friday, from 9am to 6pm. Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 7pm. Closed on Monday.
Where to buy ticket: On site and costs 9€ per hour per child. www.hellopark.pt
The nature lovers
For those in love with underwater world, is almost mandatory to spend a day knowing the eastern part of the city, in Parque das Nações neighborhood, where you will find Oceanário de Lisboa.
Open in the scope of Expo 98, the last world exhibition of the XX century held in Lisbon and dedicated to the Oceans, has a large central aquarium, with 5 million liters of salt water, which allows you to dive deeply in the observation of species, such as sharks, rays, barracudas, cod or even sea horses. It is also possible to visit the habitat of mammals, such as sea otters, or to watch birds such as penguins or puffins nearby.
Don’t miss: When you arrive at the Central Aquarium, get close to the glass and immerse yourself in the sensation of diving into the ocean, surrounded by fish of all species (and try not to be scared by sharks).
Do not forget to turn off the flash when taking pictures by the tanks.
Where: Parque das Nações.
When to visit: Every day from 10am to 7pm (last entry at 6pm).
Where to buy ticket: On site. Buying online avoids waiting lines.
Those passionate about wildlife will love to visit Lisbon Zoo. Open in 1884, was the first park with fauna and flora in the Iberian Peninsula and allows to closely observe mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians, in a total of 2000 animals of 300 species.
Plan your visit early morning, as this is when animals are most active, namely in the Primates Temple, an outdoor space with trees, lakes and platforms, where it is possible to observe the interaction between several families of chimpanzees.
Don’t miss the opportunity to fly over the entire space, including lions’ habitat, on a 20-minute ride on the cable car.
Do not forget to print the enclosure map to find out the location of your children’s favorite animals.
Where: Sete Rios, Lisbon.
When to visit: Every day from 10am to 6pm.
Where to buy a ticket: If you buy online you get 5% discount and children up to 2 years old have free admission. www.zoo.pt
The Youtubers and Tik Tokers
If your child’s dream is not to become a firefighter or an astronaut, but a Youtuber, or if he spends the day rehearsing new choreographies for Tik Tok or if he already masters Reels, surprise him with a visit to LX Factory. The space that brings together offices, restaurants, bars and shops has several of the best Lisbon instagramable spots and scenarios to record the perfect video, from brick walls to several pieces of street art.
While the younger ones have fun exploring the best scenario for the next video, take the opportunity to enter Ler Devagar bookstore and be surprised by the place.
Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the chocolate cake at Landeau.
Do not forget that on Sunday the space hosts LX Market, that brings together artisans with their unique pieces and hippy-chic, vintage or second-hand brands.
Where: Rua Rodrigues Faria, 103.
When to visit: Every day from 9am to 02am.
Where to buy a ticket: Free admission.
The truth is Lisbon, by itself, is an Instagramable city. Just go out onto the street and, at every corner, you will find the perfect setting for the next video, either on a tiled wall, in one of the city’s many viewpoints or by Tagus river, at dusk, when the sky turns orange to announce the sunset.
Don’t miss the opportunity to get lost in the narrow streets of Mouraria or Alfama and capture on video the buzz of the city’s most traditional neighborhoods.
Do not forget to climb up to St. George’s Castle to film the magnificent view of Lisbon downtown.
When to visit: All year.
Even with its seven hills, Lisbon already has several bike paths that allow you to cross the city by bicycle and have a good time with your family. One of the best-known tracks goes along Tagus river and, at Alcântara dock, close to Belém, it intersects with Fun Track Lisbon, a park where you can rent bikes, karts, scooters, skates, skates or mini segways.
For parents who prefer to watch, Box Café, right in front, has light meals and drinks to relax.
Don’t miss it: Take advantage of one of the biggest skating rinks in Lisbon, with 400 meters, to spend a good time with the family and teach the youngsters some tricks.
Do not forget to use all safety protections to avoid possible injuries from falls.
Where is it: Alcântara dock (behind Museu do Oriente)
When to visit: Only on weekends.
Where to buy ticket: On site.
On the day you plan to visit Oceanário de Lisboa, surprise the youngest with a cable car ride in Parque das Nações. With 44 suspended cabins on seven pillars, it is an experience not to be missed, especially for those who do not suffer from vertigo, as it allows to observe the entire riverside area from a completely different perspective.
Don’t miss it: Enjoy the ride at the end of the day to watch the sunset.
Do not forget that it is forbidden to swing the cabins or eat while traveling. Where: Parque das Nações.
When to visit: Every day from 11am to 6pm (October 25 to March 12)
Where to buy ticket: On site. Adults 4.50€ (one way) and 6.50€ (round trip). Children from 4 to 12 years old 3€ (one way) and 4,50€ (round trip). Free for children up to 3 years.
To visit Pavilhão do Conhecimento – Centro Ciência Viva, you only need to fulfill one requirement: be a questioner! Here you can find thematic exhibitions and interactive modules that invite you to discover the secrets of Physics, Technology and Mathematics.
Some of the exhibitions are temporary, such as Viral, which can be seen until February 2021, and which shows, through 24 interactive modules, the various stages of infection, how we can control a pandemic and why it is so important to wash your hands.
Do not miss the opportunity to ride the flying bike, six meters from the ground, and defy gravity force.
Do not forget to take a picture next to the giant table to see how a 3 year old child sees the world around him.
Where: Largo José Mariano Gago, Parque das Nações.
When to visit: From 10am to 6pm (Tuesday to Friday) and weekends (from 11am to 7pm). Closed on Monday.
Where to buy tickets: On site or online. Adults 10€. Children 7€ (3-11) and 8€ (12- 17). Free for children up to 2 years old.
And the most wasteful children, or even the most hunks, will enjoy a visit to Money Museum, a good opportunity to discover the origin of banknotes and coins, and to realize the importance of money in society over the centuries, in an interactive exhibition that invites the youngest to actually touch the equipment (a rest for parents, who don’t have to keep repeating “don’t touch that”).
Do not miss the opportunity to visit D. Dinis Wall, a medieval building that has survived until today and takes your children on a journey through time, covering more than 1000 years of Lisbon’s history.
Do not forget to visit the interior of the old gold vault.
Where: Largo de S. Julião.
When to visit: Wednesday to Sunday, from 10am to 6pm.
Where to buy ticket: Free