How to spend 3 days in Lisbon with kids

View of Lisbon from Castelo de Sao Jorge, Portugal

Set over seven hills, Lisbon is a beautiful city of colours, tiles and viewpoints.  We visited Lisbon with kids in the Easter holidays as part of a 10 day trip that also took in Sintra and Porto.  Lisbon was our first taste of Portugal and no doubt we will be back to experience more of the country, as we weren’t disappointed!

At only a three hour flight from the UK, Lisbon is the perfect place for a long weekend, or as part of a longer trip to Portugal.  But it’s getting popular so I’d head there sooner rather than later.

The best things to do in Lisbon with kids

Most capital cities have plenty of things to do with kids, and Lisbon is no exception.  We found that our kids loved the atmosphere in Lisbon and were especially interested in its old trams and the tiles and street art in its traditional districts.  But they also really enjoyed the more modern side to Lisbon, especially its science museum and cable car ride.

Of course we also had fun trying Portuguese food (do not miss trying Pasteis de Nata custard tarts!) and finding as many amazing viewpoints as we could!

Read on to find out about the best things to do in Lisbon with kids!

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Visit Lisboa kindly supplied us with Lisbon Cards.  All opinions are my own. 

A 3 day Lisbon itinerary

Three days in Lisbon is about right.  You can storm through the major sights in about a day, but we like to travel a bit slower with our kids.  With three days in Lisbon you can choose to extend your time in the city or to take a day trip – Sintra, Cascais and Evora are popular choices.

I’d suggest spending around a day in each of the three main districts – Baixa, Alfama and Belem.  We combined Baixa and Alfama into one day and also went to Parque de Nacoes, the more modern district in Lisbon as there are some great kid friendly museums around this area.  If your kids are older then you could spend more time in Baixa and Alfama.

Here’s a sample 3 day Lisbon itinerary which you can adapt according to the age and interests of your kids.

Day 1 in Lisbon with kids – Central Lisbon

Spend your first day in Lisbon with kids exploring its most famous and historical attractions.  Central Lisbon is made up of three areas – Alfama, Bairro Alto and Chiado, and Baixa. These areas are the city’s heart and they deserve a whole day to explore, if not one each!

Kids will love finding street art in Alfama and watching the historic trams go past (the number 28 gets so busy I’d avoid taking it and just walk along the route instead).  The winding, narrow streets are lovely just to walk around aimlessly in, soaking up the atmosphere.

Another thing to look out for in this area are the miradouros, or viewpoints over the city.  If you see a sign pointing to one it’s probably best to go and take a look!   You’ll no doubt pass several as you’re walking around the area.

Praca do Comercio (Commercial Square)

Praca do Comercio, one of the best things to see in Lisbon Portugal

Praca do Comercio is Lisbon’s former trading hub, and so all roads seem to lead here!

Three sides of this lovely bright square are lined in sunflower yellow painted buildings and the fourth is open to the enormous River Tagus and its promenade.  Walking along the lively promenade is a fun thing to do, especially on a warm evening.

Praca do Comercio is a good place to come to get your bearings on your first day in Lisbon.  It’s centrally located close to many things you’ll want to look at.  Many of the city’s tram routes run through here so it’s a transport hub too.

In the square itself is the Lisboa Story Centre, a museum which traces Lisbon’s history including details on the earthquake and tsunami which destroyed much of the city in 1755.

The square is mainly empty except for a statue of King Jose I, and the magnificent arch (Arco da Rua Augusta) which you’re able to climb for a small fee (€2.50).  Rua Augusta is worth knowing about as this street (and its side streets) are where you can find many restaurants so it’s a good place to come to for your evening meals.

Once we’d looked around the square briefly, we started walking up towards St George’s Castle through the Alfama District (you can see the castle in the photo, up on the hill).

Alfama District

No visit to Lisbon would be complete without exploring the lovely Alfama district.  Think colourful houses lining narrow streets with vintage trams chugging up and down the hills, beautiful views from the many miradouros and more atmosphere than you can shake a stick at.  The best way to appreciate Alfama is simply by wandering around without necessarily having a destination in mind.

You need to bring good walking shoes when you’re visiting Lisbon!  Lisbon is very hilly and some slopes can be very steep.  If you have small kids be prepared to take lots of breaks (not a problem; there are plenty of cafes and ice cream shops!).

We meandered our way up towards the Castelo de Sao Jorge.  We found ourselves walking along the famous Tram 28 route – things to see in this area include the Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa) which is worth a quick peek.  Entry is free unless you want to look at the corridors behind the altar – honestly I’d skip it as there’s not much of interest there.

If it’s a very hot day when you’re in Lisbon then start as early as you can and catch the tram up these hills to save walking in the heat.

Just behind the cathedral is the Miradouro de Santa Luiza where you can look out over the city towards the ferry terminal, and then from here carry on up towards the castle.

Castelo de Sao Jorge (St George’s Castle)

View of Lisbon from Castelo de Sao Jorge, Portugal

Lisbon is a city of views.  Its seven hills offer plenty of places to look out on the rest of the city.  Perched up on top of one of Lisbon’s many hills, the Castelo de Sao Jorge (St George’s Castle) is one of the best places to get some incredible views across central Lisbon, as well as being an interesting place to look around.  Other than the Santa Justa Lift, this is where I liked the views best.

The castle is mostly ruined, but it dates from the 11th century when it was built by the Moors.  There’s a lot to explore here, from climbing up to the top of the palace ruins, to playing with the cannon, and exploring the towers of the castle.  There are permanent exhibitions on the castle’s history, but our kids were happy looking around the gardens (spot the peacocks!) and ruins without needing anything structured!

TIP: If you have small kids with you then you may be able to skip the long queue to enter the castle.  We were picked out of the queue and ushered to the front by a castle employee so try your luck at the head of the line!

Opening times: 9am to 9pm in the summer; 9am to 6pm in winter.

Cost: €8.50 per adult; kids under 10 go free.

Elevador de Santa Justa (Santa Justa Lift)

This wrought iron elevator was built in 1902 and it connects the lower Baixa area to Carmo, so it’s also called the Carmo Lift.  The hills are really steep in this area of Lisbon so the lift was built to save people’s legs!  There’s definitely a sort of Gustav Eiffel feel to the design of the lift, although it wasn’t built by him (unlike the bridge in Porto).

Santa Justa Lift is now one of Lisbon’s most popular attractions but as the queues can be horrendous, some people say it’s a tourist trap.  At peak times the queue can be a couple of hours long – waiting in line this long is really not what you want to do at the best of times, let alone with a couple of kids.

TIP: The queue for going up the Santa Justa lift itself can be enormous.  If you’d like to avoid the queues and you’re not too bothered about riding in the lift itself, then you can just walk onto the viewing platform instead. This entrance is next to the ruins of the Carmo Convent and there’s no queue!

But there’s a way around the queues.  We walked up to Carmo and then on to the Santa Justa viewing platform via the bridge at the back of the lift.  We used our Lisbon passes to access the spiral stairs at the top to get a fantastic view of Lisbon.  If the view is what you’re coming to the lift for, then this is the way to visit the Santa Justa Lift.

And the views were among my favourite in Lisbon, so I’d say it’s worth it!

Castelo de Sao Jorge seen from the top of the Santa Justa Lift

Opening times: 7.30am to 11pm in summer; 7.30am to 9pm in winter.

Cost: Free with the Lisbon Card; €5.30 for a return ride on the lift or €1.50 for access to the viewing platform only.

Ruins of the Carmo Convent

Ruins of the Carmo Convent, among the best things to do in Lisbon with kids

Just behind the Santa Justa lift are the skeletal remains of the Carmo Convent.  This once lovely church was destroyed in the devastating earthquake which struck Lisbon in 1755.  Much of the Baixa area was either burnt down or swept away in the tsunami which followed the quake.

The nave of the church is now open to the sky, and it’s a beautiful, romantic place to come.  At the far end of the nave is a small museum with some tombs and eccentric objects collected over the years – the kids were fascinated by the Peruvian mummies in a glass cabinet.

Opening hours: 10am – 5pm

Cost:  €4 per adult. Discounted entry with the Lisbon Card.

Praca dom Pedro

Praca dom Pedro seen from Santa Just a lift, Lisbon

From the Carmo Convent we headed downhill to Praca Dom Pedro which we’d seen from the Santa Justa Lift.  This square has wonderful pattered pavements and a little market at its centre.

Nearby attractions include the lovely Rossio train station although the kids were much more interested in the very odd sardine shop which sells tins of sardines with your date of birth on the tin (this must be a chain as we saw more of these shops in Porto).  It’s worth taking a look in this shop just for the weirdness factor.

From Praca Dom Pedro you can walk back down Rua Augusta to find dinner for the evening.  If you want to walk just a little further then try the Time Out Market which is a few minutes from the Praca Do Commercio.

Time Out Market

Mercado da Ribeira, Time Out Market, Lisbon Portugal

This is a fantastic stop for families who have picky kids, or even adventurous ones!  The Time Out Market is set within the Mercado, about five minutes’ walk from Praca do Commercio. It’s a good alternative to Rua Augusta for your evening meal.

There are several dozen store fronts representing some of Lisbon’s best eateries surrounding a large open space fill with tables and chairs.  Just wander the market, find a seat and get your food from whichever stall you fancy.  This means plenty of options for different tastes and it was perfect for our family, with one fully committed carnivore, and three vegetarians (two very fussy small ones!).

The market is also fun to peruse for souvenirs.  There are shops selling artworks or Portuguese souvenirs (popular ones include soap, textiles, as well as pretty much anything you can think of covered in sardines).

Time Out Market also holds evening events – see the website for details.

Opening times: 10am till late

Don’t forget to try Portugal’s famous sour cherry drink

Adults should also make sure they try the Portuguese cherry liqueur, ginja or ginjinha, which is often served in either milk or dark chocolate cups, for a Euro a shot.  Yum!  (The kids can have the chocolate cups, so everyone’s happy).  We saw ginja for sale in many bars in Lisbon and Sintra, but we always got ours from the bar at the Time Out Market as we were walking back to our hotel.

Ginja is made from morello cherries and aguardiente (spirits) combined with sugar, cinnamon and water.  It doesn’t taste very strong and is very moreish (especially with those chocolate cups!).  Sometimes the ginja is served in a glass with whole cherries in the liquid but we didn’t see this to try it.  But we got the chocolate version whenever we passed a bar!

The most famous place to try ginja is at A Ginjinha bar near Rossio. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to visit this bar!

Day 2 in Lisbon with kids – Belem

We spent a full day down in Belem, a popular district along the river from Alfama.  It’s too far to walk unless you’re staying nearby so you’ll need get the train from Cais do Sodre station (only five minutes, covered by the Lisbon Card) or taking the tram from Praca do Commercio.  There are other ways too – most tourist buses take in Belem, or a fun alternative is to take a Yellow Boat from the jetty by the main square.

We’d planned on taking the Yellow Boat tour that morning at 10am but unfortunately the weather was against us (it was pouring!) and so we changed plans and took the train instead.  There are more options for boat tours once you reach the Belem area so you can take a boat trip after you’ve arrived.  Click here to buy a Yellow Boat trip.

TIP: Avoid visiting Belem on Mondays as many of the attractions will be closed.

Here’s what you can get up to with a day in Belem.

Pasteis de Belem cafe

At Pasteis de Belem cafe, Lisbon, Portugal

As we arrived earlier than we’d planned, we made a beeline straight for the famous Pasteis de Belem cafe.  Pastel de Nata, or pasteis, are a Portuguese specialty and the ones sold here in Belem are supposed to be the best!  Pasteis are creamy custard tarts with a crispy sugary/salty filo pastry case, slightly scorched on top.  The recipe is a closely guarded secret.

Pasteis de Belem - one of the best things to do in Lisbon!

I’d arrive early if you can as this cafe is a Lisbon institution and it gets busy.  There’s often a long wait for take-away but there’s plenty of seating inside the cafe, which is deceptively large.  The decor is very Portuguese with plenty of tiles on the walls and vintage tills and other equipments displayed in the various rooms.  There’s even a large window to the kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work making the tarts.

As well as the pasteis, there are lots of other sweet and savoury treats to choose from.  The kids weren’t so keen on the tarts themselves so they had chocolate croissants and left the tarts to mum and dad (what a pity for us).

For such a popular spot, we thought the prices were very reasonable. Each pasteis will set you back only one Euro.  Service was fast and efficient and we didn’t have to queue long for our table.  But – were the pasteis the best we had in Lisbon?  They were very good, but the ones that we had in the Time Out Market were also pretty tasty, and there wasn’t much to choose between them!

Gardens in Belem

Just around the corner from the Pasteis de Belem cafe is a pretty botanical garden, perfect to let the kids run around in, and for walking off all those sweet pastries.  Unfortunately it seemed to be under renovation when we visited. Instead we went down to the waterfront where there are manicured gardens with fountains and pools that our kids really enjoyed exploring.

Discovery Monument (Padrão dos Descobrimentos)

World map seen from Monument to the Discoveries in Lisbon Portugal

This amazing monument was one of my favourite things to do in Belem.  I loved the modern design of this tower which has all sorts of details carved into it and resembles a shop’s prow.  The kids were taken with the design on the square in front of the monument as it forms an optical illusion, making the surface look wavy. Once you get to the top of the tower make sure you look down on the square to get a great view of the world map and compass design in the tiles.

TIP: The queues for the Discovery Monument are much shorter than those for the Belem Tower so I’d recommend climbing this tower for a birds-eye-view of the Belem area.

As well as the viewing platform on top of the monument there is also a small museum underneath which had displays on the Portuguese influence in Africa when we visited.

Opening times:  10am – 7pm Tuesday to Sundays (6pm in winter).  Closed on Mondays.

Cost: Free with the Lisbon Card, €3 per adult, €2 per child.

Walk along the waterfront to the Belem Tower

Lighthouse on the way to Belem Tower, Lisbon, Portugal

If you go up to the top of the Discovery Monument then you won’t miss the Belem Tower, you’ll see just along the waterfront.  Take a walk along the busy waterfront past the lighthouse, and stop for a drink along the way in one of the cafes.

The Belem Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dates from 1520.  It was used in the defence of Lisbon’s estuary – another tower lay across the river and any enemy ships would be caught in crossfire between the two towers.

Belem Tower Lisbon; best things to do in Lisbon

When we arrived at the Belem Tower there was an enormous queue to get in.  We were feeling very queue averse that day so we admired the tower from the outside instead.  If you do go inside there are several rooms to explore and of course, you can get lovely views over the River Tagus.

The area around the Belem Tower is lively, with markets and souvenir stalls, more cafes and open grassy spaces where you can have a picnic or let the kids run around for a bit.

Opening times: 10am – 6.30pm in summer (5.30pm in winter).

Cost: Free with the Lisbon Card.  €6 per adult, kids under 14 go free.  Entry is free on Sundays until 2pm.

Jeronimos Monastery

Now many itineraries will have you start your day at the Jeronimos Monastery.  We arrived in Belem just before 10am and there was already a large queue here.  When we walked past after our brunch at Pasteis de Belem, the queue was enormous. So we decided to leave visiting the monastery until last, and when we returned at around 4pm there was no queue at all and we walked straight in.  So either get here before it opens, or wait until the end of the day to visit.

We were really glad we made the effort to wait as the Jeronimos Monastery was our favourite thing of the day.  The intricately carved cloisters are a real highlight.  You should also visit the church as its stained glass windows are stunning.

Opening times: 10am to 6.30pm Tuesdays to Sundays in summer (May – September), 5.30pm in winter.  Closed on Mondays.

Cost: Free with the Lisbon Card. €10 per adult (kids under 12 go free).

Maritime Museum

Ship at the Maritime Museum, Belem, Lisbon, Portugal

At the far end of the Jerónimos Monastery building is the Maritime Museum.  This museum houses displays on the history of Portuguese maritime exploration, and beautiful replicas of ships and artefacts from the Age of Discovery when the Portuguese explored Africa, India, South America and the Far East.  Famous mariners include Vasco de Gama, Christopher Colombus and Gil Eanes and many more.

Opening times: 10am to 6pm in summer and 5 pm in winter.  Closed on Mondays.

Cost: Discounted entry with the Lisbon Card.  €6.50 per adult, €3.25 per child aged 3+

More things to do in Belem with kids

If your kids are older than ours then there are several more museums in the Belem area that they might enjoy visiting.  These also make good rainy day options.

MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology)

Housed within a futuristic building down on the river bank, the MAAT showcases exhibitions from the best artists and architects from around the world.  The exhibits are all contemporary and we felt that it probably wasn’t suitable for our small children.  See what exhibits are on for your visit on the MAAT website.

Opening times: 11am – 7pm Wednesday to Monday (closed Tuesdays).

Cost: €5 for MAAT, €5 for Central or €9 for a combined ticket.  Kids go free.

Coach Museum (Museu Nacional Dos Coches)

Smaller kids might be more interested in the Coach Museum.  This site was once a Royal riding school (dating from 1726).  The riding school was turned into a museum in 1904, with the most recent part of the museum being opened in 2015.  The main displays are gilded, ornate historic carriages, coaches and sedan chairs, mainly used by royals and nobility, although there are also other temporary exhibitions.

Check out the Museu dos Coches website for more information.

Opening times: 10am to 6pm Tuesdays to Sundays.  Closed Mondays.

Cost: €6 per adult; kids under 12 go free.

Archaeology Museum (Museu Nacional de Arqueologia)

The Archaeology Museum is in the same building as the Jeronimos Monastery and the Maritime Museum.  The entrance is just along from the monastery entrance so you can’t miss it.   Inside you’ll find archaeological treasures from Portugal as well as Islamic and Egyptian artefacts.

Opening times: 10am – 6pm Tuesday to Sunday.  Closed Mondays.

Cost: Free entry with the Lisbon Card.  Adult tickets cost €5 but there’s a combination ticket with the Jeronimos Monastery and the Belem Tower which costs €16.  Kids under 14 go free.  Entry is free on Sundays until 2pm.

Day 3 in Lisbon with kids – Parque de Nacoes (Park of the Nations)

I’ve got two options for your third day in Lisbon.  You can head up to the Parque de Nacoes which is the most modern area of Lisbon, with plenty of things to do for small kids.  Alternatively take a day trip from Lisbon – there are plenty of choices, but I’d recommend going to Sintra.  As we were visiting Sintra for a couple of days we went to Parque de Nacoes.

To get to the Parque de Nacoes you can take the 728 bus – we got on at Cais do Sodre but it also stops at Praca do Comercio.  The nearest train and underground station to the Park is Oriente, a 10 minute walk from Parque de Nacoes.

Oceanario de Lisboa (Lisbon Aquarium)

Lisbon Aquarium at Parque de Nações

Oceanario de Lisboa is one of the best aquariums in Europe, and in the world.  The aquarium is home to a huge variety of marine animals, including fish, birds, mammals and invertebrates.

The focus is an enormous central tank with an additional four tanks representing different ocean environments.  These tanks are right next to each other, separated only by glass panels, which gives the impression of one huge tank and one enormous ocean.  The main animals to spot here are sharks, sunfish, penguins and sea otters, although there are hundreds of other animals and plants to examine as you walk around.

We chose to visit the Pavilhao do Conhecimento instead of the aquarium as we’d recently been to a large aquarium in Osaka, and the kids wanted to do something different. If you want to spend all day in this area then you can visit both, but I would advise going into the aquarium at opening time as it gets very busy.

Click here to buy your tickets.

Opening times: 10am to 8pm (7pm in winter).

Cost: €19 per adult; €13 for kids aged 4 – 13 (under 4s free).

More information can be found on the Oceanario website.

Pavilhão do Conhecimento (Science Museum)

As our kids are so young, they’ve only just started to enjoy visiting museums.  So far they seem to prefer science museums to zoos and aquariums and so they jumped at the chance to come to Lisbon’s Pavilion of Knowledge.

The Pavilhao do Conhecimento is fantastic for kids of all ages as there are plenty of hands on and physical activities.  We spent several hours exploring this museum, and I’m pretty sure it lived up to the kids’ expectations!

There are several zones to look at; one with contained experiments showing various natural phenomenon such as fluid dynamics (interesting for adults too), a zone about cats and dogs, and a hands-on discovery zone with adult helpers (my boy loved the marble runs on the walls and couldn’t be persuaded to leave them).  The zone that they enjoyed the most had all sorts of activities to keep them busy, from building a house to pedalling a car, although the ball pit also went down well.

This museum is definitely recommended for curious kids.

Opening times: Tuesday to Friday 10am to 6pm; weekends 11am to 7pm.  Closed on Mondays.

Cost: Adults: €9; kids aged 3 – 11: €6; kids aged 12 – 17: €7

More information can be found on the museum’s website.

Cable Car ride

Just behind the aquarium is a cable car which carries you some 1230m up the banks of the Tagus.  Once you arrive at the far terminal you can hop off and explore the area further, or stay on for the return journey (this is what we did).

It’s a good opportunity to calm down after the excitement of the Aquarium or the Science Museum and to rest little legs.  Not to mention the views over the Tagus and the Vasco de Gama bridge!

Opening times: 11am to 7pm in spring and autumn, 10.30am to 8pm in summer and 11am to 6pm in winter.

Cost: Adults: €4 for single or €6 for round trip; kids 5+: €2.60 for single or €4 for round trip.

Museu Nacional do Azujelo (Tile Museum)

Mural made of painted tiles in Lisbon, Portugal

You can’t help but notice the tiles that adorn many of Lisbon’s buildings, whether they’re homes or more official buildings.  Sometimes the tiles form a pattern on the building’s facade, but others form beautifully painted pictures.  They’re a real Portuguese art form.

The Tile Museum explores the history of Portuguese tiles from the 15th century to today.  There are a range of permanent and temporary exhibitions featuring stunning tile murals.  The museum is housed within the Madre de Deus Convent which is beautiful in itself, so you get two attractions for one here!

The Tile Museum is a little outside of central Lisbon but it makes a good stop on the way back to town from the Parque de Nacoes.

Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 6pm.  Closed Mondays.

Cost: €5 for adults.  Kids under 12 go free.  Entry is included with the Lisbon Card.

Take a look at the Tile Museum’s website to see what’s on for your visit.

Parque Eduardo VII (King Edward VII park) and alternatives

Parque Eduardo VII Lisbon, Portugal

We usually try to find a park or playground for the kids to wear off some of their energy.  If you don’t fancy going to the Tile Museum in the afternoon then you could take the kids to a garden instead.  There’s the famous Edward VII Park with its lovely views over Lisbon (pictured).  There’s not really much space for the kids to run around here as it’s all manicured hedges, grass and viewpoints, although there is a nearby glasshouse with tropical plants that they might enjoy – this is good for a rainy day.

While we definitely enjoyed Lisbon’s green spaces, we didn’t find that many parks in Lisbon that would be good for a run around.  Luckily there was a small playground just outside our accommodation which is where our kids played.

Just south of the Edward VII Park is a botanical garden by the University of Lisbon and this is probably the better park to take the kids to as they’ll be able to run along the shady paths here.  Elsewhere there’s a playground at Parque Infantil d’Alvito and another at the Jardim da Estrela, both fairly centrally located in Lisbon.

Day 3 alternative: Day trip to Sintra

If your kids aren’t into museums or you’re not visiting Sintra separately then I’d suggest taking a day out of your stay in Lisbon to go to Sintra.  Honestly I would recommend an overnight in Sintra if you possibly can.  We stayed for two nights and managed to see loads, although not nearly everything that Sintra has to offer.

Keep an eye out for our upcoming guide to Sintra.

How to get to Sintra from Lisbon

Sintra isn’t far from Lisbon and you can get there by train (trains depart from Rossio and Oriente stations).  It’ll take you around an hour on the train.  You’ll also find plenty of willing taxi drivers to drive you to Sintra – this costs about €30 for a half hour drive.  We were going to get the train but as it was pouring we stopped a taxi and asked him to take us to Rossio – he persuaded us to let him drive us to Sintra.  It was more convenient since the kids were already strapped in!

Alternatively you can take a tour of Sintra from Lisbon.  Click here to book a tour.

What to see in Sintra in one day

Pena Palace

If you only have one day in Sintra then the most popular thing to see is the Pena Palace.  I would advise going to Sintra as early as you possibly can so that you can be at Pena Palace when it opens.  This is the only way you will get to see inside the palace without having the queue for hours. Probably the best way to get there for opening time is to take a taxi as we found the local buses to be very unreliable (the first two timetabled didn’t show up).

But the inside of Pena Palace is honestly not that spectacular.  You get some nice photos from the balcony but if we’d queued for hours to look around then I’d have been disappointed.  The gardens are much better and you could easily spend most of the day walking through the park.

Click here to buy your Pena Palace tickets.

Castle of the Moors

From Pena Palace you can walk easily through a path alongside the road to the Castle of the Moors where you can explore the walls and ruins.  You get a great view of Pena Palace and Sintra town from here and if you’re lucky and get a clear day then you can see all the way to the coast too.

Click here to buy your castle tickets.

Quinta da Regaleira

In the afternoon take the local bus number 434 back down towards Sintra town and change to the 435 or walk to Quinta da Regaleira (about 15 minutes).  This was our favourite palace and you’ll need all afternoon to walk through its magnificent gardens.  Make sure you pick up a map of the gardens and don’t miss on seeing the famous well and the caves beneath it.

Once you’re finished at Quinta da Regaleira it’s a 10 minute walk back to town, and probably another 10 – 15 minutes to the train station to return to Lisbon.  Alternatively the 435 will take you back to the train station – be aware it will go the long way around, past Montserrate Palace.

More things to do in Lisbon with kids

Lisbon Zoo

Lisbon Zoo is home to some 2000 animals (300 species in total).  You can visit an African savannah, a rainforest, and see animals from every continent.  The Zoo is easy to get to by metro and bus.

Opening hours: 10am to 8pm in summer, 6pm in winter

Cost: €22 per adult, €14.50 for kids aged 4-12.

Find out more on the Zoo website.

Kidzania

Kidzania is a great place to come to for kids aged 4+, especially on a rainy day.  The premise behind Kidzania is that it’s a theme park where kids can take part in a variety of adult jobs in a replica city. Activities are led by Kidzania staff, and it’s a fun way to learn teamwork and try something a bit different!  Parents have to supervise kids under 8 but they’re not allowed in the job areas.

We’ve tried out Kidzania in London and it’s best if your kids are 4+ as younger children aren’t allowed in many of the activities.

Find out more on the Kidzania website.

The beach

Sadly we didn’t have good enough weather while we were in Lisbon to head to the beach, but if you visit in the summer then there’s plenty of choice for you.  Many people choose to go to Riberia Beach at Cascais as a day trip, but alternatively there are several beaches in between Lisbon and Cascais if you don’t want to travel so far.  There are several tours that cover a day in Sintra and Cascais if you’d like to pack more into your day.  Click here to find out more.

Lisbon with kids: Know before you go

Getting around Lisbon

Lisbon’s public transport system is easy to navigate.  As well as a network of buses and trams (historic and modern) connecting major sights, there is a metro system with four lines.  The red line connects the airport to central Lisbon and this is the easiest way to get from Lisbon airport to the city centre.  There are also several train lines with some of the main stations being Rossio, Oriente and Cais do Sodre.  Public transport is inexpensive and included on the Lisbon Card, if you have one.

There are of course hop on, hop off tourist buses which will ferry you between Lisbon’s attractions; these are usually reliable and offer commentary too.  Click here to buy a bus tour ticket.

We walked through Lisbon much of the time but in April the weather was fairly cool and a little rainy so we were able to cope with Lisbon’s steep hills.  In summer you’ll probably need to take transport to save your legs and yourself from the heat.  Keep an eye out for Lisbon’s funicular trains which help you get up some of the steepest hills (pictured).

You’ll also find plenty of taxis and tuk-tuks to take you up those harsh inclines (many of the tuk-tuks are changing to electric to be more eco friendly).  Lots of tuk-tuk drivers will double as tour guides and you can hire them for a day of sightseeing.  Click here to book a tuk-tuk tour of Lisbon.

Read more about Lisbon’s transport system here.

The Lisbon Card

What does the Lisbon Card cover?

While we were in Lisbon we used Lisbon Cards for entry to some attractions.  The Lisbon Card covers some of the most popular sights in Lisbon as well as being a ticket for public transport.

You can gain free entry to the Jeronimos Monastery, the Tile Museum, Santa Justa Lift and more, and discounted entry to other attractions like the Discovery Monument, Carmo Convent and many more.

The Lisbon Card is valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours, and there are child passes for kids aged 4+.

Is the Lisbon Card worth it?

The Lisbon Card is relatively inexpensive but does have some limitations.  Some city cards will allow you to skip the queue but this isn’t the case with the Lisbon Card – at most attractions you’ll have to stand in line with everyone else.  At some attractions the Lisbon Card will get you a discount rather than free entry so you will still need to pay.  The Lisbon Card isn’t accepted at some of the major sights such as the Castelo de Sao Jorge or the Aquarium.

However being able to use unlimited public transport is very convenient and the card will definitely save you money if you’re planning on visiting lots of attractions.  Overall we found that the Lisbon Card was worth it as we did save a fair bit of money.

Click here to buy your Lisbon Card.

Where to stay in Lisbon with kids

Budget hotels in Lisbon

We stayed in an apartment right next to the Time Out Market in Misericordia.  This was a great apartment in a lovely building with a fantastic location.  We were in walking distance of Praca do Comercio and right next to Cais do Sodre train station. The streets around the apartment were beautiful and historic, perfect for an evening stroll.  Click here to book the apartment we stayed in. 

Hello Lisbon Rossio is an apartment hotel which has studio, one, two or three bedroom apartments which can sleep up to 7 people.  The rooms are bright and modern with fitted kitchens.  Rossio is a great central location and sightseeing from here is easy.  Click here to check availability and to book.

Santa Justa 77 is a series of luxury apartments with one or two bedrooms, sleeping up to six people.  The apartments have fully fitted kitchens and bathrooms.  The location is fantastic – right by the Santa Justa lift.  Click here to book your stay.

Mid range hotels in Lisbon

Palacio das Especiarias is located in Misericordia near Cais do Sodre station. This is a boutique hotel with a real old world charm to the rooms.  Choose from rooms, suites or studios – all have ensuite bathrooms but the studios also come with a  kitchenettes. There are plenty of family (quadruple) rooms.  Click here to book your stay.

Tesouro da Baixa is a modern bright hotel close to Rossio in the city centre.  Family rooms are available. The hotel serves breakfast, and has an on site bar.  Click here to check availability and to book.

BessaHotel Liberdade is a beautifully styled, modern hotel (I love the living wall!).  Family rooms are available, and the hotel has a restaurant, bar and fitness suite with Turkish bath and an indoor swimming pool.  Centrally located near to Rossio station, it’s a perfect location for sightseeing.  Click here to book your stay.

Luxury hotels in Lisbon

The Corinthia Hotel is located slightly outside the city centre, near to the Lisbon Zoo.  It’s a luxurious 5* property with several bars and restaurants and a top-notch spa.  Family rooms sleep up to five people.  Click here to book. 

Hotel O Artista is centrally located, near Rossio.  It has family rooms and suites which are suitable for families of four.  The hotel features a Portuguese restaurant which also serves breakfast, and a bar.  Click here to check availability and to book. 

Hotel da Baixa is a beautifully appointed hotel in the city centre, near the Santa Justa lift.  As well as family rooms the hotel has a bar, and an on site restaurant which serves breakfast.  Click here to book your stay.


If you found this post useful, take a look at some of our other family friendly capital city guides:

London with kids

Paris with kids

Rome with kids

Tokyo with kids

Prague with kids

Reykjavik with kids

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A complete 3 day itinerary for Lisbon, Portugal. Covers the best things to do in Lisbon with kids including Belem, Alfama and Parque de Nacoes, as well as where to eat in Lisbon, where to stay in Lisbon, and alternative activities and day trips.

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