Destinations / January 04, 2018. By Susan Connolly
There are plenty of things to do in Lisbon with kids to make sure your family trip is a memorable one. Visit the largest indoor aquarium in Europe or the wonderful golden sandy beaches that surround the city. To help you make the most of your trip we’ve put together our pick of the best things to do with the family
You get spectacular views of the city and river Tagus from different angles. The best place to have a picnic in Lisbon. The Lisbon card provides free tram and entrance. You can travel near here on the 28 and 12 trams and bus 737. There is a free lift next to Pingo Doce supermarket up to near the Castle.
It is a steep climb to the castle, but you pass cobbled streets, stairways, local artisan shops, churches, restaurants and cafés in Alfama district. We advise taking a taxi or tuk tuk to the Castle entrance. It is easier walking down. The castle is very popular with tourists so go early or late. It can get very busy after 11.00am. it is not possible to buy your ticket online at the moment, but there is a separate counter for families to the left of the regular entrance.There is a café on site, good toilet facilities and free guided tours in three different languages.
Don’t forget to visit camera obscura it provides a 360 ͦ detailed views of Lisbon through an optical system of lenses and mirrors. Make sure you get the kids to plan the trip to the castle, get them to find out when it was built, and what size it is etc. If they have a camera or phone get them to make a photo album to show family and friends when they get home.
The historic trams are still in use, as the 28 route is unsuitable for modern trams due to the numerous right turns and steep slopes. It passes through many of the most historic neighbourhoods of Lisbon. Ride the entire route as there is so much to see, the journey takes about 40 minutes. Trams start early 7.00am and finish at night 11.00pm, but between 10am and 6.00pm they are usually standing room only so it might not be suitable for young kids. To avoid the crowds ride the tram early or late in the day. Make sure you get the kids to research as much information as they can about the tram and what there is to see on the journey, let them be your guide.
Tip: Beware of pickpockets.
The Oceanarium is one of our favourite family experiences. It is located in the Parque das Naçãoes and is regarded as one of the best aquariums in the world. 8000 animals and plants belonging to approximately 500 species are featured in the permanent exhibition.
The Pavilion of Knowledge is a great place to spend a few enjoyable hours with kids. A science/ technology hub where all the exhibits are interactive making learning fun. The staff here are very friendly. It is located in Parque de Naçãoes just opposite the Oceanarium.
Telecabine or cable car runs from one end of the Parque das Nações to the other along the edge of the river Tagus. The park was developed for the Expo 98 and has since been converted into a modern side of Lisbon. Throughout the park there are water themed exhibits backed by contemporary architecture. The trip lasts between 8-12 minutes, each cable car has a capacity for 8 passengers. You get a wonderful view of the river Tagus , the Vasco de Gama Bridge and the Parque das Nações from 30 metres high.
The gardens of the Gulbenkian museum are very child- friendly. Set in a stunning expansive park containing a rose garden, an open-air theatre and water gardens where you can feed the ducks. Get the kids to look for sculptures among the landscaped gardens and see how many they can find. A great place for a picnic.
Most kids love a trip to the zoo. Lisbon zoo has an extensive variety of animals from Africa, Asia and South America. There is a cable car that runs around the zoo so you can get a bird’s eye view from above. The park is big and there is plenty of space to walk around.
Lisbon is surrounded by stunning coastline that offers a variety of beautiful sandy beaches. For a beach day trip from Lisbon you can head to Praia de Carcavelos or Praia de São Pedro both are about 25 minutes away on the Lisbon-Cascais railway. They have large sandy beaches with clean waters, family friendly with excellent tourist facilities.
In Belém you can enjoy wide open spaces overlooking the river Tagus. Carefully maintained gardens ideal for kids to run around or have a picnic. Highlights would be the Belém Tower, the Jeronimos Monastery and the Discoveries Monument and of course don’t forget to try the Pastéis de Bélem.
Old factory converted into unusual artisan shops, cafés and restaurants. A lively, funky place to spend a few hours with kids. The interesting graffiti on the walls ads to the experience.
I hope this has inspired you to take a family trip to Lisbon and please come back and tell us all about it in the comments.