Portugal is an amazingly beautiful country we have been to in Europe. It was a great decision to visit Lisbon with a baby and toddler during our Christmas and New Year holidays. The weather was nice and warm, and we actually had a chance to avoid crowds making our journey to Portugal with kids unforgettable.
There are so many things to do in Portugal for your Portugal family holidays. Of course, this country has to offer gorgeous sandy beaches. Particularly, Lisbon is a great place for food lovers and wine tasters. It is generally considered that the best time to visit Portugal is in spring (from March to May) or autumn (from September to the beginning of November). The weather is perfect during these months for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying various water sports. Also, you will be able to save some money compared to the peak-season deals (from June to August).
However, if you are planning to visit such places as Lisbon, Sintra, Porto, Braga, Amarante, or any other city that excludes beach time, we strongly suggest Christmas and New Year seasons. Portugal got so popular in recent years as it is, indeed, a fantastic place to be. But this is one of the main reasons for kilometer-long queues to get into one palace or castle, especially if we are talking about Sintra. If you are traveling to Lisbon with kids, it would be probably a bit difficult to wait for a couple of hours to visit one site. But! If your kids are under two, you have got a free priority entrance in the whole of Portugal!
We have made a 16-day trip across Portugal with our 2-year old toddler and our family friends with a 1-year old baby. Check our full Lisbon itinerary with tips and important information to know about
- Driving across Algarve coastline;
- Wandering around beautiful Lisbon (you are reading this post now!)
- Taking the train to magical Sintra;
- Enjoying medieval and baroque Porto;
- How to get from Lisbon to Coimbra.
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal. It is very hilly, and the streets are nothing like on the Algarve coast, they are extremely narrow and curvy, so driving the car there was an actual challenge. There are so many magical places near Lisbon to visit and things to do in Lisbon with children, so if you have got only one week in Portugal, I would definitely suggest sticking with the Lisbon area.
Let us share our itinerary in Lisbon with a toddler and kids for the time we spent there and make suggestions for visiting nearby cities for more history, such as Sintra, or beach relaxation, such as Cascais.
- 2 to 3 days in Lisbon;
- 1 day in Cascais;
- 3 days in Sintra.
Things to do in Lisbon with kids
Lisbon itself is a very busy city, especially taking into consideration that it is the capital of Portugal. But it is also one of the best city breaks with kids you can have. Honestly, there is a huge amount of things to do in Lisbon with toddlers.
It seemed to us that Lisbon never sleeps, nor it has any off-peak seasons. During our visit at Christmas and New Year, streets were filled with foreigners and merchants. The famous tram 28 had long queues to wait, so we could only imagine what the waiting time for taking the ride during the peak season is.
The only downside for us was the fact that all grocery shops and supermarkets were closed fairly early and we ended up buying some kebabs at the local place on our first day, which seems to be the only place that opens 24/7 all year round.
Getting to Lisbon
It is fairly easy to get to Lisbon. The Lisbon Airport is the main international airport in Portugal and provides direct connections to all major European cities and many of the world’s largest cities. It is located quite near to the city center, only 25-minutes’ drive by car.
It is very common to take the metro or the Aerobus bus service to get to your destination too.
Getting Around Lisbon
If you are about to explore Lisbon using local transport, it will be much more convenient for you to get a “Viva Viagem” card. It is a card that you can use for journeys on public transport in Lisbon that includes metro, bus, tram, funicular, ferry and suburban train. The cost of it was 0.50 EUR.
It is definitely worth purchasing the card if you are planning to stay in Lisbon for a few days. The single way ticket purchased onboard for metro or bus ranges from 1.80 EUR with the tram ticket being the most expensive one – almost 3 EUR per one-way ride, while the cost with the card is only 1.50 EUR per ride.
Also, you may consider paying €6.40 EUR for 24-hour unlimited travel, which includes all Lisbon buses and trams.
Please, keep in mind that this public transport card is only available for Lisbon, which was unfortunate for us as we traveled from Lisbon to Porto too.
What to do in Lisbon with kids
There are many nice areas you may explore in Lisbon. First, it is important to stay within the central area. The best place to stay in Lisbon with kids is a place in Alfama which was the perfect solution as we were near to everything.
Make you Portugal family vacation memorable by visiting one of the most charming and romantically unique neighborhoods in Lisbon. Alfama is considered to be Lisbon’s oldest area. I believe it was our best day wandering around Alfama. You don’t need a plan, but walking around and hiding in those narrow, neat full of tangerines streets.
Alfama is a very clean area. It looks so sunny and bright, probably because of the white and colorful houses around. It is also filled with numerous cafés, souvenir and crafts shops which is nice to explore enjoying a cup of coffee and local traditional food.
You will be walking a lot up and down the hill, as Lisbon is all about it, especially the Alfama neighborhood.
Here you can also find the St. George Castle (Castelo de S. Jorge). It is located on the very top that is impossible to miss from anywhere in Lisbon.
The main viewpoint of Alfama is Miradouro da Graça that overlooks the entire city to the River Tagus.
Lisbon Baixa (Baixa de Lisboa)
Lisbon Baixa is another neighborhood. Unlike Alfama, it is more commercial, as it is the historic heart of Lisbon. Bustling pedestrianized streets, a huge variety of seafood restaurants, small markets and souvenir shops: this is what Baixa is all about.
Rossio Square (Praça do Rossio) is the central part. This is exactly the place you can find the famous tram 28 and take a ride. Queues are massive. I strongly advise taking the earliest tram possible. At the end of a waiting line, we have changed our mind as it was hard to imagine squeezing in two babies and buggies in the very overcrowded tiny tram. Although, many people say it is a highlight of a trip to Lisbon, if you want to experience a traditional wooden tram in Lisbon with a baby, take another tram route instead. All of the tram numbers 12, 15E, 18, 24 and 25 use the iconic Lisbon trams.
Instead, we have decided to take a short 15-minutes’ walk to Jardim do Torel, which was a nicer idea to feed our babies and let them take some nap. Jardim do Torel is all the way up the hill, but this is because it has an amazing view of Lisbon city. The park is nice and quiet. I guess Lisbon just gives you such a relaxing vibe wherever you go.
The Chiado neighborhood is famous for its history and culture. Walking around you will find a lot of historic landmarks, theatres, and museums. On the other hand, this place perfectly suits for shopping lovers as Chiado is well-known for its luxury shopping too.
Food or Portuguese morsels
Not quite a place, but I could not forget about mentioning this important aspect of life, especially including the fact that Lisbon is a nice place to explore new tastes and try local traditional Portuguese food.
I can’t recall the names to all the dishes, but one thing is important to note that Portugal is famous for its fish and seafood. This nation eats fish 5 days a week, where meat dishes are not of much interest here. This is why you can find lots of seafood restaurants around Lisbon. Every restaurant will have their own main courses of the day and the list of fish dishes. Most of them are in Portuguese, this is why knowing the names is not as important as asking for explanation and choosing the most suitable dish for you. You can get the entire piece of fish or chopped into pieces. Fish can be served grated too.
Portuguese sardines are one of the most popular courses. You will find the sardine pate in every store and served as an appetizer in every restaurant. There are special stores designed solely for canned fish too.
Traditional Cataplana de Marisco is a Portuguese seafood dish originating in the southern region of Portugal in Algarve, and it is about as traditional a Portuguese dish as you can get. Cataplana is called an item of cookware used to prepare the dish, this is why it got such a name.
Also, Portugal is famed for its delicious pastries, cakes and strong coffee! While you are in Portugal, the best morning breakfast, tea break or “merienda” you can have is with Pastel de Nata, also known as a Portuguese custard tart. It is a Portuguese egg tart pastry dusted with cinnamon. Trust me, you are in for a treat.
Ponte 25 de Abril
This bridge was on my agenda since I started planning the trip to Portugal. Not to mention this bridge looks like the one in San Francisco.
The best place to take photos of this bridge is to cross it and pay a visit to the famous site of Portugal – National Sanctuary of Christ the King (Santuario Nacional de Cristo Rei). The Sanctuary of Christ the King is a Catholic monument and shrine dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ overlooking the city of Lisbon situated in Almada.
Belém is another nice area to visit. You can take a bus, tram or train to this area.
Belém Tower (officially the Tower of Saint Vincent) is one of the main landmarks in this region. It is a 16th-century fortification that served as a point of embarkation and disembarkation for Portuguese explorers and as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. Now it is a Tower to see where you can take a photo.
Jerónimos Monastery is a former monastery of the Order of Saint Jerom. It has beautiful late Gothic architecture. It is not big, you will need not more than an hour to walk inside. If you travel with kids under two, you do not need to stand in the queue as you are granted the priority access unless otherwise, queues are quite long, so come early. Outside you will find a lot of horses and Tuk-tuks which are obviously overpriced. However, I haven’t seen anywhere in Europe such a quantity of horses and tuk-tuks. At some point, it felt like in Asia.
Oceonario de Lisboa
For family travelers to Lisbon with toddlers and kids, one of the best days we had with our babies was at the Lisbon Aquarium. It is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe.
On the first level, there is always an interesting exhibition going on. In the main area, there is a huge aquarium with a huge variety of different fish, including sharks, stingrays and manta rays. This Aquarium can be seen from all levels that make the space looks massive.
Apart from this, there are special sections divided into continents as well. We saw penguins, jellyfish, sea horses, otters, reptiles, etc. There is an educative play area for kids too which worked perfectly well for my toddler.
Certainly, you will need a day for this activity. This aquarium is located in Nacoes Park (Parque das Nações), which was nice to walk around after such an experience.
As previously mentioned, if you have got only one week in Portugal, it makes a lot of sense to stay in Lisbon and explore nearby areas, simply because Lisbon has it all in one place.
If you are dying for a beach experience, Cascais is the place for you. It is located 35 km (22 miles) away from Lisbon center, 40 minutes by car and one hour by train. It is very easy to get from Lisbon to Cascais.
Cascais is a beautiful seaside town and is very well-known for its sandy beaches and busy marina. The old town is home to the medieval Nossa Senhora da Luz Fort and the Citadel Palace, a former royal retreat. The seaside walk was our favourite because the road was covered with glazed azulejo tiles, which gave us a feeling of waves.
Since we were in Algarve, one day was absolutely enough for us.
If Cascais was for one day, Sintra definitely needs more time to be explored. Before coming to Portugal with kids, we have read a lot of information to understand what places would be of interest. Although many sources say one or two days are enough for Sintra, I would strongly recommend booking a place there for a minimum of three days, and I will stand by it. With no doubt, Sintra is one of the most beautiful, exotic and truly miraculous places I have ever visited in Europe. While staying there I often compared it with Asia.
There is a lot to enjoy in Sintra, and it is extremely easy to get from Lisbon to Sintra too. This is why I could not write about it in a separate article specially dedicated to our journey to Sintra.
We hope our suggestions will make your trip to Lisbon unforgettable!
IMPORTANT: We created the Family Store especially for you. By clicking on the image below you can find anything from Newborn’s First Kit, Baby & Family Essentials, Kids Travel to Travel Gear. We hope you will find something valuable for your own adventures!
Our shop contains products from other companies that we love and use! Everything is based on our values of quality over quantity.
Got a question? Share with us by leaving your comment below.
If you liked the article, please spread the word by sharing our pin. We would highly appreciate it!
To get more support from parents and family travelers, join our Parenting Support Group.
And follow us on Instagram to know our crazy expat life!
Also, check out:
- Portugal Family Holidays: Algarve With Kids.
- Portugal Family Holidays: Sintra With Kids.
- Portugal Family Holidays: Things To Do In Porto With Kids.
Welcome to check out our best product selection for parents and babies, including traveling gear and resources here.
This post may contain affiliate links that we may or may not receive a small commission for, at no extra cost to you. This helps to fund our blog but we never advertise for anything we don’t personally love or recommend. There is never any pressure to buy anything, we just like sharing things that make our life easier and help you find them if it is something you are looking for. Please, see our full disclosure here.