As a parent myself now, I am keen to travel with the boys wherever possible. It means we have uninterrupted quality family time together that you don’t necessarily get to have when you are at home. Whether it’s abroad or a staycation somewhere the boys get very excited when we tell them our travel plans.
Last October, we took a trip to Lisbon and even now, almost 7/8 months down the line they still talk about the places we visited and ask if we can go back.
Portugal’s Capital, Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world with cobbled streets and steeped in history. A flight from London is only two and a half hours away. You might not think it, but a city break would make a great destination to visit with kids. There is plenty to explore and see – here are just some of the places we visited.
Things to do
Jardim Zoologico (Lisbon Zoo)
We were blown away by the size of the zoo. I don’t think we’ve ever been to a zoo of this size. The enclosures were open and it was so nice to see the animals roaming around in plenty of space. A real highlight for us was the cable car. It took us around the whole of the zoo and the views were amazing.
There are demonstrations and feeds throughout the day as well as children’s farm and a Zoo train. We saw all different types of animals but the ones that the boys loved the most were the monkey who were swinging off trees and generally monkeying around. The Dolphin show also deserves a mention as the walls of the pool are transparent. This allows you to see these beautiful creatures under the water and the divers also go underwater too. It’s well worth a watch.
Oceanário de Lisboa (Oceanarium)
Lisbon Oceanarium is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe and I can tell you it’s pretty impressive. It has over 450 species of fish, marine animals and birds. One of the best things we saw here was the ginormous sunfish which really wowed the crowds with its size. The Oceanarium is one of the few that house this type of fish as they are known to be hard to care for.
There’s something very relaxing about aquariums and Lisbon’s exhibits cover every major ocean on the globe. From the Arctic, Atlantic, Pacific and Indian there is so much take in so it’s well worth setting aside a good few hours to explore.
Pavilion of Knowledge (Interactive Science Museum)
The Pavilion of Knowledge is located right next to the Oceanarium so you could well visit both on the same day. It’s full of interactive activities that are brilliant for kids to help them understand the science behind how things work.
There’s plenty of games to play and experiments to try out for yourself. The boys especially loved the construction site where they could make use of wheelbarrows and other equipment to construct a house.
Telecabine (Cable Car)
The cable car ride is not far from the Oceanarium and the Interactive Science Museum. It’s a really nice way to take in the sights and give your feet a rest. We decided to hop one to shelter from the rain and head to the other side (should you choose a single trip) where there are bars, restaurants and a shopping mall.
Places to see
São Jorge Castle
Situated in the city’s highest hill, the castle is a great place to explore and find out more about Lisbon’s history. You get to see stunning views of the city and also the River Tagus.
Take in World Heritage monuments such as the Jerónimos Monastery, Padrão dos Descobrimentos and Belém Tower
Ride on the Trams
A tram ride is a great way to explore Lisbon. My boys are obsessed with any form of public transport. We attempted the very popular tourist Tram no. 28 but the queues were just too long so we settled on riding on some of the newer ones instead.
Where to stay
We chose to stay in a Novotel during our visit but rental apartments and villas are also readily available in Lisbon and could be ideal if there is a large group of you.
Getting around in Lisbon
Public transport is very easily accessible. We were less than a 10-minute walk from our nearest Metro station but there are buses and trams. You can buy a pre-paid card, which is a bit like an Oyster card that you use. Lisbon is full of cobbled streets so come prepared with some supportive footwear. If you are looking to bring a buggy you might want to consider a sling or baby carrier as an easier alternative to get around.
Have you been to Lisbon before? What would you recommend as a must-see?
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Looks fun! #KCACOLS
Great post thank you! I’ve never been to Lisbon but it looks amazing especially for kids. I’ve pinned the post for when we eventually get to to Portugal. #KCACOLS
They all sound like such fun places to visit! I wish we could go one day! #KCACOLS
I’ve never had Lisbon on my list of places to visit but reading this and looking at your great photos makes me want to go. The science museum looks fantastic and I love the architecture of the old buildings. #KCACOLS
sounds like you had a lovely time, and you have some absolutely stunning photographs!
This is ace. Lisbon is on our list but we have a long list. #KCACOLS
What a great post! I’ve never visited Lisbon, but it looks fantastic (: #KCACOLS
Looks a great place for a family holiday with plenty of exciting places to visit to keep everyone entertained #KCACOLS
Although we have been to Lisbon for one night we didn’t do any of the wonderful arrived you’ve listed apart from the team. Definitely a reason to go again! #KCACOLS
I’ve been to Lisbon on my own a couple of times (before I had the children) and have been to Belem, but I haven’t been to the other places! They look amazing! I should go with the boys too! #KCACOLS
Can’t tell you how much I wish I’d had this guide back in the Easter hols when we were on holiday in Cascais. We took the train to Lisbon and hadn’t really thought it through at all, and didn’t last very long – frustrating as it looks such an amazing city but we realised we needed to have child-friendly places to visit all organised. Won’t make that mistake again! We will go back and make sure to read this again before we go! #kcacols
I never knew there were so many things to do in Lisbon. It’s not really somewhere I thought about visiting but I think I should after reading this. Not sure I could manage the cable cars though! Loved your pictures too #kcacols
Wow! Looks and sounds like so much fun. These are all our favourite kinds of activities too. Think a trip to Lisbon is in order.
Great suggestions. Now all I need to do is to book a couple of flights to Lisbon. Pen x #KCACOLS
We generally steer clear of city breaks as we worry the children will be a pain but it’s interesting to see all the great things that you can do with little ones. Maybe we might be more adventurous on our next trip! #KCACOLS
You’re right – city breaks are perfect for kids, always plenty to do! And, all the times I’ve been to Lisbon and I never even knew it had a Zoo! I will have to check that one out next time we visit! Thanks! #kcacols
I wouldn’t automatically think of Lisbon for a family break but it does look great for kids too x
So jealous of these gems you all visit since Im over here in the states.
Maybe someday Ill get across the pond.
Lisbon looks fantastic to visit with kids. There is such a wide range of things to do to suit every interest. Thanks for the info and ideas 🙂 #kcacols
I’ve never visited Lisbon but it looks like there is loads to do and very child friendly! 🙂 #kcacols
What an amazing list of places to visit, looks lots of fun X #kcacols
Lisbon sounds fantastic for kids! I love the look of the science museum and the zoo sounds good in terms of it being open and lots of space for the animals 🙂 you’ve inspired me! #KCACOLS
Wow the science museum looks so cool! #kcacols
looks great. We are lucky enough to have 2 zoos and an aquarium within an hours drive. Sure would like a castle to explore though! #KCACOLS
We’ve not been to Lisbon yet. It sounds like a great place to visit. #KCACOLS
We have never been, and frankly, since we are in the US, we would rather be anywhere! What a lovely trip, great photos and a beautiful family! #KCACOLS
This is one city I really want to go to! Looks fantastic!
Wow – looks like you all had a brilliant time! Particularly like the look of the interactive science museum! What fun! #kcacols
It looks great! I want a picture of my head in a fruit bowl! X
Great to see lots of family friendly activities on a city break. Thanks!