Lisbon, Portugal :
Lisbon, Portugal: The Ultimate Guide with Kids
There are many things do to in Lisbon, the city of the seven hills, for the whole family.
Getting around Lisbon with kids:
With so many things to do in Lisbon, you definitely want to make your way around. If you are staying in the old town, it’s better to use taxis as they are cheap and many smaller attractions are not that easy to find. Public transportation in the form of metro and trams are also a good way to get around. Renting a car is also an option. Street parking is payable and not so easy to find but parking lots are well designated in central areas. It's also worth renting a car if you want to explore areas outside Lisbon, such as the coasts that are about 30 minutes away.
Tram no. 28: The famous tram no. 28 takes you around many of the main tourist attractions but beware, pickpockets are rampant. Try to catch the tram at its start so that you can get a seat and keep your belongings close. I was an unfortunate victim.
Tuks: I’ve never seen a small city with so many tourism options. You can take the yellow bus, the Hippo land and sea tour, go carts, segways, or tuk-tuks, guided or private rickshaws to explore the city. We were happy to find Eco Tuk Experience and Ligia Maia who took us around and gave us a very knowledgeable tour. You can rent tuk-tuks to drive yourself, or hire one with a guide, who will wait for you while you visit various sites.
Things to do in Lisbon:
Aside from eating, drinking and taking in Lisbon's beautiful scenery, here are some of the top things to do in Lisbon:
- Castelo de Saõ Jorge: The Castelo de Saõ Jorge is one of Lisbon's most prominent site, dominating the whole of one of its seven hills. Built by the Moors in the eleventh century and then serving a more military purpose under the Spanish crown in the 1500's, the castle is a fascinating structure to walk around. You can easily spend 3-4 hours there scaling the walls, enjoying the open spaces and even grabbing a coffee or a glass of wine. In the summer, the castle holds special events. Tickets required.
- The Cathedrals: Lisbon has several cathedrals that are worth visiting. The main one, the Lisbon Cathedral is a short walk from the Castelo and is particularly stunning at night. Other noteworthy churches are the Igreja de Santa Engrácia (also known as the National Pantheon), Mosteiro de Saõ Vincente de Fora, the Basilica da Estrela, and the grand Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.
- The Seven Hills: Lisbon has been said to be built over seven hills, which you can explore by bus, car, or tuk-tuk. They are Saõ Jorge (where the castle is), Sao Vicente (where the monastery and the Alfama area is), Sant'Ana, Santro Andre, Chagas, Santa Catarina, Saõ Roque. Each hill has a slightly different character and offers magnificent views.
- Alfama: Alfama is Lisbon's oldest neighborhood and most reminiscent of the city's time under Moorish domination. Many of the churches mentioned above are in Alfama and while it's small, it's better to explore Alfama in a tuk than on foot because of its narrow, winding roads.
- Ciado: The Ciado area is a more contemporary and upscale part of the old town, sporting an Hermes store and other designer boutiques but still retaining the old charm of the city with meandering hills and streets Nearby Barrios Altos is where all the bars are but is not particularly recommended for kids.
- Belém: Belem is Lisbon’s rich suburb, offering spectacular views and a beautiful waterfront seafront. Spend an afternoon exploring the Belém, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos., make sure to queue in line at the famous Pasteis de Belém (no seriously, queue early as the wait can be hours long) for the best custard tarts in town (a local specialty). We also made 3 trips to Wine Guest to sample some ports and learn more about Portuguese wines.
- The Beach: Beach lovers will be thrilled to know that beautiful stretches of white sand lie a mere 30 minutes drive from Lisbon. Check out Costa da Caparica or Serra de Sintra, allegedly two of the most beautiful.
Where to Eat in Lisbon with Kids:
There are tons of places to eat in Lisbon and in 4 days we barely scratched the surface. Here are some of the places we enjoyed:
- Largo: A kids’ menu and 63 varieties of gin cocktail! This is my kinda place. The kids’ menu does lack a bit of imagination (burger and chocolate mousse) but the service makes up for it. The adult menu is nouveau Portuguese and the atmosphere is upscale and trendy. Definitely worth it for a night out.
- Pizzaria Lisbon: When all else fails and only pizza will do the trick, head to Pizzaria Lisbon in Chiado for deliciously thin-cut pizzas, pastas, and innovative cocktails.
- Cafetaria Mensangem: At the upscale Altis Belem hotel and Spa in Belém, this café offers a Sunday brunch with a bouncy castle to entertain the kids if the sprawling views of the bay are not enough. On any day, though , lunch here is a treat.
Lisbon is a wonderful city to visit with the whole family. Take our advice: On your next trip to Europe, put it on the list!
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