There are lots of things to do if you’re visiting Lisbon with kids, and plenty of visitor attractions to keep them occupied along the way. If your children are into watersports activities, head over to Bork west of the city where they can indulge in kayaking, stand up paddle, and even go diving. Looking to explore the city centre? Why not jump onboard a Tuk Tuk and let the family be whisked around town in novel style? One of the city’s most popular draws is the fantastic Oceanário de Lisboa, located at Parque das Nacões. Parents and offspring alike will be amazed by the incredible array of sealife housed in this superb facility. Likewise, youngsters of all ages, teens included, will get a thrill out of climbing the “Canopy” at the Adventure Park complex sited in Caxias, a leafy suburb located west of the city centre. Looking for a sightseeing trip with bags of family appeal? Book an excursion with HIPPOtrip. They use an amphibious custom-built vehicle to tour the city before driving it into the river (yes, really) to explore the waterfront along Belém. Over in Sintra, the fantastic Quinta da Regaleira is a veritable wonderland with caves, grottos and underground walkways to explore. Your children can play hide-and-seek all day! One of the most rewarding ways to discover the Portuguese capital is to take a Hills Tramcar Tour. The vintage sidecar meanders through some of the city’s most historic neighbourhoods, so let the kids sit by the window! Exhibited in dry dock on the south bank of the River Tagus is the Fragata D. Fernando II e Glória, a fully restored 19th-century wooden warship. Here you can pretend to be on the high seas while exploring one of Portugal’s most celebrated maritime attractions. All children like the zoo and at the city’s exciting Jardim Zoolígico the residents include rare white tigers, among other assorted wildlife. Who wants to be the king of the castle? A must-see on anyone’s itinerary, Castelo de São Jorge will keep kids of all ages occupied for hours. They can explore the grounds, run the ramparts (under parents’ supervision), and the admire the fantastic city views.
All kids like castles, and the bigger the better. Fortunately Lisbon castle is one of the grandest in the land and youngsters can enter a make-believe world of medieval magic at this landmark monument. The imagination can run wild in a place like this. Besides the archaeological site and the ruins of the former royal Alcáçova palace set within the grounds, the castle walls afford envy-inducing views over downtown Lisbon. For a close-up view, head for the Tower of Ulysses where a camera obscura provides a 360° real time perspective of the city below. The gardens are extensive and it’s easy to lose oneself amongst cork oak, olive, carob and umbrella pine. For snacks and a place to catch your breath, nip into the castle café for tea and cake.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: One of the city’s greatest historical monuments, the castle remains a must-see for any visitor to Lisbon, and the views are spectacular!
Paul’s expert tip: Look out for the Family Fun Sundays running throughout summer. Check website for details.
Lisbon Zoo is a magnet for young, curious minds. Kids can spend hours here discovering the wonderfully diverse array of wildlife that calls the zoo their home. Residents include rare and beautiful white tigers and a family of majestic mountain gorillas. Dozens of different primates from around the world amaze with their energetic antics but it’s the sleek dolphins and sea lions that often steal the show, especially during feeding time. Youngsters can wander the “enchanted forest” and have fun seeing how many birds they can spot. There’s also a special children’s farm where smaller kids can meet cute and cuddly domesticated animals. Getting around the zoo is an adventure in itself. There’s a train that snakes around the enclosures, including the fascinating reptile house, and overhead a cable car threads its way around the verdant canopy. An amusement park further sparks the imagination.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: This unique Lisbon visitor attraction is especially appealing to kids and family groups. It’s also an important learning opportunity that highlights the world’s environments.
Paul’s expert tip: Check the schedules to watch the dolphins, sea lions and pelicans being fed.
One of the finest examples of historic ship preservation in the modern era, the wooden-hulled frigate D. Fernando II e Glória counts among Lisbon’s least-known visitor attractions, probably because of its location at Cacilhas, on the opposite bank of the River Tagus. Housed in a dry dock, the vessel has been fully restored to appear as it did in 1843, when it was launched. With several decks to explore, this is a great way to keep youngsters occupied with a tour offering a fascinating glimpse into life on a 19th-century warship. Once on board visitors are free to roam the various levels where life-like mannequins placed in situ help bring the harsh conditions at sea experience to life. The ship is located near the ferry terminal, and the swift and inexpensive river crossing from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodre terminal is in itself part of discovering what is the eighth oldest warship in the world.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Restored to its original mid-19th century condition, the Fragata D. Fernando II e Glória is a fascinating maritime museum, and a kid-friendly attraction.
Paul’s expert tip: There’s no charge for kids under 6.
No visit to Lisbon is complete without taking sightseeing trip on one of the city’s trams. But if you’re travelling with kids, the best option is to take an official tour using a tourist tram. Departing from Pra�a do Com�rcio, the streetcar passes some of the Portuguese capital’s most famous historic monuments and because the ticket is the hop on hop off variety and valid for 24 hours, passengers can design their own itinerary ��” very useful when considering the needs of children, especially youngsters. The trams ��” easily recognised by their old-fashioned red cars ��” work on a circuit that takes in the west of the city as far as Estrela before doubling back, passing Alfama, Gra�a and Chiado districts along the way. Remember, passengers can alight at any point along the route for an ice-cream stop, perhaps, or even a lunch break.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: A novel way to explore the Portuguese capital, and the most convenient if travelling with kids. Be sure to sit them by the window!
Paul’s expert tip: Tickets can be purchased on board at Pra�a do Com�rcio, Praca da Figueira and at the office at Elevador de Santa Justa.
Easily the most novel sightseeing option currently available in Lisbon, Hippotrip operates an amphibious custom-built vehicle to tour the city centre before heading off to Belem to drive down a ramp at the marina and into the River Tagus. It’s a land-sea excursion full of surprises, and appeals to anyone with a sense of adventure and up for something a little different. The bus departs Doca de Santo Amaro in the city’s Alcântara district and takes in places like Praça do Comércio and Jardim da Estrela. Later it passes the landmark Jerónimos monastery before getting its tyres wet as it propels past Torre de Belém and the Discoveries Monument. It’s an adventure that’s caught the imagination of locals and tourists alike, and appeals to adults and kids alike. In fact, Hippotrip is a great family-friendly idea.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: This is currently the only sightseeing tour in Lisbon that uses an amphibious vehicle.
Paul’s expert tip: Note that infants under 2 years old are not permitted to take the tour.
A veritable wonderland of caves, grottos and underground walkways set within a sprawling garden landscaped in the image of the cosmos, Quinta da Regaleira is one of the most surprising and bizarre visitor attractions in Sintra. Its given name refers to the summer residence of the Carvalho Monteiro, a mansion-palace exuberantly decorated with turrets, towers and panoramic terraces. Dating from the late 19th century, the building is an extraordinary example of the Portuguese neo-manuline style of architecture and its interior is fascinating to explore. But if you’ve youngsters in tow it’s the grounds that will mesmerize inquisitive minds, and the imagination will run riot. Let them play hide-and-seek, discover lakes and waterfalls and then follow the castellated walls enclosing the estate. Afterwards, relive the adventure over refreshments at one of the café tables facing the main house.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: One of the monuments in the Unesco-listed Cultural Landscape of Sintra, Quinta da Regaleira is an ideal family-friendly visitor attraction.
Paul’s expert tip: Be sure to climb down the spooky well, a subterranean tower sunk 27 metres into the earth.
Located 15 minutes west of Lisbon (and within walking distance of Cruz Quebrada railway station), this exciting adventure park is designed to get youngsters off their feet and up in the trees for a fun-packed adventure along the “Canopy”. Essentially an obstacle course of hanging bridges, ropes, nets, tunnels and zip lines, participants move from tree to tree safely harnessed and always accompanied by fully trained instructors. Three different circuits are waiting to be explored: the “Little Forest” aimed at six- to 12-year-olds; the “Mega Circuit” for adolescents; and the “Discoveries”, an ideal group and family challenge that takes in 25 thrill-a-minute obstacles set around 12 m above the ground.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: A great outdoors activity option for families and kids, as well as adults, the Adventure Park is also a fantastic team-building experience.
Paul’s expert tip: Additional activities including canoeing, archery, tennis, and football can be organized with advance notice.
Listen to the mock screams of terror as the sharks glide by and you’ll understand why this world-class visitor attraction appeals so much to kids. Youngsters are absolutely mesmerised with the astonishing collection of sea life on display at Europe’s second largest aquarium. Incredibly, there are over 8000 different aquatic species housed in the oceanarium and besides shark, there are several species of ray and one or two surprises, like the wonderfully docile sunfish to elicit awe and affection. Away from the central tank, marine life extends to a rich and extraordinary diverse selection of sealife; look out for the dainty sea dragons, and the colourful angelfish! But the loudest collective oohs arrhs are reserved for the pair of irresistible sea otters that charm the crowds with their lovable antic and playfulness. Entertaining and educative in equal measure, this attraction makes for a memorable family day out.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Portugal’s most popular tourist attraction is also one of Europe’s largest aquariums, and the educative value for kids is matched only by the resulting fun.
Paul’s expert tip: There are different weekend programmes for children to spend a morning of fun at the Oceanário. Email in advance for details.
Want to keep the kids occupied? Book a tour of Lisbon in a Tuk Tuk. This is one of the most novel ways to experience the city, and certainly one of the most exciting. These little buggies zoom around town driven by expert guides who know all there is about the destination. Their first-hand knowledge and friendly off-beat banter engage passengers as the Tuk Tuk weaves in and out of traffic. Most drivers are multilingual so there’s rarely a problem with communication, and descriptions of landmark sites are invariably infused with historical perspective and interesting anecdotes, imparted in such a way as to keep inquisitive young minds focused and engaged. And if nothing else, zipping around Portugal’s capital city with the sun in your face and the wind in your hair is always going to provide great selfie and Instagram moments.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Novel and quirky, kids love the open-air, free-spirited sense of adverted associated with a Tu Tuk.
Paul’s expert tip: If traveling in a large family group, look for the larger ‘stretch’ Tuk Tuk four-wheel vehicles, designed to accommodate several passengers.
If your youngsters are the adventurous type, then indulging in a spot of watersport activity is probably their idea of a great day out. At Bork, kids can get onboard a host of sea-bound sightseeing in kayaks or on stand up paddles arranged by one of Lisbon’s premier nautical, sub-aquatic and nature travel operations. Under expert guidance, children can improve their paddling skills while taking in the Lisbon coast and further afield, including the beautiful Arrabida coastline south of the Portuguese capital. Mon and dad are welcome too, making an excursion a memorable family day out.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Highly regarded for its choice of tours and professionally trained personnel, Bork often works with younger tourists, and can provide in advance specialized outings for youngsters.
Paul’s expert tip: Bork also arrange junior diving courses, mountain bike rides, and surfing excursions.