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Best Things to Do with Kids in Lisbon

In Lisbon with children? Here's some things to do with the kids


There are lots of things to do with kids in Lisbon, and plenty of visitor attractions to keep them occupied along the way. One of the city's most popular draws is the fantastic Oceanário de Lisboa, located at Parque das Nacoes. Parents and offspring alike will be amazed by the incredible array of sealife housed in this superb facility. Similarly, a must-see on anyone's itinerary is Castelo de São Jorge, guaranteed to keep kids of all ages occupied for hours. They can explore the grounds, run the ramparts (under parents' supervision), and admire the fantastic city views. All children like a zoo and at the city’s exciting Jardim Zoolígico residents waiting to greet youngsters include rare white tigers. 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. Active offspring will love the rope ladders and other obstacles set under the canopy at the Adventure Park complex sited in Caxias, a facility set west outside the city centre but easily reached by train. And if they are into watersports, head further west to Oeiras and Bork Kayak Tours for fun on the water. 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. And back in Parque das Nacoes after visiting the Oceanario, head over to the Telecabine Lisboa cable car near the river's edge for a sightseeing "flight" over the park. 

 

 

 

 


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Parque das Nações


The telecabine, or cable car, that runs above the river's edge at Parque das Nacoes provides visitors with an uplifting panorama of the entire Nation's Park area and the wide estuary. The cabins glide lazily between two stations set either end of the park and the "flight' takes around 20 minutes to complete (the return ticket option saves you money and offers up a different there-and-back perspective). Along the way, the bird's eye views take in the Altice Arena, the Oceanarium and the striking Vasco da Gama tower. Each cabin can easily accommodate a family and the experience adds a lofty dimension to any sojourn to this part of the city. For kids especially, the trip is a real adventure with the 360° views adding a suitable wow! factor to a day out by the river.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: This cable car service offers a unique visitor experience and affords fantastic views of the city's Parque Das Nacoes and the Tagus river.

Paul's expert tip: Fares are reduced for kids aged from three to 12. Youngsters under 2 years old travel for free.

Read more about Telecabine Lisboa →


One of the finest examples of historic ship preservation is the wooden-hulled frigate D. Fernando II e Glória. It's 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 ocean-going 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: Children under three years old are granted free admission. If visiting as a family (two adults, two children) the family ticket represents great value.

Read more about Fragata D. Fernando II e Gloria →


No visit to Lisbon is complete without taking a 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 the Hills Tramcar. Departing from Praca do Comercio the trams, easily recognised by their red paintwork and old-fashioned look, trundle along a circuit that takes in the west of the city as far as Estrela before doubling back passing Alfama, Graca and Chiado districts along the way. An audio guide explains the history behind each district and featured historic monuments. The ticket, valid for 24 hours, also allows free access to the Santa Justa lift, the Bica, Gloria and Lavra funiculars, and to Carris public yellow trams, the fleet of which includes the famous No 28.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: This is 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: You need to purchase a voucher at the kiosk or online. The voucher is then exchanged for a ticket, issued by the tram driver before departure.

Read more about Hills Tramcar Tour →


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Outside the City


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.

Read more about Quinta da Regaleira →


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Outside the City

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. Bork also operate surf and surf ski lessons. Mon and dad are welcome too, making an excursion a memorable family day out. Bork can also organise diving trips while back on dry land you can indulge in hiking and biking expeditions.

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 offer specialized outings for kids.

Paul's expert tip: Bork runs its own boutique at Oeiras Marina where you can purchase great beachwear and watersports equipment.

Read more about Bork Kayak Tours →


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Outside the City

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 "Family Momenets", 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. Advance reservations are mandatory between November-February,

Read more about Jamor Adventure Park →


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24 de Julho & Docas/Alcantara

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 experience that's caught the imagination of locals and tourists alike, and appeals to adults as well as youngsters. In fact, Hippotrip is a great family-friendly idea.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: This is currently the only Lisbon sightseeing tour that features an amphibious vehicle.

Paul's expert tip: Note that infants under 2 years old are not permitted to take the tour.

Read more about HIPPOtrip →


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Sete Rios/Benfica


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 its 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.

Read more about Jardim Zoologico →


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Castelo/Alfama


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 exceptional 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: Children under 12 are admitted free. The caste also runs free guided tours. Check the website beforehand for details and schedule.

Read more about Castelo de Sao Jorge →


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Parque das Nações

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 and 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: Oceanario staff can arrange all sorts of activity programmes aimed at children, including birthday parties and even concert for babies. Their website has more details.

Read more about Oceanario de Lisboa →


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Meet Paul Bernhardt

Paul Bernhardt cut his teeth as a press photographer in England before leaving the UK to settle in Portugal, where he has lived for over a decade, and where he started to focus on more...  More About Paul
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