I strongly believe that Portugal is the best European country to visit with kids, especially for first-time European travelers. Portugal is a beautiful country with a rich history and culture that make it an ideal destination for families traveling with kids
From the stunning beaches and breathtaking landscapes to the vibrant cities and delicious food, Portugal has something for everyone. It is also a super safe country.
If you’re planning a family trip to Portugal with kids, here are some tips and recommendations to make the most of your experience.
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Flight Deals to Portugal
Portugal is one of my favorite destinations to visit due to its proximity to the East Coast and affordable flights there. There are flights available for less than $700. You should register for websites like Going (formerly Scotts Cheap Flights) and look for package deals on Booking.com or Expedia.
When we combine the hotel and flight, we discover fantastic savings. For flight sales, visit these websites.
- Google Flights
How Long To Stay in Portugal With Kids
The length of your stay should be taken into account when organizing a family vacation to Portugal. While seeing many of the highlights in a week or two is feasible, we advise staying for at least 8 days to fully take advantage of everything Portugal has to offer. This will allow you sufficient time to tour both Lisbon and Porto, as well as some of the smaller towns and villages in between.
A good idea is to schedule some downtime into your itinerary, whether it be a few days at the beach or unwinding in a villa in the countryside. You can have an unforgettable family vacation in Portugal with some advanced planning and flexibility.
Where to Stay in Lisbon With Kids
Lisbon is a hilly city, so consider this when booking your accommodations. We have stayed in the Baixa region, and we will be staying in the Alfama area for our next stay.
- The historic center of Lisbon is known as Baixa and is filled with quaint streets, cafes, and stores. Because of its convenient location and easy access to many of the city’s top attractions, it’s a great area to stay in with kids.
- Chiado: Chiado is a hip and affluent neighborhood with a variety of places to eat, shop, and have fun. It’s a great place to stay if you have older children or teenagers who are curious about the arts and culture scene of the city.
- Alfama: Alfama is one of Lisbon’s oldest districts and is renowned for its narrow streets, ancient buildings, and breathtaking river views. Families who want to take in the city’s rich history and culture should stay here.
The ideal area to stay in with your family will ultimately depend on your personal preferences and travel plans. When selecting your lodging in Lisbon, be sure to take into account elements like location, price, and family-friendly amenities.
Lisbon with Children
The Portuguese capital of Lisbon is an excellent vacation spot for families with children of all ages. The city is well known for its vibrantly colored streets, stunning architecture, and amiable residents. Some of the top family-friendly activities in Lisbon include the following:
Ride the tram
One of the best ways to see Lisbon is by taking a ride on one of the iconic yellow trams. The Tram 28 route is particularly popular with tourists and takes you through some of the city’s most beautiful neighborhoods and landmarks, including the Castelo de São Jorge and the Alfama district.
Visit the Oceanarium
One of the largest and most impressive aquariums in Europe, The Oceanarium has more than 8,000 sea creatures from around the globe. With more than 8,000 marine animals from all over the world, The Oceanarium is one of the biggest and most impressive aquariums in all of Europe.
Kids will love seeing the sharks, rays, and other marine animals up close; plenty of interactive exhibits keep them entertained.
Explore the Belem District
The Belem district is home to several of Lisbon’s most famous landmarks, including the Belem Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery. Kids will enjoy exploring these historic sites and learning about Portugal’s maritime history.
Ride one of the lifts
Lisbon is home to a number of iconic elevators, such as the Santa Justa Lift and the Lavra Funicular, that provide breathtaking cityscape views. You can travel from the Baixa neighborhood to the Carmo Convent, where you can explore the ruins of an old church, using the Santa Justa Lift, which is especially well-liked by families. Parents will enjoy the panoramic views of the city, and children will enjoy the thrill of riding in the lift.
Visiting castles is another great activity for families with kids in Portugal. The country is filled with stunning castles and fortresses that offer a glimpse into Portugal’s rich history and culture.
You can pretend you are queens, kings, and kids are princesses and princes. It is fun to use your imagination while visiting these places. Here are some of the best castles in Lisbon.
Castle of São Jorge
- One of Lisbon’s most well-known landmarks and a must-see for families with children is the Castle of So Jorge. From its ramparts, the 11th-century castle provides breathtaking views of the city. There are many exhibits and multimedia presentations to keep kids entertained, and they will enjoy exploring the castle’s towers, gardens, and archaeological sites.
Tower of Belem
- Another famous castle in Lisbon worth visiting with kids is the Belem Tower. A defensive structure for the city, the tower was constructed in the sixteenth century. It is now a well-known tourist destination and a site recognized by UNESCO. Kids will enjoy exploring the nearby gardens and monuments as well as climbing to the top of the tower to see the Tagus River.
Castle of the Moors
- Just a short drive from Lisbon is the nearby town of Sintra, where you can find the Castle of the Moors. The castle, which was built in the eighth century, provides an intriguing look into Portugal’s Moorish past. Children will love exploring the ramparts and towers of the castle, as well as the nearby Pena Palace and its vibrant gardens.
In addition to having fun, exploring castles can be very educational for kids of all ages. I suggest taking a trip to Sintra with older kids to see the Quinta da Regalaria and perhaps take a nighttime ghost tour.
Free Things to Do in Lisbon with Kids
Visit the Jardim da Estrela
- In the center of Lisbon, there is a lovely park called Jardim da Estrela that’s ideal for a picnic or a leisurely afternoon. The playgrounds, duck pond, and shady trees will delight children, and there are many benches and cafes where parents can unwind.
Go to the beach
2. Lisbon is situated on the Portuguese coast, where there are many stunning beaches to discover. Carcavelos, Costa da Caparica, and Praia do Guincho are some of the busiest beaches in Lisbon. In addition to the many beachside cafes and restaurants, children will enjoy playing in the sand and swimming in the ocean.
Explore the LX Factory area
3. The LX Factory area of Lisbon is a vibrant and creative place with lots of street art, cafes, and shops. Children will enjoy wandering the vibrant streets and finding secret courtyards and alleyways. A great place to experience Lisbon’s contemporary art scene is The LX Factory, which is also home to a number of art galleries and exhibitions.
How to get to LX Factory:
- By Tram: Take Tram 15E from Lisbon’s city center towards Algés and get off at the stop “Calvário”. From there, it’s a short walk to LX Factory.
- By Train: Take the train from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodré station to Alcântara-Mar station. From there, it’s about a 10-minute walk to LX Factory.
- By Bus: Take Bus 714 or Bus 720 from Lisbon’s city center towards Alcântara and get off at the stop “Carris”. From there, it’s a short walk to LX Factory.
4. Wander through the Carmo Convent ruins
During the 1755 earthquake in Lisbon, a church known as the Carmo Convent was completely destroyed. The ruins today provide a fascinating look into Lisbon’s past and present. Children will enjoy exploring the wreckage and picturing the church before the earthquake.
5. Visit the Belem Tower and Monument
Monument and Belem Tower are two of Lisbon’s most recognizable landmarks, and best of all, admission is free. The Monument to the Discoveries, which is close by, honors Portugal’s explorers. The Belem Tower, a fortress that served as the city’s defense in the 16th century. Kids will enjoy climbing to the top of the tower, viewing the Tagus River, and touring the nearby gardens and historical sites.
How to get to the Belem District:
- Tram: One of the most popular ways to get to Belem is by taking the iconic Tram 15E from Lisbon’s city center. The tram passes through several historic neighborhoods and landmarks before arriving in Belem. You can catch Tram 15E at Praça da Figueira or Praça do Comércio.
- Train: Another option is to take the train from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodré station to Belem station. This is a quick and easy way to get to Belem, and the station is just a short walk from many of the district’s main attractions.
- Bus: Several buses run between Lisbon and Belem, including Bus 728 and Bus 714. Check a local transportation app or website for the exact route and schedule.
- Taxi or Uber: Taxis and Uber are readily available in Lisbon and can take you directly to Belem.
We went by bus and will be using the Lisboa Card to save money.
Saving Money with Lisbon Card
For travelers to Lisbon, the Lisboa Card is a well-liked pass that provides a number of advantages. The following are some advantages of purchasing the Lisboa Card for your family vacation:
- Free admission to top attractions: The Lisboa Card entitles you to free admission to more than 30 of Lisbon’s most popular sites, including the National Palace of Queluz, Jeronimos Monastery, and Belem Tower. Your family may be able to significantly reduce admission costs by doing this.
- Free public transportation is also included with the Lisboa Card; this includes unlimited free rides on all buses, trams, and metro lines in Lisbon. Especially if you have children with you, this can be a practical and affordable way to get around the city.
- Discounts on tours and activities: In addition to providing free admission to attractions, the Lisboa Card also provides savings on various activities in Lisbon. You may be able to reduce the cost of things like river cruises and guided tours by doing this.
- Access to attractions without lines: With the Lisboa Card, you can bypass the lines and enter some of the busiest attractions right away. This can save a lot of time, especially during the busiest travel times when lines can be lengthy.
- Map and guidebook: The free map and guidebook that come with the Lisboa Card can be used to plan your family’s itinerary and navigate the city.
With its variety of advantages and cost savings, the Lisboa Card can be a great investment for families traveling to Lisbon. Be sure to compare the different card options and prices to find the best fit for your family’s needs.
Southern Portugal With Children
Families enjoy vacationing in the Algarve region of southern Portugal, also referred to as southern Portugal. Stunning beaches, a pleasant climate, and charming towns make the Algarve an excellent destination for families looking to unwind and explore.
One of the best places to stay with children in the Algarve is the small town of Carvoeiro, which is close to the Faro airport.
Carvoeiro is a good starting point for families who want to explore the Algarve. Families looking to escape the bustle of the busier tourist destinations will find it to be a tranquil and charming town with a laid-back vibe.
In addition to being close to some of the Algarve’s best beaches, such as Praia do Barril and Praia da Ilha de Tavira, the town is surrounded by stunning countryside.
Family-friendly pursuits like horseback riding, cycling, and hiking are all available nearby. Also accessible to families is the Ria Formosa Natural Park, a protected area that is home to a wide range of plant and bird species.
In general, Carvoeiro is a fantastic vacation spot for families trying to avoid the crowds and enjoy the beauty and charm of the Algarve. Parents and children will both enjoy it thanks to its laid-back vibe, lovely surroundings, and variety of family-friendly activities.
Porto with Kids
Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, is well known for its historic district, port wine, and lovely riverfront. The following are some of the top family-friendly activities in Porto:
Take a boat tour
- The Douro River is Porto’s lifeblood, and taking a boat tour is a great way to see the city from a different perspective. The novelty of being on a boat will appeal to children, and there will be many chances to take pictures.
Visit the World of Discoveries
- Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan are just a couple of the well-known explorers from Portugal whose stories are told in the entertaining and engaging museum known as The World of Discoveries. Kids can study geography, navigation, and the Age of Discovery’s history.
Explore the Ribeira district
- The center of Porto’s historic district is the Ribeira neighborhood, which is populated by vibrant homes, bustling cafes, and street performers. The narrow streets and regional specialties like pastel de nata and Francesinha will be fun for kids to explore.
We are heading to Portugal with my older kids so I will be updating this blog post in April 2023.