Living in London, we’re very fortunate to have Europe right at our fingertips. One of our very favorite destinations so far has been a week in Lisbon with toddlers. We were able to take advantage of off-peak prices and the nice weather in Lisbon in September.
Visiting Lisbon, Portugal was truly one of the best holidays with toddlers (1.5 and 3 years old): beautiful parks and playgrounds, sunny beaches, trams and ferries to ride, amazing food, and interesting streets and alleys to explore. Lisbon is truly one of the best places to visit in Europe with toddlers.
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Getting Around Lisbon
Upon arrival at Lisbon Airport, we found the signage to the Metro fairly easy to follow to get from the Lisbon Airport to city center. We bought tickets at one of the machines in the airport Metro station (€1.50 adult fare).
If you’d prefer the convenience of taking a taxi, Welcome Pickups is a family-friendly airport transfer service which will meet you at your gate and provides free child seats.
Many, but not all, of the Lisbon metro stations we used had elevators, and we found taking a lightweight travel stroller for toddlers onto the Metro in Lisbon was easy and comfortable. And so many of the stations themselves are works of art, with gorgeous tiled walls.
As is true for all of our travel, exploring the Lisbon public transport was a major highlight for our transport-mad kiddos. Lisbon’s iconic yellow trams are one of the great things to do in Lisbon with kids. The yellow trams can be quite crowded, especially the 28 tram, since the 28 tram route covers many popular tourist sites in Lisbon.
We avoided the queues by traveling during off-peak times and opting to ride the less-crowded 24 tram, which conveniently picked us up across the street from our vacation home rental in the Rato district.
And if your kids love public transport as much as ours, they’ll also be excited to explore Lisbon’s funiculars. There are three different funicular lines in Lisbon, and we chose to check out Ascensor da Glória, which took us up to one of Lisbon’s beautiful miradouros (vista points), Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara.
The views were spectacular, and Alcântara was a beautiful neighborhood to explore. The kids enjoyed splitting a fresh watermelon juice from a vendor and watching the sunset before we wandered back home.
Lisbon with a Baby or Toddler: Stroller or Baby Carrier?
While we did bring a stroller to Lisbon, we were very glad we brought carriers for both kids (an Ergobaby and a Toddler Tula), as the cobblestone sidewalks in much of the city were narrow, slippery, and very hilly.
Our three year old is a great walker, but we were glad to have the option of carrying him on longer outings. And there definitely wasn’t room for the stroller on the busy trams and funiculars (buses and Metro were fine with the stroller in Lisbon).
What else to pack for travel with toddlers? Check out our Top Toddler Travel Essentials!
The pictures below should help to illustrate what walking in much of Lisbon looks like:
Where to stay in Lisbon with Toddlers or a Baby
We chose to stay at an vacation home rental in Rato, while on our family trip to Lisbon with toddlers. Rato is a beautiful residential neighborhood with great transport links.
for us, traveling with toddlers, Rato was best area to stay in Lisbon. We were less than five minutes from bus, Metro, and tram connections, and there were grocery stores, restaurants and parks within short walking distance. We didn’t have air conditioning in our apartment, which seemed to be the norm based on our research.
Learn how to find baby-friendly accomodations, then browse these excellent family-friendly Lisbon hotels and vacation home rentals.
Food in Lisbon with Kids
The Portuguese food in Lisbon was incredible, and reasonably priced compared to other places we’ve traveled in Europe. Loads of fresh seafood, delicious piri-piri chicken (nothing like Nando’s, in case you’re wondering!), and plenty of beans, rice, bread, and pasta that the kids loved.
While we found restaurant staff to be incredibly accommodating and friendly with the kids, we did struggle at times to find restaurants that were open early enough for dinner, since the Portuguese tended to eat much later in the evening. A couple of nights, one of us put the kids to bed while the other went out and picked up dinner to bring back for the adults.
We also fell in love with the coffee kiosks with adjacent playgrounds dotted around Lisbon. Café duplos (double espressos) and pastéis de natas for the adults while the kids played made the perfect break for everyone.
Still planning your trip? See other incredible places to visit with toddlers or best destinations to travel with a baby.
9 Fun Things to do in Lisbon with Toddlers
1. Parque das Nações
On our first full day in Lisbon with kids, we headed to Parque das Nações (a short walk from Oriente Station on the red Metro line). Parque das Nações was the exhibition grounds for the ’98 World Expo. Being on the waterfront, it’s a great thing to do in Lisbon with kids.
2. Oceanarium Aquarium
We spent several hours at the incredible Oceanarium. It’s Europe’s largest aquariumand kids under four are free!
3. Telecabine Lisbon
While our younger toddler napped, my husband took our three-year-old for a ride on the nearby Telecabine Lisbon cable car (kids under four ride free). The fun cable car ride offered great views of Lisbon and the harbor.
4. Splash Park
The plaza near the Oceanarium aquarium also has fantastic splash pads and fountains, which is one of those perfect things to do in Lisbon for families on a hot afternoon. We wished we’d brought along swim trunks for the kids
5. Day Trip from Lisbon – Cascais
The next morning, we took the train to Cascais, Portugal, a kid-friendly coastal resort town half an hour from Lisbon. We bought our train tickets at Lisbon’s Cais do Sodré train station and took the train to Cascais Station.
Learn about toddler sun safety, then get all our recommended Toddler Beach Essentials here.
Cascais was a beautiful spot to spend the day, and the kids enjoyed exploring the tidepools and playing in the sand.
We did regret not packing a picnic, as the beachfront restaurants were all rather pricey. After lunch, we walked along the beach side path (fully paved, so good for a stroller nap – don’t forget to bring a CoziGo stroller cover!).
6. Day Trip from Lisbon – Almada
The next morning, we caught a ferry (more transport fun!) across the harbor to Almada, giving us views of the 25 de Abril Bridge and the Cristo Rei statue, a large figure of Jesus Christ overlooking the bay.
From the ferry terminal, we caught a local bus up to Cristo Rei (it’s walkable, but up a steep hill). The grounds around the statue are a nice place to picnic (there’s a picnic shelter if you need a bit of shade), as well as paths and gardens for the kids to wander. From the base of the Cristo Rei statue, there are spectacular views of the bridge and of Lisbon.
7. Jardim da Estrela
We stuck closer to home the next morning, walking from our Airbnb in Rato to Jardim da Estrela, a beautiful neighborhood park with a nice playground (I unfortunately didn’t snap any pictures, but it’s a good playground in Lisbon for kids of all ages), a small pond with geese and ducks, and lots of paths to explore.
The kids had a great time “driving” the little tram at the cafe (while Mom and Dad indulged in another round of café duplos and pastéis de natas).
8. Estrela Basilica
Across the street is the breathtaking 18th century Estrela Basilica, which is absolutely worth a visit. We enjoyed climbing to the top for views of Lisbon (and views down into the church–my husband took the picture looking down into the church while I clutched the kids far away from the railing!).
9. Time Out Market
From the basilica, it was about a mile’s walk to the incredible Time Out Market, which had a huge range of local foods under one roof, as well as a fish market. There was a nice little kids corner with toys, books, and coloring supplies, and kid-sized tables and chairs.
The Time Out market is open from 10 am – 2 pm and gets pretty crowded around lunchtime, so it’s probably a good idea to get there on the earlier side.
Final Tips on Lisbon with a Toddler or Baby
Find other essentials for traveling with baby here or download our packing list for travel with a baby.
This guest post was written by Megan
Megan is an American living in London with her husband and two young sons. When traveling, she especially enjoys hiking, public transport, museums, and good coffee. Her favorite family travel destinations have been Taiwan, Portugal, Switzerland, and Singapore.