Lisbon makes for a great destination for families who are seeking a child-friendly city break location. Lisbon is very welcoming and supportive of families, since it hosts a varied selection of sights and activities suitable for children of all ages. There is a wide variety of fun activities to be found around the Parque das Nações (Park of the Nations) on the banks of the Tagus. Most young travelers will love exploring the city using the iconic yellow trams.
Is Lisbon safe?
Apart from the possibility of pickpockets and opportunistic thieves, it is a very safe city for its size. The crime rate is relatively low for a major settlement and uncanny people tend to appear in night and stay away from touristic areas.
What about language issues?
Everyone who works within tourism speaks a good level of English. All restaurants have menus in English and English is the second language for signs and information. Communication and personal safety should never be a concern when planning a family holiday to Lisbon
Where to stay?
Staying within the Baixa district or close to the Avenida da Liberdade – this area is close to the historic center, but there are no major hills – is suggested. Popular tourist areas that are not suited for families are Alfama (too many hills), Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodré (nightlife hotspots) and Belem (too far from the city center).
Food & Water
Food quality is of a high standard in Lisbon and Portugal. Lisbon tap water is safe to drink, but the pipework in older buildings may be dirty or contaminated. Water from the tap in a café will be safe to drink, whereas water from a tap in a hotel room should not be drunk from.
Beaches close by
Many visitors to Lisbon do not realize that there are glorious beaches just a short train ride from the center of the city, between Lisbon and Cascais. Many of these beaches are ideal for families and offer soft golden sands and calm, clean sea waters which are supervised by lifeguards.
Lisbon Oceanarium: This is the largest and one of the best aquariums in Europe. Found in the Parque das Nações, on the banks of the River Tejo, this state-of-the-art building is home to a huge collection of fish, birds, and more. The penguins, otters and sharks are the reason most visitors come and they won’t be disappointed. It’s easy to spend at least 2 hours discovering everything that’s on offer here.
Cable Car Ride along the River Tagus: Kids will love the thrill of traveling along the banks of the river in a gondola. Giving birds-eye views of the river and the Vasco da Gama bridge, the gondola travels a distance of 1.2 kilometers and each car seats up to 8 persons.
As well as the Parque das Nações, there are plenty of quiet, leafy parks in the city suitable for walks, picnics, and plays; including Monsanto Forest Park with its hiking & cycling trails and a decent children’s playground; or the more central Jardim da Estrela.
A trip to Lisbon Zoo will allow your family to travel around the world without ever leaving the city. Sumatran tigers are lurking in the rainforest, lions, and giraffes grazing in the African Savannah and gorillas and chimps doing their thing. Kids will especially enjoy the dolphin and reptile demonstrations as well as taking a ride on the cable car and zoo train.
The Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology (MAAT), housed in a former power station may be of interest to older children, and the Pavilion of Knowledge Science Museum has lots of interactive features & hands-on activities for children of all ages.