Time to discover one more toddler friendly european city, this time through the eyes of an American family who traveled to Lisbon with two young toddlers, stayed for 2 whole weeks and share their experiences to help us organize… Our next adventure!
Hi, we’re the Ishmaels! Matt, Laura, Evelyn (4) and Sophie (1). An adventurous family of 4 based in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, we know traveling the world with tiny humans is no easy feat. That’s why we love sharing our tips and tricks for traveling with kids on our family travel blog, Our Next Adventure, so you can get out and see the world too!
As parents to not one, but two, little toddlers, choosing the perfect holiday destination can be a bit of a challenge. Traveling with toddlers is tough enough, so finding a city that offers toddler-friendly activities, restaurants, and accommodation is a must. In my search for the perfect toddler-friendly vacation, I came upon Lisbon, Portugal. A big city with a small-town feel, Lisbon seemed to check all the boxes. Good weather, lots of outdoor activities, and a plethora of family-friendly Airbnbs shot it to the top of our list.
And after spending 2 weeks in Lisbon with our 3 and 1 year old, I can proudly declare: Lisbon may just be one of the most toddler-friendly cities in Europe!
Here’s some of our best tips for planning your trip to Lisbon with toddlers:
Where to Stay in Lisbon with Toddlers
Those looking to be centrally located will find Baixa-Chiado to be an ideal spot for a home base. It’s not too hilly and you’ll find many public transportation connections that can easily lead you anywhere within the city. The Martinhal Lisbon Chiado Family Suites specializes in luxury, yet family-friendly, stays.
For those looking for a bit more immersive experience, however, I recommend staying in the historic neighborhood of Alfama. If you can brave the steep climb up the hill with kids, you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views and picture-perfect streets right outside your door. There are no formal hotels in the area, but there are a ton of family-friendly Alfama Airbnb options.
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Our next adventure is BOOKED 🎉 and we’re headed back to……EUROPE! 🏰⠀ .⠀ We couldn’t resist a $290 flight deal (thanks, @scottscheapflights!) with the caveat that we’ll have to endure some cold December temps to take advantage. But our reward will be some of Europe’s most magical Christmas markets, so I think we’ll find a way to survive! ❄️🎄⠀ .⠀ Our plan is to hop between Vienna, Prague, and Budapest, and I’m still working out how many days to spend in each. ⠀ .⠀ Thinking 3 days in Prague, 5 days in Vienna, and 5 days in Budapest. Anyone been to all 3 that can give me some insight!?
Toddler-Friendly Things to Do in Lisbon
One of the best things about Lisbon is there is so much history and culture available simply by walking the city and experiencing its nooks and crannies. Some of our favorite things to do in Lisbon with toddlers include:
Castelo Sao Jorge | This castle at the top of the hill in Alfama is ripe full of areas to explore. Whether scaling the castle walls or watching peacocks roam the gardens, there’s lots to keep your toddler engaged and entertained.
Ride on Tram 28 | One of our favorite things to do with toddlers is ride any sort of bus, train, or boat: it’s an easy thrill! The famous Tram 28 draws quite a line, so avoid the long wait with toddlers by going early in the morning and hopping on two or three stops after the start of the start of the route.
Take in the View | Throughout Lisbon (Alfama in particular), you’ll find many miradouros, or viewpoints. Not only will you find a good view here, but often times street performers, cafes, and pop up shops. Don’t miss them!
Oceanario de Lisboa | Regarded as one of the best aquariums in the world, the Oceanario de Lisboa is housed in a uniquely shaped building that circles around a massive central aquarium.
LX Factory | This alternative marketplace is a fun way to spend the afternoon simply strolling the little shops and stopping for a treat. Don’t miss Landeau Chocolate, which claims to have the best chocolate cake in the world (spoilert alert: they’re not wrong).
Alfama Tuk Tuk Tour | Alfama’s hills can be killer when lugging around little kids. So if you want a fun way to experience the areas tiny, winding streets, than consider a tuk tuk tour! Eco Tuk Tours promises a green way to see the city.
Toddler-Friendly Restaurants in Lisbon
Eating out with a toddler is always risky business. We had great luck, though, at places such as:
Time Out Market | Need a casual place to sample all of Lisbon’s best food? Head to Time Out Market in Mercado Ribeira, where you can literally order just about anything your heart desires.
Pasteis de Belem | Just down the street from Jeronimos Monastery, this little cafe is the birthplace of pasteis, Lisbon most iconic pastry.
O Prego | A portuguese version of the hamburger, the prego sandwich is done well at this tiny restaurant with a patio in Alfama (ps. they also do take-out orders if you’re on the go).
Confeitaria Nacional | Grab a sweet treat near Praca do Rossio at this oldest bakery in Lisbon!
Toddler-Friendly Day Trips from Lisbon
Of course, no Lisbon itinerary would be complete without a day trip to Sintra and Cascais.
Sintra | On your Sintra day trip, amaze your little humans with real life castles of all kinds. The Castle of the Moors will satisfy little adventurers, the whimsical and colorful Pena Palace is sure to get their attention, and the gardens of Quinta da Regaleira offer lots of space to run and play!
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Make no mistake about it, as amazing as the photos look, Pena Palace is BUSY and CROWDED!⠀ .⠀ Overtourism is real. And it does take away from some of the magic of places like Sintra, Portugal. ⠀ .⠀ It’s not lost on us that we’re sadly contributing to the problem ourselves, but we try to help by being extra respectful of our fellow travelers and locals alike when on the road.⠀ .⠀ Not so much for the ladies who scowled at us literally two seconds after I took this picture: “Umm, can you move?? You’re in the way of our photo…” 🤦♀️⠀ .⠀ #thenerve #backofflady #letthekidenjoytheview
Cascais | After taking in the wonder of Sintra, spend a lowkey day in the beach town of Cascais. The highlight of our 3 year old’s trip to Lisbon, Cascais offers quiet beaches where toddlers can play while parents can take in the beautiful surroundings with an Aperol Spritz.
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In Cascais, Portugal, Evelyn fell in love with the beach all over again. ⛱⠀ .⠀⠀ She didn’t even get to play in the water much, but building sandcastles and chasing waves have quickly become two of her favorite pasttimes. 🌊⠀ .⠀⠀ It’s why I was so quick to book our next trip to Florida. After busy city breaks in Mexico City and Lisbon, Evelyn has sure earned herself some beach time! 🏅⠀ .⠀⠀ Do your kids love the beach or the city?⠀ .⠀⠀ .⠀⠀ ➡️ follow @our.next.adventure for more family travel adventures!
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