Go now! The secret is out, but it’s still a steal by European standards and there are so many amazing spots to explore.
- More about your oliver guide: Sarah Hart
- Trip type: Family, City
- Activity level: easy
- Ideal length of trip: About two weeks
to & from
Lufthansa from SFO/Frankfurt/Porto and back home from Lisbon/Frankfurt/SFO. We wanted to explore as much of the country as we could in 12 days, so rented a car for freedom and flexibility. We ditched our car while in Lisbon, then rented another for the drive south to The Algarve.
Where to Stay
- Residentas Apostolas: Beautiful, unique, apartments with fantastic location and gracious, helpful hosts.
- Martinhal Lisbon Chiado: Lisbon outpost for the Martinhal Family Resorts. Huge apartments in central Chiado location. Kids club and in-hotel café geared towards children. Recommend for families with preschool aged children or families that may want hotel childcare during their stay.
Where to Eat and Drink
There are a plethora of fabulous, high-end, Michelin starred restaurants in Lisbon. Traveling with school-aged children, we aimed for a slightly more casual feel, and although we didn’t even scratch the surface, here are some of our favorites.
- Á Cevicheria: Excellent, creative ceviche restaurant. They don’t take reservations and the line to be seated can be long, but have one of their amazing Pisco Sours and know the wait is worth it.
- Cervajeria Romero: Get the garlic shrimp and goose barnacles! The barnacles are ugly, and briny, but in a good way. Be brave! Old school, family-run restaurant with crazy, fresh fish. There’s always a line, but its shorter for lunch.
- Fourno d’Oro: Need a seafood break? Probably not, but if you do, Fourno D’Oro has insane pizza and a fun atmosphere.
- Pastéis de Belém: Pastel de nata is a custard-filled pastry and the pride of Portugal. The most famous of these tarts are served at Pastéis de Belém, close to the Jeronimos Monastery from which they originally hail. Expect long lines and eat them while they are warm.
- Gelateria Nannarella: Best gelato in Lisbon, and maybe all of Portugal.
- Time Out Market Lisboa: Time Out Market Lisboa is a bustling, indoor food court featuring some of the very best Portuguese culinary vendors and restaurant outposts. Order from your preferred spot and coordinate with your family to snag a table, which can be especially challenging during dinner hours.
What to Do
- LX Factory: Formerly and industrial area, LX Factory is a cluster of shops, restaurants, galleries, and bookstores with an urban, hipster vibe. Unique boutiques and definitely a great place to for a few hours.
- Alfama Neighborhood: Steep hills with narrow, cobblestone streets and tiny shops and restaurants make this neighborhood perfect for exploring.
- Santa Justa Lift: Elevator built in the 19th century with sweeping view of Lisbon.
- Castelo de São Jorge: Hike up the hill to this amazing castle overlooking Lisbon, then climb some more once inside the castle walls. Beautiful views of the city and beyond.
- Belém: Great for a half day trip. Take a bus or Tuk-Tuk to this historical district a few miles from the town center. Don’t miss the Torre de Belém, Jeronimos Monastery, and Jardím Botânica Tropical and remember to stop by the Pastéis de Belém for their famousePastel de nata.
- So many great museums, but with kids, I’d recommend the National Coaches Museum and Musea Calouste Gulbenkian.
- Go now! The secret is out, but it’s still a steal by European standards and there are so many amazing spots to explore. Summer in the Algarve sounds amazing for a beach vacation, but we traveled in April and found crowds to be super manageable, and the weather great for exploring.
- Would love to have visited chic Comporta, but didn’t have time and summer probably a better time.
- Tram 28 in Lisbon, is super crowded, foul smelling and there’s a more than fair chance you’ll be pickpocketed. Walk, or take a car or Tuk-Tuk.
What to Pack