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Lisbon Family Holidays & Breaks

View across LisbonView across LisbonJose Manuel
Lisbon monasteryLisbon monasteryJose Manuel
Aqueduct in LisbonAqueduct in LisbonJose Manuel
Shopping in LisbonShopping in LisbonJose Manuel
Traditional festivitiesTraditional festivitiesJose Manuel
Flying Time 3hrs
Carbon Footprint 1.39 CO2
Timezone GMT
Currency Euro

Today

Overview

One of the most laid-back and apparently timeless cities in Europe, Lisbon (Lisboa) is very family friendly and a great destination for short breaks before or after longer family holidays elsewhere in Portugal. Situated on the Atlantic coast, this westernmost city in continental Europe refuses to die – it's been the world's richest city twice, and following periods of decay it continues to reinvent itself. Life is good here, and Lisboetas know it.

More or less in the centre of the country, about 300km from the Algarve in the south and 400km from Spain to the north, Lisbon and surrounds offer beaches, countryside, mountains, areas of historical interest, and fascinating satellite towns and sights.

Things to do with kids in Lisbon

Eat grilled sardines in the Alfama district, gaze at seemingly endless views, marvel at the impossibly steep terrain and travel, as locals do, by metro, tram and funny funiculars.

Visit the Oceanarium, one of Europe's largest aquariums, and beside it the Knowledge Museum (Pavilhao Conhecimento), a hands-on attraction for all ages from three, where you can moonwalk, barfly jump and blow bubbles. Then check out the new-in-2016 Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology.

Seek out the haven that is Principe Real Gardens, with an overhanging canopy of ancient trees and a peaceful café that make this a great place to just hang out. Join the yummy mummies on a Saturday-morning shop before the organic farmers' market.

Check out Lisbon Zoo, with a mini-cable car-ride over the lion enclosure included in the admission price. 

Visit the beaches of Sintra. Little known by tourists, this area is well worth a short trip out of the city. Praia de Macas with its great bodyboarding is especially good for families, while Praia Grande is favoured by surfers. Lifeguards are on duty mid-June–mid Sept.

While you're in the area, take a trip to Azenhas do Mar ('Watermills of the Sea'), a whitewashed village trimmed with blue, built on the slopes of the cliff with a river cascading to the sea below and fascinating rock pools. Recently restored, the watermills are now home to a restaurant, bar and swimming pool.  

Eat

For eating out in Portugal, see our destination guide.

When to go to Lisbon

Temperatures stay reasonably mild in Lisbon year round, with average minumums of 11/12°C in winter, making it ideal for year-round family breaks and holidays depending on what you plan to do.

Rainfall drops from April/May to September, with July and August averaging 28°C. The first thing you'll notice getting off the plane is the wonderful warm gusts of Atlantic wind.

How to get to Lisbon

There are reasonably priced flights from all over the UK to Lisbon. You might want to add on car hire to explore beyond the city limits.

Cost

Lisbon is a great spot for a reasonably priced city-break with kids, especially if you choose to self-cater.

Related features

10 Unmissable Museums with Kids in Mainland Europe
10 Unmissable Museums with Kids in Mainland Europe
Georgina rounds up some of her favourite cultural venues on the Continent with kids.

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