After a long winter, during which tourism has suffered a major setback, starting from June tourists from some countries will probably start pouring into town. I am sad for all the businesses that had gone through this rough year: tourism, unfortunately, makes some nice places and activities a bit more difficult to enjoy for locals.
So I have thought about helping families enjoy some attractions while Lisbon is not too busy! Are you curious? Here they are!
Belem is typically one day visit: the neighborhood is not as big but the monuments, attractions, and cultural activities are so many you might need to go back for a second round. There are two parallel axes you can visit, and they are separated by the train line, so pay attention because there are only a few over and under passages to cross: you can stay on the main road Rua da Junqueira/Rua do Belem or you can walk on the riverside, accessible from Avenida Brasilia. The passages to cross are at Praça do Imperio (under, stairs), Torre de Belem (over stairs and bridge), Belem Station (over, stairs or ramp and bridge) and Maat Museum ) over (ramp and bridge)
Monasteiro dos Jeronimos
The Monasteiro dos Jeronimos is a perfect example of Manueline style. You can visit the church but I strongly suggest visiting the amazing Cloister now that there are not long lines. Tickets here
Pedrão dos Descobrimentos
This monument evokes a time of discoveries: despite being a piece of art from a controversial historical moment, the tower can be a great point of view over Belem. You can climb the stairs or use the elevator. Tickets here
Torre de Belem
This tower has seen lots since being built: initially designed for embarking and disembarking ships, it has to turn into a fortress, custom point, and much more. It’s another example of Manuelinos style, and it was once on a tiny island. Tickets here
Pasteis de Belem
Pasteis de Belem is the signature shop where you should try them at least once. You can take them to go and eat in the Vasco de Gama garden or enjoy the interior cafe full of Azulejos or the newly open terrace (Rua de Belém 68).
HOT TIP: the best way to reach Belem is by bike on the riverside cycle lane from Cais do Sodre but you can also go by train, bus, eletrico or car. Best restaurants: Honorato Burger, Este Oeste, Pasteis de Belem, SUD Lisboa, O Pedrouços, Clube Naval de Lisboa
Eletrico 28 and Feira da Ladra
I fell in love with Electrico straight after we moved to Lisbon, and I believe it’s a great way to experience the city: the electrico 28 it’s probably the one with the most scenic route and narrow streets, thats’ why it is usually packed with tourists. Now you have the chance to enjoy the journey with a smaller crowd, and certain of sitting and relaxing: you can even attempt to take it at Martim Moniz station and I always suggest stepping down at Jardim da Estrela.
If you take the Eletrico on Tuesdays and Saturdays, you should plan to stop at the famous Feira da Ladra next to São Vicente de Fora: Feira da Ladra is a flea and secondhand market very popular but also characteristic, located in Campo Santa Clara between the São Vicente Church and the Panteão Nacional, both which you can visit the interiors and climb to the rooftop to check the stunning panoramic view.
At the market, you can browse clothes, books, toys, art pieces, and there are also some nice antique shops, clothes stores, and cute ceramic shops with modern and new products.
During your visit you can have a snack at Clara&Clara cafe inside the Jardim Botto Machado, you can try a very good focaccia ad Focaccia in Giro, or a delightful coffee and sweet at Copenhagen Coffe Lab.
Castelo de São Jorge + Santa Luzia + Alfama
I wrote about the Castle here already here: the castle is always free for Lisbon residents, so go and check it out, now that has finally got back the extended hours. I suggest stopping with the Eletrico at Mirador the Porta do Sol, climbing the hill and passing through the beautiful Palacio de Belmonte patio and stopping at Miradouro do Recolhimento to check the playground a take a break.
After the Castle visit, walk down towards Miradouro de Santa Lucia: enjoy the great view of Alfama and the live music. Did you know that from this Miradouro you can directly enter Alfama using an Elevator? Check the passage on the left of the Miradouro and immerse yourself in the romantic narrow streets of Alfama: I suggest using a carrier instead of the stroller, as for the castle.
Elevador de Santa Justa
Do you know that the Elevador de Santa Justa has been designed by Eiffel (or with his help)? You might have seen the long line that is usually created at the bottom of it. Now you can enjoy the old elevator without worrying too much about waiting.
If you have a Via Viagem Card (the one for public transport, either the paper one or the plastic one), you can use it to pay for the elevator ticket directly when entering it, and it’s even cheaper: you can also ascend to the top of the tower by paying an extra 3€ ticket, for an unobstructed view over the whole Central Lisbon, but it’s not an experience for the faint of heart, or for people which suffer vertigos.
You can actually always skip the line at the bottom by accessing the elevator from behind the Convento do Carmo, another gem that it’s worth a visit for the ceiling-less interior and the beautiful panoramic view of the city from the Gift shop. Convento do Carmo is also hosting the Lisbon Legends interactive experience.
Lx Factory Market and newly open EMUA Museum
Lx Factory is a great converted factory in Alcântara: if you haven’t been yet, you definitely check it out now that most shops and the weekly market is open again. In LX Factory you find great cafes, restaurants, the Pequeno Jardim Flower truck, a great Magazin Shop with international newspapers and magazines, design shops for kids and grown-ups, Organii for natural skin products, clothes shops, and much more.
Among the restaurants, I can suggest the newly open Bogorodo, A Praça for Portuguese fusion cuisine, Mex Factory (you can dine on a Lucha Libre ring) The Burger Factory, and The Therapist LX.
Every Sunday they host the LX Market with both new and vintage clothes and accessories. Until the 25th of July, you can check the newly open Ephemeral Museum of Urban Art, which lives in a few buildings inside the LX Factory complex and house Urban art pieces for Vhils, Bordalo, Banksy, and other street artists.
Sintra is a lovely historical village overlooking the Silver Coast: from the Palacio de Pena, located on the summit of the highest hill, you can see the whole Lisbon Greater Region and the Caparica Coast.
The village itself it’s pretty tiny but there are many palaces, gardens, and historical villas scattered around it: most of them are former monarchy residences in the characteristic Manueline style. Most palaces have extended gardens, with statues, towers, rivers, and creeks.
Sintra used to be packed with tourists all year round, and the shop and restaurants definitely need some support, so going there now it’s a great win-win situation for your family and the locals. keep scrolling to find a partial selection of the palaces and activities available in the area.
Palacio de Pena
Palacio de Pena is visible from almost the whole Lisbon Region: it sits on the highest peak of the Sintra Hills, and it can have all different weather throughout the year. Check the Palace but take time to explore the Statues Garden. Tickets here
Quinta Da Regaleira
If your kids are into fairytales about knits, wizards, and kings, Quinta da Regaleira is the place for your family: a magical garden with towers, fountains, lakes, wells, and hidden passages. I suggest choosing a carrier over the stroller.
Azenhas do Mar + Cabo da Roca
Azenhas do Mar is not a typical tourist location but it’s a gem and it can be a nice de-route while checking out Cabo de Roca. You should also book a visit to the newly established Quinta Azenhas, a collective garden overlooking the Ocean.
Reserva dos Burros
If you want to add some animal petting, be sure to check this donkey paradise next to Convento dos Capuchos. You can meet many donkeys and the kids 4 and up can ride one. Be sure to book in advance.
The Oceánario can be a nice way to spend half a day in Parc das Naçoes: the pavilion is divided into four ecosystems into two levels and it has a big central pool. The building has been built for the 1998 Expo and the same goes for most buildings in the area.
While in the area you can take a ride on the Cable Car which gives you a panoramic view over the neighborhood, the Tejo river, and the Vasco de Gama bridge, the longest bridge in Europe. While in Parc das Naçoes you can also enjoy the Pavilhão do Conhecimento with different permanents and temporary exhibitions.
This post may contain some affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission given by the ticketing service of some attractions and museums.
I only recommend places I went and would go myself and all opinions expressed here are my own.