Lisbon for All the Family
Photo: Looking out over Alfama, Lisbon
Lisbon is a perfect city in which to spend a few days with the children. It's welcoming and safe, with a mild climate and easy to explore on foot, besides having numerous activities designed especially for kids, both outdoors and indoors.
The whole family will surely enjoy a tram ride to explore the city, heading for the Castle of São Jorge, for a walk between the walls and battlements, conjuring up stories of fearless knights. In addition, the capital's parks and gardens are always a safe option. In the Lisbon Zoo, there are elephants, a monkey village, lions, tigers, crocodiles and even an area with several species of reptiles. You can watch a dolphin show, the feeding of the sea lions and take a ride on the cable car.
Photo: Lisbon Zoo
Another suggestion is Monsanto Park. In this true “lung of the city”, there is fun for the whole family, with footpaths, extreme sports and various playgrounds, such as the Indians Park, Alvito Park and Serafina Park, for using up your energy on the swings, slides and other rides.
In Parque das Nações, on the eastern side of the city, the Pavilhão do Conhecimento (Knowledge Pavilion) is an interactive science museum that is great fun. But the favourite is, without doubt, the Oceanarium, where the Earth’s various oceans are recreated. There are several garden spaces in the area, and you can rent a bike or take a cable car ride.
If you prefer a more sheltered place, there are many museums that can captivate young people. The Puppet Museum is one of them. Housed in a former convent, it’s a place full of surprises. Or the Museums of Communications and Electricity, with multimedia and other simpler attractions, to find out about how we communicated before there were computers or mobile phones, in one of them; and how the city was transformed by the advent of electricity, in the other.
You can have a good time in Belém discovering the continents on the giant compass next to the Monument to the Discoveries or in the Maritime Museum, where there are replicas of the ships used during the Discoveries and many nautical instruments. Right next door is the Calouste Gulbenkian Planetarium, which has daily sessions to get to know all about the sky, the stars and the constellations.
Nearby is the Tower of Belém, from which the Portuguese navigators departed for their long voyages across the oceans in the 15th and 16th centuries, with a large lawn to the front, good for running around and having a picnic. On the way to Cascais, in Algés, you can visit the curious Vasco da Gama Aquarium.
But to fully enjoy the outdoors and the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, a day at the beach to play in the sand or a ride along the coast are always pleasing suggestions, easy to put into practice. And why not try some surfing lessons?
Photo: Surfing in Lisbon
For something completely different, in an Amadora shopping centre north of Lisbon, there’s Kidzania, a city built for children, where they can be whatever they want to be - painters, doctors, journalists or photographers, and it even has its own currency, kidzos, that can be used inside the facility.