Lisbon, Portugal, is a vibrant and charming destination with much to offer. Home to a rich history, beautiful and diverse architecture, and delicious traditional cuisine—the Portuguese capital makes for an affordable European city vacation. It is also an ideal location for families traveling with children, with an abundance of fun ways to explore, play, and learn.

Seeking inspiration for your family's trip itinerary? Look no further. Here are 10 things to see and do in Lisbon, Portugal with kids.

Visit sea creatures at the Oceanarium

Lovers of sea life will have a ball exploring the Oceanarium. Located in the Parque das Nações, it is Europe’s largest indoor aquarium and houses 8,000 animals and plants from 500 different species. The Oceanarium’s central aquarium holds five million liters of saltwater, symbolizing the global ocean. Families can view sharks, penguins, otters, rays, jellyfish, seabirds, and more on a guided tour.

Have fun with science at the Pavilion of Knowledge

Located next to the Oceanarium is the Pavillion of Knowledge-Ciência Viva. This interactive museum of science and technology features exhibits, workshops, and play areas designed for families with children. With its variety of video installations, gadgets, and interactive games, kids can learn in a hands-on and enjoyable way.  

Ride the Telecabine at Parque das Nações  

Take a ride on its Gondola Lift and view Lisbon from above. Glide over the Tagus River at 30 meters above sea level, where you can take in panoramic views of the Parque das Nações. Each of the telecabine’s 40 closed cabins can hold eight people, and the trip lasts from eight to 12 minutes. 

Image: courtesy of Visit Lisboa.

Climb through the trees at Adventure Park

Another fun-filled outing for the whole family is Adventure Park at the Jamor National Sports Centre. Here, children and adults alike can climb and hike through obstacle courses set on platforms high in the treetops. Other activities offered are canoeing, laser combat, and orientation tasks in which teams work to navigate using a map and compass.

Ride the Santa Justa Lift

Though trams are the most popular transportation attraction in Lisbon, visitors should not overlook the city’s historic Santa Justa Lift. The elevator was built to make it easy for Lisbon residents to travel between the downtown area and the uphill Chiado district. The 19th-Century iron lift is 148 feet tall and once you’ve arrived at the top, you'll be able to take in amazing panoramic views of the city. 

Enjoy beaches and dolphin watching 

Visitors to Lisbon seeking great beaches don’t have to look far. The coast offers several beaches where families can find a wide range of activities. With its incredible waves, Ericeira is known as Europe’s surfing capital. Arrábida boat tours allow kids to marvel at dolphins and other marine life. Just a short drive away, Cascais, Sintra, and Setúbal are other areas offering beautiful beaches families will love.

Take a boat ride down the Tagus River

Family members of all ages will enjoy tours along the Tagus River. Board a sailboat and view Lisbon from the water as you cruise along, enjoying a unique perspective of the city. From Belém Tower and Sao Jorge Castle to Commerce Square and the Palace of Ajuda, you’ll pass by many of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

A view of the city, Lisbon. Image: Courtesy of Visit Lisboa.

Go back in time at the Belem Tower

Perhaps the most recognizable Lisbon monument, Belém Tower is a 16th-Century tower erected at the height of the Portuguese Renaissance. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the tower was built in the Manueline architectural style, with five floors, a spiral staircase, and a rooftop terrace all designed with intricate details.

Starwatch at the Calouste Gulbenkian Planetarium 

This one is for the budding astronomer in your family. Also located in Belém, the Calouste Gulbenkian Planetarium is one of the largest in the world. It has 32-star projectors that can display over 9,000 stars in its 82-foot-high dome, along with the Milky Way and nebulae. The planetarium also has a gallery that hosts exhibits, an astronomical observatory, and a library of around 1,000 books.

Be one with nature at Tapada Nacional de Mafra   

Tapada Nacional de Mafra is an 800-hectare biodiverse park home to foxes, rabbits, deer, goats, squirrels, wild boars, and birds like eagles, owls, and falcons. In addition to being a great spot for animal watching and family picnics, this natural habitat offers a variety of activities for all ages, including walking tours, horse riding, biking, archery, and crossbow shooting.