The Portuguese capital of Lisbon is a fabulous city for all ages. It is one of the safest cities worldwide, so it’s a great option for a family trip. Lisbon is culturally rich with many historic sites and museums. It might sound boring to teenagers, but some are really cool! There is always something going on in this lively and vibrant city. Be sure to check out any special events, festivals, or music performances that are scheduled during your visit. If you’re traveling to Lisbon with teenagers, there are plenty of places to explore! Check out some of our favorites.
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Best Places to Visit in Lisbon with Teenagers
The best way to explore Lisbon is by foot. However, there are plenty of steep hills throughout the city, so it might take longer to walk from one place to the next.
We had good luck using Uber if we needed it, but there are also plenty of taxis and tuk tuk drivers to take you to your destination. We also used the hop-on hop-off bus tour for transportation one day because it has several routes through the city and saved our tired feet. No matter how you choose to explore Lisbon, we are sure the whole family will enjoy Portugal’s capital city.
1. The Oceanarium
The Oceanarium is one of the most visited places in Lisbon amongst families. It’s one of the largest indoor aquariums in Europe, and it’s located in Parque das Nações. The aquarium features a central tank that holds an incredible 5 million liters of saltwater!
The aquarium is designed to represent the open ocean, and you can discover many unique species of marine life in the water. Keep an eye out for rays, sunfish, sharks, and fish from around the world. There are dedicated spots where otters and penguins play and do their shenanigans.
If there are younger children in your family there are plenty of educational opportunities, and the Oceanário de Lisboa is a highlight for many visitors.
2. Go surfing
If you or your kids prefer to be in the ocean, why not try surfing lessons? Lisbon is very close to The Atlantic Ocean, and you can find several surf schools along the coast. Do you know how to surf? You can also rent your gear here.
Ericeira is a famous surf town, but Praia do Guincho is closer to Lisbon. Other popular surf spots are Praia da Adraga and Costa da Caparica.
Lisbon’s surf season runs from September to May, but that means the waves are also higher. The surf in Lisbon can be challenging during this time, so it’s best for intermediate to advanced surfers.
Did you know some of the highest waves surfed are in Nazaré Portugal? Between October and March, you can expect ginormous waves here, and it is a must-see if you like surfing.
In summer, the waves are smaller and perfect for learning how to surf. The ocean will also be slightly warmer!
The surf camps offer lessons and coaching for all levels of surfers. They also usually provide all the necessary equipment, including wetsuits and boards, and can arrange transportation to the best surf spots.
3. Take a day trip to Sintra
Sintra is a picturesque town located just outside of Lisbon, and you can easily reach it in 40 minutes by car. You can also use public transportation to reach Sintra from Lisbon by taking the metro from Rossio Train Station to Sintra at the end of the route. If you want someone else to do all of the transportation, consider booking a local guide to take you to Sintra.
Sintra was a popular destination for Portuguese royalty and aristocracy, and the place is famous for its many palaces and mansions. There are many historic landmarks, including the Moorish Castle, the Pena Palace, and the Quinta da Regaleira. In addition to the stunning architecture, there are fabulous gardens that you can visit.
Sintra is located within the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, which is also an excellent place for hiking. Along the coast of Sintra, you’ll discover some of the best beaches close to Lisbon.
If you’re up for a coastal hike, Praia da Ursa is one of the area’s most beautiful beaches! However, Praia da Adraga and Praia Grande are a lot easier to reach.
4. Visit the LX Factory
In the Alcântara neighborhood of Lisbon, you can visit the LX Factory. This complex was once a textile manufacturing factory but has become a cultural and creative hub. It’s a popular spot for all ages due to the many restaurants, shops, street art, and design studios.
Check out the sculpture Bumblebee by Bordalo II, visit the coolest bookstore Ler Devagar or discover the fabulous shops. There are often events such as concerts, DJ nights, and cultural festivals. So from early morning until night, there is always something to do here!
5. Check out the street art
Speaking of street art, Lisbon has plenty of it! It’s scattered throughout the city, and a guided tour will ensure you’ll get to see the most important displays.
Bordalo II is one of Lisbon’s favorite artists, and he creates sculptures and murals from waste. Discover the artworks of Raposa, Big Raccoon, Monkey, Pelicans, and Iberian Lynx in the city. Vhills is another prominent artist with works all over Lisbon. Brazilian artists Os Gemeos, Italy’s BLU, and Spain’s SAM3 all left a mark on the city!
Other well-known works are from Pichiavo at Rua de Santa Apolonia, the revolutionary mural by Shepard Fairey on Rua Natalia Correia, and chief Raoni Metuktire by Eduardo Kobra on Rua Alberto José Pessoa.
6. Take a ride on Tram 28
Tram 28 is an icon in Lisbon, and a ride on the historic cable car is a favorite of many! The tram has been in operation since 1914 and is one of the last remaining traditional streetcar routes in Lisbon. It was originally used to transport goods and people, but today it is a popular tourist attraction.
Unfortunately, the queue can be long, but there is also an option to take an old historical tram tour instead. The tram ride goes through some of the most picturesque neighborhoods in Lisbon! If you have a public transport card, you pay a little less, but it’s public transport, so you pay per ride. There are, however, many interesting points where you can disembark.
Examples are Miradouro da Graça, Sé Cathedral, Miradouro de Santa Luzia, and Igreja de São Vicente de Fora, which are all located in the Alfama district.
The endpoint of the train is on the other side of town, close to Jardim da Estrela. While Tram 28 is a classic Lisbon experience, it’s not the only way to see the city’s historic neighborhoods. Walking tours, bike rentals, and other forms of transportation are also available, offering a more personalized and flexible way to explore the city’s many sights and sounds.
7. Discover Alfama
Alfama is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon. It’s also a charming place with many narrow streets and tourist highlights. On top of the hill, you can visit Castelo de São Jorge (St. George’s Castle). You can walk along the castle walls to enjoy some of the best views over Lisbon! The surrounding park is full of peacocks, and around the castle are many beautiful streets.
Besides the castle, there are many other viewing platforms throughout the city. From Miradouro das Portas do Sol and Miradouro de Santa Luzia, you enjoy a stunning view over Alfama and the river Tagus.
Discover the small streets full of azulejo tiles and enjoy a night of Fado. Alfama is the birthplace of Fado, a traditional Portuguese music style that is often described as melancholic and soulful. There are many Fado bars and restaurants where you can experience this unique cultural tradition.
On Tuesdays and Saturdays, it’s fun to visit the flea markets at Feira da Ladra. And if you’re in Lisbon in June, Alfama is THE place to be. The Santo António is celebrated throughout Lisbon, but most celebrations are in this neighborhood. There are parades, street parties, and a lot of sardines!
8. Fun museums to visit in Lisbon with teenagers
Although it doesn’t rain often, having a backup plan for your family vacation is always a good idea. Lisbon has a lot of museums, especially in the Belém neighborhood! Some of the museums that teens might like in this area include –
- Berardo Collection Museum (modern art)
- The Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology (MAAT)
- The National Coach Museum (a collection of horse-drawn carriages)
- The Maritime Museum
- Calouste Gulbenkian Planetarium
- National Archaeological Museum.
A relatively new museum in Belém is Quake – The Lisbon Earthquake Experience. This one is a bit more serious, in the sense that it’s about the destroying 1755 earthquake that hit Lisbon and many other places in Portugal.
You travel back in time to relive Lisbon’s most dramatic and transformative event and learn more about the history and science of earthquakes. It’s an immersive experience with simulators, video mapping, and interactive 4D technology. This is sure to be a favorite for teens!
Belém is also home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Jerónimos Monastery which dates to the 16th century, and Belem Tower (Torre de Belem) which was a departure point for many of Portugal’s famous early explorers, including Magellan and Vasco da Gama. While you’re exploring the area, be sure to stop at Pasteis de Belem, which has been baking the famous pasteis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) since 1837.
If you need another place to explore on a rainy day in Lisbon, check out the 3D Fun Art Museum Lisboa. As the name implies, everything here is in 3D, which is great for pictures! You can take pictures upside down and in distorted rooms with illusions. Your imagination can roam freely here! It’s a fun activity for all families!
9. Ride the Santa Justa Lift to the Bairro Alto
The Santa Justa Lift, an iconic elevator towering over the city, offers breathtaking panoramic views of central Lisbon and beyond. This is the easiest way to get between the Baixa district and the Bairro Alto. A ride is included in a 24-hour Lisbon transportation ticket.
Once you’ve arrived at the top, walk to the Carmo Convent and the convent ruins. This building was mostly destroyed in 1755 by the deadliest earthquake in Lisbon’s history. Teens will be fascinated by the remains of this building with its gigantic arches and columns. There’s also a small archaeology museum on-site that’s included in the ticket price.
10. Outdoor Activities on the Water
If your teens want more than surfing, you can visit Lisbon beaches such as Praia de Carcavelos, Praia do Tamariz, and Praia das Avencas.
Cascais is also a lovely beach town to visit, and from Lisbon, you can travel here easily by train. You can also take the ferry across the Tagus River and see the Christ statue in Almada. There is a fabulous view over Lisbon and the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge from this point.
From here, you can easily reach Costa da Caparica, with many more beaches. Along these coastal towns are opportunities to try kayaking, kitesurfing, and canoeing. You can even book a sailing tour on the Tagus to enjoy a relaxing view from the water. Most ships depart from Belém, and a sunset tour is especially magical.
11. Try all the food!
Portuguese cuisine does not disappoint and teens will love a Lisbon food tour that allows them to try bite-size dishes of local favorites. If you don’t have time for a tour, be sure to make a stop at Time Out Market in the Mercado da Ribeira. This food hall showcases some of the best chefs in the city, and teens will love the variety of dishes. Our teens loved it so much, we ate there for dinner two out of three nights!
Lisbon is the perfect spot for a vacation with teens. With beaches, a rich history, unique museums, and delicious food, it’s sure to be a trip they will never forget!
About the author: Meet Marga, a travel writer, and photographer who used to be a flight attendant and traveled extensively for many years. After settling in Portugal, she started the Discover Portugal blog with insightful and engaging travel stories.