Best Areas To Stay in Lisbon for Families
Lisbon is a great travel destination for families, especially those with small children. There is a lot to do in terms of entertainment, and the Portuguese climate is ideal for little ones.
Not all neighborhoods in Lisbon, however, are suitable for family accommodation. Lisbon’s center in particularly has a rowdy nightlife that can be disruptive to those in need of quiet after a certain point in the evening.
The following would be the best options, while still keeping relatively central.
Belem in Lisbon
Okay, so Belem is hardly central, but it is a great neighborhood for families.
Belem is down the west coast of Lisbon, about a twenty minute drive from the center. It’s far less gentrified and commercial; it’s basically a residential village with some historic monuments on the shoreline that bring in tourists.
The coast of Belem holds the famous tower, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, the MAAT Museum, the Museu Coleção Berardo and the Lisbon Planetarium. These are all within close walking distance of one another, and suitable for family outings.
As you move inland in Belem, it becomes more of a family friendly place to stay. Instead of hotels, you’ll rent townhouses or villas, with quiet gardens and room to park your rental car if need be.
There is little nightlife in Belem, bar a few Portuguese taverns for dinner. Early nights are entirely doable and you won’t have the youth flailing through the streets at all hours of the night like you might in the center.
Santa Cruz in Lisbon
Santa Cruz is closer to the city center than Belem; it sits just north of Chiado and Bairro Alto, a mere two metro stops away.
Santa Cruz is great for families due to its close proximity to the nicer parks of Lisbon. The neighborhood is also considerably cheaper than the center, so everything from food to accommodation won’t set you back as much.
Families will enjoy being close to movie theaters, public swimming facilities and cuisines that span wider than just the Portuguese.
When looking to book in Santa Cruz, keep your options in the lower end of the district. The very north of Santa Cruz becomes a university town so there is a lot more nightlife up here.
Chiado in Lisbon
Chiado is in the very center of Lisbon and is the only part of the center that I would ever recommend for families. It’s the only part that dies down after dinner in the evenings; so putting kids to bed is entirely possible.
Waking up in Chiado is particularly great because you’re in the heart of the action right from the start. It’s also wonderful because cars are not able to pass through this district; it is purely for walking, which is safe for little ones.
This district is known for shopping and entertainment. There are street performers, great restaurants, walking tours and even a mini mall.
When booking accommodation in Chiado you want to keep to the easternmost side. The closer you move west the closer you get to Bairro Alto. This is the anthesis of suitable for families.
Bairro Alto should be explore with young children during the day. By night this is very much a party district; people all over the streets, alcohol and marijuana in abundance, loud music until the early hours of the morning.
Santo Amaro in Lisbon
Santo Amaro isn’t often included in “where to stay in Lisbon” roundups, but I particularly enjoy this part of town for families.
It’s between the city center and Belem, so just the right amount of distance from the chaos without being entirely non-central.
Santo Amaro is the residential district just above the LX Factory on Lisbon’s coast. It’s where a lot of local families live, so there are great Airbnb options for entire houses and other spacious dwellings.
Walking down to the LX Factory each evening for dinner is a beautiful excursion. Families love exploring this art, entertainment and food filled attraction.
This is an especially wonderful neighborhood for religious families who would like access to churches during their stay. Each corner of Santo Amaro is framed by a historic Portuguese church.
Cascais near Lisbon
This one is slightly more left field, but knowing Lisbon as I do now, if I were to visit with a family I would definitely opt to stay in Cascais.
Cascais is the beach and fishing village 40 minutes from Lisbon city center. Pleasant is an understatement when describing this part of the coast. Families enjoy the perks of a beach holiday, and can make their way into the city when they want to do more historic or cultural exploring.
Whats wonderful about Cascais is that it’s small enough for parents to not have to worry about their children’s every move. Kids are regularly seen wandering the village, making friends and playing in the parks without supervision.
It’s a highly community drive place. Every evening the last train back to Lisbon takes the majority of visitors out of Cascais at 9pm. Everything shuts down early and there is immense peace to be enjoyed by night here.
I would recommend Airbnb in Cascais if you can find, but availability might be limited. Alternatively the holiday home rentals can be arranged on most online booking sights.
If you do decide to stay in the city, be sure to book a free guided walking tour for you and your family to enjoy. They’re suitable for all ages!