Lisbon with a Toddler

Portugal is such a family-friendly destination, and Lisbon, the country’s largest city did not disappoint. We traveled from Porto to Lisbon by private transfer (due to the rail strikes making travel by train unreliable). Lisbon is an entirely different vibe from Porto – a much larger city, with TONS of hills and steps, and narrow sidewalks. Despite the difficulty getting around (this city is not meant for a stroller) the sites and culture were incredibly toddler-friendly, with every restaurant having a high chair, and many with kids menus. And as usual, the locals were exceptionally friendly.

Lisbon Tram car
Tram cars are the iconic way to get up the steep hills of Lisbon!


After some research on the top family-friendly luxury hotels, we decided to stay at The Lumiares, part of the Small Luxury Hotel collection, which is one of our favorite networks for finding fabulous boutique hotels.


  • Great location across from Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, a scenic terrace with a popular lookout point that also has barracks/food stalls and live music in the summer. Our favorite spot in Lisbon.
  • Suite-style rooms great for families or anyone that needs extra room and a kitchenette. Our room had a living room and kitchen, separate from the bedroom, a layout that’s quite popular in Portugal hotels.
  • Preferred access to Lumi, the popular rooftop bar and restaurant. Although small, the hotel does give preferred seating to guests – we actually invited non-guests to sit with us so that they could get in.


  • The cost is mostly due to the location and sizable rooms. Although it has amenities, you won’t find a grand lobby or a lot of “extras” that you may expect from a 5 star hotel. There’s nothing that makes it feel “above and beyond” at this price point.
  • Beds are queen sized. Normally this wouldn’t bother us, but on this trip we were bed sharing with our toddler so a king would have been ideal, but that is very specific to our situation. A pack and play would only be able to fit in the living room, at least for the suite we were in.
  • Breakfast is only in the Lumi restaurant and is a little pricey. Café Revel on the first floor doesn’t open until 10am so there isn’t a lot of options to grab a quick coffee or water when you need it.
  • Sidewalks out front are very narrow for walking and strollers.
  • A good 10 minutes walk to a metro station.

Our second choice was the Ivens, part of the Marriott portfolio. We chose The Lumiares due to the family-friendly suites, although The Ivens has rave reviews as well and will likely be where we stay next when we return!

Walking through Praça do Comércio
Praça do Comércio

Lisbon Sightseeing with a Toddler

The most challenging part of Lisbon, as anyone will tell you, is the hills. This is especially difficult with a toddler who isn’t quite ready to wander freely on their own two feet without some hand holding, but too big to stick in a carrier. On the advice of other travelers we did get a toddler-sized carrier but she was pushing the weight limit and hated it, so we ended up carrying her most of the way. If your child is small enough (and willing) the carrier is really the way to go.

There are definitely options for strollers, although expect to carry it up and down some steps, or pre-plan your route to avoid stairs as much as possible. (You can also take the iconic tram depending on where you are headed.) We used the stroller when we knew where we were going and followed Google Map’s guidance of what route had stairs. Of course, a small lightweight travel stroller is ideal here (and worth an investment for any city sightseeing).

Our first day, after arriving late afternoon was spent exploring Chiado with a stop at Livraria Bertrand, the world’s oldest bookstore. There was also a lively street scene with performers and a great gelato shop, Amorino.

Despite it’s size (and the stairs) Lisbon is surprisingly walkable. The next day we took a long stroll to the waterfront, stopping in picturesque Praça do Comércio. This area along the water is much more stroller-friendly. From there we continued on to the iconic Pink Street, which is worth a photo stop!

Oceanário de Lisboa

For our last day we decided to take our toddler to the aquarium, Oceanário de Lisboa, which is one of the largest aquariums in Europe.

From The Lumiares, we walked about 10 minutes to the Rosario metro stop which was down a long flight of stairs. (We could have also gone a little further south to Baixa-Chiado to avoid the stairs, which we did on the way home.) We took the green line north to Alameda and transferred to the pink/red line, finally stopping at Oriente station. From there we walked east through the mall. Note: Google Maps will direct you to the waterfront and take the bridge which was closed for construction when we got there. Instead it’s easier to walk south down the path on the road to  the aquarium.

The aquarium features a large central tank with sharks, rays, and a number of different fish. The surrounding tanks represent different oceans and feature all different sea creatures, including penguins and otters. This was a great thing for little kids and let us see another neighborhood. I did think it would be a bit bigger based on  the description, but it was still worth a visit.

Outside the aquarium is a strip of restaurants with outdoor dining great for lunch. We opted for at Honest Greens, a healthy fast casual chain popular in Portugal and Spain.

Toddler-friendly Restaurants in Lisbon

 Bairro do Alivez is a group of 4 restaurants under one roof. We ate at Taberna, a Portuguese restaurant with a great menu, and open all day, which is great when you need a meal before the standard 7pm opening time for most restaurants. Pizzaria Lisboa also is a great spot for families, and a great Italian spot, but opens at 7pm so may not work for those with an early bedtime!

M’arrecreo Pizzeria is a pizza restaurant in the ground floor of the building shared with The Lumiares hotel. This was a great family-friendly option and the pizza was delicious.

Mercado Da Ribeira is the local TimeOut Market that’s worth a visit during the day for lunch where you can choose from a variety of different options at the food stalls. However during peak season it’s VERY crowded and will be difficult to find any seating. You can grab something to-go and eat outside a small park across the street, which also has a playground. (We found playgrounds throughout the country to be quite dinky compared to American ones, but our toddler certainly did not care and enjoyed it!)

The food stalls at Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara were so convenient to our hotel, and with amazing views and great live music it’s a spot we returned to several times!

traveling lisbon with a toddler


  • The Lumiares is a great hotel choice for families looking for extra space in a convenient location.
  • Lisbon is an incredibly family-friendly city with plenty to do and see, but pre-plan your route if you plan to bring a stroller. A baby/toddler carrier is best for navigating the steep hills.
  • Restaurants are very accommodating to kids, and most have high chairs, however beware of the later dinner times as some restaurant open 7pm or later.
  • The aquarium is an easy day trip by metro if you’re looking for a kid-friendly activity, and a chance to explore another neighborhood!

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