A little bit of planning makes a visit to Portugal an unforgettable experience for the whole family. There is plenty to see and do for every age group. Situated along the Atlantic Ocean, spending days beachside is a no-brainer but there are plenty more activities perfect for kids, as well as waking up the inner child inside the rest of us.
Known in Portuguese as the Jardim Zoológico, visitors can spend a full day discovering every animal and exhibit inside the park. Over 300 species come from all around the globe, bringing the world to Lisbon. General tickets cost 20,50 €, with reduced prices for children under 13 and seniors, and include access to the dolphin show, bird forest, and reptile house.
Lisbon is home to Europe’s largest indoor aquarium, located in the ultra-modern Parque das Nações neighborhood. The permanent exhibit is the main feature, which circles around a 5 million liter salt water tank. Exhibits showcase mammals, birds, reptiles, and invertebrates in addition to many species of fishes and flora. Children will also love the extra activities, like “sleeping with sharks” where adventurous overnighters can sleep under the blue lights of the main tank.
Castles and palaces have a way of making most people feel young again. Sintra’s mountains are full of majestic views; the three most popular sites are the Castle of the Moors, the Pena Palace, and the Quinta da Regaleira. Spend a day hiking from one castle to the next. The kids will have fun pretending that they are kings and queens while walking through the castle and palace entryways.
Pena Palace and Castle of the Moors Hours 9:30 AM to 8:00 PM
Not only is the Lello & Irmão Bookstore a fantastic place to buy books, it’s also a great site to take beautiful photos as well as geek out on Harry Potter knowledge. The 4€ entrance fee may seem a bit expensive when visiting in a group but it pays towards the books purchased.
The Tele-Cabine is a fun way to see Lisbon’s Parque das Nações from above. The ride extends from the Vasco da Gama Tower at one end to the Oceanarium at the other. Although it only lasts about 10 minutes, this small ride is unforgettable and can pair nicely with other attractions in the area (like a visit to the Oceanarium).
Coimbra has plenty to see and do but the kids may especially like Portugal dos Pequenitos, a theme park that shrinks the country’s major landmarks to a child’s size. Not only does it offer a unique way to learn a bit of history, but kids (and adults) can have fun running through the miniature buildings. Prices range from 5,95 € for children between 3 and 13, and seniors, to 9,95 € for older kids and adults.
Who doesn’t love ocean life? This marine themed park in Algarve is perfect for the whole family, just make sure to set aside an entire day or two to see everything the park has to offer (from rides to shows and a beach area).