Destination Europe

Exploring Lisbon with kids – Day One

Posted on
March 9, 2018

During our visit to Portugal in half term, we spent two days staying centrally at the Martinhal Chiado hotel, which is set in one of the trendiest areas of Lisbon.
The hotel is the perfect base to not only stay with the kids, but is also within a stones throw of the main transport network, offering the chance to explore everything Lisbon has to offer, whether by foot, underground, tram, bus or even tuk tuk.
On our first day in Lisbon we decided to get our bearings and explore Chiado by foot, finding stunning artwork, historic buildings and huge statues around every corner.
River Tagus
At the riverside we got a great view of Cristo Rei, which is one of Lisbon’s most iconic monuments which stands high above the southern banks of the Tejo Estuary.
Cristo Rei
The kids loved walking along the riverside and were mesmerised by the balanced stone statues by the side of the river.
Stone Statues
I have to admit that I thought these represented something like a tribute to lost loved ones, but upon my investigations when we got home I discovered they are just a tourist attraction and a way of making money. They are still worth seeing though.
Just past these stones is Palace Square, otherwise known as Commerce Square, which is shaped liked a letter “U” with the open end facing the Tagus River.
Palace Square
At the heart of the square sits the impressive statue of King Jose I on horseback.
Lisbon - Palace Square
It was also the location we saw our first iconic yellow tram.
The square is situated in the Baixa district of Lisbon and walked through the arch into the heart of the city, which reminded us of Las Ramblas in Barcelona with restaurants lining the streets and seating in the middle of the pedestrianised areas, human statues and music playing.
Lisbon Archway
Baixa itself is full architectural gems, shopping and sightseeing opportunities.
Lisbon Fountain
The kids are not interested in shopping, but were more than happy to race around the squares, admiring the various statues and fountains and also chasing the birds.
Square Lisbon
We did all stop and do a double take at the Cirque de Sardine shop at the edge of Rossio Square which had tins of sardines packed floor to ceiling decorated with either vintage imagery, minimalistic modern designs and even just years on them, perfect for some quirky souvenir shopping.
Cirque de Sardine
At this point it was starting to get late, so we decided to head back in the direction of the hotel, but we didn’t take into account how hilly Lisbon actually is and encountered steps…….lots and lots of steps.
Steps Lisbon
At one point both Eliza and Sebby had to stop for a rest, but were gently persuaded to start climbing again thanks to a local busker who started playing some familiar tunes and making them laugh.
That was probably the one thing that really stood out for us in Portugal – everyone is so friendly, especially with the kids and most speak English too.
The kids were also motivated by the fact that they were going to Martinhal’s Pyjama Club for the evening, where they were having dinner, followed by a film and games night which allowed Hubby and I the chance to explore the area some more.
We had spotted the Santa Justa Elevator whilst exploring, so it was our first port of call when we headed back out for the evening.
Santa Justa Lift
It is a 19th century lift that transports passengers up the steep hill from the Baixa district to the Largo do Carmo and the ruins of the Carmo church, but it also has a viewing platform on the top, perfect for taking photo’s of the city. We arrived about half an hour before sunset, hoping to get some lovely pictures but the queue was much longer than we anticipated and it took almost 90 minutes before we boarded.
Santa Justa Elevator
If I am honest, the lift ride was fairly underwhelming as the lift is sandwiched between two buildings and cost us €5 each. It was then a further €1.50 to take the spiral staircase to the viewing platform, all which is easily accessible on foot in less than a 5 minute walk from the hotel.
View from the Santa Justa Lift
The viewing platform is well worth visiting as the views over the city are spectacular, especially at night as the Castelo de São Jorge is all lit up in the distance.
St George's Castle
It was then back down the spiral staircases to explore some more of the city.
Santa Justa Lift spiralstairs
We did go in search of something to eat, however, opposite our hotel is By The Wine – a wine bar and restaurant that had caught our eye thanks to the 3624 bottles decorating the ceiling, so we ended up heading back there.
By The Wine Lisbon
We were not disappointed and got to try some fantastic Portuguese wines as well as their amazing Tapas and meal offerings.
By the Wine food
We made the most of our rare child-free evening and returned back to the hotel just before 10pm to put the kids to bed so we were ready for round two in the morning.
By the Wine Selfie
To be continued……..

  1. Reply


    March 9, 2018

    Lisbon looks wonderful and great to explore by foot. You seem to have stumbled upon beautiful places at every corner. The wine bar is very impressive, with all those bottles on the ceiling.

  2. Reply

    Bee Nai

    March 9, 2018

    I’ve been dying to go to Lisbon! Looks like your kids are having great fun!

  3. Reply


    March 9, 2018

    We haven’t been to Lisbon with Lucas we went before he was born such a stunning cit. Looks like you had a great time

  4. Reply

    Mayah Camara

    March 10, 2018

    This looks like a really fun place to visit. I love all the architecture. Sounds as though you and the family had a lovely time!

  5. Reply

    Ali - We Made This Life

    March 10, 2018

    Oh wow it looks like such a perfect day! I’ve heard lots about Martinhal hotels, and I like the sound of that kids pyjama club, I think my children would love it!

  6. Reply


    March 11, 2018

    I love when I can explore the city both on foot and easily accessible public transport. Lisbon sounds like a perfect place to explore with the family.

  7. Reply

    Rebecca Smith

    March 11, 2018

    What a fabulous city to explore as a family. Such beautiful architecture too!

  8. Reply

    Fashion and Style Police

    March 11, 2018

    Lisbon looks like a beautiful city. Would love to visit it.

  9. Reply

    Yeah Lifestyle

    March 12, 2018

    Love Lisbon and we want to bring out kids there, so your post is very helpful

  10. Reply


    March 13, 2018

    This looks like a lovely day, you saw do much. Those stones are great but yes I expected it to symbolise a reason!

  11. Reply

    Dena McGuinness

    March 14, 2018

    Lisbon looks like a beautiful place, the buildings are beyond beautiful.

  12. Reply

    Laura H

    March 14, 2018

    I’m disappointed to learn those balancing stones were nothing more than a tourist attraction! I definitely thought that was some sort of memorial too.

  13. Reply

    Eva Katona

    March 15, 2018

    Wow looks fantastic. I can’t wait to visit Portugal as I’ve never been yet.

  14. Reply


    March 15, 2018

    Looks like a really great place to visit. Lots of things to see! {Although that picture of a human statue I think/Bride is really quite terrifying!}

  15. Reply

    Rebecca | AAUBlog

    March 15, 2018

    so good to hear how friendly everyone is there and that they speak English. It looks so stunning too!

  16. Reply


    March 16, 2018

    The balance stone statues on the beach look incredible. They do look similar to other tributes towards fallen men etc, so no wonder they’ve managed to make it into an interesting tourist attraction.

  17. Reply

    emma white

    March 16, 2018

    oh wow it looks and sounds as if you had an amazing day and lots of new memories being made

  18. Reply

    Leigh Travers

    March 16, 2018

    I went to Lisbon at the end of January with my boyfriend and we absolutely adored the city! It looks like you all had a wonderful time too!

  19. Reply


    March 18, 2018

    Oh wow you’re so lucky to have been able to go to Portugal, I’ve always wanted to do! The architecture in Lisbon looks incredible xxx

  20. Reply


    March 18, 2018

    Lisbon looks like an amazing place to explore. Must admit I love the idea of a pyjama club and know my girls would too x

  21. Reply

    Fiona Cambouropoulos

    March 20, 2018

    Such a busy day with so much to take in. I love the look of the city by night and all those pedestrian only squares. The whole places sounds very child friendly and a pleasure to take the family on holiday.
    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

  22. Reply

    Emma MacDonald

    March 21, 2018

    Good to know about the steps and hills, thanks for including that in the post. A member of my family struggles with hills and steps, so it’s really important to know this before we go somewhere. Lisbon looks like a place which is steeped in history and culture. What a wonderful holiday. #CountryKids

  23. Reply

    Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love)

    March 22, 2018

    Lisbon looks like a beautiful city to explore. Those balancing stone statues look fascinating. It’s lovely that everyone was so friendly too. I love the photo of Eliza sitting on the steps and laughing. Love the views over the city too. #countrykids

  24. Reply

    Annette, Four Acorns / Quatre graines de chêne

    March 22, 2018

    Wow Lisbon looks fabulous! Really impressed by the balance stone statues by the river, and the views over the city by night from the viewing platform. Lovely photo throughout.

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Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog