Baby vs. Lisbon
It was time to take our first trip with Lumen. I was looking forward to returning to Lisbon, Portugal (16 years later) where my parents eagerly waited for us. We’d spend part of the time with them and the second leg of our trip visiting friends in Spain.
Travelling with a little passenger was a bit of an adjustment: the baby is foreground, everything else is background—in this case a vibrant city filled with tiles and terraces and tarts. While we may have missed out on a few old staples, like stumbling out of bars at night, we learned to slooow down. We spent time as a family, strolled parks and markets, discovered delicious neighbourhood spots, even saw some sunrises. We also leveled-up our parenting skills, changing diapers on the subway platform, breastfeeding in museums and entertaining the little one with every kind of found object. Lumen had her first plane, bus, tram and taxi rides and seemed to love making friends with locals and pawing at the world passing by.
As you might know, Lisbon is famously hilly—so, so, so hilly. Our home base was a comfortable apartment with a killer view in Barrio Alto ("High Borough"). From there it was up and down all day long.
In the next post, I'll list off our top Lisbon hangouts that are a bit of a trek with a baby, but definitely worth it. But first, here are some of our favourite spots that were especially baby (and stroller) friendly:
The newest addition to the city’s art scene is MAAT (Museum of Architecture, Art and Technology) housed in two contrasting buildings. One, a brand new marvel of modern architecture and the other, an old power station, an industrial conversion from the 1950s. Both are completely accessible and located in a beautiful spot right on the Tagus river.
Further down the river is the infamous Belém area. You could spend the afternoon exploring a mix of public spaces and historical buildings, or pop in for a break the Berardo Collection art museum. The cafe and bookshop are quite good—Lumen scored "The School of Art" and I something a little more adult.
Park Estrela is a great place to find shade on a sunny day. It’s packed with exotic plants, has a sweet playground, two cafes and even a tiny community library. A bit of strange trivia: for 70 years a lion was kept in a cage here. Thankfully, today the only animal residents are ducks and they roam free.
Océnario de Lisbon, located on the old exhibition grounds of the ’98 expo is the largest aquarium in Europe (it houses a 5,000 m3 tank and 450 species). The spot is also the start of a cable car ride over the river so you can easily spend a day exploring.
Museu da marionette is a little under the radar but it’s quite appealing for visitors of all ages. Housed in a charming, restored convent building, the collection of expressive puppets and masks spans centuries and continents.
If you’re looking for a casual dining experience prepared by expert hands try Lisbon’s food markets. Centrally located Time Out Mercado Da Ribeira is a maze of busy stalls and satisfied diners. A quieter option is Mercado de Campo de Ourique, just 10 mins from Park Estrela. Grab a mouth-watering picnic and head to a grassy spot.