Our road trip through Spain and Portugal was a chance to really explore these two beautiful countries. As part of this we stopped off for a spring weekend in Lisbon with kids for some city time in one of our favourite places. There really is something about Lisbon, even in early April the sun shines bright and strong, street performers fill the squares with music and life just seems happier.
We drove up from the Algarve, fields of willowy green grass and tall spiky pine trees giving way to the city limits and then suddenly the tall, impressive statue of ‘Christ the King’ just before the majestic 25 de Abril Bridge.
It was wonderful to see this up so close, both were sights we spotted on a mediterranean cruise to Lisbon we had taken and we loved seeing them from a totally different angle.
We stayed in the heart of the old town, in Corpo Santo, a beautiful five star hotel that was so family friendly. The staff couldn’t do enough to make us all feel welcome and it was hard to drag ourselves from the room.
We did head out though, walking the cobbled streets up to Castle Sao Jorge, an atmospheric castle set high up on the hills overlooking the entire city.
The peacocks strutted around, showing off their extravagant plumes and squawking at passers-by.
We climbed up to the battlements at the top, the huge flag of Portugal flapping wildly in the wind and contemplated the layers of history this beautiful building has seen.
I loved walking around the moat, looking up at the sharp, narrow openings where arrows would have flown and seeing the thin gaps where oil would have been poured on to attackers trying to claw their way in.
Then it was time for a pastel de nata stop. You can’t come to Portugal and not eat these delicious custard tarts and we love them. We stumbled upon Pastelaria Santo Antonio which were some of the best we have ever tried (and we’ve tried a few).
We stopped off at the beautiful fountains to run around in the sun a little. The historic claret coloured trams rattling past, houses and shops lining the streets with beautiful tiles covering their facades.
Next stop was to the Lisboa Story Centre which was a wonderful, interactive museum experience. I feel really embarrassed that I didn’t know the history of Lisbon suffering Europe’s worst ever earthquake so it was really interesting and at the same time horrifying to hear about it in graphic detail. The children sat spellbound by the film about this event which showed the catastrophic events and aftermath of Lisbon’s earthquake, fire (caused by candles dropping during the earthquake) and tsunami on the 1st November 1755.
We heard about other areas of Lisbon’s history too, from the early days of the city being settled, to keeping out the Spanish invaders, right up to the modern-day after the streets were rebuilt following the devastating effects of the earthquake.
It was a great insight in to the beginnings of this wonderful city.
After all this history, and walking, we headed back to our hotel for a rest – Corpo Santo have the fantastic benefit of a pancake machine in the afternoons for guests to have some treats which you can then cover with syrup and fruits. It was the perfect post sightseeing pick me up.
After resting our feet for a while and enjoying some time in the hotel we headed out for an evening stroll. This is when Lisbon just glows beautifully. The early spring sunshine was just beaming and slithers of light were catching on the shiny tiled paths as the streets felt alive with the music of the street performers.
We ate dinner at our hotel’s restaurant, The Porter with delicious cauliflower soup, an amazing risotto and the thickest, dark chocolate mousse. We chatted the evening away, talking about our favourite things about Lisbon, from the trams to the custard tarts and from the beautiful pottery to the quirky sardine souvenirs we spotted all over the city.
Our spring weekend in Lisbon with kids was everything we hoped it would be, packed full of activities and sights with history and fun in equal measure. We love you Lisbon, you’re the coolest city and we can’t wait to return.
Thank you to Lisbon Tourist Information for their help with our weekend in Lisbon with kids and Corpo Santo who gave us a complimentary stay for the purposes of our review. All opinions are our own.