Sunshine, sea and cultural attractions galore make the Portuguese capital a thrilling city for kids. Maggie Davis caught up with Emma Swinscoe, founder of The New Voyager maps for her top five off the beaten track picks in Lisbon. Illustrations by Rafaela Rodrigues.
With its historical art scene, stunning views and delicious food, Lisbon is without doubt one of Europe's most appealing cities. A favourite with the Chic Little List due to family connections, we go most years and love it for many reasons including its warm welcome to children (the Portuguese adore babies and children), easy-to-navigate size and mouth-watering pastries (including the world's best pastel de natas). Plus, we have an obsession with tiles and nowhere does tiles like Lisbon.
This year, we'll be armed with this wonderful new map for kids, co-edited by journalist Emma and Álvaro Ramos, head of O Editorial, content agency and the co-founder of Cabana, an online store dedicated to unique products made in Portugal and illustrated by local artist Rafaela Rodrigues.
We love the map's mix of must-do tourist attractions including the Castelo de São Jorge (offering stunning views of the city) and Arco da rua Augusta (360 degree views await you at the top), alongside the lesser known places like Cafe com Calma (order homemade lemonade and pastries) or Estufa Fria (a tranquil park with greenhouses with cacti, mango and banana trees).
The New Voyager map to Lisbon is an insider's guide to all the activities you need to do with your kids while in Lisbon. Enjoy!
The New Voyager was created by journalist Emma Swinscoe in 2014 when she lived in Los Angeles. A keen traveller, she felt the need to create maps tailored for children, inspired by her daughters’ curiosity and her own passion for illustration.
The idea is that children become active leaders of their families’ adventures and grow up as independent travellers.
The New Voyager city guides are all initially hand-painted by a local artist. Each map makes a wonderful souvenir to cherish once back home.
1. Jardim da Estrela
Located in one of Lisbon's prettiest neighbourhoods and overlooked by the Basilica da Estrela, this tranquil park boasts a beautiful play area as well as a lake and bandstand. São Bento Palace and quirky
Marionette Museum (puppet museum) are all within easy walking distance.
The New Voyager tip: 'Look for the library kiosk nestled in the middle of the park, pick up a book and relax on the grass!'
Jardim da Estrela, 1200-667 Lisbon.
2. Oceanário de Lisboa
There are aquariums and there's Lisbon's awesome Oceanário. Set by the river Tagus, with an impressive 1,000m2 tank, it's one of the few aquariums in the world to home the weird and wonderful sunfish. We highly recommend a trip in one of the cable cars afterwards for great views of the iconic Vasco de Gama bridge.
The New Voyager tip: 'Discover under water wonders and learn how to preserve our oceans. How many sharks and seahorses can you count?'
Oceanário de Lisboa, Esplanada Dom Carlos I s/nº, 1990-005 Lisbon.
3. Gelataria Nannarella
The Chic Little List household visits this small family-run Italian ice cream parlour every time we're in Lisbon. Popular with locals as well as politicians from the nearby Assembleia da República, it's the place to buy ice-cream thanks to its yummy natural flavours. A short walk from Jardim da Estrela, above.
The New Voyager tip: 'This tiny ice cream parlour is the best in town: try their coconut sorbet!'
Gelataria Nannarella, Rua Nova da Piedade nº 68, 1200-299 Lisbon. (351 926 878 553).
4. Café com Calma
Laid-back, friendly and full of mismatching old furniture, this cafe is a great place to while away a couple of hours between sites when you all need some sustenance, and isn't too far from the Oceanário.
New Voyager tip: 'This cafe with its sofas, plants and lots of light is the ideal place to brunch. Order homemade lemondage and local pastries in as much Portuguese as you can.'
Cafe com Calma, Rua do Açúcar 10
5. Baobá Livraria
If you find yourself in Jardim de Estrela, above, this inspiring bookshop is a short walk away and a great place to immerse yourself in Portuguese kids' culture.
New Voyager tip: 'This kids' bookstore has a top-notch selection of illustrated stories, some in English and in French. Pick a picture book edited by Orfeu Negro, Bruaa or Serrote, three wonderful Portuguese writers.'
Baobá Livraria, Rua Tomás da Anunciação, 26-B
Getting there: Flights from £44 from Heathrow to Lisbon with TAP.
When to go: Spring, summer and autumn are all lovely times to go. Be aware that it does get really hot in summer months with the temperature sometimes rocketing up to 30 C and above in July and August.
For more information visitlisboa.com