Perched just above the city centre, Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon puts you in the middle of a quintessential Portuguese neighbourhood and only steps from Lisbon’s heart. Wake up to views of the sun rising above the red clay tile roofs of the city. Then take the family for a stroll on the main Avenida, where the serene spirit of the place means you can wander at your own speed through the winding streets and graceful architecture of one of the world’s oldest cities.
The concierge will happily give you a map—and the hotel has a detailed new electronic City Guidebook with a designated family section. But you’ll quickly find that the best adventures happen by simply striking up a conversation with a local at the café table next to yours or sending your child out with a ball under his arm. When you’re ready to wind down, find a cozy spot to dine on the ocean’s best from a seat overlooking the Atlantic at Europe’s edge.
*European, with a Moorish heart.
*The laidback, family-centric, maritime culture.
*Just-plucked-from-the-water seafood on its own—or in a succulent Paella.
*Charming architecture, windswept castles and a graceful city on the ocean’s shore.
*Riding shotgun in the sidecar of a motorcycle on a fast-paced and fun tour of the city.
*A hunt to find the diving statue of Vasco, the Oceanarium mascot. (Get to know him ahead of the trip.)
*Riding a bicycle across a tightrope high in the sky or testing out the Velcro wall with your body suit at Pavilhao do Conhecimento (Science Museum)
*Nibbling on Portuguese Piri-Piri Chicken and chips at a sidewalk shop.
*Burning off some energy at Belem Park, then refueling with an ice cream or pastry shop nearby.
*An afternoon with a real bull-fighting matador.
*Surfing class; see Four Seasons Lisbon’s city guide, p. 37-38.
*The winding laneways around St. George’s castle.
*The café scene coffee culture.
*The Four Seasons indoor heated pool alongside a spa sanctuary waiting to pamper…
*A sky-high hotel fitness centre, including a running track and pilates studio with stunning views.
*The outdoor patio off the lobby: the perfect spot to catch some rays.
*Concierge staff armed with ideas, games and a great selection of kids’ DVDs for those days when you just want to relax.
*Browsing the artisanal shops specializing in textiles and ceramics.
*Dinner in Mom-‘n-Pop restaurants in the Barrio Alto with proprietors who take pride in their food and the service—and serenade you with traditional Fado music.
*The view from the top of the famed Santa Justa lift.
*A day trip to the mountain castles of Sintra or the beaches of Ericeira
The fun hotel treasure hunt that will keep the kids busy in the hotel. (Just ask the concierge desk.)
Dine in—Show breakfast its due at the refined buffet in the hotel’s Varanda Restaurant. Then return in the evening to sample some Portuguese favourites while overlooking Eduardo VII Park. A must try: the house Cataplana, a traditional seafood dish slow cooked in a distinctive copper pan, shaped like a giant clam, of the same name.
In-room dining offerings (including a children’s menu and Varanda dishes) allow you to make the most of downtime in your room.
Dine out—Head to Barrio Alto for your pick of great family-owned eateries where the kids will be welcomed. We loved Sinalvermelho. I had the beer chicken with olives, but sneaked big bites of salted cod off my son’s plate. Delicious! And 1 de Maio was also highly recommended. Hop over to Belem for the famous Pasteis, Portuguese custard tarts; also great cheese and bread.
2. Stroll the Avenida and the various neighbourhoods of downtown Lisbon—you’re never too far from a great place to eat, shop, sip or play. Nosh at one of the “kiosks”—each has its own speciality á la Hot Dog Lovers or chocolate cake at O melhor bolo de chocolate do Mundo.
4. Introduce your little monkeys to the Lisbon Zoo’s version. They become mini zookeepers in an interactive animal experience that even takes them inside the Lemur cage.
5. Give back: have your family help out by making lunch for the less fortunate as part of the community project at Comunidade Vida e Paz.
*Babies: Take them out in a sling and relax in the calmness of an early morning or evening walk. Stop in at a sidewalk café to watch the city buzz to life. Or grab a seat on the local tram for a trip up some of the steeper hills. Back at the hotel, make use of the in-room sitter service to provide peace of mind while you explore the city at night.
*Toddlers: Head for the local squares. Any one will do. But if you set them free at the Parque das Nações Oceanarium (see above), you’re guaranteed a sleepy child when you get home.
*Kids 5-10: Take them out for guaranteed giggles on a city tour were they get to ride in a motorcycle sidecar (see above). Or set them loose in the hotel with a treasure map and clues from the concierge on the Four Seasons kids’ treasure hut. They’ll come back with treats in hand and smiles in place.
*Tweens & teens: Take the kids to see a no-animals-killed bullfight where they’ll have a chance to meet the matador! Or teach them a skill, and gives them a thrill, with a photography lesson from the back of a motorbike.
Read more on Lisbon in Four Seasons Magazine.
Read about five great day trips from Lisbon.
Read concierge recommendations for Lisbon.
Based near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Heather Greenwood Davis is a freelance writer whose articles appear in publications such as The Toronto Star, Canadian Family, UrbanMoms.ca and more. She recently returned from a one-year, round-the-world adventure with her husband and two sons, eight and 10. You can read about their journey and the adventures before and since at globetrottingmama.com.
View all posts from Heather
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