Family Holiday Guide to Porto and Lisbon

Zoe Schaeffer Travel Agent wearing gray shirt in open room with brown and white tiles
Curated By

Zoe Schaeffer

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  • Portugal

  • Lisbon

  • Arts & Culture

  • City Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • International Travel

  • Architecture

  • Foodie

  • Sightseeing

View of boats in the water and colorful houses in Portugal
Curator’s statement

Portugal is an excellent destination for a multi-generational trip. Its principal cities: Porto and Lisbon, are predominantly walking cities with plenty of history, classical architecture and unique local dishes. While Portugal may be best known for its soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, there is more to the nation than football. Discover the country’s obsession with tiling as well as its love for custard desserts and, of course, its Japanese influence. Both cities are a great option for a week-long holiday in western Europe.

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Where to stay in Porto and Lisbon

Santa Clara 1728 - Silent Living

Designed by the famed Lázaro Rosa-Violán, this hotel is a favorite for its cozy and tranquil environment.

São Lourenço do Barrocal

Stunning 200-year-old estate where the unspoiled meadow and vineyard scenery takes center stage.

Fora Perks
  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

  • Farm-to-table breakfast daily.

  • Choice of $100 Spa credit or $100 horseback riding credit.

Torel Palace Porto

Located in the heart of Porto, Torel Palace is an oasis within the city, featuring a refreshing plunge pool and unique Portuguese gastronomy.

Fora Perks
  • Complimentary drink and bottle of wine.

  • Welcome fruit plate in room.

  • Upgrade to next room category, based on availability.

Zoe Schaeffer Travel Agent wearing gray shirt in open room with brown and white tiles

Unlock perks by contacting Zoe to book your trip.

Things to do in Porto and Lisbon

Building with blue and yellow tile wall and burnt yellow door in Portugal

Portuguese Tile

When in Portugal, take pictures in front of the magnificent tiles at Porto's Sao Bento Railway Station. It is a lovely spot to get a true feeling of the country and its love for ornate tiling. You can also get inspired at the National Tile Museum and even paint your own tile in a workshop.

Culinary Indulgences

The most famous custard pastry from Portugal is the Pastel de Nata. Order one just about everywhere you go! If you want to delve further into the local culinary scene, embark on a street food tour and taste-test the country's best bifana sandwich and fried cod poppers. 

Cultural Destinations

Wander the expansive and multi-leveled gardens of the Fundação Serralves art foundation to discover unique pieces within the majestic space. After, consider a bike along Porto's Douro River. Then you can visit curator Filipa Almeida's studio for unique pottery to tote home (she doesn't ship, so choose wisely!) Finally, the country is full of individual family-owned stores in Lisbon and Porto. Amongst the stand-outs is the oldest candle shop and one with a selection of the prettiest tin fish. Indulge in some good, old-fashioned shopping!

A note from Zoe

Monsaraz in Alentejo, is an unexpected and delightful visit to an all-white, hill-top castle town dotted with sweet little shops that sell beautiful chocolates and pretty bottles of gin. There's an art gallery in an old church and insane countryside views. Your pictures will look like you stepped into a fairytale, especially if you luck out on a misty day.

Eat & drink in Porto and Lisbon

Freshly made Pastel de Nata in Portugal

Cantinho do Avillez: This Lisbon restaurant hails from one of the country's famous chefs, Jose Avillez. The food is top-notch, and the dining room is charming and cozy. It serves some of the best baked cod in town. 

Cervejaria Ramiro: You cannot visit Portugal without a trip to a locals-favorite, Ramiro, for the most extraordinary shellfish of your life (expect to see five different species of prawns on the menu). 

Tasca Kome: Portugal has strong ties with Japan and takes their Japanese food seriously. This Japanese restaurant is a sweet down-home spot in downtown Lisbon that offers straightforward food with little twists like sushi rolls in brown rice. 

Prado Restaurante: This restaurant hosts one of the best meals you will have in Portugal. Housed in a minimalist room draped with greenery, the food is uniquely Portuguese. (Think: calamari in ham broth) and simply fabulous. Expect to order way too many plates!  

Sao Lourenço do Barrocal: This restaurant in Alentejo serves the best breakfast in town with everything from honey-seed bars to homemade honey and sourdough, locally cured meats and even grilled vegetables. Plus, you can order omelets with herbs grown in the garden if the spread is simply too overwhelming. 

BOA-BOA: A cool chain restaurant that serves up kid-friendly (but elevated) bao and all kinds of curry and kimchi. 

Tapisco: An outstanding choice for lunch when you want some shared plates. Enjoy the tuna tartare, braised peas and grilled octopus.

Zoe Schaeffer Travel Agent wearing gray shirt in open room with brown and white tiles

Travel Advisor

Zoe Schaeffer

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