How to Celebrate a Birthday in Lisbon
Whether you're looking for a fine-dining restaurant or a football game, here's how to mark the occasion
Whatever your age, you’re likely to feel a little older after traipsing up and down the hills of the Bairro Alto (it even has the Portuguese for ‘old’ in its name). The city is a great place for a birthday, because it has such a range of activities for all types of people. Sun soaker? Head to the beaches on the Atlantic Coast. More of a romantic? There are plenty of little cave-like restaurants adorning the historic centre. Meanwhile, the modern and innovative side of the city provides a wealth of family-fun entertainment for the little ones on their birthday in Lisbon.
It’s a city of movement, with the old-world trams chugging through the undulating city centre and the cable cars rising above the coast in the Parque das Nações. What better way to symbolise the movement of years…tick tock, tick tock. But it’ll still be fun, right?
Parque das Nações
We at Plum Guide have put our heads together to come up with the ultimate place for a family birthday. Your little one will love this modern park (well, it’s more of the cement kind of park, although there are some nice patches of grass for a quick nap between activities).
It’s a little way out from the historic centre, and makes for a bit of a change. Bring the kids past the tanks of the Oceanário de Lisboa, which is a fancy Portuguese way of saying aquarium. Check out the sharks and threaten to throw your kids in there if they don’t start behaving and contributing to the household income. Or something. As long as they're old enough to be earning…
The Knowledge Pavilion is a bit of a haughty name, right? But it does what it says on the tin, in that it’s a pavilion (well, more of a museum) that provides one with knowledge. It’s got a great range of sciency exhibits and interactive displays that’ll entertain the kids (while secretly teaching them stuff).
This is a great birthday party so far. Just make sure to pick out some presents at the adjacent Centro Vasco da Gama mall. On a rainy day, you could take the family to watch a movie in the cinema. Then jump on the Telecabine Lisboa cable car and look down at everything you’ve done on this perfect birthday in Lisbon.
Here’s one for football fans and adrenaline junkies. You’ll have noticed the colourful flags and memorabilia in some of the official shops of Benfica and Sporting Lisbon, the two major teams in the city. They absolutely hate each other – in the early 1900s, all the players left one team for the other just before the big classico derby. Pick up tickets online for the hot cauldrons of Benfica’s Estádio da Luz or Sporting’s José Alvalade Stadium for a birthday you’ll never forget.
OK, we’re still on the kids’ theme. We at Plum Guide do understand that you may or may not be a child and will endeavour to do our best to provide some classy adult activities in the following paragraphs. But for now, this place is at the cross-section of children and adults, because it lets kids pretend to be grown-ups. They can work and earn little tokens to pay for groceries and what-not. If only they were this responsible and ambitious at home.
Finally, something for the adults (although kids will enjoy this too). This trendy district is packed with art galleries and boutique indie shops in converted warehouses. Snack on some brigadeiros (chocolate balls) and pastéis de natas (custard-like pastries) and people-watch from a café, before inspecting the experimental art on display.
Now we’re getting down to business with a true Lisbon food tour. Try the French cuisine at the charming Grenache or tuck into Mediterranean food at the ALMA Henrique Sa Pessoa. Reserve a place at the Lisboete Restaurante or the Feitoria Restaurant & Wine Bar. For something a little off-the-cuff, wander up and down the hills of the Bairro Alto and dine at one of the little hidden gems.
Lisbon is all about the Fado. It’s a type of traditional folk music thought to originate in Lisbon in the early 1820s. Attend one of the Fado shows for a real ‘authentic’ (that magic word) experience for your birthday in Lisbon. Try the famous Café Luso for Fado entertainment from evening into the early hours (knowing you can have a luxurious lie in at your delightful Plum home afterwards).
What could be better than leaving your Plum Guide home like Azurro and heading down to the beach and sunbathing all day. Play volleyball and take on the water sports on one of the golden strands decorating the Atlantic Coast by the enchanting Sintra (which is full of castles and museums). Choose between the Praia das Maçãs, the Praia Grande and the Praia da Ursa among many others.
Sold on celebrating a birthday in Lisbon? We could've guessed as much. Browse our collection of homes in Lisbon and start planning your future trip. Only the top 3% of vacation homes pass the Plum Guide test, meaning you're in safe (and stylish) hands when you stay with us. Or if you want to keep reading, take a look at our guide to exploring Lisbon with kids next.