Short-term Vacation Rentals & Holiday Apartments

Is a vacation rental or holiday apartment the right choice for your time in Lisbon? How can you possibly find the right one? Never fear! We’re here to help you figure it out…

What is a Holiday Rental?

A Vacation Rental or Holiday Rental is any residential property that is made available to travellers on a short-term basis.

Other commonly used names for these types of properties include: short-term rentals, holiday homes, holiday flats/apartments and holiday lets (UK). The term self-catering rental implies that no meals are served, while serviced apartments often provide many hotel-type extras. In warmer climates, fancier homes are often called holiday villas. Rental properties in rural areas often use the terms farm stay, cottage holidays (UK) or gîtes (France).

Unlike hotels, and even aparthotels–which normally have multiple rooms/units of the same type–each and every holiday rental is unique. Options range from yurts, campers or tee-pees in the woods to funky city lofts to lovely family homes to fully-staffed luxury villas in tropical locations.

This variety is both the fun and the challenge of renting and managing vacation rentals.

Why stay in a Vacation Rental?


holiday rentals on a typical street
A typical street in Lisbon

Because every vacation rental is unique, finding a good holiday home can make your vacation feel perfectly personal, unique and authentic.

Travellers looking to “live like a local” will more easily find that by renting a holiday home in a residential neighborhood, rather than a room in a hotel or resort complex.

Also, many short-term rental owners go out of their way to help guests feel a part of their community. For example, we cultivate relationships with excellent local restaurants and always point out the best neighborhood shops at check-in.


Most short-term rentals include the whole house, or at least access to kitchen and laundry facilities. This means that you have more room than you would in a hotel. Besides the fact that being able to cook some of your own meals can lower stress when travelling with children!

Plus, you’re free to do things on your own schedule–no more running down to catch the tail-end of a hotel breakfast or setting your watch to some restaurant’s opening hours.


Preparing some meals at home–even if it’s only breakfast–can also save a bit of money, allowing you to splurge on more interesting, more central accommodation.

Besides that, because most holiday apartments are rented as a unit (rather than priced per-person), they are often less expensive for a group of 3-4 adults than a comparable hotel would be.

Holiday Homes vs Hotels

When compared to hotels, holiday rentals offer more space, more privacy and less service.

In a holiday home, you have your own bedroom plus separate living space, something that’s rare in a hotel. There’s also no reception, and (generally) no staff to gossip about what you’re up to.

On the other hand, there’s no on-site reception to give you advice or find a lost key, no daily cleaning, and nobody to make you breakfast…

Depending on your preferences, a short-term rental might be exactly what you want. Or not.

Why NOT to stay in a Holiday Flat?

Too much adventure

Where one person sees an exciting adventure, another sees a stressful risk. Because short-term rentals are all so different, sometimes you can end up with a less-than-stellar experience. There’s even a term for rentals than don’t match the advertisement: SNAD, or “Significantly Not As Described”. But if you choose your rental carefully, there’s no reason to think you’ll be disappointed.

Still, everyone is different, and holidays are supposed to be fun and relaxing. Don’t make yours stressful! If the idea of staying in a holiday rental has you feeling anxious, rather than adventurous… just don’t.

Not enough service

There are holiday rental people, and there are hotel people. If you like the snazzy breakfasts and daily cleaning at a hotel, a short-term rental may not be right for you.

Also, services provided vary from rental to rental: some owners/managers are very available, while some are more hand-off. We’re happy to let guests explore on their own, but–for those that prefer it–we provide a virtual consierge service and even have a local boutique hotel that will let our guests join the breakfast buffet! Be sure to ask about the services and amenities that are most important to you.

Rules about Holiday Rentals in Portugal

Vacation rentals in Portugal are refered to as Alojamento Local (AL). Each one must have an official registry number and there are minimum safety standards. These safety standards are very minimal, however (fire extinguisher, window coverings, doors that functionally lock, etc.), so you’ll still want to do some research to find the right rental for you.

How to choose the perfect Short Term Rental

There are so many options in Lisbon, and so many of them are BEAUTIFUL! We’re thrilled to see how the quality has improved over the last few years.

But that does make it hard to know which rental to choose. No worries! We’ll help you through the steps:

1) Choose a neighborhood.

This is really the place to start. Try to stay close to the things you want to see, so you don’t waste time shuttling from place to place. Don’t rent an apartment over a bar if you’re travelling with kids. Read up on the different neighboorhoods and find YOUR best place to stay in Lisbon.

Think about your group, about how you’ll get around and what you want to see. Then, outline the area you’re interested in on a map (even if it’s just a mental one).

2) Search for holiday rentals available for your dates.

All of the major Vacation Rental websites allow you to view the search results as a map. Compare your results to the neighborhood(s) you chose in the previous step.

Don’t forget the little guy!

Many owners have their own websites (like the one you’re reading!), even though they probably also list their properties on the big search sites. Try searching online for the personal websites of vacation rentals in your chosen area.

By going to the owner’s website, you save everyone the commissions that the big sites charge. Plus you’ll have a better feel for both the property and the owner, which can help you be more comfortable with your choice. And last but not least, you’ll almost certainly get more personalized service.

3) Choose your top options.

Look at the photos and at the comments or reviews from past guests. Choose a couple of properties that speak to you, then ask any and all questions you may have.

If you’re still feeling a little nervous, you can look for properties that have been verified or inspected. Alastair Sawday’s is a great resource.

4) Book!

Once you’ve found that perfect vacation rental, go ahead and book–either on-line or over the phone.

Be sure to check cancellation policies before making your booking payment and consider buying trip insurance.

What do you think? Are you ready to give Short-term Rentals a try? Find your Historical Holiday Home below!

Maps & Introduction – Pena (Arroios), Rossio, Lisboa

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Welcome to the Bairro da Pena

[column width=”one-third”]Our neighbourhood, or bairro, is called Pena and begins at the north-east corner of the Rossio, arching up to the large tree-filled park known as Campo dos Mártires da Pátria.

On the southern tip of the Arroios parish, Pena is a family neighbourhood, home to the Italian Embassy, German Embassy, grassy parks and ponds… and the birthplace of Amália Rodrigues.

It’s a non-touristy, quintessentially Portuguese residential area: no hotels, no all-night clubs, no panhandlers. Per the recommendation in “Junior Jetsetter’s” guide book:

[font size=”12pt”]”This experience is for those wanting to chat up old neighbours and dive into Lisbon’s rhythm.“[/font]

For more photos of our neighbourhood, view our Christmas in Lisbon Photo-Tour. (Photos courtesy of professional photographer, M. Achterman.)[/column]

[column width=”one-third-last”]Pena neighbourhood, Rossio, Lisbon[/column]

Lisbon Maps

The map below shows the triangular neighbourhood of Pena, bordered by the Avenida de Liberdade on the left, Rua da Palma (R.Palma) on the right, and the Campo Mártires da Pátria at the top, with the Rossio at its bottom point.

[google_map src=”!1m10!1m8!1m3!1d6225.99553197694!2d-9.140023138623047!3d38.7178602758895!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!5e0!3m2!1sen!2spt!4v1426939187345″ width=”100%” height=”600″]


From Google Earth: Satellite Photo of VisitingPortugal Holiday Rentals

For another perspective, here are the various locations of our houses, seen from the Bairro Alto:

Pena neighbourhood, Rossio, Lisboa


Our guests tend to over-estimate Lisbon’s climate, so it’s probably not going to be as hot as you imagine.All year long, our hill receives cool breezes straight off the River Tejo such that the average August high is just 82F/28C. This means many summer days will be cooler than this. On the other hand, yes, it will occasionally be in the 90s, but never for very long. (For these days, we installed AC!)

That said, if you live or are “sight-seeing” somewhere that doesn’t receive these unobstructed Atlantic breezes, the heat can build up and be oppressive.

Evenings: Even in August, the evening temps can be chilly. (Average August low is 63F/16C; expect lower temps at our places, because of those cool breezes.)

No matter when you visit: pack a sweater or light jacket.

[google_map width=”100%” height=”245″ src=”, Portugal”]

Eating Well

Pena also hosts Lisbon’s open-air Restaurant Row, Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, a pedestrian-only boulevard devoted to gastronomical indulgence. Popular favorites include the Michelin-rated Gambrinus, Solar dos Presuntos and Bom Jardim.

Restaurant row, Pena, Lisbon

Here is a link to an interactive googlemap of our favorite local restaurants and cafés: Local Restaurants and Cafés

Getting Around

Our neighborhood funicular (trolley), 120-year old Elevador do Lavra, is one of the most charming amenities offered by Casa Villa Serra, Casa Joaquina and Casa Pátria. (Casa Santana and Casa Travessa are too close to the Rossio to justify walking over to the funicular stop.)

The first funicular in Lisbon, Elevador do Lavra rattles up and down the hillside every 15 minutes, every day. Soon you’ll be riding like a local, cheerfully showing the tourists how and where to punch their tickets. In the picture, below, Elevador do Lavra is at its lower stop on the end of Rua das Portas de Santo Antão.

Lavra tram, Pena, Lisboa

This meandering 14th-century stairway — with its famous 186 steps — is another favorite way to bop down from Casa Villa Serra, Casa Joaquina or Casa Pátria to the Rossio. Lisbon is criss-crossed with these medieval thoroughfares: we encourage our guests to spend an enjoyable day wandering the city along these lanes, accompanied by the beat of Lisbon’s ever-flapping laundry.

Stairs, Pena, Lisbon

And here we have Lisbon’s Rossio square, with the imposing, white Dona Maria National Theatre guarding the entrance to Restaurant Row. Our neighborhood, Pena, is in the background.

Pena, Rossio, Lisboa

[font size=”12pt”]Come and see![/font]

Maps & Introduction – Armona Island, Olhão, Algarve

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Welcome to Armona Island

Armona Island (“Ilha de Armona”) is a pedestrian-only retreat, owned and managed by the Ria Formosa National Park, and reachable via a 15 minute walk-on ferry from Olhão, the Algarve’s largest fishing port. The quick boat ride is a perfect buffer between you and the Algarve crowds: Armona’s many beaches are blissfully empty each morning and evening, and the more hidden of Armona’s beaches — such as the one directly behind Casa Armona— are delightfully wide open during the day… even in August. Perfect for your family holiday!

Ria Formosa

The Ria Formosa is an estuary that runs much of the length of the Eastern Algarve. The Ria Formosa Natural Park is a 60km protected coastal zone, dedicated to protecting the wildlife and culture of this area. A large part of the park is made up of the barrier island system, including Armona Island. Shellfish farming is extensive, with 80% of Portuguese clam exports coming from this area alone. For more information, read about Ria Formosa Natural Park.

What does pedestrian-only mean, really?

Armona Island has a “main street” that starts at the ferry dock and is only a few buildings long, before giving way to houses and the occational shop or café. All motor traffic is prohibited (aside from occational service vehicles belonging to the Park), so you’ll share the small paved lane with other people on foot, a few bicylces, scooters and skates–mostly belonging to children. Since you leave the crowds and hotels behind you in Olhão, the island is the perfect place to relax, and–in the morning and evenings–the beaches will be practically deserted, even in the summer.


Pack light. Dress is casual in the Algarve. But bring a light sweater/sweatshirt–the evenings can be cool and breezy, even in August.

Eating Well

Restaurants on Armona Island

There is an area of restaurants, cafés and a small grocer just as you get off the ferry, jokingly referred to as the “Baixa” or “downtown”. The two largest restaurants are Tolinhas (on the right) and Carlos (on the left). The food at Tolinhas is simple, tasty and classically Portuguese–plus the outdoor seating area is lovely. They also do takeaway (bring your own tupperware). If it’s too warm or too cold to eat outside, go for Carlos: the food is–in our experience–not quite as good, but the indoor seating is much more pleasant. And don’t miss the less obvious restaurant/bar tucked behind Carlos, for a younger, trendy-er vibe: just follow the chalkboard signs just past the grocer on the main “street”. All three restaurants are open regularly throughout the year, and at least one will be open at any given time.

Along with these three restaurants, there are several cafés clustered around the dock which serve coffee, snacks, ice cream and drinks. Again, at least one will be open whenever you visit.

During the warmer months, there is also a restaurant/café/grocer about halfway to the Atlantic beach (across from the playground), and a lovely café, which also serves light meals, overlooking the Atlantic beach itself.

Eating in

There are three small grocers on the island itself: one in the area by the dock, another 50 meters down the road (under a big green awning) and a third halfway to the Atlantic beach, across from the playground. The grocer under the awning sometimes has fresh fish, and there is a fruit stand next door with more fresh produce.

Every morning except Sunday, Olhão has a bountiful indoor market at the foot of the ferry terminal: fish, fruit, meats, pastries, nuts, flowers… this is the largest market in the Algarve. If you can’t find what you want at the market, a major grocery store (Pingo Doce) is one block from the ferry dock.

At Casa Armona, we provide a starter supply of spices, staples (oil, vinegar, pasta, coffee, OJ) and paper products, along with our other standard amenities.

What to do…

…on the island?

On the first day, most people enjoy breakfast pastries at an Armona café before splitting up: some head for the Olhão market while the others hit the beach until the lunch reunion. Beyond that… play on the beaches. Catch and eat clams. Build sandcastles. Hike the dunes. Rent kayaks or schedule a boat tour for a different perspective. Try our local fish/seafood recipes, coaxed from the Olhão fish-vendors themselves. Swim. Read. Sleep. Go back to the beach. Enjoy your authentic Portuguese neighbors. Play on the playground. Play boardgames. Cheat at cards. Ride the ferries to nearby Farol (“Lighthouse”) and Culatra Islands. Sit at the café and watch the fishing boats pass by. Enjoy the sunset over the ocean. Lay on the beach and count the falling stars… brilliant!

…and off the island?

Browse the Olhão markets, shops and historic center. Picnic at the Ria Formosa Natural Park, hike the 3km trail, learn about the ingenious Portuguese tidal mills, salt flats, Portuguese water dogs and Eastern Algarve water fowl and bird-watching. Drive 25 minutes — or take the train — to Tavira, the “loveliest town” in the Algarve (romantic, too). Grab your swimsuits and drive 90 minutes for a day of fun at either Zoomarine, for animal shows and plenty of swimming, or Aqualand, the Algarve’s largest water park. And Sevilla, Spain is a 90 minute drive from Olhão.

Getting there

  1. Take a taxi from the Faro airport (20 minutes, €20 including luggage and tip) or park your car in Olhão (except for the weekend surrounding the Annual Seafood Festival, approximately August 15, Olhão has plenty of free street parking). If you are staying with us, we’ll send you an Olhão map highlighting the ferry terminal, parking, internet café, etc.
  2. If your arrival coincides with the regular ferry, buy a ticket and hop onboard. Otherwise, use the fast, fun 24-hour taxi-speedboats (€25 for up to 8 people). Even in low season, there are at least 3 regular ferries a day: morning, noon and evening. Very convenient.
  3. Walk off the boat, wheeling your suitcase behind you for the three-minute walk to Casa Armona.

Where can I get a ferry schedule?

Right here: Olhão-Armona Ferry Schedule (The second block is the Olhão/Armona timetable. Please note that the first section is for June/September, the second for July/August, and the last for the “non-summer” months.)

Lisbon with kids: Bring the kids to Lisbon!

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Should you visit Lisbon with kids? Of course you should!

“One of life’s great pleasures is travelling with your children.”

Lisbon is a wonderful city to visit with children: Many of the main attractions are kid-friendly (St. Jorge’s Castle, Sintra, the Alfama, the Expo/Park of the Nations area…) and most of the museums are small and specialized. It’s a great city for walking and public transportation is easy to use, plentiful and inexpensive. Best of all, the Portuguese love children and will go out of their way to make them feel welcome.


On this page: Our tips for seeing Lisbon with kids

What to see
Where to stay
How to get around
Where to eat
Where to find a potty
When to go
What else you should know…

What to see

The “…with kids!” section of our blog has an ever-growing list of things to see in Lisbon with children, but the suggestions below are some of our personal favorites.

Just–or mostly–for the kids

No trip to Lisbon with kids would be complete without a vist to the Oceanarium. Ranked among the best aquariums in the world, the Oceanarium is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe. (And that “indoor” part can be a real Godsend on very hot or very rainy days…) The layout is interesting and there are informative, interactive displays that will keep older children engaged. Meanwhile, the giant fish in the central “Deep Ocean” tank are a treat for kids from 9 months to 99 years!

The Lisbon zoo is also popular with the younger set. In recent years, ongoing renovations have created more and more “naturalized” exhibition areas, meaning there’s lots of shade and even some hidden playgrounds. It’s a big place, so–if the little ones get tired of walking before they’ve seen everything they want to see–be sure to ride the cable car, which gives you a bird’s-eye view of the entire zoo (including a fly-over of the lion enclosure, yikes!).

The city of Lisbon is also dotted with small parks and playgrounds, if you keep your eyes open.

But don’t forget the history!

Besides these kid-specific locations, Lisbon is a living history lesson. Make the most of it! Start off at the Lisboa Story Center for a multi-media summary of Portuguese history, then pick one–or more–periods to explore further. Some historical attractions that will hold the interest of children and adults include:

Lisbon with kids Defending the Castle
Defending the Castle

[u_list style=”star”]

  • St. Jorge’s Castle: Be sure to patrol the ramparts at the top of the walls, looking for attacking Moors–or Spaniards! Look for Family Sundays during your stay for extra fun…;
  • Belém: See the tomb of Vasco de Gama, the first European to sail around the Cape of Good Hope to India, at the Jerónimos Monastery. Then pretend to send off your own fleet of caravelas (the distinctive ships used by the Portuguese in the Age of Discoveries) from the Belém Tower;
  • Sintra: So many castles and palaces, so little time! For those who love to run and explore, the Moorish Castle is great. For the Disney princess in your group, don’t miss Pena Palace. And if you have time, the Quinta da Regaleira is both mysterious and fascinating.[/u_list]

If you’d like some help making Lisbon’s history interesting for your children, talk to Little Lisbon about their walking tours and guided visits. (No affiliate link there, folks, we just think it’s a great project!)

Last but not least, museums

Most museums in Lisbon are small and specific, with means they take only a few hours to view. This is perfect when you’re travelling with kids, since that’s about all they can take. A couple of our favorites are:[u_list style=”star”]

  • Museu Calouste Gulbenkian: This small, eclectic museum is based around the personal collection of an Armenian oil baron who retired to Lisbon and willed the city a foundation that would bear his name. Perhaps because it was a private collection, the whole thing seems to “go together” somehow, despite including art multiple periods, styles and regions. The temporary exhibits are also, in our experience, excellent. And last but not least, the Museum is surrounded by lovely gardens that include a cafe.
  • Museu de Água: A museum about WATER? I know, I know, it sounds like a total yawn. But my 10 year old daughter went on a field trip the Museu de Água and she loved it. Highlights include exploring an aquaduct soaring over the city and climbing down into glittering cisterns hidden under a perfectly normal-looking park.[/u_list]

And for those hard-to-please teens?

We wrote a blog post all about the joys of seeing Lisbon with teens, but the highlight activities included:[u_list style=”star”]

  • Beaches, with or without surf lessons;
  • Sports: biking, skating, rock-climbing, parkour… and futbol/soccer everywhere, either as a player or a spectator;
  • Shopping, especially in the Baixa, where there are plenty of alternative acitivities for non-shoppers.[/u_list]

What to skip

Fado. Not in general, of course–we love Fado. But it tends to happen in small, crowed restaurants, late in the evening, over long meals and lots of wine. And most importantly, the audience is supposed to maintain strict silence while Fado is sung. So unless you have a babysitter (which we’re happy to help guests find, by the way!), or your child really loves music, fado should probably be left for adult-only holidays.


Where to stay

We’re obviously biased, since we own and manage vacation rentals, but we do think that having your own house or apartment is a flexible, convenient, affordable way to stay in Lisbon with kids. Many places have child-friendly amenities, as we do, or these can be rented. We also stock our houses with books, games and art supplies, as well as providing child safety gates, ice packs (for bumps and bruises) and first aid kits. Both TripAdvisor and AirBnb allow you to search for places that have been reccommended for families by previous guests.

Beyond that, stay near the city center. Lisbon is not an easy city to drive or park in, and children can only walk so much. The closer you are to the center of town, where the main tourist attractions are, the easier your stay will be. However, be careful of the Bairro Alto, where the rousing nightlife means there may be a lot of noise in the evenings (and, honestly, through most of the night…).


How to get around

Speaking of not driving, how should you get around Lisbon with your children? For the most part, on foot, on the metro or using taxis/Ubers.

Public transportation in Lisbon–especially the metro–is easy to use, inexpensive, and covers most of the city. The trams are charming and very much an adventure for kids, as they shudder up and down the hills. Children under 4 ride for free. If you’re tired or want to go somewhere not on a metro line, just hop in a taxi or an Uber. Child seats are not required in taxis–Ubers keep a booster seat in the trunk–and there is no charge for putting a stroller (or wheelchair) in the trunk/boot.

To stroller or not to stroller…

Lisbon with kids on a hill
Big hills make for great views!

Lisbon is a very walkable city, but it is not a stroller-friendly city. Hills are steep. Sidewalks are narrow, twisting and often cobbled. Stairways abound. Consider babywearing, not as a lifestyle statement, but simply as a practical alternative to wheels. If you don’t babywear at home, you can rent (or borrow, if you’re a guest) an ergonomic carrier from us.

If you choose to use a stroller, bring the lightest one you can. Something one step up from an umbrella stroller (with slightly larger wheels and some suspension for those cobbles, but that still folds up into almost nothing) is perfect. I’ve used Chicco Liteway and London strollers with good results. An added benefit: they fit through the normal doors in the metro, so you don’t have to wait for someone to open the special, larger door.


Where to eat

All but the fanciest restaurants will happily accommodate children. Most will have highchairs or booster seats, and very few will complain if your one-year-old makes something of a mess (go ahead, ask me how I know this…).

However, food service is not snappy (this is cultural–rushing through meals is believed to be bad for you). Bring something for the kids to do while you wait for your meal. Drawing on the paper tablecloth covers is acceptable, as long as the pens don’t bleed through, so a box of crayons may be enough. If you know your children tend to get antsy, try to sit near the door or in the esplanada (outdoor seating area) so that one adult can take the kids outside while you wait for your food to arrive.

How to feed picky eaters

Many larger places will have a children’s menu, but almost any restaurant will be able to make you one the following:[u_list style=”star”]

  • Omlete, made simple, with cheese or misto (cheese and ham), and normally served with rice and/or French fries;
  • Bife com batatas fritas, a thin slice of meat–normally turkey breast or pork leg–served with French fries;
  • Tosta mista, a grilled ham and cheese sandwich: melting, buttery and delicious. Mostly available at places that call themselves “Café – Restaurant”, meaning they function as a coffee shop outside of mealtimes.[/u_list]
Lisbon with kids and peacock
The peacock wants ice cream, too

Ice cream

There is a cafe selling Olá ice cream on almost every corner. Indulging often (even every day!) in just a little ice cream is a very Portuguese way to celebrate your vacation. Because, who doesn’t love ice cream? It bightens any day.


Where to find a potty

Almost anywhere. Did we mention that the Portuguese love children? Cafés and Restaurants have restrooms (WC) that are customers-only, but if it’s urgent, ask to go first and buy a juice or a coffee (0,60€-0,80€) on your way out. In a real emergency, some shops will even let a desperate kid use the employee bathroom. And if all else fails, it is culturally acceptable (if not super good-smelling) to let kids of potty training age “water a tree” or a bush in a discrete corner of any green space.


When to go

We have a blog post in the works about the best time of year to visit Lisbon. But the short version is: anytime! (Except maybe January or November, for a first visit, because the rain can spoil some of the sights.) Obviously, if you can avoid school vacations, there will be fewer crowds. Yet even in the busiest months, Lisbon is charming.


What else you should know when visiting Lisbon with kids…

…about the touching

Remember how the Portuguese love children? Well, they really, really love children. Total strangers may talk to your child, touch your child, even try to pick up your child. All of these things are perfectly normal in Portuguese culture, where people still honestly believe it takes a village to raise a child. But they can feel a little scary for a kid who isn’t used to so much attention.

…about the hats

Portuguese children must wear hats when it’s sunny. It’s a big deal. Consider getting a hat for your child, just so people will stop telling you they need one.

…about the little old ladies

Oh, the adorable little old Portuguese ladies. Who think it will be so helpful if they just give you this one piece of advice about raising your children… Like telling you that your child should be wearing a hat. Or another sweater. Or not playing in the rain. I’ve found it’s best to just smile, nod, even thank them. And to remember that they do it out of love. …Aaaand that we’ll all be old one day, and will still want people to be kind to us…

…about Atendimento Prioritário

The elderly, disabled, pregnant women and people with children under two years old have the right to atendimento prioritário. This means that they get served first, or at least bumped to the head of the line. This is not just politeness, it is actually the law. So don’t feel you need to demure or wave off offers to let you “cut” in line at the supermarket, at ticket counters and even busy cafés or padarias (bread shops). Just smile, say obrigado in a general way to everyone, and go ahead… [u_list style=”star”]

  • If no one offers to let you go first, but there are more than 3-4 people ahead of you and the baby’s about to lose it, you can say “posso?” (“may I?” pronounced “POH-ssoo?”)–while holding the baby–and gesture to the front of the line.
  • In official settings (the airport, tickets for museums, etc.) there may be a specific line for atendimento prioritário. Ask a security guard or other employee for more information.
  • On the metro, buses and trams there are reserved seats–usually upholstered in red–next to a sign on the window. Don’t be shy about asking someone to get up if you need to (do use your “por favor“s, “obrigado“s and grateful smiles, of course).[/u_list]

Happy travels!

Sea lion kisses at the zoo – for the young and young at heart!

lisbon with kids


Other Online Resources for Traveling with Children – Keeping Kids Occupied


Photo Credits: Allie Struzyna & Drex Kleber. Thanks again for the fun day, tios!

Lisbon Conference Centers …and our Corporate Apartments

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Lisbon is a popular conference destination and many of our guests are involved in conference activities, either as attendees or presenters.

Where are the main Conference Centers in Lisbon?

The two most popular Lisbon conference centers are both located near the Tejo River, as you can see on the Google map, below. The Lisbon Congress Centre (Centro de Congressos de Lisboa) is on the western side of town, in Belém. The FIL Exhibition Center (FIL – Feira Internacional de Lisboa) on the eastern end of the city, in the Park of the Nations/Expo area.

Several universities also host conferences, especially the University of Lisbon (UL) and the New University of Lisbon (UNL).

And where are our houses?

Our corporate apartments are right in the center of Lisbon–marked by the sun in the middle of the map. They are close to the main tourist attractions and an easy metro (or taxi, or tram, as you prefer) ride from any of the conference centers.

Interactive Google Map of Lisbon’s conference centers:

View Larger Map


For more information on these conference centers, please visit:

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FIL Exhibition Center (Park of the Nations)
FIL – Feira Internacional de Lisboa

Atlantic Pavilion (Park of the Nations)
Pavilhão Atlântico

Lisbon Congress Centre (Belém)
Centro de Congressos de Lisboa

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Belém Cultural Center
Centro Cultural de Belém

University of Lisbon
Universidade de Lisboa

New University of Lisbon
Universidade Nova de Lisboa


How do I get to the conference center from a VisitingPortugal corporate apartment?

Our corporate apartments are only 15-20 minutes from all the main conference centers.

At check-in we’ll help with specific details and show you the closest taxi stand, metro or tram stop. With advance notice, we can also purchase rechargable VivaViagem passes for Lisbon’s buses, metros and trams. If you prefer taxis, a 24 hour taxi stand is 3-8 minutes walk from each of our holiday apartments.

Lisbon Conference Centers – Transportation from your Historical Holiday Home

Lisbon Congress Center (Centro de Congressos)
#15 tram (approx 15 min) or taxi (approx €9, 15 min)

Belém Cultural Center (Centro Cultural de Belém)
Located just beyond the Lisbon Congress Center; #15 tram (approx 20 min) or taxi (approx €10, 20 min)

FIL Exhibition Center (Feira Internacional de Lisboa)
Metro (green–>red lines, approx 20 min) or taxi (approx €10, 20 min)

Atlantic Pavilion (Pavilão Atlântio)
Located next to FIL; Metro (green–>red lines, approx 20 min) or taxi (approx €10, 20 min)

University of Lisbon
NOTE: UL has several campuses but the main one is the “University City” (Cidade Universitária)
Metro (blue/yellow lines, approx 20 min) or taxi (approx €9, 15 min)

New University of Lisbon (Universidade Nova de Lisboa – UNL)
NOTE: UNL has several campuses but the most common for conferences is the “Campus of Campolide”, located near the popular El Corte Ingles department store.
Metro (blue line, approx 10 min) or taxi (approx €9, 15 min)

If you are attending a conference at a different location, please ask us if you have questions about transportation.


What amenities do we offer for conference-goers?

These amenities are the ones that may be most important for guests attending conferences in Lisbon. For a more complete list of amenities (linens, fully equipped kitchen, etc.) and services (orientation tour, pre-arrival shopping, and so on) offered at all of our properties, please see our Amenities page.


Our wireless internet is fast and reliable.

Loaner electronics

We can provide you with a cell phone, laptop/netbook… even a printer!

Orientation Tour

While out on our orientation tour, we’ll show you where to catch the metro/tram/taxi to your conference center.

Pre-arrival shopping

If you have to go straight to your conference after arrival, we can stock the house with whatever groceries you need. We can also purchase your VivaViagem passes for public transportation.


We want your time in Lisbon to be both fun and successful. Is there something you need in order to make that happen? Just ask.

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