We decided to book a last minute adventure to Portugal. The adventurers for this weekend included 3 adults, 5 children (9,10,10,12,13) and 2 grown up children.
We flew to Lisbon on Friday after school and arrived late at night. We had arranged a minibus transfer to take us to our airbnb accommodation, a very large 6 bedroom apartment with a secret door into someone else’s apartment!
Once we had explored the apartment, banned the kids from the balconies, worked out the electricity goes off if too many people charge their phones, and moved the sofa in front of the secret door, we worked out who was sleeping where and went to bed.
The next morning we decided the best way to explore would be to buy tickets for the hop-on-hop-off bus and we set off on our first adventure.
We took the bus to Lisbon Oceanarium, which was actually really impressive. First we explored the area outside the aquarium as there were lots of unusual water features and things to climb on.
We then spent a good couple of hours at the Oceanarium which was the largest aquarium I have ever visited. There were many different areas and huge tanks. They had sea creatures that none of us had seen before and even had penguins!
After some lunch we got back on the open top bus and carried on our way. The bus journey itself was fun and informative.
We decided to get off the bus at the top of a big hill and went to look at the view before realising we had missed the last bus back down the hill!
We spent the next few hours making our way down the hill by running through a field, taking selfies with the various statues, visiting street markets and street vendors and having great fun exploring Lisbon by foot!
When we finally returned to our apartment, it was time for food again.
The next morning (after an eventful night of neighbours fighting and banging on the ceiling) we set back off on our big red bus!
This time we got off the bus at Lisbon zoo. The zoo was not like an English zoo and we all really enjoyed our visit. Especially the very scary stand up cable cars that take you over the animal enclosures!
The one thing I would say about the zoo if you ever visit is that the food from the vendor takes a very long time to come and if, like us, you are in need of a quick bite before getting a bus I would not recommend eating there!
We got the hop-on-hop-off bus back to the apartment where our minibus transfer was waiting for us, grabbed our bags and headed back to the airport.
We landed back in the UK early Sunday evening. We weren’t away long but we packed a lot into our trip and it seemed like we had been away for ages!
Taking a child with an ASD to Lisbon?
I would definitely recommend visiting the aquarium and the zoo. Both are fairly quiet, great places with lots of interesting animals and fish to look at!
We bought last minute budget airline flights to Lisbon through skyscanner and last minute accomodation through Airbnb. We booked airport transfers online before arriving and everything else we booked as we went along. Lisbon Oceanarium can be found at: https://www.oceanario.pt/en. Lisbon Zoo can be found at: https://www.zoo.pt/site/ and the hop-on-hop-off bus tour we took was this one: https://city-sightseeing.com/en/80/lisbon.