• Mary

Exploring Europe with a 1 Year Old – Portugal

Planning a trip to Europe with your one year-old might seem like a scary task. Between destinations, flights, and accommodations, maybe it even seems like too much to handle. However, if you have the right information, traveling with a one year-old can be downright fun.

I’m sharing my experience of traveling to Europe with my own one year-old. I hope this helps you organize your own vacation to Portugal!

Porto, Portugal, ruins
Porto, Portugal

Our trip to Portugal was for the wedding of two of our best friends. If you asked me today if I’d travel to Europe again with a one year-old, I’d say, “Hell yes!” It’s true, it was a completely different experience from my carefree days. I used to get lost in tiny neighborhoods for hours on end. (Okay, truth time. We still got lost in beautiful areas off the beaten path. This time, though, we had a lot more to carry and often got lost in the direction Nolan wanted to go.)

Porto, Portugal churches


  1. Travel Days: Our first day of travel was literally 24 hours of travel, including a layover in Barcelona. We took Nolan out at midnight for paella!

  2. No More Leisurely Meals: Easy breezy wining and dining was out of the question, unless we timed lunch during a stroller nap!

  3. Putting My Camera Away: I constantly reminded myself that it was okay to absorb some of our trip only with my eyes and mind. I didn’t want to miss a single thing on our adventure! I also wanted to be in the moment with Nolan. The memories of seeing Nolan toddle around exquisite old cities will always be my most precious takeaways from our first time in Europe as a new family.

Casas Novas Hotel, Porto, Portugal

Accommodations & Porto, Portugal Highlights

We stayed at the delightful Casas Novas Countryside Hotel, which is near the Spanish border.

After the wedding, we returned to Porto by way of an incredible winery lunch in the Duoro Valley.

Porto is such a lovely city to walk, and walk we did! Magnificent cemeteries, the Church of Saint Ildefonso, the Monument Church of Saint Francis, and the São Bento railway station … We also saw the most incredible street art! We stopped only for espresso, and the Seven Bridges Tour up and down the Duoro River. Then it was time for lunch and a much-needed nap for Nolan. Dillon was able to fly his drone through one of Porto’s many bridges before we continued our picturesque walking tour of Porto, Portugal.

At dinner that evening, Nolan loved seeing a bubble performer along the waterfront!

The next day, we decided to take a train to Lisbon so we could give Nolan some freedom to roam.

Duoro Valley, Portugal
black and white image, toddler, stroller, Porto, Portugal
Porto, Portugal
Porto, Portugal street art
exploring Porto with a baby
happy toddler, Seven Bridges Tour
Porto, Portugal river boats

Lisbon, Portugal

Day One

Together again with the wedding entourage, we visited Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and enjoyed lunch together. This lunch featured a kid-friendly perk: a super packed playground just across the way. Of course, that kept Nolan happy as a clam until his next delivery of Portuguese French fries arrived!

After lunch we savored each bite of Portugal’s number one delicacy, Pasteis de Nata, from the oldest Nata bakery in Portugal! “Delicious” doesn’t even begin to describe these creamy custard tarts.

Next, we explored Lisbon proper. Because we had Nolan in tow, we opted for a tuk-tuk tour option, over walking the hills. The tour was perfect for our tiny human, and to see most of the city in a short amount of time. Finally, the driver dropped us off at Time Out Market Lisbon for a welcome cocktail for the adults, and a snack and nap for the little one.

colorful doors, Lisbon, Portugal
baby boy, green space, Lisbon, Portugal
Natas baker, Lisbon, Portugal

Day Two

We explored Pena Palace, one of my “Happiest Places on Earth”. I could wander this property for weeks on end and still want more! We followed Pena Palace with a relaxing beach afternoon. We even made a touristy purchase – a Portugal soccer ball, which we still have in our yard to this day!

Pena Palace, Lisbon, Portugal
blue architecture, Lisbon, Portugal
building mural, Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal, travel with toddler, Europe
best views, Lisbon, Portugal

In the next blog post, we’ll be off to the Azores!

If you’ve done a lengthy trip with a baby or toddler, I’d love to read your suggestions on how to make it fun and easy for everyone! Is there anything you always pack? Also, any favorite travel destinations with children are welcome, too!

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