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Visiting Porto with children - World of Discoveries

Exploring Porto with Kids: Top Family-Friendly Activities

Accueil » Europe » Mediterranean Europe » Portugal » Porto » Exploring Porto with Kids: Top Family-Friendly Activities

Are you planning on visiting Porto with children? Looking for kid-friendly activities in the Capital of the North? Captain Ulysses has drawn up a list the best visits, tours and activities to do with children in Porto! Follow the guide!

💡 The Captain’s tips 💡

🧐 Curious about Porto’s rich past? Captain Ulysses suggests you don’t miss out on this free guided tour of the city. You can choose the tip you want to leave the guide—it’s entirely up to you!

💤 Looking for a place to stay in Porto? Be sure to check out Captain’s top hotel picks: Where to stay in Porto? Advice & recommendations

🏛 Planning your trip to Porto? Dive into Captain’s comprehensive guide: A Guide to Porto: What to See and Do?

World of Discoveries

Nestled along the banks of the Douro River and just a short stroll from Sao Francisco Church and Palacio da Bolsa,World of Discoveries is an interactive museum that takes visitors on a journey back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Here, you can delve into the tales of Portuguese explorers who set sail to discover uncharted lands, following in the footsteps of legends like Magellan and Vasco de Gama.

The visit to World of Discoveries:

  • starts with the visit to the museum: interactive and multisensory, it perfect both for children and adults. The museum retraces the historical context of the great discoveries and details life on board ships.
  • Next up is the theme park area: guests are beckoned to hop aboard a quaint boat and journey through the various lands once traversed by Portuguese sailors. An audio guide is available in several languages.

The World of Discoveries Museum is a fun and educational stop for a family trip to Porto that will delight both parents and children alike!

👉 Learn more: Skip-the-line tickets for World of Discoveries

Sea Life Aquarium

To visit the Sea Life Aquarium, head for the district of Foz do Douro, on the oceanfront. 2nd largest aquarium in Portugal, this is the perfect attraction for travelers visiting Porto with children!

The aquarium is home to over 5,800 marine species, including penguins and giant tortoises.

The transparent underwater tunnel, teeming with sharks and manta rays, is sure to be a hit with the kids!

Pro tip: Just like with World of Discoveries, tickets for the aquarium are cheaper online than at the door (€12.15 versus €13.95 for adults). So, it’s best to book ahead.

👉 Learn more: Tickets for Sea Life Aquarium

Estádio do Dragão

Portugal is undoubtedly a nation of football (it is, after all, the homeland of Cristiano Ronaldo!) and FC Porto is one of the most iconic clubs the country.

If your children are football fans or if they’re simply curious to find out more about FC Porto, the Captain highly recommends visiting the Estadio do Dragao – the “ Dragon Stadium” (visits are available in English).

On-site, an interactive museum offers a deep dive into the club’s history and a chance to relive the greatest matches of the Azuis e brancos, or the “Blues and Whites“.

Audio guides are available in several languages. Especially during peak season, Captain suggests booking your visit in advance to ensure availability.

👉 Learn more: Tickets for FC Porto’s stadium

Santo Inacio Zoo

Located in Vila Nova de Gaia (the municipality facing Porto on the other side of the Douro, where the vast majority of the Port wine cellars are located), Zoo Santo Inácio is home to over 800 animals belonging to 260 different species, some of which are threatened with extinction. It is the largest wildlife park in northern Portugal. Everything has been thought out to accommodate animals in spaces that are as close to their natural environment as possible.

Located 10 minutes from Porto, the zoo is undoubtedbly one of the city’s top attraction when travelling with children!

The zoo partners with the European Aquarium and Zoo Association and is dedicated to conserving endangered species.

To save time and skip the entrance line at the zoo, consider booking your tickets online in advance.

👉 Learn more: Tickets for Santo Inácio Zoo.

Harry-Potter Themed Tours

You may not know that JK Rowling, the famous author of the Harry Potter books, lived in Porto. She actually began to write the wizard’s adventures in the Capital of the North! She drew inspirations from many local attractions and monuments, including the Livraria Lello, the Sao Bento Railway Station and the Cafe Majestic.

For an enlightening and fun family experience in Porto, dive into the origins of the Harry Potter saga with a themed tour of the city!

If you and your kids have a basic grasp of English, Captain suggests going for a city tour themed around Harry Potter, which can be booked here.

Otherwise, you can easily craft your own adventure by exploring the Lello Bookstore, Sao Bento Train Station, and finishing with a warm cup of cocoa at the Majestic Café.

👉 Learn more: Harry Potter-themed Porto tour

Family bike ride in Porto

Biking with the family is a winning combination! So, why not rent bikes for a leisurely tour in Porto? While the city center can be quite hilly, the banks of the Douro are comparatively flat.

You can follow them all the way to the scenic seaside district of Foz do Douro (where the aquarium is located).

👉 Learn more:
bike rental
electric bike rental
city bike tour with local guide

Douro River Cruise

All aboard, shipmates! How about viewing the city’s architectural gems from the Douro?

From the boat, you’ll get a breathtaking view of the river’s stunning banks: a must-see!

To sprinkle some fun and cheer into your family trip to Porto, consider a floating bus cruise or even a jet board ride. What better way to combine adventure and exploration?

👉 Learn more:
6 Bridges Cruise (best value for money)
Amphibious Bus Cruise
Jet Board Cruise (suitable for ages 4 and up)

Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus

Want to see Porto’s most iconic landmarks but not up for trekking across the city with the whole gang?

Here’s a solution: the hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses. These double-decker buses make it easy to move between the city’s main attractions while offering a panoramic view of Porto. Audio commentary also provides insights into the city’s rich history.

With these buses, you can hop on and off as you please, perfect for exploring at your own pace!

👉 Learn more: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tickets (24h or 48h) | Hop-On Hop-Off Bus + River Cruise + Cellar Tour

Spiritus Multimedia Show

Do your kids usually shy away from cultural outings? Well, the Spiritus multimedia show is the perfect way to draw them into the iconic baroque Clérigos Church without a hint of reluctance.

This sound and light show is centered around a poem by the renowned Portuguese artist Álvaro de Campos: “In the end, the best way to travel is to feel.”

In short, it’s a poetic and immersive multi-sensory experience that’s bound to delight the entire family!

👉 Learn more: Tickets for the Spiritus Multimedia Show.

Porto Legends Virtual Reality Show

Do your kids love spine-chilling tales? Then the Porto Legends virtual reality show is a must-see!

Housed in Porto’s historic Customs House, this immersive experience delves deep into the city’s dark legends, from mysterious creatures and enigmatic shipwrecks to hidden treasures. Each tale is brought to life with stunning graphic animations.

In short, it’s a virtual and immersive journey that promises both thrills and wonder!

👉 Learn more: Tickets for the Porto Legends Virtual Reality Show (audio guide in several languages available).

WOW Cultural Complex

Tucked away in Vila Nova de Gaia, just a stone’s throw from the Douro, the WOW complex is a newly opened cultural hub. It boasts an array of museums, dining spots, and even a wine school. The venue frequently hosts a variety of events, such as Halloween escape games.

The complex features 7 museums, some of which are sure to delight kids:

  • The Choco Story: A museum dedicated to chocolate.
  • Planet Cork: A museum exploring the world of wine bottle corks.
  • Pink Palace: A museum entirely focused on rosé wine.
  • The Wine Experience: A must-visit for wine enthusiasts.
  • The Bridge Collection: An archaeological museum.
  • Porto Region Across The Ages: A museum chronicling the history of Porto and its surroundings.
  • Atkinson Museum: An art exhibition space.

👉 Learn more: Combined tickets for the WOW cultural district museums | Tickets for The Choco Story: The Chocolate Tale.

Treasure Hunt Through the Streets of Porto

How about adding a sprinkle of fun and cheer to your Porto visit?

Set off on a self-guided treasure hunt that will lead you to the city’s iconic sites. Available in several languages, it’s the perfect activity for a family exploration of Porto, blending enjoyment and discovery!

Using your smartphone, you’ll solve riddles and follow clues to uncover the city’s standout spots!

👉 Learn more: Treasure Hunt & Self-Guided Tour of the City’s Highlights.

Stand Up Paddleboarding on the Paiva River

Calling all budding adventurers! Head to the Paiva River for a refreshing escapade that combines physical activity and exploration!

Suitable for both paddleboarding novices and pros, this activity invites participants to journey along one of Portugal’s most scenic rivers: the Paiva. On the agenda? Breathtaking natural vistas and even a riverside waterfall!

You’ll be joined by expert guides (English-speaking) who will introduce you to the basics of paddleboarding and ensure your safety.

All in all, a memorable experience to share with the family!

👉 Learn more: Stand Up Paddleboarding on the Paiva River (starting from Porto).

Off-Road Buggy Adventure

Looking to inject some adrenaline into your family vacation? Hop into an all-terrain buggy for an adventure … through the mountains of Serras do Porto Natural Park!

What’s in store? Exploring the untouched landscapes of the natural park, stopping by the Roman ruins of Castro Mozinho, and taking a break in the quaint village of Quintandona.

Please note, this activity isn’t suitable for pregnant women, individuals with mobility issues, and children under 1.20m in height.

👉 Learn more: Off-road buggy adventure in Serras do Porto Natural Park (starting from Porto)

Segway Tour in Porto

Fancy a laid-back tour without the adrenaline rush? A segway is the perfect way to explore Porto with your family in tow!

Joined by a guide, you’ll delve into Porto’s historic center – a UNESCO World Heritage site, no less! – uncovering the city’s most iconic landmarks: the Clerics’ Tower, Dom Luis Bridge, the cathedral, and more.

A fun, engaging, and informative tour that’s sure to captivate both young and old!

👉 Learn more: 2-hour Segway Tour | 3-hour Segway Tour.

Family Surfing Session Near Porto

You might already be aware: Portugal is a true haven for surfers!

For a family surfing session around Porto, head to Matosinhos, located to the north of the city. This coastal town is easily reachable by public transport.

Whether you’re looking to dip your toes into surfing or hone your skills, you can take a lesson led by an expert instructor. All equipment is, of course, provided.

👉 Learn more: Surfing lessons in Matosinhos.

Portuguese Cooking Class

Calling all foodies: how about bringing home some authentically delicious Portuguese recipes?

For a family bonding experience filled with delight and indulgence, a cooking class is just the ticket. Professional chefs will introduce you to mouth-watering dishes typical of the Porto region… and of course, you’ll get to savor your creations at the end!

Aprons on!

👉 Learn more: Portuguese Cooking Class.

Food Tour in Porto

Would you rather indulge without the cooking? Set off on a gastronomic journey through the streets of Porto!

Over the course of 3 hours, you’ll explore the city center with a guide, savoring some of the most renowned delights of the northern capital. What’s on the plate? Smoked meats, cheeses, codfish cake, francesinha, cream pastries… In short, the crème de la crème of Portuguese cuisine!

So, ready to feast?

👉 Learn more: Food Tour in Porto.

Day Trip to Peneda-Gerês National Park

ooking for a refreshing escape away from the hustle and bustle? Peneda-Gerês National Park is sure to captivate the entire family!

A natural gem located north of Porto, this stunning park is recognized as a World Biosphere Reserve. With its breathtaking waterfalls and lush forests, Peneda-Gerês boasts awe-inspiring landscapes. In short, it’s an unforgettable getaway just a stone’s throw from Porto.

The easiest way to explore is through an organized tour.

👉 Learn more: Trip to Peneda-Gerês National Park.

Mysteries, Legends & Crimes Walking Tour

Is your family into crime series? Then this tour is tailor-made for you!

Joined by a guide, you’ll scour the streets of the old town uncovering the bloodiest crimes of the northern capital. From unsolved mysteries to gruesome murders, you’ll dig up Porto’s dark secrets.

Needless to say, this tour isn’t recommended for the youngest members. Those of a sensitive disposition might want to sit this one out!

👉 Learn more: Unearthing Porto’s Crimes Tour.

Captain Ulysses hopes that you’ve found this article useful. To plan your getaway to Porto, feel free to check the Captain’s articles:

👉 Skip the lines: book your tickets and visits in advance!

👉 Find the perfect place to stay in Porto!


Looking for tips? Here are all the Captain’s suggestions in Porto!

🛏️ Accommodation: When it comes to reserving your stay in Porto, Captain Ulysses wholeheartedly recommends using Booking.com. or Expedia. You’ll find a wide range of options, from cozy youth hostels to luxurious boutique hotels. Here are the Captain’s personal suggestions:
– Youth hostels: Gallery Hostel / The Passenger Hostel / Rivoli Cinema Hostel
– Budget-friendly hotels: Moov Hotel Porto Centro / Rex Hotel / Decanting Porto House
– 3 and 4-star hotels: Village Aparthotel By BOA / Mo House / Fontinha Porto
– Upscale hotels: Pestana Vintage Porto / Yeatman Hotel / InterContinental Porto

🎟️ Activities: museums, monuments, guided tours, boat tours, excursions… there’s plenty to do in Porto! To avoid wasting time in endless queues, especially during high season, the Captain strongly recommends that you opt for skip-the-line tickets and book your activities in advance. You can book all your tickets and tourist activities on GetYourGuide and Civitatis.

⛵ Cruises: Porto is undoubtedly synymous with Douro! It’d be a shame to leave the “Capital of the North” without embarking on a Douro river cruise. If you’re only staying in Porto for a long weekend, the Captain recommends the six bridges cruise. If you have more time, then he highly recommends the Douro Valley cruise with wine tasting & lunch.

🎫 Citypass: valid from 1 to 4 days, the Porto Card includes unlimited access to city transport (including to get to/from the airport), free entry to 6 museums and a selection of discounts in museums, attractions, Port wine cellars and shops.

🚐 Transfers: you can take the metro at the airport to get to the city center (1/2 hour). But if you’d rather avoid public transport, you can also book a shared or a private transfer at very reasonable prices.

🚌 Local transport: you’ll propably quickly tire of Porto’s steeply sloping streets and might be tempted to take local transport instead of walking. The public transport network is convenient and easy to navigate. You can buy your tickets directly at metro stations and bus stops (be careful, you will need to take 1 Andante card per person).
You should also know that access to public transport is included in the Porto Card. Otherwise, the hop-on hop-off bus tours are great options to explore the city. You can also opt for a pass including access to hop-on hop-off buses, the funicular as well as tramways.
Among other means of transport, you can also try the bicycle, the electric bicycle, the segway, the tuk-tuk, the small train

✈️ Flights: to book your flights to Porto, Captain Ulysses warmly recommends Skyscanner. You’ll be able to compare countless offers to find the best deal. If your dates are flexible, you can also compare prices over several months to find the cheapest flights possible.

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