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Visiting Porto with children - World of Discoveries

Visiting Porto with children

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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 tip 💡
Want to know more about the history of Porto? Captain Ulysses warmly recommends this free guided tour of the city. It’s up to you to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide!

World of Discoveries

Located on the banks of the Douro, World of Discoveries is an interactive museum which immerses visitors in the lives of 15th and 16th century Portuguese navigators, like Magellan and Vasco da 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.
  • before continuing with the theme park: the visitors are invited to board a small boat to venture into the different countries explored by Portuguese navigators, such as Africa, ndia, Macao, Japan and Brazil. The audioguide is available in several languages.

Both fun and informative, World of Discoveries a great activity for a family getaway to Porto!

💡 Practical information 💡
The World of Discoveries interactive museum in is located on the banks of the Douro, 600 meters from the Church of Sao Francisco and the Palacio da Bolsa. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and public holidays (exceptionally closed on January 1st and December 25).
Tip: tickets are cheaper online (€13 compared to €15 on site for adults). The Captain therefore recommends booking y skip-the-line tickets.

Porto with children - 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 Ocean tunnel – a transparent aquatic tunnel – is particularly impressive!

If you wish, you can also plan your visit during the animals’ feeding sessions. You’ll find the detailed schedules here.

💡 Practical information 💡
To get to the Porto Sea Life aquarium, the Captain recommends taking the old Porto tram (you can book your tickets online here).
Tip: as for World of Discoveries, tickets for the aquarium are cheaper online than on site (€12.15 compared to €13.95 for adults). The Captain therefore recommends booking your tickets in advance: tickets to the Sea Life Aquarium.

Porto with children - sea life aquarium
© Wikimedia Commons

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 in 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” in English!

Built for the UEFA Euro 2004 held in Portugal, this ultramodern stadium can accommodate over 50,000 spectators! The stadium is also home to an interactive museum retracing the history of the club and to offering visitors a chance to relive the biggest games in FC Porto’s (nicknamed ‘Azuis e brancos‘) history.

Audioguides are available in several languages.

💡 Practical information 💡
The stadium is located north of the city center and is easy to get to bu metro (the Estádio do Dragão station is located on metro lines A, B,C and E). You’ll be asked to choose whether you want to visit the stadium only or the stadium and the museum. The stadium is not open to visits on game days. You can book your tyour visit in advance: tickets for the FC Porto stadium.

Visiting Porto with children - FC Porto Stadium
© Wikimedia Commons

Zoo Santo Inacio

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 works in collaboration with the European Aquarium and Zoo Association and works towards the preservation of endangered species.

💡 Practical information 💡
Located in Nova de Gaia, the zoo is easy to get to by public transport from Porto: first take metro line D (yellow) to the João de Deus stop and then take the MGC bus next to the Corte Inglés to Quinta das Oliveiras.
The zoo is open every day of the year except December 25 and January 1st. Opening hours vary depending on the season: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. from April 1st to October 14 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from October 15 to March 31.

Porto with children - Zoo Santo Inácio
© Wikimedia Commons

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.

To learn more about the origins of the legendary saga, Captain Ulysses recommends embarking on a Harry Potter themed tour throughout Porto!

💡 Practical information 💡
If you’re family speaks English, the Captain recommends opting for guided tour: find out more here.
Otherwise, you can very well explore the monuments which inspired JK Rowling on your own: the Lello Bookstore, the Sao Bento Station and the Café Majestic. Be careful, the queue at the entrance to the Livraria Lello can be very long, even during low season.

Lello Porto Bookstore - stained glass window

Family bike ride in Porto

There’s nothing like a family bike ride to delight the children! The Captain therefore highly recommends renting bikes to explore the city. While you may not want to try and cycle up the steep streets of Porto city center, the banks of the Douro, on the other hand, are relatively flat. The district of Foz do Douro (where the aquarium is located) is perfect for cycling.

💡 Practical information 💡
You can either:
rent bikes
rent electric bikes
opt for a bike tour with a local guide

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!

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

🛏️ Accommodation: to book your accommodation in Porto, Captain Ulysses warmly recommends Booking.com. From youth hostels to luxury boutique hotels: there’s plenty to choose from. The Captain particularly recommends:
– youth hostels: The Passenger Hostel and Urban Garden Porto Central Hostel
– budget and mid-range hotels: Decanting Porto House and Porto Charming Hotel
– high-end hotels: NH Porto Jardim and The Yeatman.

🎟️ 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 private transfer at very reasonable prices.

🚌 Local transport: you’ll probably 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, sightseeing 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.
When it comes to getting around Porto, you have plenty of other options: bikes, electric bikes, segway, tuk-tuk, 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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