We all have our inner child, so when I think of the best things to do in Porto or any other city, I find myself leaning towards activities that the family can fully enjoy, always with a curious adventurous spirit to explore the environment in a fun way.
In this post you will find a top of activities with children in Porto ranging from the creation of a personalized puppet show, a walk among the treetops, spaces for soccer fans, to rabelos rides. Don't miss anything to share with your little ones on this visit to Portugal's coastal land.
1. Take a boat ride at World of Discoveries
Buy your tickets to the World of Discoveries in Porto, a museum dedicated to teaching children about the regions of the world where Portuguese explorers arrived.
The official description states that it is an interactive museum but I think sensory museum better describes the experience they deliver. Just be warned, all the kids (and adults) want to repeat the boat ride. I tell you.
While listening to the stories of Fernando de Magallanes, Vasco de Gama, Bartolomé Díaz and other emblematic characters with the audio guide in Spanish, you advance in a boat surrounded by the landscapes of China, Japan, Africa, as well as South American tropical forests, perceiving distinctive aromas of these areas to connect with them. Come on, the experience is fixed in the memory of visitors, despite the fact that after the four exhibition rooms, the boat ride lasts 20 minutes.
- Price: From 15 €.
- Duration: 1 hour.
- What you should know: You can find them at Rua de Miragaia, 106. The Alfândega stop on streetcar line 1 is a 2-minute walk from the museum. You can visit them Tuesday-Friday between 10:00-18:00; Saturday-Sunday between 10:00 - 19:00.
2. Sail the Douro aboard a pirate ship
Sail with the children aboard a "rabelo" - old wine transporters - to get to know Oporto. The kids love this experience because of the particularity of the boat. It is reminiscent of pirate ships. Once they see the ships anchored in the Douro River, they will start asking to ride them and how can they refuse? You see them everywhere.
The cruises on the only river that flows completely in Portuguese territory leave from two points: the Ribeira de Porto or crossing the D. Luiz I Bridge, from Vila Nova de Gaia just in front of the previous point.
Every 30 minutes from 10:00 a.m. you have the opportunity to take this cruise. This activity is interesting because it unites young and old in the curiosity of walking across the 6 bridges of the city, namely:
- Don Enrique Bridge.
- Maria Pia Bridge.
- The railway bridge of São João.
- The Arrábida Bridge.
- The Freixo Bridge.
- The Luis I Bridge (starting point of the cruise).
The bridges are located far from the center and, if we add to that the amusing stories with an audio guide in Spanish, a multicolored landscape and the rest generated by the serenity of the sea, we have as a result a very pleasant family experience.
- Price: From 15 € adults and children from 7 €.
- Duration: 50 minutes.
- What you need to know: the schedule of the rabelos is Monday-Sunday between 10:00-18:30 hours. Its capacity is 50-60 people so there are always people around and finally, the tourist bus offers combined tickets with these 6 bridges cruises.
3. Walk along an elevated bridge between trees at the Serralves Foundation
Walking across a bridge between the treetops at a height of 15 meters is an ideal adventure to share between parents and their children and, in Oporto, you can make it happen with theSerralves Foundation.
They have been creating environmental awareness for more than 30 years. The result is truly amazing. You walk along a 260-meter long walkway with lateral protections on both sides while appreciating a beautiful landscape in an 18-hectare park. Check out this video to get an idea.
This is an immersive experience with Portuguese flora and fauna that doesn't miss out on the fun. To join in the adventure go to R. Dom João de Castro 210, where you will also find the Álvaro Siza Museum of Contemporary Art, one of the best museums in Porto.
- Price: From 12 € for those over 12 years old.
- Duration: From 1 hour.
- What you should know: you can visit this park from Monday to Friday between 10:00-19:00 hours, or Saturday-Sunday between 10:00-20:00 hours. The tourist bus has a stop at this park. You can buy tickets at the ticket office or make a reservationin advance.
4. Get to know Porto by streetcar and end at its electric car museum
The streetcars are still emblematic of some cities such as San Francisco and, Europe is not far from this attraction, the streetcars of Oporto are unavoidable tourist attractions for adults and children.
Travel on any of its three lines:
- Line 1 (Infante-Passeio Alegre). It runs between the center and the Jardim do Passeio Alegre around the Douro River. This ride offers very nice panoramic views and you can do it every day between 9:30-18:00 hours.
- Line 18 (Massarelos-Carmo, Linha da Restauração). Its route goes from Alameda Basílio Teles to the beaches of Foz do Douro and the Tramway Museum or Museum of Electrics. This streetcar provides service between 9:15-19:00 hours.
- Line 22 (Carmo-Guindais Batalha). Perhaps the most popular tourist route for its passage through the main churches and the historic center. This streetcar runs between 10:00-19:00 hours.
The ride crosses steep slopes and facades of old buildings. With the audio guide in Spanish about to end, you arrive at the Museum of Electrics where a dozen streetcars review the history of these transports around Porto while capturing the attention of children.
The streetcar ticket starts at 2.5 € if you buy it individually, however, you can combine it with a boat ride, Hop-on Hop-off tours, funicular, discounts in restaurants and museums from 15 € when you buy the combined tickets of Porto's tourist bus. Also, did I tell you that children between 4 and 10 years old pay half price and between 0 and 3 years old travel for free?
- Price: From 2.5 €.
- Duration: Streetcar rides last between 20-30 minutes.
- What you need to know: The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday between 10:00-18:00 and Mondays between 14:00-18:00. Combined streetcar, boat tour and sightseeing bus tickets can be used for 24 or 48 hours.
5. Take the little soccer fans to FC Porto
The tour covers the main areas of the stadium, and a walk to the impressive FC Porto Museum, by the way, European Museum of the Year Award in 2016, thanks to its technological bet, avant-garde lighting, holograms of illustrious characters, interactive screens and innovation.
Here the smile of children (and not so children) is continuous, especially if they like sports. Everyone gets to know the history through the audio guide available in Spanish.
- Price: From 10 €, so make your purchases in advance here.
- Duration: 2 hours.
- What you need to know: You find the FC Porto Museum on Via Futebol Clube do Porto and you can visit it Friday-Wednesday between 10:00-19:00 and Thursdays until 18:00. You can reach FC Porto
by metro, the Estádio do Dragão station leaves you in front of it.
6. Visit Amarantes Water Park
Sign up for at least one of the day trips from Porto that are perfect to enjoy with children. This day takes you into the water in an entertaining and safe space for the little ones at Amarantes Water Park.
Its varied offer of water attractions includes: wave pools, Kamikaze slides, Lento river, labyrinth slides, adult pools, hydro-tubes, soft pools and more.Amarantes Water Park boasts of being one of the most important water parks in Porto.
This Portuguese land registers a mild temperature all year round and if you travel between July and September Porto awaits you with its best summer activities. The kids have a blast and everyone in the family has fun, it is a safe bet for the season.
- Price: Over 12 years old from 18.5 €. Children between 5 and 11 years old from 9.9 €.
- Duration: 5-8 hours.
- What you should know: open between July-September between 10:00-19:00 hours. You can find them at Rua do Tâmega, nº 2245, about 60 kilometers from downtown Porto.
7. Spend the day at Magikland Amusement Park
It's time for an adventure! If you're looking for a space for younger children, this is the answer: Magikland.
Ghost forest, pools, lakes, Ferris wheel and many other attractions are divided into 5 sections: medieval village, world of confusion, far west, Africa and pirate haven. This is a paradise for children between 5 and 10 years old. Despite the park's recommendation (up to 12 years old), personal experience - and comments from other friends with children - I consider that up to that age they are still surprised by the attractions available
Find Magikland at Rua de Santo André, No. 1279 - Penafiel, 35 kilometers from Porto. If you are visiting the city for 4 days or more, rent your car or travel by train on the Porto urban line to the Penafiel exit and book this activity.
Details of interest
- Price: Over 12 years old from 18.5 €. Children between 4 and 12 years old from 12.5 € and up.
- Duration: Daily pass.
- What you should know: open between 10:00-17:00 hours between May-September (check their annual calendar).
8. Ride the Gaia cable car
A cable car ride is a great way to get a glimpse of Porto from above, plus the kids will be asking for the ride once they see the funiculars go by.
The Porto cable car is located in Gaia, on the other side of the Douro River, where most of the wine cellars are present. The tour is short, but the kids will be amazed.
If by any chance you do not manage to convince them to walk long stretches, you will be grateful to have taken them on the cable car, the variety of shapes and multicolored facades are irresistible attractions.
- Price: From 6 €.
- Duration: 5 minutes.
- What you need to know: The Gaia cable car offers family vouchers and other discounts, however, they all seemed expensive to me due to the length of the trip, until I found out about the 48-hour combined tourist bus + streetcar + Gaia cable car passes from €26 (and under 13s from €13). I was convinced.
9. Visit one of the places that inspired Harry Potter
Nowadays, bookstores rarely make it into the lists of top activities for children, funny isn't it? In this case it is impossible to resist visiting one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, the Lello Bookstore.
From a distance you can see the three large windows with a figurine on each side as defenders of art and science on its façade. Inside, around an exquisite spiral staircase, awaits its art gallery, a space for gatherings, a space for the gems of the bookstore, a section dedicated to José Saramago and two special sections for children (one on each level), all decorated in the best Portuguese neo-Gothic style.
In Porto, theLello Bookshop is a fixed destination for visitors due to its fame as a source of inspiration for the Harry Potter books. Hundreds of people line up daily at Rua das Carmelitas 144, to enjoy the atmosphere, events and variety of books.
On the other hand, if you are traveling with small children, are pregnant or have purchased your tickets in advance and book, you have priority access. Although J.K Rowling declared in 2020 that Lello did not inspire her most famous work, Harry Potter's spells enchanted the place and children know it.
Details of interest
- Price: Admission available from 5 € and if you buy a book, it is discounted from the amount.
- Duration: 30 minutes approximately.
- What you need to know: It opens its doors between 9:00-18:30 hours. Access is easy, by bus, the Guilherme Gomes Fernandes or Cordoaria bus stop, -same stop where the tourist buswould drop you **off-,**are 100 meters from the bookstore. If you prefer the streetcar, the Carmo and Clérigos stops are 2 blocks away.
10. Participate in a play at the Puppet Museum
Just a few meters from the Palacio da Bolsa - another of Porto's landmarks - you will find the Puppet Museum, a space based on the work of João Paulo Seara Cardoso, former artistic director of the Teatro de Marionetas do Porto, which invites families to tell stories with puppets.
Take your little ones from Wednesday to Sunday between 14:00-18:00 hours to Rua de Belomonte 61 to see the various puppet exhibitions, specialized videos, seasonal exhibitions and everything related to this art. At the end of the visit, you are invited to create your own play using the puppets of your choice on site. The dynamic is fun. It allows you to explore emotions and externalize thoughts in a creative way.
Details of interest
- Price: From 3.5 € for adults and 2.5 € for children.
- Duration: 1-2 hours.
- What you should know: They are two entertaining plants, I invite you to check their calendar of events. You can get there by tourist bus from the station Palacio da Bolsa, regular bus to the stations Merc. Ferr. Borges or Ribeira stations or by streetcar through Infante station.