The World of Discoveries is an amazing interactive museum that dazzles the little ones, while teaching them very interesting facts about the history and colonial past of Portugal and the lands it conquered across the planet. It is also one of the best museums in the city. In this article I will tell you everything you need to know to not miss anything on your visit, as well as how to buy tickets, how much they are worth and what discounts you can benefit from. Are you ready?
How to get tickets to the World of Discoveries in Porto? What types of tickets are there?
All tickets to the World of Discoveries include the same price and can be purchased either online or once you arrive in Porto, at one of the ticket offices. The most recommended option is to buy them online and skip the queues. In addition, you will have the possibility to cancel the activity completely free of charge up to 24 hours before the date of your visit.
The World of Discoveries visits are free. However, if you want to take a guided tour, the museum has a whole team of guides from the 16th century to guide visitors and help them with their questions.
If you want to take a guided tour in your language, with the entrance ticket you have an audio guide during the caravel ride to help you better understand the route of the great galleons. If you want to go deeper, you will have to book a few days in advance through their website.
How much do tickets to the World of Discoveries in Porto cost?
Ticket prices for tickets to the World of Discoveries in Porto vary whether you buy them at the box office or in advance online. At the box office, tickets are a little cheaper, but you will have to queue for entry once you arrive, so it won't be worth it.
Are tickets to the World of Discoveries in Porto included in a tourist card?
Unfortunately, no. There is no tourist pass that includes free admission to the World of Discoveries. However, if you buy the Porto Card you will get a 35% discount when you buy the tickets.
How much time do you need to visit the World of Discoveries in Porto?
The visit to the World of Discoveries usually takes about 1 hour, although it will depend on how much time you want to spend and how long you spend in each room.
Is the World of Discoveries a museum suitable for children?
The World of Discoveries is, without a doubt, one of the best activities in the city to do with children. In fact, this attraction is considered a mix between a museum and a theme park, thanks to its many interactive rooms, which explain the history of the Portuguese navigators, who crossed the oceans in search of new lands between the 15th and 16th centuries and traveled around the globe aboard their incredible ships.
Through 20 different themed rooms, children can discover the incredible routes that these explorers took through the exotic Amazon jungle, some regions of Africa, India, China, Macau, Japan and countless remote places.
In addition, in all the rooms you will find crew members from the sixteenth century, who will assist you if you have any questions and enliven the visit to the little ones.
When does the Porto World of Discoveries open?
The World of Discoveries is open every day except Mondays. The opening hours from Tuesday to Friday are from 10 am to 6 pm (last entrance at 5.30 pm) and on weekends and holidays from 10 am to 7 pm (last entrance at 6.30 pm).
The only holidays when the World of Discoveries is closed are: January 1 and December 25. However, on December 24 and 31, the last admission will be at 3:30 pm and it will close at 4:00 pm.
How to get to the World of Discoveries in Porto?
The World of Discoveries is located in the Miragaia neighborhood and it is not there by chance. Besides the fact that this neighborhood is one of the most picturesque and special in Porto (which is why I recommend that you invest the time to walk around it and even take a river cruise), this is where the shipyards of the Portuguese fleet were located during the so-called Age of Discoveries.
So, to access the museum, you will have to walk along a walkway, which imitates the walkways that allowed you to board the great ancient ships. The visit starts off strong. The World of Discoveries is located in a fairly central area, so the easiest way if you are touring the center on foot is to walk there.
By public transport: a few meters from the entrance there is a streetcar stop (line 1) and bus lines 1M, 403, 500 and 910.
There is also a Hop On Hop Off bus stop in the immediate vicinity.
What will you see during your visit to the World of Discoveries?
The World of Discoveries is a museum designed for children to discover the history of one of the most important empires in history. All this with special emphasis on the fact that we are in the fifteenth century, so the technology that these people had was practically nil and all the notions and knowledge they had on any subject were acquired with practice and failed attempts.
We are not only talking about a time when there was no internet or mobile applications, but we are also going back to a time in history when navigation maps were not even reliable: the idea that the Earth was not flat had just been accepted and lands and islands whose existence was unknown continued to be discovered.
Every incursion into the sea and the ocean was terribly dangerous and many ships ran aground or did not reach their destination. To this must be added the poor living conditions and the unhealthy conditions suffered by the people aboard these ships, where diseases often swarmed.
A little bit of history
Although Portugal may seem a rather small country now, the Portuguese Empire was one of the largest, richest and most powerful powers between the 16th and 18th centuries. Although the empire was not officially dissolved until the whopping year 1975, it was much earlier when it began to lose power little by little (it was more or less in the 17th century when the process of decline began).
If we were to see on a map the territories that the Portuguese Empire comprised at the beginning of the 16th century, we would see that it had territories and, with it, fleets and armies in the five continents of the planet.
To this day, the Portuguese Empire is still considered one of the 10 largest empires that have existed in the history of mankind since records have been kept.
Perhaps its best known colony is Brazil (the immense country of Brazil, no less), but the truth is that its territories covered many areas of Africa (where Portuguese is still spoken today), many strategic points such as islands and some places in Asia, such as the commercial enclave of Nagasaki, in Japan.
It seems incredible, doesn't it?
The interactive rooms
In the first room, the visit begins with the projection of a video starring Henry of Portugal, better known as Henry the Navigator, an infant who played a leading role in the beginning of the so-called Age of Discoveries (in the 15th century). This video lasts only a few minutes and then we get to the room of inventions.
The room of inventions houses different models of the ships used by the Portuguese fleet for their forays into the sea and the ocean, from the simplest and smallest to large vessels. The idea is to show how these ships evolved to adapt to the new voyages and the dangers of the sea. In addition, some old navigation instruments, such as compasses, are also exhibited here.
The next room is much more interactive and consists of large touch screens and projections, including a 4D projection of a world ball, where you can see the routes established by the Portuguese navigators to reach all these new destinations.
The next thing you will see is a life-size reproduction of the interior of a ship. It is as if you were inside a real ship from the 15th century. The little ones will be able to see how the ships' crews lived and what their living conditions were like on board, as well as the place where the goods they transported were carried and the tools they used.
But the best is yet to come.
The grand finale
The next thing you'll do in this museum is get on a boat. As you read it: you will leave the city of Oporto by boat and reach places as far away and exotic as Brazil and India. In addition to crossing the Tenebrous Sea, which is how the Atlantic Ocean was known in ancient times, when it was not known what was on the other side and it was speculated that it could be the end of the world...
The boats travel through a series of different sets, while playing with light and sound effects, to try to perfectly simulate the place where you "find yourself". The sets are full of small details that will make you appreciate the visit even more.
These boats have a multilingual audio guide (in Spanish, English, French, French, German and Italian) so that you don't miss anything. They are also adapted for visitors with special sensory and cognitive needs. It should be noted that this attraction is nothing more than a boat ride and is not intended to cause vertigo or strong emotions, so it is suitable for children of all ages.
Once here, we have reached the end of the tour and you can visit the souvenir store. Finally, you can stop at the museum's restaurant, Mundo Sabores. This themed restaurant maintains the decoration of the rest of the museum and is especially recommended for its francesinhas (the star dish of Portugal, which you should try on a gastronomic tour ) and its variety of flavored non-alcoholic sangrias. Prices are average.
Will we understand the visit if we don't speak Portuguese?
Don't worry about the language: all the content presented in this museum is available in 6 languages (Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, German and Italian), so neither you nor your children will miss anything.
Some useful tips for visiting the World of Discoveries in Porto
What time is best to visit the World of Discoveries? Is it worth it to skip the line? Can I bring a stroller? Here are some useful tips that will make your visit to the World of Discoveries in Porto even more special.
The best time to visit
The best time to visit the World of Discoveries is at 10 am. Right at the opening time is when there are less people, so you can visit it with more tranquility.
People with special needs
All museum rooms and the boat are adapted for visitors with special sensory and cognitive needs. In addition, both the rooms and the boat are perfectly accessible for people in wheelchairs.
Strollers can enter and move around the museum, although babies will have to be placed on an adult's lap in the final activity on the boat.
Is it worth it to skip the line?
This is a personal question that you will have to decide based on your preferences, your budget and the needs of the children you are traveling with. As one of the best attractions in Porto, it is not uncommon for queues to form at the entrance and it is not unusual to have to wait at least half an hour.
The best guided tours of the World of Discoveries
As I mentioned in the previous points, the boat at the end of the World of Discoveries tour has a multilingual audio guide and the museum information is available in 6 languages. However, it should be noted that, throughout the rooms, part of the crew arrived here directly from the sixteenth century, will be in charge of guiding and helping you if you need any information. If you also want to hire a guided tour with one of their official guides, you will have to book it several days in advance through their website.
This is all you need to know to make the most of your visit to the World of Discoveries. As I said, children love it and it is perfect for them to play and have fun, while learning interesting facts about the history of Portugal. Do you need more plans to do with children in Oporto? Let's go to the rescue!