Along the western coast of the North Atlantic Ocean, Porto is a popular city in northwest Portugal, great for family travel. In this coastal city, you and the kids can walk the cobblestone streets with all sorts of shops, eateries, and attractions as well as the parks along the river.
You will not have any trouble finding things to do in Porto with kids. Being a tourist attraction along the coast, Porto, Portugal is full of things to do as you explore Porto with kids. Enjoy a ride on a cable car, take a river cruise, visit the Crystal Palace Gardens, or check out the creatures at Sea Life, which is the biggest aquarium in the North. The kids will love it.
One of the most popular things to do in Porto with kids is to take a boat ride on the Douro River. Another fun idea is to learn about local wildlife at the Zoo Santo Inácio in Vila Nova de Gaia. Or stop at the São Bento railway station before grabbing some food and having a picnic or BBQ at one of the awesome beaches along the ocean. This great city is perfect for family travel.
Hanging out in Porto with kids is a great family vacation for the entire family. Take the Teleférico de Gaia cable car to the town of Vila Nova de Gaia. The cable car near the upper deck of the Dom Luis I Bridge will take you to the banks of the Douro River on the other side of Porto. This is also the best spot to get a river cruise.
You can also take the kids to Rua de Santa Catarina when you visit Porto. This large street is a haven for shoppers and foodies with dozens of shops, all sorts of eateries, and the Cafe Majestic. But don't make the kids lug backpacks and shopping bags. Drop them off at a luggage storage site and go explore Porto, Portugal with the kids. Why not start in Porto City Center?
Sea Life Aquarium
Named Porto's Best Aquarium, Sea Life has a spectacular assortment of marine animals with over 3,000 in total. Right next to the City Park just feet from the coast, this special attraction is fun for all ages. There are six main exhibits as well as a playspace outside to let the little ones burn off some energy.
The Douro River section features sea creatures that can be found right there in the river, Neptune's Kingdom with black tip sharks and green sea turtles, and Ray Bay features dozens of stingrays and the opportunity to get close and even feed them. Don't miss the underwater tunnel.
World of Discoveries
Within walking distance of the Douro River, the World of Discoveries is right next to the Museum of Transport, the Muralha Fernandina Castle, Bolsa Palace, and the Museum of Marionettes, the World of Discoveries Museum is a great day trip for everyone. This interactive museum will amuse the kids while they learn.
In fact, the interactive museum is more like a theme park with its indoor boat ride, 4D features, digital hands-on displays, and fog screens. There is a tropical forest, an array of miniature pirate ships, and fantastic gift shops to get some unique souvenirs.
Fortress of Sao Joao da Foz
All kids love forts, no matter how old they are. In fact, adults are fascinated by them as well, especially those that were constructed in the 16th century. This one boasts five bastions, each with its own incredible features that date back to the 1500s. The Bastion of Sao Pedro has 15 cannons, the Bastion of Boa Nova features 16 cannon placements and a special lookout spot with amazing views of the ocean and Douro River.
On the western side, you can see the Gate of Porta do Cais, the Gate of Portinho Novo, and several other fortifications. On the southeastern side, there are several batteries, the forts of General Saldanha, Santa Cruz, Santa Teresa, and Sao Goncalo, and a small beach where you can enjoy some water fun or check out the lighthouse. This is one of the free activities and there is even a mini-golf next door. We've got a list of more free Porto activities to check out here.
Santo Inacio Zoo
Known as the greenest and largest zoo in northern Portugal, the Santo Inácio Zoo boasts more than 800 animals. The kids will enjoy this wildlife haven in Vila Nova de Gaia’s port warehouse next to the Douro River. The zoo has 300 species, with an Asian lion tunnel, reptile house, insect house, and an educational farm.
Included in this menagerie of creatures you can find pygmy hippos, penguins, and wallabies as well as snow leopards, cheetahs, and meerkats. The little kids will have a blast at the two playgrounds and everyone can enjoy the reptile house and primate world. They also have animal shows, snack bars, and a souvenir shop.
Ride the Cable Cars
On the Gaia waterfront, you and the kids can get some amazing views of the city from hundreds of feet in the air on the Gaia cable car. Or try the Terrace Cable Car on top of the Esplanada Restaurant. This is one reason so many families love Porto.
On the opposite bank across the Dom Luis I Bridge, you can also ride the steep cable railway they call Funicular dos Guindais. From all of these, you get a stunning view of the Porto Cathedral, the Douro Valley, and the beautiful city of Porto.
Downtown Porto is the place to go if you want to take the kids to see some of the museums in the city. Discover Carmelitas Church & Carmo Church, which are right next to each other. You can also take a walk along Rua das Flores, the main street with shops, dining, and other entertainment. There are even several swimming pools.
Also in the downtown area, Virtudes Park, or Park of Virtues, boasts gorgeous gardens and green spaces to enjoy a picnic. The Porto Tram Museum is also a cool place to visit with 16 electric cars and all sorts of other items. Or you can all try to escape from one of the escape rooms at Exit Games.
FC Porto Museum
The football (aka soccer) team of Porto, Portugal is popular with the locals and there is a fun museum to see when visiting Porto. Museu Futebol Clube do Porto, or the FC Porto Museum is even fun for the youngest sports lovers in the family. Take a guided tour or just explore on your own to see more than 2,000 items dating back to 1893.
The stadium tours last about two hours and you can get all the details about the club and its history, Dragon Stadium, and over 100 trophies. You can also see old uniforms, equipment, medals, and artwork. And the collection grows larger every day as the museum has over 5,000 items still being documented before being put on display.
Being on the ocean coast as well as the banks of the Douro River it is easy to find a place to take a city break on one of the Porto beaches. One such beach, Praia de Espinho not only has a long sandy beach but also has a heated saltwater swimming pool with three diving boards.
The beach looks idyllic with its huts, surfers, and fishing boats. They even offer surf camps and wetsuits for rent. The blue flag at Gondarem Beach means it is one of the best in Porto. Featuring rock pools, sandy beaches, and market stalls, you and the kids can spend the whole day here.
Parque da Cidade
Take the kids to Parque da Cidade, Porto Parque da cidade, the largest park in Portugal. Also known as the City Park, it is 200+ acres of space leading right to the Atlantic Ocean. The park is known for its gardens but the kids will love the Water Museum with its hands-on interactive exhibits.
If you need to wear out the kids, take them on some of the trails (we've got more information on hiking here). There are six miles of them to explore. There is also the Castelo do Queijo, a clifftop castle that intrigues everyone who sees it. It is one of the top attractions in the area and is definitely worth a visit.
Museum of Puppetry
Also known as the Museu da Marioneta, this unique place features some of the most interesting puppets you will ever see. Even if you think the kids are too old for puppets, these are enchanting and some are even a little bit creepy (in a good way). It was the first Portugal museum that is dedicated to puppetry.
You can find the museum in the Convent of Bernadas, a historic building constructed in 1653, although it had to be almost completely rebuilt after the Lisbon earthquake in 1755. With two floors, you and the family can explore videos, plays, props, and some of the puppets themselves.
If you want some travel tips, taking a guided tour is a fantastic way to learn all the best places to visit with the kids. One of the most unique tours is the tuk-tuk ride, which the whole family loves no matter their age. Another great tour is the Douro Valley walk, which takes about three hours and includes a snack and lunch.
The three-hour city family bike tour of Porto is fun and it takes you to the Palácio de Cristal beautiful gardens, the Sao Bento train station, the Porto Cathedral, and through the alleys of Ribeira District to name a few. See all the beautiful buildings and port cellars on the Moliceiro River Cruise and try some of the local dishes. The adults can even try the port wine.
Porto With Kids
If you and the family cannot find anything you want to do in our fun activities list, there are hundreds more ideas you can do with the kids. The city is packed with playgrounds, beaches, and trails to explore. Most parks and beaches are free and many of the attractions also have no entrance fee if you are looking for free things to do in Porto.
Some of the free things you can do with the kids include taking a walk along the River Douro, browsing in the beautiful bookstores, and checking out the religious sites. You can also climb the Torre dos Clérigos Tower to see the 49 bells and get a 360-degree panorama lookout.