Travel agencies and magazines keep bragging Porto for its nightlife but the city is a great destination for families with kids, too.
Here’s my Top activities in Porto for families with kids, plus some family restaurant recommendations. Enjoy! 🙂
And the best activities in Porto for families with kids are…
1. Visit one of the beautiful gardens of Porto
Porto has some beautiful gardens which are ideal for families with kids. I have two recommendations for you.
One is the Crystal Palace Gardens at Downtown Porto. The Crystal Palace gardens have free entrance and a large Tilden avenue where it is easy to ride a baby stroller.
There are a lot of peacocks, ducks and roosters that children like to chase 🙂 It has a lot of shadows and places for you to sit down for a while. To go there is definitely one of the best activities in Porto for families with kids!
How to get there: These bus lines stop nearby the Crystal Palace gardens: 200, 201, 207, 208, 303, 500, 501, 507, 601. Get the itineraries here.
My second recommendation is Serralves, a contemporary museum designed by the famous Portuguese architect Siza Veira, that has an immense garden.
Usually parents visit the museum with their kids and then visit Serralves’ park, which is absolutely gorgeous! It has large lanes where it is easy to ride a baby stroller, as well as a lake and several animals.
You can buy the online ticket to Serralves contemporary museums and gardens, and this way you avoid the queues. It’s perfect!
How to get there: Bus lines 203 and 207. Check its itineraries here.
2. Visit the Biological Park in Gaia
I’m not a huge fan of Gaia, the city just South of douro river. But I must confess that I love Gaia Biological park! 🙂
I usually go there just to enjoy the otters’ tank – don’t make fun of me! 🙂 Gaia Biological park also has replicas of typical rural houses, granaries and barns.
At Gaia Biological park it isn’t possible to make picnics, but they have a cute little restaurant for reasonable prices. Spending the day at Gaia Biological park is definitely one of the best activities in Porto for families with kids!
Tickets for Gaia Biological park:
Free entrance for children <6
Children [6-17] 1€
Adults [18-64] 1€
There is also a family ticket for 7,50€ that covers the entrance of up to 6 people, it’s really worth it!
How to get to Gaia Biological park: The most practical way is to drive to the park. If you need to take a public transport, go to Praça da Batalha, in Downtown Porto, take a bus from MGC Transportes to LEVER/MOSTEIRÓ/CANEDO or Crestuma. Ask the driver to leave you at Gaia Biological Park.
3. Visit the highlights of the city in one go!
Sometimes it’s difficult to visit a lot of places with small children because they are easily distracted and get bored easily. With this in mind, I have a few easy solutions for families with kids in Porto, so that you can see most of the city and its attractions in one go!
An amazing option is this ticket of a city train tour, river cruise and wine cellar visit. It is a great combo if you want to get the most of a single day and it’s very cheap – only 22€. I absolutely recommend you buy the combo ticket because if you buy separately you will be paying double that price (over 40€). The city train and the river cruise are wonderful to wind down and relax with kids.
If water is not really your thing, you can get a similar experience by getting a ticket to the magic train tour and Port Wine tasting. The magic train is a quaint way to see the city and children always find it really cute (and adults, too!) 😉
Another great deal is to get a combo ticket for the Hop On Hop Off Bus, river cruise and Port wine cellar for 25,20€. This is incredibly cheap because the river cruise costs 15€, a visit to a Port wine lodge around 15/18€ and the Hop on Hop off Bus around 18€ / day. Save yourself some bucks by buying this online ticket.
Enjoy the city with your children!
4. Visit the Zoo
Zoo Santo Inácio is something else. There, you can not only see the wild animals but also indulge in activities with your kids such as feeding penguins and lemurs. At Zoo Santo Inácio there’s also a tropical greenhouse, a reptile house and an Asian lion tunnel. It’s for sure one of the best activities in Porto for families with kids!
You can get an online ticket to Zoo Santo Inácio, but you need to print the voucher. You should use it to go on the free shuttle that departures from the cathedral of Porto at 10h / 11h / 12h / 14h (from April 15th to October 31st).
Prices of Zoo Santo Inácio:
Free entrance for children <2
Adults [13-64] 15,20€
How to get there: check Zoo Santo Inácio’s website.
5. Go for an interactive visit at The World of Discoveries
One of the greatest activities in Porto for families with kids is to visit the interactive museum The World of Discoveries. It has large touch screens in various languages, for kids to play. There are many period dressed staff to explain interesting details on the Discoveries of Portugal. The cherry on top: when you take a boat ride to explore the different continents and countries that Portugal has discovered!
Schedule of the World of Discoveries:
Mon-Fri: 10am-6pm (last entry at 5.30pm)
Weekends: 10am-7pm (last entry at 6.30pm)
Prices of the World of Discoveries:
Children [4-12]: 8€
Adult >65: 11€
You can buy an online ticket to the World of Discoveries in Porto, so that the price of the ticket is 11€/adult and 6€/kid. With this skip in line ticket you save 3€/adult + 2€/kid.
6. Take a private family tour in Porto
As you know we organise private tours in Porto and they are very popular among families with kids of all different ages. Whether you are traveling with toddlers, five year olds or suspicious teenagers we know how to adapt the tour so that it is interesting for them as well (and relaxing for you!). We have some tricks up the sleeve to keep them engaged and we make some surprise stops that will make your kids very happy. But don’t take my words for it: read the reviews of our clients to make up your mind!
You can read more about our private tours in Porto or you can simply send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It will truly be our pleasure to welcome your family in Porto! 🙂
7. Take the 6 bridges cruise on the Douro river
Taking the 6 bridges cruise in the Douro river is something that I do a lot during my family tours in Porto, precisely to give the kids a break from the historical walking parts or from the Port wine tastings.
After all, for them it is much more fun to be up on the river waving to the people on the other boats, watching the waves breaking the boat or simply learning about all the beautiful buildings on the river banks.
You can buy the online ticket to the 6 bridges cruise in Porto, and then you just need to print it and show it when you go on board. Please notice that this ticket is valid on any trip departing from Ribeira, on the side of Porto, and not in Gaia.
How to get there: If you are at Foz, simply take tram line 1 – find all the information on my guide to the tram lines in Porto. São Bento train station is also just 10min walking distance, always going down 😉
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8. Go for a walk at Foz
Going to Foz is one of the best activities in Porto for families with kids, specially on Summer days.
Foz is the neighbourhood where the douro river joins the Atlantic Ocean, and it’s the ideal place to ride a baby stroller. If your kids are a bit older you can rent bikes and go for a ride in Foz, it’s perfectly safe.
To go for a walk or for a bike ride at Foz, the best area is between Jardim do Passeio Alegre and Castelo do Queijo.
How to get there: Take the bus 500 – check the itinerary here. If you are not carrying a baby stroller, my suggestion is to take the tram line 1 all the way from Ribeira. It’ll leave you right at Passeio Alegre, and it’s one of the funniest activities in Porto for families with kids! Find all the information on my guide to the tram lines in Porto.
9. Practice your golf skills with your kids!
One of the cheapest activities in Porto for families with kids is to go to the mini golf. The ticket is fairly inexpensive, and the location is great – at Passeio Alegre, a beautiful garden in Foz. It’s definitely a must do with kids in Porto!
Schedule of the mini golf club at Foz:
1st July-14th September: everyday from 9am to 9pm
1st January-30th June and 15th September-31st December: 10am to 6pm
Prices of the mini golf club at Foz:
10. Go to a swimming pool
Tourists have this glossy idea that Porto is a great beach destination (I’ve heard it plenty of times!), but it isn’t. The water on the beaches of Porto is extremely cold and fierce. Therefore, one of the best activities in Porto for families with kids is to go to the swimming pools in Matosinhos.
I already wrote extensively on the best beaches and swimmings pools in Porto, you might want to take a look there. In any case, I leave you here my favourite swimming pools:
My first recommendation is Piscina das Marés, designed by Siza Vieira. It is a beautiful swimming pool built on the top of the rocks, at the beach. The water comes straight from the ocean. It has a large swimming pool and a smaller one, designed for small kids.
Prices of Piscina das Marés:
Mon-Fri: Adult whole day-6€ | half a day – 4€. Children Sat-Sun: Adult whole day-8€ | half a day – 5€. Children
*Half a day period: [9am-2pm] OR [2pm-7pm].
Another great pool is at Quinta da Conceição, a beautiful park with free entrance. It was also designed by Siza Vieira and the pool area is superb, with plenty of space for families with kids. I highly recommend you to go there with your kids, and to bring a picnic basket with you!
Prices of the pool at Quinta da Conceição:
Mon – Fri: Adult whole day 5€ | half a day-3,5€. Children Sat – Sun: Adult whole day 3€ | half a day-2€.
How to get there: To both swimming pools you can get bus 507 (it has a stop close to Clérigos tower) and 601 (it has a stop close to Casa da Música). Check the schedules here.
11. Go for ice cream with your kids!
Seriously, I am yet to meet a kid (or an adult, as a matter of fact) that doesn’t get concentrated and fully satisfied when eating ice cream 😀
There are plenty of options for ice cream lovers in Porto but I have a love affair with Gelataria Portuense as its ice creams are phe-no-me-nal. Unfortunately the place is super tiny so you might want to consider other good options such as Gelataria Santini and Amorini.
12. Do some window shopping at Rua das Flores
Porto is not the most pedestrian people city in the world, as car diplomacy seems not to apply to our streets. Nonetheless, there are a few pedestrian streets that are perfect to do some shopping, one of the favourite activities in Porto for families with kids.
My first recommendation is Rua das Flores, the trendiest streets in Porto, where every other door is a restaurant or a traditional shop. There are also a lot of street performers such as human statues and musicians, that kids love to see 🙂
How to get there: The subway station São Bento is right at the beginning of Rua das Flores.
You can also go with your kids to Rua de Santa Catarina. It is a large street filled with traditional stores, amazing bakeries and the very famous Café Majestic.
How to get there: The subway station Bolhão is close to Rua de Santa Catarina.