Best Family Activities in Porto

Known for its twisting cobbled streets, historic architecture, and renowned Port wine cellars, Porto is often seen as an ideal city break for adults. However, beyond its appeal to grown-ups, Porto has an abundance of exciting activities for younger visitors. From enchanting boat cruises to thrilling water parks, and delightful tuk-tuk tours to scenic treetop walks, the vibrant city offers a diverse range of experiences suitable for every member of the family. Keep reading to uncover the best family activities in Porto, Portugal.

Cruise Down the Douro River

Get to know Porto by sailing along the Douro River in a Rabello boat – a traditional Portuguese wooden cargo boat that was used for centuries to transport people and goods along the Douro River. The little ones will love this experience because of the particularity of the boat –  reminiscent of pirate ships. We recommend booking tour tickets online in advance as it is one of the most popular activities in the city. Also, ensure you arrive at least 15 minutes early as the first people entering the boat tend to get the best seats!

Make a Splash 

An hour northeast of Porto is the Amarante Water Park, the largest mountain water park in the Iberian Peninsula and a great place for a splashing good time with the family! There’s a varied selection of water attractions, including wave pools, slides, soft pools, and more. In addition to its high-speed rides, slides and pools, there are some beautiful scenic hillside views. The park is huge so be prepared to walk and climb a lot of stairs. 

Visit Portugal’s Most Beautiful Bookshop

You don’t need to have read the Harry Potter books to love Livraria Lello, the bookshop which is famously said to have inspired JK Rowling. As you browse through this tiny shop, known as Portugal’s most beautiful bookshop, you can admire the incredibly detailed wooden interiors as well as the gorgeous spiral staircase which has become somewhat of an Instagram photo sensation.

Livraria Lello bookshop in Porto, Portugal_The Villa Agency Best Things To Do In Porto blog

Take a Boat Ride at the World of Discoveries

Journey through the World of Discoveries, a museum in Porto inspired by the history of the Portuguese navigators and explorers. While listening to the audio stories of the most famous sailors in the world, visitors move forward in a boat surrounded by the landscapes of China, Japan, and Africa, as well as the South American rainforests. Combining history, discovery, fantasy, and sensations, it’s no surprise this is one of the best family activities in Porto.

Photo Credit: World of Discoveries Facebook

See Porto from Up High

Get a bird’s eye view of the port cellars, the Douro and the city from the Teleferico de Gaia – the cable car which runs from the Jardim de Morro park by the Dom Luis I bridge down to the port warehouses and the boat tours. The ride takes only five minutes, but children and adults alike are sure to love the dazzling views. 

Spend Your Day Exploring the World of Wine

Don’t let the name fool you, World of Wine (also known as WoW) is a great place for families. Located in Vila Nova de Gaia, WoW is an entertainment complex with seven museums, twelve bars and restaurants, and a wine school. Children will love The Chocolate Story which tells the history of chocolate around the world with interactive exhibits. There’s even a chance to sample the chocolate and buy your own to take home in the gift shop.

Photo Credit: World of Wine Facebook

Join a Food Tour

Perhaps better for older kids than younger picky eaters, a guided food tour is a fantastic way to explore and try the local dishes at the same time. One of the best traditional dishes of Porto to try? The Francesinha, a sandwich with meat, sausage and melted cheese in a beer sauce, often with a fried egg.

Francesinha sandwich in Porto, Portugal

Hit the Beach

Head west along the coast from the river and you’ll discover another of Porto’s secrets – this city break comes with a slice of beach. Several slices, in fact, although Praia de Matosinhos and the Praia do Ourigo are two of the easiest to get to and best in Porto for younger ages, around 20 minutes from the city on either the bus or metro.

Praia de Matosinhos in Porto

Take a Tuk Tuk Tour

See the main sites of Porto on a guided tuk-tuk tour. Cruise past the historical highlights of this picturesque city with your guide, and even be treated to an authentic glass of Port during your journey. These fun vehicles turn sightseeing into a playful adventure that the whole family will love.

Photo Credit: Get Your Guide

Explore the Crystal Palace Gardens

If you need a space for the little ones to run around and burn off some steam, head to the Palacio de Cristal gardens. With plant mazes, peacocks, and beautiful city views, kids will love exploring. Pack a picnic and spend a couple of hours enjoying the peaceful gardens. It’s free to enter, which is perfect for travellers on a budget.

Crystal Palace porto

Visit the Sea Life Aquarium

Sea Life Porto is the second-largest aquarium in Portugal and home to more than 3,000 species from penguins to sharks, via manta rays and giant turtles. There’s a variety of attractions sure to delight the whole family. Above all, it’s the giant aquatic tunnel (filled with more than 500,000 litres of water!) that visitors love, where you can see the animals up close. The aquarium is next to the City Park, making it the perfect combination of activities if you’re travelling with children. 


Climb the Bell Tower

Built in 1763 by Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni, the Clérigos Tower is the tallest in Portugal, measuring 75 metres high. Visitors can climb 225 steps to the top of the tower where they can witness breathtaking views of Porto – we believe it’s well worth the workout!

Clérigos Tower in Porto, Portugal

Walk amongst the Treetops at Serralves Park 

Serralves Park, designed in the 1930s, invites long walks through its gardens, and with 18 hectares, there are plenty of discoveries to be made. There are harmoniously interconnected spaces, including formal gardens, woods, and a traditional farm. Plus, if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to stand high amongst the treetops you can now roam through the canopy of the park along the Treetop Walkway. This 260-metre-long footbridge leads through the park’s woods and offers visitors a unique chance to appreciate the park’s rich biodiversity from a bird’s-eye view.

Explore Gaia Biological Park

The first thing you’ll probably notice when you get to Parque Biológico de Gaia is the giant dinosaur in the car park. Well and truly welcomed, you’ll be at the start of the three-kilometre trail that’ll lead you through the home of about 700 species of wild animals and plants, spread over 35 hectares of pure nature. This is the first permanent centre for environmental education in the country, and you’ll be able to spot otters, deer or cranes, herons and owls. The best part is that most of the animals currently living there were rescued from situations of illegal possession, abuse or ill-treatment. During your visit, you can stop for lunch in the picnic area or at the park cafe or restaurant, set in a lovely garden. 

 Where to stay in Porto?

We have a great selection of villas in Porto. We can also help with car hire.  Simply get in touch today with your requirements and let us help you find your dream holiday villa in Porto, Portugal. 


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Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with any of the businesses mentioned in our blogs. This information is gathered from client and staff experiences and feedback and we are happy to share as a helpful guide. We do not vouch for or recommend any service or establishment.