Travelling with kids may sound frightening, but with these suggestions in your pocket and a curious mindset it can turn out to be the greatest idea ever! Let’s find out some of the best things to do in Porto, with your toddlers.
10 THINGS TO DO IN PORTO WITH KIDS
Everyone wants to go to Porto to admire the tiles, taste the good food and the some creativity. Did you know that the people of Porto are nicknamed "tripeiros"(Lit. tripe peoples)?
The origin of this name comes from the time of the Discoveries, when the inhabitants of Porto, putting their needs aside, sent the higher-quality cuts of meat with the sailor and the ships, leaving behind only off-cuts and by-products, such as tripe (tripas), to feed themselves. Brace yourselves, let’s start this journey and get to know the best things to do in Oporto with kids!
1. São Bento train station | Count the 20 thousand tiles
Location: Tv. de São Bento, 4050-600 Porto
If you arrive at Porto by train, you will certainly pass through these walls. But if not, show the children the station, which was once a convent, and tell them the legend of the Phantom of São Bento. Rumour has it that when they ordered the closure of the religious orders, the nuns resisted for a long time and that the voice of the last nun can still be heard whispering in the quiet hours. Look at the ceiling and look for the directions: Minho and Douro. Check the timetable!
2. Bolhão Market | Meet the people of Porto
Location: R. Formosa 322, 4000-248 Porto
Show the kids what the Portuguese put on the table and see if they can pronounce the name of the food. Explore the renovated market, with more than 70 merchants, each with their own stall. Notice the beautiful architecture of this building that is designated a public interest monument. If, by this time, you are feeling hungry you can try one of the 10 restaurants on the first floor or just take a sneak peak of the shops on the outside (craftsmanship, photography, plants, and many others). Get to know the local merchants!
3. Café Santiago | Eat a francesinha
Location: R. de Passos Manuel 226, 4000-382 Porto
When on this side of the city, you must take the whole family to Café Santiago. It has one of the best francesinhas in Porto, with a divine sauce and a hole on top for the egg. Did you know that every restaurant has its own secret sauce recipe? Sit the children at the counter and show them the whole process of making a tower out of a sandwich. Take a look at the dishes
4. Lello | The most beautiful bookstore in the world
Location: R. das Carmelitas 144, 4050-161 Porto
Pass through Avenida dos Aliados and continue towards Rua das Carmelitas. Go inside this bookshop from 1906, climb up the wooden stairs and feel like you're in a movie. Some say that this space inspired the stairs of the Harry Potter saga and that the Hogwarts clothes were inspired by the costume of the academic students in Porto. But J. K. Rolling denies it. Does everyone in the family agree? Visit the shop next door, "A Vida Portuguesa", and sunbathe in Lisbon Square. Get inside the library!
5. Jardins do Palácio de Cristal | Play and watch the sunset in a garden with a library
Location: R. de Dom Manuel II, 4050-346 Porto
When in Porto, the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal (Lit. Crystal Palace Gardens) are a mandatory stop. Here the kids can roam free and see animals freely living in the park, such as ducks or peacocks. Admire the beautiful trees in the gardens designed by the German landscaper Émile David. Like the original palace, the gardens date from 1865. Enter the Almeida Garrett Library, and sign the children up for a workshop. The balconies of these gardens are one of the best places to watch the sunset on the Douro River. Enjoy this family time! More about this wonderful garden
6. Vila Nova de Gaia | See the city from below and above
Location: R. Guilherme Gomes Fernandes 42, 4400-266 Vila Nova de Gaia
It is time to get to know the other side of the city! Go down to Ribeira, sit by the river and observe the other side. Now cross the D. Luís I Bridge. On the other side take the cable car and show the children the view from above. When you go out look for a giant rabbit, made from recycled materials, from the artist Bordalo II. If there is still time, let them play in the playground close by. Buy your cable car tickets!
7. Tram 1 | Take the tram to the beach
Location: Ribeira (Infante) 4050-253 Porto
Did you know that in Porto there are also trams? Near Alfândega take tram 1 towards Passeio Alegre and walk to the garden. This is a good place to have lunch, sit on the red benches and see the lighthouses in the sea. Now that you are closer, take the family to Foz, to play at the beach and ride some waves! Check the Porto tram city tours
8. SEA LIFE Centre Porto | Immerse yourself in the enchanted world of sea creatures
Location: 1ª Rua Particular, Via do Castelo do Queijo do, 4100-379 Porto
Take the kids to SEA LIFE Centre Porto, a giant aquarium with 700,000 litres of salt water, sharks, octopuses, and other sea creatures! Do your kids like penguins and giant tortoises? Then they will love to feed a huge turtle and learn about the conservation of the species. When you go outside explain to the kids that the roundabout, Rotunda da Anémona, sculpture (called She Changes but locally known as anemone) is a tribute to the fishermen and seafaring heritage of Matosinhos. Secure your spot now!
9. Parque da Cidade | Play hide-and-seek with the family
Location: Estrada Interior da Circunvalação, 4100-083 Porto
Enjoy the ride and discover the largest urban park in the country! Explore the 205 acres of land, look for the swans in the lake and the 74 species of trees. Learn curious facts about water at Pavilhão da Água. And on Saturday mornings, don't miss the flea market with fresh produce and many outer products. This park hosts many festivals, such as NOS Primavera Sound, so plan your visit accordingly. More information about Parque da Cidade
10. Serralves Foundation | Spend an artistic afternoon
Location: R. Dom João de Castro 210, 4150-417 Porto
The Serralves Foundation will surprise the whole family. It has a museum, art exhibitions inside and outside the buildings, gardens with sculptures, woods, and a farm! If you're not afraid of heights, explore biodiversity at tree level, on the Treetop Walk, a wooden walkway that lights up at the end of the day. On Sundays there are free activities for children! Buy your tickets!
Wondering about the best things to do in Lisbon with kids? You might want to save this list, as well!
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