I recently travelled to Porto, Portugal with my family during a two-week trip. ICMYI, I also went to Marrakech (check out my Marrakech itinerary here!). For our second stop in Porto, we took RyanAir (it was a 3-hr flight) and it went without a hitch. We chose Porto as it's a city renowned for its picturesque landscapes, historic charm, and delectable cuisine, is a fantastic destination for families! There are plenty of family-friendly attractions, so, pack your bags, grab the kids, and get ready for an adventure in Porto!
Things to do in Porto with kids
1. Livraria Lello: A Magical Bookstore
We started our Porto adventure at Livraria Lello, a bookstore that's a true work of art. Its winding wooden staircases, ornate decor, and stained glass ceiling create an atmosphere straight out of a fairytale. Kids will feel like they're stepping into the pages of a storybook. Even if your little ones aren't avid readers, the visual splendor of this place is sure to captivate their imaginations. It's not named the "Most Beautiful Bookstore In The World" for no reasons! You can even bring home Livraria Lello's special printed books as souvenirs too.
Do note that you need to buy your tickets in advance. Admission fee is €5 per person.
Address: R. das Carmelitas 144, 4050-161 Porto, Portugal
Opening hours: 9am - 7.30pm
2. Gaia Cable Car: A Scenic Ride
For breathtaking panoramic views of Porto and the Douro River, take a ride on the Gaia Cable Car. Kids will be in awe as you ascend to the hilltop, and the vistas that greet you at the top are truly remarkable. It's an excellent opportunity for a family photo session, capturing the beauty of Porto from high above. Get your tickets here.
3. Gardens of the Crystal Palace: A Hidden Gem
Discover a hidden gem in the heart of Porto at Gardens of the Crystal Palace. This quaint park offers a peaceful escape from the city's hustle and bustle. My 3-year-old toddler enjoyed running after the chickens and peacocks. It's a perfect spot for a family break during your Porto exploration! Psst... it also has a great view of the Douro River!
Address: R. de Dom Manuel II, 4050-346 Porto, Portugal
Opening hours: 8am - 7pm
4. Porto's Street Art: A Colorful Urban Canvas
As you wander through Porto's streets, keep an eye out for the city's vibrant street art scene. The colorful murals and artistic expressions add a dynamic and creative touch to the cityscape. Challenge your children to spot the most interesting artworks and have a mini scavenger hunt as you explore the city's artistic side.
5. Ribeira District: Wander Along the Riverfront
The best thing about Porto is how walkable it is. One of the spots we loved is the historic Ribeira District, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and marvel at the colorful buildings lining the Douro River. The cobbled streets and quaint alleys are brimming with character, making it a delightful place to explore. Be sure to relax at a riverside café, soak in the ambiance, and watch the world go by. I also recommend going after sunset as the city is bathed in glowing lights.
6. Dom Luís I Bridge: Walk Across the Iconic Bridge
If you and your kids are not tired yet, consider crossing the impressive Dom Luís I Bridge, an architectural marvel designed by Gustave Eiffel's protégé. You can traverse it on foot or take the Porto metro. The upper deck provides stunning panoramic views, while the lower deck is an excellent spot for photographs and a leisurely stroll along the riverbanks.
7. São Bento Station: Admire Artistry
Even if you're not taking a train, make a stop at São Bento Station to appreciate its artistic masterpiece. The station's grand entrance hall is adorned with exquisite blue and white azulejos (traditional Portuguese ceramic tiles) that depict historical scenes. It's a small but mesmerizing piece of Porto's cultural heritage. We did not manage to see this beautiful train station, but wish we did!
8. Chapel of Souls: Explore the Historic Gem
Visit the Chapel of Souls, a striking example of Romanesque architecture that dates back to the 12th century. The chapel famous for its exterior of blue & white tiles painted with scenes from the lives of saints. Explore its cloisters and soak in the centuries-old history of this magnificent structure.
9. Try out Pastéis de Nata
What's a visit to Portugal without trying the country's most famous dessert, amirite? Fábrica da Nata has a few outlets in Porto and I highly recommend trying the Portuguese tart here! The tarts are Muslim-friendly, there's no lard or alcohol used. It's made of crispy puff with delicious creamy custard in the middle. You can sprinkle the tart with powdered sugar or cinnamon (my favourite!). Enjoy your tart with a cup of coffee and your day will be perfect!
Address: R. de Santa Catarina 331 335, 4000-451 Porto, Portugal
Opening hours: 8am - 10pm
Porto is a city that beautifully combines history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a fantastic destination for a family vacation. From enchanting bookstores to captivating museums and outdoor adventures, there's no shortage of things to do in Porto with kids. Your family's adventure in Porto awaits, and it's bound to be an unforgettable experience!