Praia da Costa Nova is one of the most charming little towns you should visit in Portugal

16 Fun Things To Do in Portugal with Kids

In Europe, Portugal, Travel inspiration by Jurga10 CommentsTHIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS

Most people here in Europe associate Portugal with beaches, nice weather, and good food. But if you have been following our blog for a while, you probably know that we are not that much into sun-tanning on the beach. So when I think about our recent trip to Portugal with kids, I have completely different family-friendly experiences in mind that I want to share with you. This is a selection of all kinds of fun things to do in Portugal with kids that doesn’t involve swimming, playing on the beach, visiting zoos, aquariums, or other traditional family activities. Find out!

See also: Our 10-day Portugal trip itinerary

Best experiences to have in Portugal with kids

In no particular order, below is a list of some of the best things to do in Portugal with kids. This selection is based on our experiences that the kids enjoyed the most. You know, the kind that they keep on talking about long after the trip…

1. Ride a tuk-tuk

If you ask our kids what they liked the most in Portugal, they will unanimously vote for the tuk-tuk ride. It was the very first time they ever rode a tuk-tuk, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen all three of them so excited! Ever. So if you are traveling to Portugal with kids, make sure you take them for a tuktuk ride. You will find them in Lisbon, Porto, and Sintra.

Tip: negotiate your trip and the rate in advance.

Riding a tuk-tuk was one of the highlights of our vacation in Portugal for kids

Kids’ favourite memory from Portugal


2. Walk the city walls of Obidos

Obidos is a small medieval town just an hour North of Lisbon. Walking the old city walls was one of the most unforgettable experiences in Portugal for kids. Just be careful, especially with kids, as the walls have no rails on one side.

Walking on the city walls of Obidos in Portugal with kids

It’s really fun, just watch the kids!


3. Explore the gardens of Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra 

Sintra has so many castles and palaces that it might be difficult to choose which ones to visit. There is one castle, however, that you really shouldn’t miss if visiting Sintra with kids, and that is Quinta da Regaleira.

Actually, it’s not that much the castle that kids will love the most. The garden of Quinta da Regaleira is a real paradise for little explorers! Your kids will love walking in dark secret tunnels, exploring hidden passageways, jumping over stones over water at a hidden waterfall, or climbing the spiral staircase of a 27m deep well…

Check this post for more ideas on what to see and do in Sintra in one to three days.

Exploring the gardens of Quinta da Regaleira was really fun for the whole family

Don’t miss the gardens of Quinta da Regaleira


4. Ride Lisbon tram nr. 28, Nazaré funicular, Porto gondola, and take the kids for a boat ride

If there is one thing we learned from our trips with kids, is that children love all kinds of transportation. The more varied the better. I already mentioned the tuk-tuk rides. But there are many more fun experiences involving different means of transport that you shouldn’t miss if traveling in Portugal with kids.

Here are some of our family’s favourite transport-related activities in Portugal:

  • Ride a historic tram in Lisbon or in Porto
  • Take a funicular to the O’Sitio district in Nazaré
  • Ride a gondola in Porto
  • Take the kids on a sailing cruise in Lisbon. Read more about it here: How to spend a perfect day in Lisbon with kids.
Nazare funicular in Portugal

Nazare funicular

Sailing the Tagus river in Lisbon with kids

Kids love the sailing cruise in Lisbon!


5. Visit the caves Grutas de Mira de Aire

Grutas de Mira de Aire is a must place to visit if traveling in Central Portugal with kids. Descend 110m below the ground and explore more than 600m of incredible underground chambers. This is something the whole family will love for sure! Oh, and don’t worry about having to climb back up – there is an elevator to take you back to the surface.

Grutas de Mira de Aire in Central Portugal

Grutas de Mira de Aire


6. Taste traditional Portuguese custard cakes Pasteis de Nata

Traveling is also about getting to know the local food. Our kids are becoming more and more difficult when it comes to new culinary experiences, but they all really enjoyed the Portuguese custard cakes, pasteis de nata.

Pasteis de Belem in Lisbon

Make sure to try Pasteis de Nata in Portugal


7. Discover some of the most amazing viewpoints of Portugal

This will probably come as no surprise: our kids love climbing staircases and visiting old towers. The higher, the better.

Here are some of our favourite towers to climb and viewpoints not to miss in Portugal with kids:

  • Elevador de Santa Justa in Lisbon
  • O Sitio district in Nazaré
  • Dom Luís I Bridge in Porto (the bridge has two levels, the views from the top are priceless)
  • The Cathedral tower of Evora
Admiring the view over the old town in Porto, Portugal with kids

View over Porto from Dom Luís I Bridge


8. Explore an old convent

Museums, churches, and other kinds of religious buildings are not always a big success when traveling with kids. However, Portugal has some amazing places, especially the monasteries, that any kid will love to explore. Our favourites were the monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalha. Not a chance your kids will get bored here!

Visiting Batalha Monastery in Portugal with kids

Batalha Monastery


9. Get lost in the most beautiful forest of Portugal – Mata Nacional do Buçaco

If you like off the beaten path destinations, nature, and history, make sure you take the kids to the Bussaco forest in Luso, Central Portugal. They’ll love this ancient forest with something different and exciting to explore behind every corner. Take a picnic and make this one of the most memorable family day trips in Portugal!

Exploring Bussaco forest in Portugal with kids

Exploring Bussaco forest


10. Admire Portuguese azulejos

It would be unthinkable to visit Portugal without falling in love with the traditional Portuguese tiles – azulejos. Children will love looking for new patterns or discovering some ancient stories on the walls of residential buildings, churches, train stations, and old castles… Take the time to really explore this unique kind of art with your kids.

Portuguese azulejos at Sao Bento railway station in Porto Portugal

Sao Bento railway station in Porto


11. Visit Costa Nova – the most colourful town of Portugal

Take your kids to Praia da Costa Nova. This little coastal town with colourful striped houses was a favourite with our boys.

Colorful striped houses of Costa Nova near Aveiro in Central Portugal

Colorful striped houses of Costa Nova


12. Visit a local market

Our kids love visiting markets. There is so much to see, to touch, to taste…

We visited a couple of markets in Portugal with kids, but there was one that left them speechless – a local seafood market in Costa Nova. They didn’t know where to look first – there was a huge variety of fish, but also octopus, shrimp, crab… And then there were eels, hundreds of eels, alive and crawling, waiting for a buyer to take them home for dinner. The kids couldn’t believe their eyes!

Kids loved visiting a fish market in Portugal

At the seafood market


13. Explore Porto by night

One of the best parts of any vacation for our kids is being able to stay up late. They love exploring new places at night!

Our favourite place to explore late in the evening in Portugal was the Cais da Ribeira waterfront area in Porto. Not only does it have some incredible views, you will also find a really great atmosphere with nice also family-friendly restaurants and lots of street performers. The whole family loved it!

Porto by night

Porto by night


14. Buy a Portuguese hat

We try not to buy many souvenirs when we travel, but it’s something our kids look forward to when we travel. I guess all kids do…

If you buy one souvenir in Portugal for your kids, make it a hat. It’s the best 5 Euros you can spend! Not only will it protect them from the harsh sun, it will make all the vacation pictures so much more stylish. 😉

Buying souvenirs in Portugal

Kids can’t pass a souvenir shop without checking it out


15. Visit a real-life Disney castle – Pena Palace

Portugal is home to many castles, but there is one that kids will definitely remember long after the trip. Palace of Pena in Sintra is probably the most colorful castle in the world. It’s like walking into a real-life Disney castle!

Visiting the fairytale-like Pena Palace is a must

Fairytale-like Pena Palace in Sintra


16. Look for street art

City trips can be tiring for children. Looking for street art is a great way to keep the kids busy and involved when exploring Lisbon or Porto. You will be amazed at how much street art there is, and the kids are really good in finding it!


Discovering street art in Portugal with kids


So, this is our selection of somewhat unusual things to do in Portugal with kids. Of course, you can spend a day at the beach with your family, take the plunge in the pool, visit an aquarium or a zoo… Portugal has many family-friendly activities. I just wanted to show you that traveling with kids doesn’t always have to be about beaches and theme parks. Not even if visiting such a typical European beach vacation destination as Portugal.

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Best things to do in Portugal with kids

16 fun experiences in Portugal with kids
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16 Fun Things To Do in Portugal with Kids was last modified: August 2nd, 2017 by Jurga

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  1. I am delighted reading this website. I was looking for good recommendations for a one-day-only trip to Amsterdam and I was liking what I was reading. Then I decided to check if it was any good the best way I could: by checking if your pages on Portugal were any good. You see, Portugal is where I was born, I live and travel the most, so I should know. Well, these recommendations to Fun Things To Do in Portugal with Kids are marvelous and I couldn’t think of any improvement! (The “Buy a hat” tip is funny, unexpected and very thoughtful.) Now I’m going back to reading your Amsterdam in one day page, in complete trust that it will be as good as this one. Thank you!

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for taking your time to leave this feedback, Miguel. Really appreciate it and glad that you found our content trustworthy. I always strive to give my readers the very best information that I can, and at the same time to inspire them to visit new places and make the most of their trips.
      Enjoy Amsterdam and if you have the time, make sure to explore more of the Netherlands (there are lots of great day trips that you can make from Amsterdam) or maybe even come over to Belgium too – we have so many really nice places here!

  2. Thank you so much for this post- it’s really wonderful. We are considering traveling to Portugal with our children this August and our one concern is crowds/tourism. Would you advise *not* to go to any of the above places during August? Also, where can we sneak in some beach/shore time without having to fight for some space on the sand with other tourists ? Any advice is appreciated as we are really just beginning to plan. Thank you!

    1. Author

      Hi Lisa, there are so many beaches in Portugal, I think there should be no problem finding somewhat less busy places. We haven’t been on the beach much as we were traveling in April and didn’t really plan for such good weather. We really liked Nazare beach, no idea how busy it gets in summer though. Also Costa Nova with the colorful houses had nice sand dunes and a beach – also no idea how it looks like in summer, in April it was really nice and quiet there. If you are looking for beach vacation only, then Algarve is one of the ‘must’ regions in Portugal for that. You can see one of my previous comments to another reader with some family-friendly hotel suggestions. I think the best way to escape the crowds is to rent a car and drive just a bit further from the main tourist towns. As I said, there are so many beaches in Portugal, that you can always find something that suits you.
      As for where to go and not to go. In August it’s going to be really hot in Portugal, so maybe try to limit your time in the cities with kids. The monasteries are great since it’s nice and cool inside and so are the castles in Sintra and the Bucaco forest.
      Enjoy the trip!

  3. Those stripe houses and the colorful castle makes me wnawt to jump on a plane right now! Portugal looks so much fun. Seems like the whole family deeply enjoyed it

  4. Some great things to do in Portugal with or without the kids Jurga! Would want to do all of these things! Love the look of those custard cakes!

    1. Author

      Haha! Thank you, Tracy. Custard cakes were absolutely delicious everywhere in Portugal. But the ones in Evora were just heavenly. So keep that in mind if you ever get there 😉

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