The Algarve is one of Portugal’s most popular family holiday destinations, with warm temperatures, beautiful beaches and a huge range of activities.
With so much to see and do, from exploring the beaches and bays to adventure parks and safaris, there’s something to keep children of all ages entertained. Here are some of the top family activities in the Algarve.
Beaches and boat trips
Beach holidays in the Algarve are hugely popular, and with good reason. The central beaches are the most convenient, and include the beautifully soft sandy shore of Quinta do Lago, surrounded by spectacular views of the estuary and the villas in the background. Other, smaller beaches are worth seeking out though, as they tend to be less busy, and simply getting to them is a scenic adventure in itself! Barrill beach is popular among families not just for its shallow waters and golden sands, but also for the miniature train ride along the coast from the car park to the beach, and the great little cafés and restaurants that provide all the amenities you need for the day. Praia da Armona is another great choice, not least because getting there requires a short ferry trip across the bay from Olhão. Boat trips offer a great chance to see the surrounding coastline, and as well as beach ferries you can pick up tours of the bay, glass-bottom trips, and even magical dolphin-watching excursions, which are perfect for the marine-lovers in the family!
Explore the countryside
Discover the Algarve’s beautiful wildlife with some fantastic excursions out to the surrounding countryside. The Ria Formosa Natural Park is a protected area of islands and lagoons, which you can explore and see many rare and exotic species, including the impressive pink flamingos that live here, and don’t forget to visit the education centre to discover more about the way the land is used. Walking and cycling trails are another great way to see the region; the Via Algarviana is a purpose-built route that passes through most of the region and provides a safe walking option with plenty to explore on the way, while flat and scenic bike trails can be found along the coast and throughout the countryside.
Families with older kids should check out the Monchique mountain range, which promises a more challenging route to the highest peak in the Algarve, and also offers a great opportunity to try rock-climbing and abseiling, surrounded by some of the most stunning scenery in Portugal. Although Monchique is only a small village, it’s home to the natural spa waters of Caldas de Monchique, which the Romans considered to be sacred. Just watch out for the strong smell of sulphur! Visitors to Monchique should consider staying in the nearby city of Silves, which is full of ancient ruins and craft markets. Keen riders can also try horse-riding through the sand dunes, along the beaches or through the forests and hillsides; with instructors on hand, it’s a great chance for beginners to try something new.
The Algarve boasts a large number of family attraction parks, offering lots of fun things to do and definitely worth checking out to let off some steam with the kids. With no less than four water parks to choose from, the best place to start is Aqualand, Europe’s largest with over 6 hectares of water rides, flumes, pools, rapids, and artificial beaches. There’s also a mini-park for smaller kids, shaded gardens to relax in, and daily dolphin shows! Animal lovers should also head to Zoomarine, a large marine centre in Albufeira where you can see plenty of sea life and learn about the beaches and waters in the region. Albufeira has many family-friendly hotels and it is a popular destination for families who enjoy being close to beaches and water sports activities.
Omega Wildlife Conservation park, in the Monchique area, is even more exciting for nature enthusiasts; the park is home to several endangered species, including lemurs, Oryx and cheetah, promising a thrilling day out for everybody, including the adults.
The Algarve is a great place to head with the whole family to ensure an exciting, activity-filled break. Make sure you see as much of the region as possible, for a truly unforgettable holiday!
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