The Algarve, the southern coast of Portugal, has long been a favorite of British families. It has incredible curvaceous beaches that are lapped by the Atlantic Ocean, making them perfect for surfing overlooked by towering cliffs. This attractive landscape offers family-friendly accommodation and value-for-money food and drink that the Post Office’s 2022 Holiday Costs Report ranks as the third most economical destination in the Eurozone.
So if you’re considering the Algarve for your next family vacation, here’s a list of seven must-do activities at some of the most popular tourist attractions.
Observation of wild dolphins
Take a boat trip with AlgarExperience from Albufeira Marina to observe these playful animals in the wild. There are usually common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins and June to September is their favorite time to go out and play. Combine the trip with a visit to the impressive Benagil Cave.
Where to stay: Muthu Oura Praia Hotel is centrally located 300 meters from the beach and 2 km from Albufeira’s old town. The hotel offers self-catering apartments with outdoor swimming pools, tennis court, sauna, gym, massage room and golf desk.
Alternatively, the Salgados Palace is a five-star hotel which, during high season, operates on an all-inclusive basis. It’s renowned for its entertainment for adults and kids, and has a spa, kids’ club, and four pools.
Nature Reserve Bike Tour
The Ria Formosa Nature Reserve is one of Portugal’s most fascinating beauty spots, and you can discover it on a 3-hour bike tour with a professional guide. The Ria Formosa barrier island system protects a warm water lagoon with its mosaic of salt marshes, islets and mudflats. This unique environment is home to many resident and migratory birds and provides shelter for other endangered species of fish, plants and animals.
Where to stay: Located literally on the doorstep is the Four Season Fairways Resort which offers private villa-style accommodations with all the extras you’d expect from a hotel or resort, including a kids’ club, restaurants, and indoor and outdoor pools. Little explorers will love the Upside-Down Kids Club and Nursery with daily activities and babysitting service.
Kayaking through caves and caves
Discover the beautiful coastline of Ponta da Piedade near Lagos by kayak with the expertise of a local guide. This is the best way to see some of the most magical caves and caves in the Algarve and beautiful hidden beaches only found by boat or kayak. Tours by Discover Tours
Where to stay: Cascade Wellness Resort near Lagos has a stunning clifftop location overlooking the Ponta da Piedade and offers both apartments, villas and rooms in its five-star hotel and a superb kids’ club with a large pirate ship.
See the queen in the sand
Jhe Sand City Sculpture Park is a one-of-a-kind exhibit where talented sculptors have shaped and sculpted whimsical and stunning celebrity figures, locations and scenes. Expect to see incredible recreations of celebrities, from Cristiano Ronaldo to the Queen! The exhibition changes constantly, so there is always something new to see.
Where to stay: Grande Real Santa Eulália, a 5-star resort near Albufeira with daily entertainment for adults and children and accommodation available in family apartments, suites or rooms. The Realito Kids Club is ideal for young children.
Boogie boarding and surfing
Jhe best surfing beaches are found in the western part of the region around Sagres and the Costa Vicentina. The youngest will love to start with a bodyboard and the older ones can try their hand at surfing. Freeride Surf School offers quality surf lessons taught by highly qualified coaches. They are suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced surfers.
Where to stay: Martinhal Family Resort overlooks Martinhal Beach and is set in a protected natural park. Kids love the mini-golf and children’s play areas with a new zip line. The new fitness circuit is already a great success with families who train together!
Alternatively, Sagres Sun Stay offers cheap accommodation in dorms, private rooms or studios with the fun atmosphere of a hostel. They have a surf school where you can book surf lessons and a handy bike station to repair and clean bikes.
Slip and slide
One of the favorite activities for families is visiting one of the water parks in the Algarve – Aquashow or Slide & Splash. Aqua Show in Quarteira will open an indoor water park in the fall of 2022, making it perfect for the cooler months. Most parks have green spaces and specific areas for picnics.
Where to stay: Families can stay at the Aquashow grounds of the Aqua Park Hotel or the Jupiter Hotel Albufeira, a hotel designed exclusively for families with excellent facilities, daily activities and entertainment for children.
go to the beach
Families are spoiled for choice when it comes to beaches. The Algarve has 87 blue flag beaches with beach cafes, restaurants, assistance points, lifeguards and water sports operators, all contributing to an exceptional beach experience. For wide beaches with space to play football and volleyball. Connoisseurs head for the beaches to the west such as Meia, Falésia in the center or Barril to the east. Head to Dona Ana and Rocha Beach, both surrounded by cliffs.
For beaches to boogie and surf, head to Cordoama or Bordeira Beach.
Where to stay: Pine Cliffs, a Luxury Collection Resort, overlooks beautiful Falesia Beach and offers a collection of luxury multi-bedroom suites, private villas and self-contained apartments, perfect for large multi-generational family groups. Kids can let loose at the resort’s Porto Pirata, a playground with two life-size multifunctional wooden pirate ships, a basketball court, and a children’s pool.