The Algarve, the southern coastline of Portugal has long been a favourite amongst the British families. It has some amazing curvaceous beaches that are lapped by the Atlantic ocean making them perfect for surfing towered over by soaring cliffs. This appealing landscape offers family-friendly accommodation and good value food and drinks that the 2022 Post Office report on holiday costs rated as the third-best value destination in the Eurozone.
So, if you are considering the Algarve for your next family holiday, here is a list of seven ‘must do’ activities taking in some of the most popular tourist attractions.
Wild dophin watching
Take a boat excursion with AlgarExperience from Albufeira Marina to spot these playful animals in the wild. There are typically Common, and Bottlenose Dolphins and June to September is their favourite time to come out and play. Combine the trip with a visit to the impressive Benagil Cave. Where to stay: The Muthu Oura Praia Hotel is centrally located 300 meters away from the beach and 2 km away from Albufeira’s Old Town. The hotel offers self-catering apartments with outdoor pools, a tennis court, a sauna, a gym, a massage room and a Golf Desk.
Alternatively, the Salgados Palace is a five-star hotel that, during the high season, operates on an all-inclusive basis. It is renowned for its entertainment for adults and children and has a spa, kids club and four pools.
Nature reserve bike tour
The Ria Formosa Nature Reserve is one of Portugal’s most beguiling beauty spots, and you can check it out on a 3-hour bike tour with a professional guide. The barrier island system of Ria Formosa protects a warm-water lagoon with its mosaic of salt marshes, islets and tidal mud flats. This unique environment harbours many resident and migratory birds and offers shelter to other threatened species of fish, plants and animals.
Where to stay: Located literally on the doorstop is Four Season Fairways Resort which provides private villa-style accommodation 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 Creche with daily activities and a babysitting service.
Kayak through grottos and caves
Discover the stunning coastline of Ponta da Piedade near Lagos by kayak with the expertise of a local guide. It’s the best way to see some of the most magical caves and grottos on the Algarve and beautiful hidden beaches found only by boat or kayak. Tours by Discover ToursWhere to stay: Cascade Wellness Resort near Lagos has a stunning cliff-top location overlooking the Ponta da Piedade and has both apartments, villas and rooms in its five-star hotel and a great kids club with a large pirate ship.
See the queen in sand
The Sand City Sculpture Park is a unique exhibition where talented sculptors have shaped and carved whimsical and amazing celebrity figures, places and scenes. Expect to see amazing recreations of celebrities from Cristiano Ronaldo to the Queen! The exhibition is constantly changing so there is always something new to see.
Where to stay: Grande Real Santa Eulália, a 5-star beach 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 younger children.
Boogie boarding and surfing
The best surf beaches are in the west of the region around Sagres and Costa Vicentina. Younger children will love starting off with a boogie board and older children can try surfing. Freeride Surf School provides quality surf lessons taught by highly qualified coaches. They are suitable for all levels from beginners to advanced surfers.
Where to Stay: Martinhal family-friendly resort overlooks Martinhal Beach and is set within a protected natural park. Kids love the mini-golf and kids’ playgrounds with a new zipline. The new fitness circuit is already a big hit with families working out together!
Alternatively, Sagres Sun Stay offers good value 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 & Slide
One of the favourite activities for families is a visit to one of Algarve’s water parks – Aquashow or Slide & Splash. Aqua Show in Quarteira will be opening an indoor waterpark in Autumn 2022 making it perfect for cooler months. Most of the parks have green spaces and specific areas for picnics. Where to stay: Families can stay at the Aquashow grounds in the Aqua Park Hotel or Jupiter Hotel Albufeira, a hotel designed exclusively for families with excellent facilities, daily activities and entertainment for kids.
Hit the beach
Families are spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches. The Algarve has 87 blue flag beaches with beach cafes, restaurants, help points, lifeguards and water sports operators -all contributing to a great beach experience. For wide beaches with space to play football and volleyball. Those in-the-know head to the beaches in the west like Meia, Falésia in central or Barril in the east. Head to Dona Ana and Rocha Beach, both surrounded by cliffs.
For beaches to boogie board and surf, head for Cordoama or Bordeira Beach.
Where to stay: Pine Cliffs, a Luxury Collection Resort, overlooks the stunning Falesia beach and offers a collection of luxury multi-bedroomed suites, private villas and self-catered apartments, which are perfect for large, multi-generational family groups. Kids can be let loose at the Resort’s Porto Pirata- a playground with two life-sized, multi-functional wooden pirate ships, a basketball court and a dedicated children’s swimming pool.