Choose your scenic base in the Algarve then immerse yourself in family fun
You’ll be in the Algarve in under three hours and can transfer to popular family destinations such as Olhos De Agua in 50 minutes or even the furthest resorts like Alvor in two hours.
Olhos De Agua offers a peaceful break, and it’s only 15 minutes from lively Albufeira and Vilamoura if you want to venture out. The large cliffs, freshwater springs and rock pools on the beach add a natural backdrop for the heaps of family attractions that gather in this area.
Armacao de Pera‘s 17th-century fort and cobbled streets contrast with the modern beach area and All Inclusive hotels, with watersports opportunities, a market and waterpark and karting track close by. Picturesque Alvor also has a cobbled centre with an excellent restaurant scene, and its marina and lagoon area beside the town’s two beaches add heaps more character.
Best family friendly beaches
Among the Algarve’s many clean, amenity-packed Blue Flag beaches, you’ll find the following coastal offerings. Armacao de Pera’s long sandy beach has cafes and restaurants on it promenade, with a fort at one end and caves at the other. For more space you can walk along to Praia Grande Beach, which reaches all the way to Albufeira. Over in Alvor, combine watersports with picturesque walks at the long beach, which is divided by the river estuary and edges a nature reserve and miles of sand dunes with walkways.
For quieter beach time, Olhos de Agua Beach will intrigue the kids with springs that bubble up on the beach. Praia Dos Salgados – a remote beach backed with marshes – is still close to some great restaurants. You can stroll the pushchair-friendly boardwalks to catch glimpses of wild birds like flamingos.
Best family activities in the Algarve
If you’re staying in Armacao de Pera, you’ll have Aqualand waterpark just eight-minutes’ drive away and Kartodromo de Almancil for go-karting and paintballing even closer. Olhos de Agua has several waterparks all within 20 minutes, with Slide and Splash in Estombar, Aquashow Park in Quarteira and Zoomarine near Guia. Zoomarine doubles as an animal and marine park, the latter having slides, a wave pool and sandy beach, while Aquashow is a waterpark and amusement park boasting rollercoasters, a mini train, mini-golf and even a wax museum.
To be immersed in the local nature, Alvor’s Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve and its lagoon beside the beach are the place for everything from watersports to wildlife spotting and scenic walks. Luso Aventura Albufeira aerial adventure park near Olhos d’Agua gives you the chance to swing about high up in the trees or on lower levels for younger kids and those less brave.
Other popular holidays in Portugal
Family holidays elsewhere in Portugal include the quieter islands of Madeira and Porto Santo. The Algarve has a lot to give to families though, as covered in our holiday guide. Read on for details of excellent family hotels in the Algarve.
At Palmeiras Village, three sandy bays are within five minutes' walk, and two big pools, each with a kids' section offering waterslides and a pirate ship, are onsite. When it comes to dining, two buffet restaurants with live cooking stations, three themed restaurants – Asian, Brazilian and seafood – and a 24-hour snack restaurant dish up excellence, as do the kids' clubs and playground, entertainment covers workshops, dance lessons and sports.
Refurbished in 2017, the clifftop Clubhotel Riu Guarana is 10 minutes from Praia da Falesia beach down a wooden walkway of steps. Two pools, a hydromassage area and a children's pool with water polo and an aquagym add plenty of fun. This All Inclusive hotel offers suites or family rooms and a choice of three buffet restaurants. To keep everyone busy there's a RiuLand kids' club, RiuArt programme and evenings involving live music, the mini-disco or the nightclub.