Enjoy a memorable family holiday to Portugal's sun kissed shores
With kid-friendly flight times of under three hours and the promise of 300 days of sunshine a year, family holidays to Portugal have never looked more appealing.
Summer temperatures sizzle at around 25°C depending on where you stay, so fun beach days are definitely on the agenda. Offering a mix of sandy beaches, beautiful scenery and activities like waterparks, holidays to Portugal reveal endless possibilities. With big hitters like the Algarve and Madeira offering a combination of sun, sea and sightseeing, the country has been a popular holiday choice with families for decades.
The Algarve is perhaps Portugal’s most famous holiday region, offering long swathes of sandy coastline, secluded bays and a variety of day trip options. Madeira, sometimes referred to as The Floating Garden of the Atlantic, provides a different vibe with a landscape of green valleys, black sand beaches and waterfalls.
Best family friendly beaches
Jaw-dropping beaches are what the Algarve is all about and Balaia, with its two Blue Flag winners, are family favourites. Just east of here, Praia do Ancao is situated within the Ria Formosa Natural Park so is ideal for those wanting a rural spot with sand dunes, wooden boardwalks and pine trees. There’s also a choice of restaurants serving fresh fish and a variety of watersports available.
With much more craggy coastlines, Madeira doesn’t have so many sandy beaches, but here are a couple of excellent coastal spots to try. Praia Formosa is the biggest stretch of beach on the island with cafes, safety staff and a promenade that leads into the centre of Funchal. Head in the other direction though and you’ll reach Camara de Lobos beach, which is much smaller but so pretty that Winston Churchill used to paint scenes here.
Best family activities in Portugal
Portugal’s Algarve has plenty to keep the family entertained. Aquashow Park in Vilamoura is a top attraction for cooling down on the waterslides and pools. Or head to Crazy World Zoo for a petting zoo where the little ones can get up close and personal with llamas and goats, or go on a fun pony ride.
In Madeira no holiday is complete without a visit to The Botanical Gardens in Funchal. The children will love its dazzling sub-tropical plants and Natural History Museum. A cable car ride is a fun and exhilarating way to reach the estate. Active families can also take part in numerous nature walks and biking tours and visit Funchal’s waterpark.
Other family holiday destinations
If you’re not quite decided yet don’t worry, there are lots more family holidays available. You might consider the Balearic Island of Majorca with its modern resorts, excellent beaches and fascinating capital city, Palma. Or Cyprus is an island steeped in history, myth and legend that’ll fascinate all members of the family. And fun-packed Florida is full of world-beating theme parks and activities for an epic trip of a lifetime.
But, if you’ve been persuaded by Portugal check out our travel guide and here are a few family friendly hotel choices in Portugal to start you off.
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Just a 20-minute walk from Alvor is the pretty Yellow Alvor Hotel. There's an indoor and outdoor swimming pool plus a separate children's pool, but those who want to feel the sand between their toes can take advantage of the hotel shuttle bus to the beach. The pool bar provides drinks and snacks during the day and those in search of something more substantial can head to the buffet restaurant. There are daily activities for children and a mini football pitch, kids' corner, playground and cinema, plus live music can be enjoyed several evenings a week.
Sleek and stylish, the 5* Vidamar Resorts Madeira provides an excellent venue for those wanting a luxurious family getaway. Three infinity pools, a children's pool and indoor pool ensure swimming and relaxation is on the agenda. Activities such as table tennis, billiards, squash and aqua aerobics will satisfy active holidaymakers and there's also a gym. While the children head to the Aquatica kids' club parents can hightail it to the Thallasso Sea Spa which lays on a range of treatments for an additional fee. Five dining options include the Ocean buffet restaurant, Koi Sushi restaurant and Mama Mia Italian restaurant and after dinner comes occasional live evening entertainment.