Whether your kids are adventurous tots or lethargic teens, Portugal offers a fantastic range of activities sure to keep the family entertained all summer long. From hiking and biking to canoeing and wakeboarding, the options are endless. Here are our top tips to keep the kids happy all year round.
Explore your wild side in North and Central Portugal
With stunning protected reserves and natural parks, this area of Portugal is an outdoor enthusiasts dream. After spending a day exploring the city of Porto and its range of fantastic museums, including Casa de Música and the Serralves Foundation, visit the protected reserve of Serra do Gerês.
From canoeing on the Caniçada reservoir and adventurous nature walks, to traditional local villages, home to imposing castle and granite homes, the kids will definitely sleep well after a day exploring Serra do Gerês.
Located just outside the university city of Coimbra is the interactive learn and play park of Portugal dos Pequenitos. Home to miniature houses and Portuguese monuments, children will love playing giant in this fun playground.
Play it cool in the capital Lisbon
Easy to get around on foot, there is a wealth of adventures to be had in the city. Spend a morning watching the lions being fed at the zoo before heading to Monsanto, the city’s forest, where children can run off high spirits on the swings, slides and other amusements. There is also a full range of museums to be enjoyed from the Calouste Gulbenkian Planetarium to the Lisbon Oceanarium.
For an afternoon away from urban surroundings, travel south and unwind at the secluded beach at Portinho da Arrábida, overlooking the Tróia peninsula. This peninsula is has unique unspoilted beaches and is just a short ferry trip away from Setúbal, during which you quite offently can whatch dolphins.
Hone your skills in the Alentejo
In the Alentejo, Portugal’s largest region, you’ll find impressive artificial lakes, karting tracks, horse riding options and even falconry shows. Enjoyed themed exhibitions at Coudelaria de Alter, visit the Museum of Évora and take in the impressive palace of Paço Ducal de Vila Viçosa.
Not to be missed is the Marina of Amieira, in the Alqueva Reservoir, where you can rent a houseboat. Spend days on the water learning to kayak and wakeboard or just kick back and relax in the sunshine.
Life’s a beach in the Algarve
Famed for its stunning beaches, the Algarve has some of the country’s most impressive golden sand; however it has so much more to offer. From body boarding on the Vicentina Coast to kitesurfing on Faro beach, water activities are in abundance here. Albufeira’s water park Aqualand is sure to be a hit with children young and old, as well as adults.
Looking to get back to nature? The Algarve region is a great place to enjoy hiking and mountain biking, especially along the Via Algarviana route. After a long day in the outdoors head back to one of a number of kid-friendly hotels and resorts, where parents can still relax and indulge in a spa treatments while children are having fun in supervised playground areas.
From donkey rides at Funchal’s Ecological Park to cable car tours across the city, the green island paradise of Madeira has a lot to offer. With year round pleasant temperatures and the golden sands of Porto Santo just two hours by boat, filling your day won’t be difficult. Head out into the mountains and stand above the clouds or take a glass bottom boat out to sea and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and whales.
Looking for breathtaking scenery and an opportunity to try some island hopping? The Azores is the place to visit. Paragliding, horseback riding and bike tours wait all who visit. There is plenty to entertain families that visit the archipelago. The Azores is home to one of the world’s largest whale and dolphin sanctuaries, meaning a boat ride out into the Atlantic is a must. Also a unique experience through swimming in a geothermal outdoor warm pool at the bottom of a waterfall surrounded by tree ferns, set in stunning botanical gardens.