Algarve, Portugal

About

Most offer the chance to get involved in sporting activities such as golf, tennis and water sports and there are plenty of relaxation facilities for all the family including swimming pools, beaches and spas.

Overview

The Algarve is Portugal’s most southerly region. It covers nearly 5500 square kilometres and the number of permanent inhabitants is less than half a million.  Faro is the main city for the region and all international flights go through the airport there.

Tourism is one of the main industries and this is the most popular destination in the country and certainly one of the most popular in Europe.  At the peak of the holiday season the population more than triples.

Even in the winter the temperatures are in double figures and in the summer are normally between 26°C and 30°C.  From the UK there is a flying time of less than 3 hours so those travelling with a young family will find the journey manageable.  Many of the resorts run kid’s clubs so that there are activities all day long if they need them and the adults can make the most of the opportunity to relax.  This is in addition to extras such as baby-sitting services.

Algarve Resorts

Albufeira is one of the area’s most popular resorts and family-friendly facilities can be found in every part of it.  Accommodation in the area ranges from campsites to luxury villas and there are plenty of hotels in the quieter parts of the Old Town.  Albufeira is also a good base from which to explore the region.  Just 2 km outside the town there is the small town of Oura where there are plenty of facilities such as restaurants, beaches and water sports.

The resort of Vilamoura is popular as it offers almost everything that the tourists could want.  There are golf courses and visitors to the resort can take part in excursions to other parts of the region.

The resort is also very self-contained so those who are travelling with young children and who do not want the bother of too much travelling will find everything they need within easy reach.

Portimao is central to a number of popular resorts including Praia da Rocha, Alvor and Praia do Vau.  Praia da Rocha is one of the larger resorts and is popular due to the nightlife but the others are smaller and ideal for those who are looking for a more peaceful holiday.  Families who enjoy an outdoors life will love the opportunities for trekking, fishing and snorkelling.

Lagos is completely different to some of the tourist resorts but there is a beach there.  The town is medieval and visitors will enjoy the historical features of the town as well as the chance to take boat rides along the coast to see some of the secluded coves and caves.

Alternatively why not head inland?  There are plenty of small villages dotted throughout the countryside where a family could immerse themselves in the traditions of the region rather than the commercial features of it.  This is perfect for those who want to explore the countryside on foot, by bike or on horseback.

Things to do

First stop in the Algarve has to be one of the beaches.  With more than 200 km of coastline to choose from and plenty of clean sands it is easy to find a deserted spot in which to relax or a good place for the kids to paddle, swim and try their hand at snorkelling.  The beaches are all supervised and many have Blue Flag status so tourists can be sure that they are well looked after.  A day at the beach is perfect for all the family as there is something for everyone and most beaches are within easy reach of

ZooMarine is an aquarium theme part where visitors get to see sharks, tropical fish and a wide variety of other species close up.  The park has a strong focus on education, so kids (and adults!) are able to learn more about the lives of these fascinating creatures. There are shows taking place each day and opening hours will vary throughout the year.

Aqualand is one of the many water-based theme parks in Portugal and those who are brave enough can have a go on the 36 metre Kamikaze slide.  Teens love it and it is just 15 km from Albufeira.  The main resorts run a regular shuttle service to and from the park and families can easily spend the whole day there.

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