It’s not surprising that the Algarve is a popular choice of destination for families, with its miles of beautiful beaches, endless choice of leisure activities, and friendly, welcoming locals. I’ve been fortunate to visit the region on several occasions and hope to share with you, in this Algarve family travel guide, my must see attractions, thoughts on best times to visit and my handpicked family friendly accommodation.
What makes the Algarve so special?
With some of the best beaches in the world, mild year round temperatures and quaint villages to explore, the Algarve lends itself as a great destination for all ages and interests. It’s a great choice for a relaxing holiday, for example when I visited with my mum and sister, we enjoyed people watching in fancy marinas, visiting fishing villages and trying local foods. An active week in the Algarve with friends involved exploring the stunning coastline on bikes, discovering caves and grottos on kayaks and wake boarding.
Family friendly resorts in the Algarve
To be close to the best family attractions and facilities I would suggest staying between Quarteira and Lagos (central and western Algarve). The three coastal resorts below are particularly family friendly…
Albufeira is perhaps the biggest and best-loved resort in the Algarve, not surprisingly with its golden sands, lively nightlife, charming marina and wide range of restaurants and bars.
Vilamoura is the sort of place where you want to dress to impress! A stylish resort with lots on offer including four championship golf courses, a casino, manicured gardens, golden beaches and lots of watersports.
Carvoeiro is a family friendly resort with plenty of shops and restaurants and a stunning golden beach which is sheltered by cliffs.
Best attractions, family days out in the Algarve
The Algarve is perfect for a family beach holiday, although if you wish to be more active the area also offers family friendly walking and cycling opportunities and all the sports you can imagine – tennis, surfing, golf, horse riding, kayaking and even extreme sports such as kite surfing and rock climbing and wakeboarding. It is also home to many family attractions…
Marine Park – Zoomarine is the Algarve’s biggest attraction, located close to Albufeira. Kids of all ages will enjoy presentations by dolphins, seals and sea lions, birds of prey and tropical birds. The aquarium is also worth a visit and don’t forget your swim suit for water fun at the Zoomarine beach which is a salt water wave beach with fab water slides.
Water Parks – The Algarve has some great parks that guarantee hours of fun, (they do not open year round so please check before travelling). Slide and Splash has slides, pools & rides plus live falconry, reptile & tropical bird shows. Aqualand is popular for its Kamikaze and Banzai slides, hydra slides and surf beach area with wave pool. Aquashow is reknown for its ride, White Fall, which is the only one of its kind in the world and definitely not for the faint hearted! It is also home to the biggest wave pool in Portugal and has areas that are suitable for all the family.
Festivals – The region offers several annual festivals, one that is particularly family friendly is the Fiesa Sand Sculpture Festival which runs from May to October, with a different theme each year.
Mini Golf – Home to some of the best golf courses in the world, the Algarve is also home to a couple of great mini golf courses ideal for budding golfers including the Family Golf Park in Vilamoura.
Boat Trips – There are various ways to take advantage of the stunning Algarve coastline including speed boat, sail boat, pirate boat trips, deep sea fishing trips and even dolphin watching excursions. This is a useful list of Algarve boat trip operators.
Accommodation for families in the Algarve
The Algarve is well-known for its family friendly hotels, resorts and villas. On the few occasions I have visited, I have stayed in a friends apartment by the Vilamoura marina, however if I was to visit with my family I would book a villa with private pool at a resort which caters for families such as the Eden Resort Algarve. This resort has kids clubs (for 4 – 10 years old) and great facilities including kids playground, bike hire and tennis courts which would keep all four of us happily entertained!
Top tips for a memorable family holiday in the Algarve
*** When the beaches get a little crowded in the summer months jump on a boat to find your own quiet cove or check out the amazing caves and rock formations at Algar Seco Natural Park. This area is also great for scuba diving!
*** Vilamoura marina (recently voted the best marina 2017) is a great place to people watch and admire the luxury yachts from one of the many waterside restaurants and bars.
*** If a bucket and spade are not enough to entertain your kids on the beach, check out the free activities run every summer at Praia da Rocha beach, near the marina. Every summer there is a full programme of beach activities – volleyball, yoga, surf try outs and even scuba try dives. (Keep an eye on the Visit Portimao website, which will be updated with details in the run up to the summer holidays).
Best time to travel to the Algarve
Unlike northern parts of Portugal, which sometimes experiences snow and cold temperatures in the winter, the Algarve is a year round destination. With a flight time of less than three hours from the UK, it is popular with Brits year round.
July is the hottest month in Algarve with an average temperature of 24°C (74°F) and the coldest is January at12°C (54°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 12 in August. The wettest month is December with an average of 117.2mm of rain. The best month to swim in the sea is in August when the average sea temperature is 21°C (70°F). Source – Holiday Weather
Each season in the Algarve has its advantages. The high season is July and August when the beaches are the most crowded. It is still warm enough in spring and autumn to enjoy time on the beautiful beaches.
I have visited in the winter which has the advantage of being a great time of year to pick up a bargain priced flights and accommodation, although I did find that the normally bustling resorts felt very quiet and many restaurants were closed. The golf courses are open all year round, so it’s personal preference if you are a golfer whether you wish to play in the heat of the peak summer sun or spend time on the golf course in the more comfortable cooler months.
For more information about the Algarve check out the official tourism authority website – Visit Portugal
We hope you have found Travel Loving Family’s Algarve family travel guide helpful in planning your holiday. If you have visited the area and have recommendations to share please do so in the comments below!
This is a collaborative post. All opinions are, as always, my own.
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