What Makes the Algarve Such a Special Place for Families?

Boasting some of the most attractive beaches on Earth, providing people with mild temperatures all year, and offering everyone quaint villages to explore, the Algarve can be considered one of the best tourist destinations for people of all ages with different interests.  It is the ideal choice for a relaxing vacation.  For instance, when I visited the area with my sister and mum, we enjoyed “people watching” in fancy marinas, tried the local foods, and even visited fishing villages.  During one of our more active weeks with friends, we explored the coastline on bicycles, discovered grottos and caves on kayaks, and went wake boarding.

Where Are the Family Friendly Resorts in the Algarve?

To be considered one of the best family-friendly attractions, I would recommend remaining between Lagos and Quarteira – the central and western Algarve areas.  The coastal resorts mentioned below are especial family-friendly for people with smaller children.

Albufeira is potentially one of the larger and most beloved resorts in the Algarve.  This is not surprising because of the golden beaches, charming marina, the Aquashow water park close by, a plethora of different bars and restaurants, and even a lively nightlife scene for when the children go to bed.

Carvoeiro is another family-friendly resort where there are numerous shops and restaurants available.  The golden beach is sheltered by cliffs, and you can read some tips for visiting by flying with a baby using this article.

Vilamoura is the type of place where you would want to “dress to impress”.  This stylish resort can be family-friendly, but it offers far more stylish beaches with water sports, manicured gardens, four championship golf courses, and a casino.

The Best Family-Friendly Day Out Attractions in the Algarve

The Algarve can be the ideal location for a family beach vacation; however, if you want to be more active, it can also offer family-friendly cycling and walking opportunities with all types of sports.  Sports available at different resorts include golf, surfing, tennis, horse riding, kayaking, and even more extreme sports including wakeboarding, kit surfing and rock climbing.  The Algarve is also home to numerous family attractions, such as the following:

1:  The Marine Park

One of the greatest family-friendly attractions is the Algarve Marine Park, Zoomarine. This attraction is located near Albufeira where children of all ages can enjoy performances by sea lions, seals, dolphins, tropical birds and birds of prey.  The aquarium is also worth a visit, plus you should remember your swimsuit for some fun at the Marine Park’s beach – a salt water wave beach with some outstanding water slides.

2:  Water Parks

Guaranteeing families hours of fun, the water parks in the Algarve are ideal if you are looking for a vacation attraction.  Unfortunately, the parks are not open all year, so you should check the opening times before travelling.  Slide and Splash has several pools, rides and slides, as well as live reptile, falconry and tropical bird shows.  The Aqualand water park is most well-known for its Banzai and Kamikaze slides, as well as a surf beach area with wave pool and hydra slides.  White Fall is the most popular water slide at Aquashow as it is the only one of its kind on Earth and not for the faint of heart!  Aquashow is also home to the largest wave pool in Portugal with areas that are suitable for family members of all ages.

3:  The Festivals

The Algarve is well known for numerous annual festivals with one that is particularly family-friendly.  This festival is the Fiesa Sand Sculpture Festival running from May to October, each year presenting with a different theme.

4:  Mini Golf

Believe it or not, the Algarve is home to some of the best golf courses across the globe, as well as some great mini golf courses for new golfers.  One of the most popular golfing attractions includes the Family Golf Park in Vilamoura.

5:  Boat Trips

There are many different means of taking advantage of the Algarve coastline such as sailboats, speedboats, deep sea fishing, and even dolphin watching options. 

Accommodation for Families in the Algarve

Known for the family-friendly resorts, villas and hotels, the Algarve is a popular option.  On the occasions I have visited the area, I stayed in a friend’s apartment along the Vilamoura marina; however, if I were to visit the Algarve with my family, I would choose a villa at a resort that caters for families, such as the Eden Resort Algarve.  The Eden Resort provides its patrons with great facilities including bike hire, kids’ clubs, playgrounds, and tennis courts to keep everyone entertained.

Some Top Tips to Make the Algarve a Memorable Family Vacation

–  If the beaches become crowded during the summer months, try jumping onto a boat and find your own cove or explore the caves and rock formations at the Natural Parks.  This area is ideal if you are looking for scuba diving locations.

–  The Vilamoura Marina voted the best marina in 2017, is one of the best places to “people watch” and admire the different luxury yachts while enjoying many coastal bars and restaurants.

–  If a spade and bucket are not enough to keep your child entertained on the beach, try and find out about the free events at Praia da Rocha beach.  During the year there is a program of activities, such as yoga, volleyball, surfing and even scuba diving.  It is also recommended that you keep an eye on the Visit Portimao website which is updated with details to the run-up during the summer vacation.

When is the Best Time to Travel to the Algarve

Unlike the northern part of Portugal which can experience cold temperatures with snow during the winter, the Algarve presents with a mild temperature all year.  A flight time of fewer than three hours from the United Kingdom, it is very popular among British residents.

July is one of the warmest months in the Algarve.  The daily sunshine hours in August are 12 hours per day.  During the cold and wet months, the coldest temperature is 12 degrees Celsius and 54 degrees Fahrenheit.  The best time to swim is during August when the average sea temperature is 21 degrees Celsius or 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

All seasons in the Algarve have their benefits.  The peak season is July and August when beaches are highly crowded; however, it remains warm enough during spring and fall to enjoy the golden sands.

I have visited the area during winter, and this is beneficial because you get bargain-priced accommodation and flights.  However, I found the normally busy resorts were quiet and most restaurants were shut.  Golf courses tend to stay open throughout the year, so this is a preference if you enjoy golf.