The bustling seaside resort of Albufeira, on Portugal’s Algarve, offers so many high-octane watersport activities that your teens will simply be too busy having fun to think about online gaming or social media.
With 30 kilometres of fine golden sand making up the series of beautiful beaches along the coast of Albufeira, there is no shortage of space – even in the busy summer season – to lay out your towel and relax. Which means that while the kids explore the multiple watersports on offer, you can unwind and work on your tan.
Most of the watersports at the resort are offered on Praia da Oura, the bustling beach closest to the modern part of town with its many restaurants and bars. For boat trips and excursions, however, you’ll need to head to the town’s impressive marina at the western end of the resort.
Find out more about the many attractions of Albufeira here.
What is it with kids and water? While I’d happily spend my entire holiday lying in the sun with a good book, only going in the sea to cool off, my kids quite literally have to be dragged out of the water at the end of the day.
That’s why they loved Albufeira, there was just so much for them to do – all of which involved water, speed and getting soaking wet. Thankfully I could watch from the shore, just looking up from my book long enough to give them a quick wave.
So if your kids are anything like mine and you want them to start getting excited about your trip to the Algarve, all you’ll need do is show them this list of watersports on offer.
Okay, so they call this a boat ride but don’t be fooled; this is more like a
! It’s a speedboat which carries up to 12 people who then cling on for dear life as the driver speeds out across the water doing 360º break turns and steering into waves to soak the passengers, who, to be fair, seem to be having the time of their lives.
These are large inflatables which up to six people can ride, dragged behind a speedboat. The drivers purposely cross the boat’s wake as often as possible so that the occupants of the inflatables scream with joy as they are tossed up and down. The Flyfish is designed to actually take off from the water before crashing back down, which the older kids all loved.
Similar to the Crazy UFO, except you get your own individual ring which is then pulled along behind a speedboat at high speed. The game here is to try and cling on as the boat driver weaves around in the water.
The first but still one of the best speedboat rides is the banana boat. The kids love it because it offers the challenge of trying to stay on as the large banana-shaped inflatable is dragged beneath them.
This is actually one which I joined in with (paddle power is a bit more my speed), and we all loved it. It’s perfect for first timers as there’s always a boat with staff on hand to come and help if you need it. It was a great experience and a lovely way to explore the local coastline.
If your kids are keen to try scuba diving then the dive centres at the marina are a great place to start. Look for a PADI-qualified instructor who will help them with getting familiar with the equipment and, when they’re ready, take them out on a first dive.
Experienced divers can try the underwater scooters (à la James Bond). These are great fun and a good way to explore some of the fantastic dive sites around the Algarve.
While I’m all for sending the kids off while I do some much needed relaxing in the sun, family holidays are also about spending some fun, stress-free time together. At Albufeira for us this meant taking some really great trips together. My kids love dolphins so the dolphin boat trip to the stunning Insonia Caves was a must and so was the half-day sailing cruise up the coast on a traditional Leãozinho pirate ship.
How to Get to Albufeira
It couldn’t be easier to get your teens to Albufeira as it is only 40 minutes from Faro Airport. As the Algarve’s main airport, there are literally tons of great budget flights flying regularly between the UK and Faro.
Avoid stress and hassle at the airport by booking an airport transfer with Shuttle Direct before you leave home. That way you know your transport is sorted as soon as you touch down in Portugal and your family holiday can get off to a smooth start.
Where to Stay:
Apartamentos Borda D’Agua – Set right on the front of Oura Beach with all its watersports activities, the Apartamentos Borda D’Agua is a charming set of apartments with access to an indoor and outdoor pool. These apartments are at the heart of the action in the modern part of Albufeira, just 300 metres from the town’s famous Strip.
Muthu Club Praia da Oura – For a more luxurious, resort feel try the Muthu Club Praia da Oura, just two minutes’ walk from Oura Beach with all its watersports. All the apartments here have their own balcony and there’s a pool and restaurant downstairs with nightly entertainment.
Hotel Baltum – The modern, stylish Hotel Baltum is right in the centre of the bustling modern part of town, just two minutes’ walk from the beach. There’s a restaurant downstairs serving local and international cuisine and, if the kids are still craving water at the end of a day on the beach, you can send them to the communal hot tub. WiFi is available throughout.
About Shuttle Direct:
Getting from the airport to the hotel with a family in tow can be a little stressful, so take the easy option and book a Shuttle Direct transfer online before you even leave home. As the leading provider of private and shuttle transfers in Europe and North Africa, Shuttle Direct offers group or private transfers across a wide range of holiday destinations so wherever you’re going, they’ll deliver you to exactly where you want to be.