With its fabulous weather, beautiful sandy beaches and stunning landscapes, Portugal’s Algarve has long been a hit with visitors looking for a family holiday full of fun activities. From water parks and theme parks to water sports galore, there is so much for children to do on the Algarve, it is the kind of holiday destination that active children dream about.
On the boarder of central and western Algarve lies the former fishing village of Carvoeiro, a beautiful little holiday resort which takes advantage of its position to offer families a great variety of things to see and do.
The Perfect Size for Older Children
One of the hardest things about being a parent can be knowing when to give children a little more independence. My ‘tweens’, as they like to be called (not quite teenagers but of an age when they think they know infinitely more than I do) are always keen to explore on their own, and in a new holiday location this can be worrying.
The benefit of a destination like Carvoeiro is that it’s so compact that I could let the kids wander down to the resort’s main square, knowing that they couldn’t get lost or stray too far. In fact, the layout of the town is such that the main square looks out over the pretty, sheltered beach, which meant that they could leave me basking in the sun and go and get a cold drink and an ice cream without being too far out of sight.
Much of the accommodation here is self catered so the kids got used to walking down to the shops to pick up supplies like fresh bread in the mornings (there are definitely some plus points to them growing up!).
A Beautiful Beach
The beach at Carvoeiro is a beautiful protected bay with soft golden sand. If your family likes a bit of basking in the sun, then you’ll love the calm waters (the waves are broken by the protective cliffs which curve around this beach) and soft, fine sand of Praia do Carvoeiro. Although it can get a little crowded during the high season, we always found plenty of room to spread out, and the swimming here is glorious.
There are other beaches along the coast if you’re looking for more seclusion, but we loved the atmosphere here, as well as the quick access to town and the cafés and restaurants of the main square.
Fun on the Water
If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll only lie still for so long before they’re looking for something to do. Thankfully, the full range of water sports available on the Praia do Carvoeiro meant that they could try a different water-based activity every day we were there. From paddle boards and kayaking to jet skis and kitesurfing, fun on the water is the perfect way to keep active kids entertained during your stay at the resort.
There are several dive centres in the town offering courses for older kids and beginners, right the way through to advanced open water dives. Offering a variety of sites from reefs and caves to wrecks, the dives range from between 8m to 32m. The dive centre we went with offered a family day which combined a diving experience with a barbecue and cave trip – we loved it.
As well as a range of activities you can enjoy with the kids, there are also some great excursions to discover. One of the best we found was the Santa Bernarda Pirate Ship Cruise, a day’s excursion on an old-fashioned sail boat which takes you along the beautiful coast line to the Carvoeiro Caves before stopping off for a barbecue and swimming, then sailing back home.
Activities on Land
As well as plenty of fun on the sea, there is loads to do on the land around this holiday village. From hiking in the beautiful surrounding countryside (there’s a local lighthouse worth exploring, as well as the remains of a 17th-century coastal fort) to checking out the nearby water and theme parks. We spent a great day slipping and sliding our way through all the rides at the Slide and Splash waterpark in Lagoa, and people we met told us that Aqualand in Alcantarilha was really good too. If your kids are keen biologists then they’ll probably want to check out the Sealife Park at Guia or the zoo-cum-theme park Krazy World in Algoz.
How to Get to Carvoeiro
Getting to Carvoeiro won’t be a problem with a number of airlines, including British Airways, easyJet, Flybe, Jet2, Ryanair and Thomson, all offering flights from the UK to Faro (the Algarve’s only airport). The flight takes just under three hours, while the transfer from the airport to the resort takes no more than an hour.
Make the journey quick and easy by booking an airport transfer with Shuttle Direct before you leave home. Choose a private car transfer and a driver will be in the arrivals lounge to meet you and your family when you land ready to deliver you directly to your accommodation.
Where to Stay
Casa Carioca – For a spacious, luxurious home-away-from-home try the self-catering villa Casa Carioca. Just ten minutes from the beach, this six bedroom villa has its own pool, free wifi and outdoor dining, including a barbecue. The kids will love the DVD player, iPod docks and satellite TV.
Casa Crista do Colina – For a cosier, more traditional Portuguese feel, the self-catering Casa Crista do Colina also has its own pool and is just a six-minute walk from the beach. The outdoor terrace and barbecue are perfect for relaxed home dining.
Villa Solarium – The self-catering accommodation at the Villa Solarium has been done up so beautifully that at the end of your holiday you won’t want to leave. Light and airy living spaces combine with a gorgeous outdoor sun terrace (completed with a shaded eating area) and pool, to make this an elegant family choice.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is the perfect solution for getting you and your family from the airport to your holiday accommodation. Whether you choose a private car, shuttle bus or group transfer, the Shuttle Direct drivers have excellent local knowledge and will deliver you wherever you want to go. Simply book online before you set off and then relax, knowing your onward journey is taken care of.