No one ever said travelling with young kids was easy. With temper tantrums, sibling quarrels, and the urgent potty breaks that somehow always have to happen when you’re 30 miles from the nearest toilet, sometimes leaving home seems like more trouble than it’s worth. You begin to think, Why don’t we just skip this holiday altogether?
That’d be a mistake, because there are plenty of locations ideal for families with young children. One such location is Portugal’s Algarve coast. From Albufeira to Lagos, the Algarve is packed with breath-taking beach towns offering plenty of surf, sun, and sand. But it’s also got so much more: zoos, aquariums, theme parks – everything, in short, you need to prevent that dreaded holiday refrain: “I’m bored!”
What to Do
Zoo de Lagos
Is there anything more exciting for a child than a trip to the zoo? At Zoo de Lagos, see chimpanzees swinging from trees and pygmy hippos taking a dip in their pools. Lemurs, parrots, wallabies, peacocks, crocodiles – whatever animal you can think of, you’ll find it here. Make sure you check the feeding times of the different animals when you get there – it’s quite something to see a pelican gobbling up fish!
Barão de São João, Portugal
Tel: +351 282 680 100
Hours: Sun-Sat 10:00am-7:00pm
Prices: €12 for children 4-11. €16 for adults.
If the zoo has only whetted your appetite for animal interaction, try a dolphin watching expedition. The waters off the coast of Portugal abound with bottlenose dolphins, which don’t hesitate to come right up and swim alongside the boat! Your kids will be thrilled to see these beautiful animals in their natural habitat – something you definitely can’t do at home!
Seafaris, Marina de Lagos 5
Tel: +351 282 798 727
Hours: Mon-Sun 9:00am-9:00pm
Prices: from €25
Centro Ciencia Viva do Algarve
This compact science museum provides plenty of hands-on learning for kids of all ages. With exhibits on planets, galaxies, stars, ocean tides, tornadoes, earthquakes, and much more, the museum conveys scientific information in a fun, interactive way. Don’t miss the touch pool filled with specimens from the Algarve coast – your kids will be entranced by the clams and anemones.
Cmte. Francisco Manuel, 8000-250 Faro, Portugal
Tel: +351 289 890 920
Hours: Tues-Sun 10:00am-5:00pm
Prices: Free for children 3 and under. €2 for children 4-12. €4 for adults.
Mini-golf Quinta do Lago
For pint-size sporting fun, try out this lush mini-golf course in Quinta do Lago. Featuring replicas of famous holes from Augusta, Belfry, and Sawgrass courses (but without the pro skills required) this course is just plain fun – whether you’re a golfing fan or not.
Avenida Andre Jordan, Quinta do Lago
Tel: +351 289 394 368
Hours: Sun-Sat 9:00am-6:00pm
Prices: Free for children under 4. €7.50 for children 5-12. €12 for adults.
How to Get to the Algarve from the UK
The Algarve region is served by Faro airport, located right on the south coast of Portugal. With a top tourism destination like the Algarve, you should have no trouble finding non-stop flights from London to Faro. Budget airlines such as Monarch, Ryanair, and easyJet offer extremely reasonable fares for the three-hour flight, so you can save a little extra cash for fun activities with your children.
For a fast and convenient way to get to your final destination, consider a Faro airport transfer with Shuttle Direct. Forget the hassle of public transport in a foreign language with small children – let us make it simple. Remember to specify in your booking whether you will require baby seats in the vehicle.
Where to Stay:
Hotel Alcaide – Situated in a quiet location near Praia do Vau beach, the Hotel Alcaide is an excellent choice for families who want to stay out of the fray – but near enough to access major attractions when they choose. Relatively small with just 18 rooms, the hotel is surrounded tucked away in lush vegetation and surrounded by palm trees. Lounge on the sun deck while your children splash in the pool, or cool off on your balcony – you’ve earned it!
Hotel Alcatruz – Clean, crisp, and comfortable – these are the words that come to mind when you’re at the Hotel Alcatruz, a modern hotel with a beachy feel. Decked out in Mediterranean hues of sunny yellow, deep blue, and fresh green, this small hotel offers both conventional rooms and studio apartments with a living area and kitchenette – the ideal setup for a family.
Hotel Apartamento Mirachoro II –For apartment-style accommodation in a family-friendly setting, look no further than the Hotel Apartamento Mirachoro. Apartments are spacious and airy, with sitting room sofas that easily fold out into extra beds. Whether or not you decide to take advantage of the well-equipped kitchenette, the hotel bar provides plenty of snacks, as well as breakfast featuring English specialities your kids will recognise.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct provides fast, easy and economical transfers from airports, railway stations and ports to destinations all over Europe and North Africa. Our user-friendly online booking system makes it easy to organise your travel arrangements before you leave home, and one of our friendly drivers will meet you at the airport and transport you and your luggage to and from your final destination without delay.