Is your family looking for sunny beaches, turquoise blue water, gastronomic treats, European medieval old town, castles, and centuries-old fortresses on your next family trip?
Well, Portugal has it! The Land of Plenty that is Portugal is also dubbed the California of Europe because of its amazing coastline that is adorned by hotels and beach houses. Surfers, beach goers, traveling families, and even simple tourists converge to watch the Atlantic waves reach the shores.
So, where do we begin? There are seven regions in the country that you can select from. This number is also indicative of the number of places you can visit, but in this article, I want to focus on the best things you can do and top places you can visit with your family and little ones while in Portugal.
Here are the reasons why you should visit Portugal with kids.
1. Portugal has lovely cities, so let’s start there
The country that is home to historic buildings, beautiful beaches and plenty of golden coastline, amazing and rich culture, has got to be one of the world’s leading family holiday destinations. And if you are planning to visit the country soon, you can kick start your trip by visiting its top and major cities, which is also a good idea if you only have a few days to spare. Lisbon and Porto are primarily the top choices. No doubt.
2. Its capital is lovely and charming
Lisbon, the coastal capital city of Portugal, is famous for São Jorge Castle. and visiting it will give you and your kids sweeping views of the hilly capital and the pastel-colored buildings around it. Within Lisbon, the Alfama neighborhood is also a great place for the family to take a leisurely walk to enjoy the view of the winding streets, while hearing singers playfado music. The city also has museums and cafes you can checkout in case you ever get tired of walking. If time is not an issue though, you can also visit these sites and areas in Lisbon:
- Belém Tower
- Jerónimos Monastery
- Bairro Alto
- Rossio Square
- Lisbon Oceanarium
- Eduardo VII Park
- Vasco da Gama Bridge
3. It is home to the imposing city of Porto
Just like the capital city, Porto lies along the golden Atlantic coast of Portugal. The city is charming and ancient. You’ll see great architectural wonders everywhere – from bridges, to churches, to palaces, and to gardens. Among the famous attractions you can catch are the stately and iconic bridge of Dom Luis Bridge, its historic city center that is also a World Heritage Site, and the beautiful Baroque church of Clérigos Church. Other places you can visit in Porto are:
- Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
- Church of São Francisco
- Palácio da Bolsa
- Arrábida Bridge
- Funicular dos Guindais
4. You’re not in Southeast Asia but you can ride a “Tuk-tuk” in Portugal
Mostly available in the major cities of Lisbon, Porto, and Sintra, “Tuk-tuks” are your untypical European transportation option, but they thrive in Portugal. One would expect you to ride tourist buses like the double-decker Hop-on Hop- off buses of London, but no. This auto rickshaw, commonly seen in Asia, has travelled the world and reached Portugal, so kids can ride them while you enjoy the views of the city.
That is not all.
5. If you ever get hungry, Portugal is famous for its cuisine, pastry, and wines
Whenever you see a local café, treat yourself and the kids to some of the best delicacies. As a land of flavors, Portugal is famous for fish and seafood, and port wines, and of courses the traditional Portuguese custard cakes Pasteis de Nata or pastel de nata. Kids are sometimes picky when it comes to food, but no one can say no to these treats.
Where else to go?
Undoubtedly, Portugal is one of Europe’s summer hotspots. Its beaches and coastlines are flooded by surfers and beach goers alike. During summer, you can try paddling and kayaking and during mild winter, surfing is an ideal activity to try. There are several beaches in Lisbon and Porto that you can visit with your kids, but if you have extra time to burn, then the country’s hidden beaches are waiting for you to explore. Your best bets are Praia de Tavira in Ilha de Tavira, Praia Forte do Paço in Viana do Castelo, and the Praia da Adraga in Sintra-Cascais natural park.
6. Not too far from Lisbon, you’ll find the city of Sintra
I’d suggest visiting this resort town if you are looking for a place not as crowded as the major cities and want to relax. Aside from the beautiful North Atlantic beach of Praia da Adraga, pastel colored palaces and centuries-old building are common sceneries to catch. Speaking of palaces, Sintra has a number of them, so the kids can feel kingly and queenly. Some of the top picks are:
- Palace of Queluz
- Monserrate Palace
- Sintra National Palace
- Quinta da Regaleira
- Pena Palace
What a fairytale!
7. Algarve is another place in Portugal that I suggest you visit
It is located at the southernmost region of the country and is, just like Sintra, known for its beaches. Praia da Rocha and Praia da Marinha beaches are located here and are waiting for you to explore. For a more private and less crowded beach, check out Camilo Beach and Praia Dona Ana. The best part of any Algarve trip, which the kids will surely love, is a visit to Slide and Splash. It is a seasonal water park with pools and slides and different attractions to keep you occupied. Certainly, it is a place that offers fun to all ages. The village of Benagil in Algarve, famous for its beaches and cliffs, is something you shouldn’t miss.
This article is part of our popular series, Place To Go With Kids!