6 Splendid Family Activities in the Algarve
The Algarve is the perfect destination for young, old and every age in between! My first summer holiday to the Algarve was when I was 8 and I’ve been almost every year since. The weather is perfect, the people are super friendly and the food is delicious.
In our initial few years, we went to every park, went on every excursion and tried every beach activity that was going. So…
Where is the Algarve?
The Algarve is a southerly region of Portugal and its most popular tourist destination.
Flying into the region’s capital, Faro, Irish tourists gravitate towards the most popular areas, such as:
What family activities are there in the Algarve?
The Algarve is a very family friendly region with tons to see and do. Depending on the age of your kids, there’s a great selection of activities away from your resort’s pool.
A jeep safari is a great day out for adult and child alike. You’re picked up at your resort, brought off the beaten track into the mountains and see a version of Portugal that’s frozen in time. You’ll learn about the history of the region, the culture and the local produce – I can now spot a carob or cork tree a mile away! Your lunch is included in the price and it’s always in a local restaurant with enough peri-peri chicken to feed a small army (and the adults get to sample the local drink, Medronho or ‘Firewater’).
Slide & Splash
Slide & Splash is the most popular waterpark in the region with 14 slides, a jacuzzi, a large swimming pool and a bird show. It’s a brilliant day out – just remember to have plenty of sunscreen as shady areas are few unless if you rent a sun shade. The queues tend to move quick enough but plan your slides before you arrive in the park to get the bigger ones out of the way in the morning.
Zoomarine is a water theme park with dolphin and seal shows, amusement rides, water slides, 4D cinema, aquarium and more. You can also swim with dolphins, but while an unforgettable experience, it’s very pricey. Unlike Slide & Splash, there are lots of places to take solace from the sun, whether it’s in the restaurants or at one of the dolphin, sea lion/seal, birds of prey, tropical birds or pirate shows. There are baby changing stations around the park, lockers and you can even rent a kiddy car for small kids. I’ve been a few times and it’s a great day out!
I went to Fiesa when it first opened and it was spectacular! 40,000 tons of sand are creatively sculpted into landscapes, people and objects fitting to the theme. We went in the evening around sunset when they start to light up the sculptures, which I would recommend as it’s that bit cooler making it that bit more enjoyable to wander around the sculptures. There are workshops for kids from 5pm to 6.30pm, fado entertainment, a market and food and drink throughout the evening.
Segway tours are a very popular and fun way to see the sights of the area you’re staying in! For kids 6 or 7 years+, you can do Segway tours in Lagos, Albufeira, Quarteira / Vilamoura, Portimão and Faro. If you haven’t been on a Segway before, don’t worry because there are about 10-15mins of training at the start so you can get comfortable and confident operating it. The tours take around 1.5hours.
I make an annual trip to the fantastic open-air Algarve Shopping Centre as it has sales from around June until late August/September. It has 127 shops and 20 restaurants, kiddy cars for small kids, free strollers and seating/meeting areas. There’s also a free shuttle bus, which either collects you from your resort or from a nearby bus stop. If you’re self-catering, there’s a huge Continente supermarket there which is quite good value.
Most beaches also have some great activities like jet skis, banana boats, doughnuts, pedalos and some even have inflatable course! It’s a great destination and just under a 3-hour flight away.