Family holidays in Portugal’s Algarve are beachy and great fun.
But Lisbon has beaches too and is one of Europe’s oldest and greatest cities.
And, for history mixed in with sun, sand and sea, the south west coast is loved by the Portuguese in summer and not nearly as well known by the rest of the world.
Portugal’s easy to get around, packs a lot into quite a small space and is warm and friendly everywhere, so don’t resist the temptation to take your kids a lot further than the far south.
Direct flights from most UK airports to Faro in the Algarve during summer, and low cost Ryanair and EasyJet flights direct from London to Lisbon all year round.
The Algarve has sunshine and temperatures up to 25˚C until late October.
Portugal has 15 World Heritage sites including the Alto Douro Wine Region and the prehistoric rock art in Côa Valley.
Portugal has over 90 golf courses: Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo and Vilamoura in the Algarve are a good choice for families with a golfer (or two) in the mix.
With 850km of coastline, Portugal has some of the world’s loveliest beaches and best water sports. South west coast beaches regularly host major international surf competitions in autumn and winter –Navaré holds the world record for the highest wave ever surfed: 100ft in 2015.
Portugal’s all-rounder is popular with just about everyone, compact enough to explore and still capable of surprising after all these years.
Lisbon is wonderful for family holidays. Easy-going, charming and irresistibly beautiful it’s one of the oldest cities in Europe, heartland of the Age of Discoveries, home to medieval Alfama and even has a string of brilliant, beachy resorts on the gorgeous Costa da Caparica.
If the Algarve’s popularity puts you off, have a look at the south west coast between Lisbon and Porto. Some of the country’s most spectacular beaches are here. Historic seaside towns and villages are charming. And it’s often considerably less expensive than its more famous southern counterpart.
Portugal isn’t a big country – you can be in Lisbon from Lagos in under two hours – but driving is still the best way to get around on a family holiday. There are good rail services across most regions too and a direct train connects Faro Airport to the rest of the Algarve coast.