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Algarve Family Holidays & Breaks

Albufeira Beach
Coastal view
Beach scene
Port
Marina, Vilamoura

Portugal's Algarve region is a classic destination for family holidays: the moderate climate, fantastic beaches and purpose-built resorts make it especially good for families travelling with small children, while the vast array of sporting options means teenagers will never get bored. And whether you’re looking for peace and quiet or something a bit more lively, the wide range of family-friendly accommodation on offer along this coast has it covered.

Wherever you stay on the Algarve, outdoor activities are a must. All of the busier resorts offer a good selection of watersports. Calm waters on the south-facing coast make this the best spot for canoeing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and jetskiing and the place to find pedalos and banana boats. This is particularly true at the western end of the Algarve. Surfing is also possible if you head a little further north, while rock-pooling is great fun for tots. 

The Algarve is also a top spot for golf and tennis – the coast has some of the best courses anywhere in Europe, so if you want to learn with your kids, it’s an ideal place to do so. Many hotels in the region have tennis courts, and coaching is often available.

 
Flying Time 2.75 hours
Carbon Footprint 1.51 tonnes CO2
Timezone GMT
Local Currency Euro
Current weather
Clear sky
19°C
 

Things to do with kids in the Algarve

Head for the beaches. With 200km of coastline and natural white-sand beaches stretching all the way from Spain to the Atlantic, it’s never too hard to find a deserted stretch. Good supervision and Blue Flag approval make the Algarve’s beaches particularly well-suited to children.

Venture to Albufeira at the centre of the Algarve, offering great family beaches. One of the most popular tourist resorts on the Algarve, this a family holiday destination par excellence, with child-friendly accommodation ranging from campsites to hotels and luxury villas. Ten kilometres outside town you can see sharks, sea-lions and tropical fish at ZooMarine, an oceanographic themepark focusing on education and marine life, with shows and dolphin experiences. For water-themed fun of a different kind, try the slides at Aqualand, also known as 'The Big One', with its 36m-drop Kamikaze to keep thrill-seeking teens happy. It's 15km from Albufeira, with regular buses running between major resorts and the park.

Use Albufeira as a stepping stone to some of the Algarve’s best beaches. Head 2km east of the resort to Oura for a good selection of bars, restaurants and watersports. Further east still, visit the beach at Olhos d’Água, which remains fully integrated into a typical fishing village.

Head west of Albufeira, to the purpose-built resort of Vilamoura, with two good beaches and a great range of facilities, including golf courses. A good choice of boat-trips and excursions are available from Vilamoura Marina, and the self-contained nature of the resort makes it a great choice for families with very young children. The biggest watercoaster in Europe is the main draw of the Aquashow family park just outside Vilamoura.

Continue west, to the area surrounding Portimao, boasting a number of interesting resorts. Praia da Rocha offers unadulterated fun, with plenty of watersports, horse-riding and nightlife to keep everyone entertained. The resort’s quieter neighbour, Praia do Vau, has a more peaceful setting and a handful of restaurants. Alvor is one of the best resorts in this area – smallish, with a good choice of restaurants and accommodation. Situated at the beginning of the lagoon system that runs along the coast, it’s an excellent spot to take a break from the beach to indulge in a spot of bird-watching or nature trekking. Visits to caves, snorkeling and fishing trips can all be arranged from Alvor through Trigana Sailing Adventures.

Further west still, the cobbled streets of Lagos offer a break from the busier tourist resorts of the Algarve, without your having to miss out on the beach – outside the town’s medieval walls, the beach of Meia Praia offers a good range of watersports and the chance to take a boat-ride to explore coves and caves.

Head for the hills. The Algarve doesn’t have to be all about commercial resorts – travel inland slightly and you'll find green rolling hills and pretty country villages. Those travelling with older children should consider basing themselves around Faro or Tavira right at the eastern end of the Algarve.

Eat

Food on the Algarve is very international – it's a popular destination for many Europeans and for family holidays, so you'll find everything from fast food and international options to traditional local dishes.

Portuguese cuisine, based around fish, is closely related to Mediterranean cookery. Beachfront restaurants are an excellent place to sample the fish and seafood on offer. We recommend caldeirada de peixe (fish stew) and cataplana de amêijoas (clams steamed in a copper pan). To satisfy sweet tooths, try pastel de nata – a small custard tart dusted with cinnamon.

When to go to the Algarve

The Algarve has excellent weather throughout the year, making it ideal for family holidays at any time. Because it is on the Atlantic, it stays a little cooler than some of the Mediterranean destinations, with temperatures reaching around 29°C at the top of the high season. Even so, you'd expect to have sunbathing weather from late May to early October. It's also worth considering a visit at Easter, as the climate is very dry and the weather is cool enough to allow you brush up on your sporting skills.

From May to October, check out the spectacular sandcastles at FIESA, a fantastic international sand sculpture festival held annually in Pera.

How to get to the Algarve

There are flights to Faro from just about any UK airport you can name, making the Algarve a stress-free family holiday destination. Flight times are around 2½ hours from London, or 3 hours from Glasgow.

Plenty of charter flights are available, as are scheduled flights and budget options from major cities.

Cost

Family holidays in the Algarve start at around £1,000 for four in the low season. Bargain-hunters may pick up last-minute deals for even less than this, but you can easily spend much, much more in high season.

Previous Accommodation

Family friendly places to stay in the Algarve

There are hundreds of accommodation options within an hour's drive of Faro, from budget apartments and hotels to gorgeous villas and five-star hotels. See Meon Villas' Algarve villa collection and also James Villas' Algarve portfolio.

In Albufeira, for a good night’s sleep make sure to avoid accommodation near the bars and clubs of the Areias de São João area – try the more peaceful streets of the old town.

Key:
Self-catering
Hotel
Editors favourite
Kids Club
  • Martinhal Beach Hotel & Resort, Algarve

    Super-stylish accommodation on the Algarve, with childcare for all ages and often offering discounts for grandparents.

  • Club Med Da Balaia, Algarve

    Highly rated property for all-inclusive family holidays and breaks, with great staff and food, making this resort in the Algarve a top choice.

  • Ocean Club, Algarve

    Spacious self-catering villas ideal for flexible family holidays with kids clubs, 2 pools and easy access to the beach, on the Algarve.

  • Pine Cliffs, Algarve, Algarve

    A 5-star luxury accommodation in one of the world’s leading family holiday resorts, on the Algarve.

  • Alto da Colina, Algarve, Algarve

    This modern all-inclusive hotel on the Algarve has plenty going on year-round whilst being just a short walk from the beach.

  • Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Resort & Spa, Vilamoura

    A stunning resort on the Algarve surrounded by pools, with fine cuisine and children's clubs, babysitting and activities.

  • The Lake Resort, Vilamoura

    A 5-star lakeside resort with 3 pools, spa treatments and a kids' club.

  • Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort and Spa, Algarve

    A seafront location on the Algarve, with kids club, activities for teens, spa and stunning views.

  • Vila Vita Parc, Algarve

    Great value and facilities in the Algarve, with kids clubs and activity programmes for teenagers, based on reviews from delighted families.

  • Holiday Village Algarve, Algarve

    Children will love the fun water park facilities and the array of activities around the swimming pool at Holiday Village Algarve.

  • Ria Park, Algarve

    Something for everyone located in the most exclusive part of the Algarve.

  • Memmo Baleeira, Algarve

    Luxury hotel on the beach in the Algarve, ideal for active families, with surfing a big drawing point.

  • Monte Santo Resort, Algarve

    Luxury 5-star self-catering suites and apartments on the Algarve, with 6 pools, a kids club and just a short drive to the beach.

  • Villa Solar Das Laranjeiras, Algarve

    Modern and luxurious villa sleeping 8 people on the Algarve, with private pool and close to the beach.

  • Casa Sophie, Algarve

    A modern single-storey villa set within a lively leisure resort with kids club and golf course, near the village of Salema on the Algarve.

  • Tempomar Apartments, Algarve

    Spacious apartments, great outdoor space with 2 pools and a tennis court plus a top notch kids club.

  • Aparthotel Brisa Sol, Algarve

    Whether you like your holiday laid back and chilled out, or packed full of activities and sights, this self-catering apartment complex offers something for everyone on the Algarve.

  • Villa Solar, Algarve

    Large family villa sleeping up to 8 people with a private outdoor pool and sandy beach a 5-minute drive away.

  • Aparthotel Paraiso de Albufeira, Algarve

    A popular hotel, with excellent facilities for children with an All Inclusive option.

  • Alfagar Apartments, Algarve

    A family-friendly hotel with self-catering option close to the beach and with lots of activities.

  • Casa Periquita, Algarve

    A stylish modern villa close to the mountains, a short drive from the beach, sleeping up to 8 people.

  • Le Meridien Penina Golf , Algarve

    Le Meridien Penina Golf Resort offering all-year round sports facilities for families with children.

  • Le Meridien Dona Filipa , Algarve

    Close to a sandy beach on the Algarve, with access to 2 golf courses, spa and kids club there is something for everyone.

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