Living / 20 February, 2019 / My Baba
The recent icy temperatures of the UK have us dreaming about getting away from it all. What could be better than being waited on hand-and-foot on a sunny, faraway beach? A luxury resort closer to home, without the hassle of long-haul flights with young children, perhaps. Portugal offers hours of sunshine, is one of the safest countries on the planet, and flight times from the UK are under three hours. Portugal’s southern-most region, the Algarve will give you the sun-drenched holiday you deserve. Now, let me give you another ten reasons why your family should take off to the Algarve.
Portugal is one of the sunniest places in the world with an average of 11 hours of sunshine each day and 300 days of sun every year. At the height of summer, the temperature hovers around 28C. The months on the fringe of June and September are more comfortable heat-wise around 23C, often ideal if you have young children (hello off-peak rates!).
The Algarve is nicknamed European California because it’s home to some of Europe’s best beaches. Easy access, water sports, toilets, and somewhere for beach snacks are all the prerequisites for a family day at the beach. Central Algarve has Alvor Beach, Galé Beach and São Rafael Beach, while Quinta do Lago has Anção Beach to fulfil all of these requirements. For something quieter, peaceful and more romantic, watch the sunset on the Algarve’s West Coast and enjoy dinner in one of the beachside restaurants.
Famed for its fresh ingredients and all the seafood you could ever eat, the Algarve is a gastronomical haven. Explore local fish markets and enjoy plates of fish sourced from the ocean that very day. Quinta do Lago is home to restaurants with breath-taking views over the Ria Formosa natural park, terraces for laid-back lunches, and evening tapas and drinks. As for local specialities, be sure to try frango assado (a chicken peri peri) and salted cod. Fortunately, many places do offer kids’ options and are prepared to cater to any pickiness. Choosing a villa or self-catering resort option always puts less pressure on finding something the children will like.
The Algarve’s museums and Medieval buildings are steeped in the history of Portugal’s maritime past. Wander about the old towns of the Algarve for a true cultural experience. Places like Loulé are packed with history and still abuzz with traditional Portuguese life; don’t miss the Saturday market of fresh produce.
Portugal is home to some spectacular waterparks to suit all ages. The Algarve’s Aqua waterpark has a bit of everything: pool areas for younger children, extreme roller coasters and speedy rides for older ones, as well as the chance to swim with sea lions! If that isn’t enough, the park also houses reptiles, parrots and bird of prey.
Take up the chance of a lifetime and make some family memories getting up close with the bottlenose dolphins of the Algarve. You’ll spend 30 minutes in the water where you’ll meet and interact with the dolphins, under a trainer’s supervision, and take part in an education session where the children will be able to ask questions and learn about the lives of dolphins. If you’d prefer to spectate, Zoomarine offer spectacular demonstrations of the dolphins’ agility and intelligence. Zoomarine is also home to water slides, a mini rollercoaster and its own beach.
If you’re feeling adventurous, explore the countryside in a 4×4. Visit unique beauty spots, traverse off-road tracks, and pass through the beautiful old villages of the Algarve. Appreciate the beautiful vista from one of the highest points of the region. On the way, you’ll stop off for a gastronomic tasting of organic honey and typical Portuguese fruits. This truly is a fantastic and unique way to see and explore the Algarve as a family.
If you’ve booked a resort with childcare options, don’t miss the experiences for adults that the Algarve has to offer, a chance for you to truly unwind. The beautiful Quinta Do Lago golf course, surrounded orange trees and beautiful lakes, boasts of spectacular fairways and vast open greens. Explore the region’s vineyards with full and half-day trips and discover where some of Europe’s best wines are produced.
Where you stay can really make a huge difference to your holiday experience. Since the region welcomes tourists from across Portugal and the rest of the world, the Algarve has a range of options. You can choose between hotel suites, resort residences or private villas. Consider what you want to get out of the trip. A villa can offer peace, space and, often, your own private pool. On the other hand, hotels have services and restaurants on-site and have more options for socialising.
At the end of the day, holidays are about family time, and not about stressing, worrying and only just catching the flight. Consider a concierge service to strip away the stress and put quality time back at the heart of your trip. From the moment you decide to book a holiday to airport transfers, to dry cleaning and day trips, Blue Sky Villas will design your tailor-made trip of a lifetime. Whether it’s in-house massage, boat tours, wine-tasting experiences, or a family dinner delivered to your villa, they’ll do everything right down to the last detail.
Visit our travel section for more holiday inspiration.