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Time: GMT

Language: Portuguese
Currency: Euro (€)
Dialling code: +351
Tourist information: visitportugal.com

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Share your top tips for family-friendy places to stay, great days out, best beaches etc

Family Holidays in the Algarve

Few families look further than the Algarve when it comes to holidays in Portugal, and who can blame them? Not only is it largely sheltered from cool Atlantic winds and ocean currents, but its coastline is notched with a glorious succession of sandy coves and beaches, some of which have smugglers’ den written all over them. There’s also an endless variety of boat trips to choose from, as well as a good range of family-friendly accommodation.

Top 10 Things to Do in the Algarve

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1 Discover beach heaven at Lagos, exploring the small, sheltered bay of Praia de Dona Ana, hemmed in by cinnamon-coloured sandstone cliffs, or revel in the space of 4-km-long Meia Praia, the Algarve’s longest beach. A short distance to the east of Lagos, the combination of golden beach and lively nightlife at Portimão’s Praia da Rocha will appeal to teenagers.

2 Cruise through the myriad waterways of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, spotting birds and collecting shells on a deserted island; or explore the reserve on foot by walking the 3.2km São Lourenço nature trail across marshes and lagoons.

3 Snorkel in the shallows off Albufeira’s Praia da São Rafael, a beautiful sandy bay surrounded by cliffs and rock formations riddled with caves. Located in front of the old quarter of Albufeira, Praia dos Barcos is renowned for its colourful fishing boats.

4 Surf on the Atlantic coast at Praia do Armado, Carrapateira, or explore the rock pools at low tide.

5 Paddle a canoe on the Alvor Estuary, hauling out on a tidal sandbank for a game of beach volleyball and a swim.

6 Ride a high-speed RIB (rigid inflatable boat) out of the marina at either Lagos or Portimão in search of dolphins, orcas and sharks. Dolphin Seafaris offer daily 90-minute trips.

7 Stalk the battlements of Silves Castle, a Moorish stronghold built on the site of a Roman fort, and then visit the excellent Museu Arqueológico in the town below.

8 Sail in search of smugglers’ caves aboard the Santa Bernada, a replica of a 500-year-old Portuguese caravela.

9 Plan a day at the park, taking your pick from theme parks like Zoomarine, A Cova dos Mouros and Krazy World or waterparks such as Aqualand Algarve near Alcantarilha.

10 Escape the crowds by heading north to Praia de Odeceixe, a stunning Atlantic beach that’s perfect for sandcastle-building, body boarding or a walk at low tide. Curling behind the beach, the River Seixe is ideal for canoeing and there are cafés and a beach shop nearby.

Family-friendly places to stay in the Algarve

SHERATON ALGARVE, ALBUFEIRA

They say location is everything – and the Sheraton is certainly sitting pretty above one of the Algarve’s best stretches of golden-sand beach. But it also gets gold stars for its family-friendly accommodation and activities which include top-notch sports facilities, with academies for tennis and golf.

THE ABAMA GOLF & SPA RESORT
Luxurious rooms, spa, Michelin-starred restaurant and 18-hole golf course aside, the Abama takes childcare and kids’ facilities to new heights with everything from family pools and sports academies to kids’ clubs and cinema nights on the beach.

Algarve-Sheraton
Algarve-Abama

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William Gray, the editor of Family Travel Expert, has written a series of award-winning family travel guidebooks. Find out more about family holidays in the Algarve by ordering your copy of Europe with Kids here.