The Algarve has a wide range of activities and attractions for children of all ages. In between days on the beach you can mix some adventure, culture and maybe learn something new to make it a family holiday to remember! I’ve picked out my favourite 10 fun things to do in Central and Eastern Algarve with kids that offer something for everyone:
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#1. Visit Zoomarine Theme Park
Zoomarine is the best theme park to visit in the Algarve with kids. It is not far from Albufeira, and is a combination of water park and sealife zoo. The daily shows with dolphins are the highlight, however they also have seals, sea lions and birds of prey.
There is also an amusement park that caters for all tastes, including a large aquatic area with water slides, wave beach, rapids and sun beds. There are reasonably priced cafés and restaurants, or you can bring a picnic.
Kids of all ages will absolutely love this day trip, but you might hesitate when you see the price (€29 for 11 and over; €21 for under-10s although there is an online discount).
#2. Explore the Ancient Town of Silves
Silves used to be the ancient Moorish capital of the Algarve, and is the perfect trip for those who would like to find out a bit more about the history and culture of the region. The most important attraction in Silves is the mighty Castle, and there is a reasonably priced café inside. During the medieval festival, in the middle of August for ten days, the town is buzzing with food stalls, street markets and locals dressed in medieval dress.
Silves is a traditional inland town so if you are not visiting during the festival be sure to get the kids involved in planning the trip with you. Get them to look up as many interesting facts as they can find about the Castle and let them be your guide. If they have a camera or phone get them to take the pictures and make an album.
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#3. Go on a Buggy Safari
Adventurous thrill-seekers will really enjoy this unforgettable experience driving a buggy while exploring the Algarve’s inland. While this activity is suitable for all ages from seven years up, you will need a driving licence to be in the driver’s seat. Buggy Safari is based near the inland town of Loulé, but they will collect you from your accommodation at no extra cost. Don’t forget to wear old clothes and expect to be covered in dust!
#4. Take a Boat Tour
Most children will enjoy the adventure of a boat trip, and parents can take the time to admire the stunning coastline. In the Algarve there is a boat trip to suit every personality, from dolphin watching to a tour on a pirate ship. And for thrill seekers there are jet rides too.
#5. Do a Bit of Shopping
Algarve Shopping Centre is an open-air shopping centre not far from Albufeira. Check out the shops or go for a bite to eat with the kids and take in a film at the cinema there. Most of the films are in English with Portuguese subtitles.
#6. Visit an Interactive Science Museum
The interactive science museum in Faro, Centro de Ciencias Viva, is a great place to spend a few hours with the kids. They will love the opportunity to get involved in a range of different science activities from aquarium and touch pool to earthquakes, gravity and volcanos. It is very good value for a few hours of fun. The staff are also very knowledgeable and helpful.
#7. Take a Trip to a Desert Island
There is no better way to spend summer holidays with kids than a day at the beach and with so many beaches to choose from the problem will be deciding which one to pick, so pack a picnic and don’t forget the sunscreen.
For a unique beach experience away from the crowds you could head for a day out to Ilha Deserta, it’s like being on a paradise beach as the island can only be reached by boat. During the boat trip get the kids to look out for the several bird species, like flamingos in the natural park of Ria Formosa. The boat departs from Faro, near the old town sea gate. The trip lasts 30 minutes each way and costs around €10 return. There are few facilities on the island, but there is one restaurant, sun beds and lifeguards.
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#8. Try Parasailing
Older kids will love this! Get to see the coast from a different perspective while flying like a bird. You can go alone or share the experience with 2-3 friends. It is not suitable for small children under 20kg.
#9. Visit a Water Park
Most kids will love a day sliding and splashing around a water park. There are several great water parks to visit in the Algarve with kids:
- Slide and Splash
- Aquashow Park, which also has a Jacuzzi for parents who want to take a break!
#10. Discover the Algarve by Bike
There is a strong tradition of biking in Tavira in the Eastern Algarve, but there are plenty of places where you can rent a bike all over and it is a great way to get active and explore the country. Be very careful if you are going to cycle anywhere on the roads.
There are four cycle route networks connecting the entire coast are:
- Route 1 Vila Real de Santo António/Quinta do Lago
- Route 2 Quinta do Lago/Portimão
- Route 3 Portimão/ Sagres
- Route 4 Sagres/Aljezur
Are you inspired to take a family holiday and enjoy the Algarve with kids a bit more? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!
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