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The Algarve is recognized as one of the most family friendly holiday destinations around. Not only is the southern corner of Portugal a beautiful place, with amazing beaches that kids of all ages love, children are welcomed pretty much everywhere with courtesy, good humour and an understanding that sometimes life can be a bit overwhelming when you are three years old.
At SandyBlue we completely understand that you want to make each family holiday as special as possible. We have great family friendly villas that are the perfect starting point for making memories that you can share and laugh about at family occasions for years to come. Travelling with children can seem daunting and does require some forward planning, however the satisfaction of spending time together, relaxed, tanned and happy, time to just be, is invaluable.
Here’s why the Algarve is best for family friendly holidays and some tips to help make your holiday here the best family holiday ever.
SandyBlue has a huge range of accommodation for you to choose from. Want a villa with a massive garden for the children to run around in, yet securely fenced? We have it. What about a lovely, big, fenced pool so the little ones are protected? We’ve got that covered. Older kids might be pretty impressed with Mum and Dad for choosing a chic apartment with a roof-top whirlpool bath. Yep, we’ve got that too.
One of the great advantages of a self-catering holiday is that you, or your children, set the pace and decide the timetable. And with a private pool, nap time for baby doesn’t mean everyone has to stop having fun – the pool is right there. Our family villas and apartments can also be kitted out for your baby with cots, high chair, baby bath, etc, etc. Local supermarkets will often carry familiar brands such as Huggies, Johnsons, Aptamil, SMA, Cow & Gate and Ella’s Kitchen making travelling with a baby to the Algarve very easy. And should you need a babysitter when you are here, SandyBlue babysitters are on hand.
Top of the list of family days out is, of course, a day at the beach. No matter what age your children are, beach times are what holidays are all about. Building sandcastles, diving beneath the waves, a bit of body boarding, or simply lazing in the sun. Best of all beach days are free (except for a few ice creams, maybe) and good for you – think of all that fresh air and activity. Most beaches in the Algarve are life guarded during the summer months and many Algarve beaches fly the Blue Flag, awarded for excellence in water quality and infrastructures. Don’t forget to apply plenty of sunscreen (apply before you leave for the beach giving delicate skin plenty of time to absorb the cream before exposure to the sun) and sun umbrella.
There are fun waterparks that suit both younger children and teenagers, as well as Zoomarine Park which has everything for a fab day out – dolphins, sea lions, an aquarium, slides and rides, pirates and even dinosaurs.
Most children also love the adventure of a boat trip. Not only is it fun to pretend to be a pirate, there is every chance of spotting dolphins in the wild too. And to burn off some energy, a lap or two of the Ropes Course at the Adventure Park in Albufeira is just the thing. For budding athletes, there are plenty of tennis clubs in the Algarve where you can hire out courts and equipment by the hour.
During the summer months there is lots of family entertainment on offer. At Quinta do Lago, Friday evening is Picnic in the Park evening. Grab the kids, a few sandwiches, a blanket and a bottle of your favourite wine and enjoy a free, open air picnic with live music and entertainment.
The Vale do Lobo Praça, right by the beach, has live music and special children’s activities all during the summer too. In general in Portugal, children are welcome at restaurants and cafés.
Worried that your baby might decide to vent her frustrations very loudly for the duration of the flight? It can happen of course. However, by choosing to fly to the Algarve you don’t have a long flight to contend with. Faro airport is under 3 hours flying time from most of Europe and there is a great choice of airlines, including low cost carriers such as Ryanair and Easy Jet, offering an array of routes. If your children are not yet school age, you can get some great bargain rates on off peak season flights. If you are bound by the school calendar, then try to book your flights well in advance to get the best rates.
If you are travelling with children, hiring a car is one of the best ways to ensure that you can explore the Algarve at your own pace. Load up the car with buckets and spades, favourite teddies, a few snacks and hit the road. The A22 highway (a toll road) and the EN125 road run East to West across the Algarve, feeding off to the coast to the south, the small towns and villages to the North, making it very easy to indulge the urge for spontaneous pit stops. There are so many amazing beaches along the coastline that having a car is the only practical way to ensure you get to see more than one of two. Children under 12 must travel in the back seats of cars in Portugal and in car seats appropriate for their age. Most car hire companies can provide car seats (at an extra charge) or you can bring your own. You can collect your hire car at Faro airport on arrival.
If you prefer not to drive while on holiday, you can book a private transfer (door to door) or shuttle transfer (multiple stops) from Faro airport to your villa or apartment.
For alternative modes of transport, you can hire out bikes when in the Algarve – just for a fun day out, or for a biking holiday. For older children, getting around on Segways may be just the thing – they are pretty cool!