Whichever part of the Algarve you choose, you will find friendly, welcoming people, amazing beaches and plenty to keep the kids entertained.
What we loved about Portugal’s Algarve was its huge sandy beaches, it being on the same time-zone as the UK, its great hotels and more importantly all-year-round sunshine.
Here are some of our reasons why we love the Algarve for a family holiday.
1. The Flight
With a wide range of flights available from across the UK to Faro Airport with airlines including Ryanair, TUI, Jet2, Easyjet and BA with a flight time of just under 3 hours (dependent on your departure airport) getting here is simple and really affordable, especially if you book your flights at the right time.
We flew to Faro for our week long break to Portugal’s Algarve – a quick two and a half hour trip from Cardiff with TUI on the outbound leg and we used our Avios for the return leg with Flybe.
2. Luxury Family Friendly Hotels
The Algarve boasts some of the best well-styled family friendly hotels in Europe, which was one of the main reasons that attracted us to holiday in this part of Europe. We stayed at the gorgeous and highly recommended Hilton Vilamoura (you can read our review of the Hilton Vilamoura here).
This pristine hotel is geared toward families in every way – huge rooms, six swimming pools, great food, child friendly menus, immaculate gardens, a world class child friendly spa and one of the largest kids clubs in the Algarve.
Other highly recommended hotels we looked at included the Conrad Algarve and the Anantara Vilamoura whilst the Martinhal Sagres Resort, Vita Vita Park Resort and the Pine Cliffs Resort are all highly recommended luxury options for families.
With Brexit making holidays more expensive each passing day with the weakening pound, we found that Portugal was one of the most affordable destinations in Europe to visit even in the more upscale resorts such as Vilamoura.
4. The Weather
The weather was gorgeous during our visit in June and this is one of the key reasons why it’s such a popular destination with over 3,000 hours of sunshine each year – Portugal is officially one of the sunniest countries in the world.
Even later in the season such as October half term temperatures will be around 22 degrees with temperatures rarely dropping below 10c even in the heart of winter.
5. Going Dolphin and Whale Watching in the wild
Dolphin and whale watching is one of the most popular excursions when visiting the Algarve and because of this popularity there are lots of companies all vying for your attention and money.
However not all offer the same experience – look for the companies who have a marine biologist on board for the best experience. We booked through Ocean Quest Algarve who we would highly recommend.
Seeing a pod of bottlenose dolphins playing just metres away from our boat was just a breathtaking moment and one of the most exciting experiences we have had as a family.
6. Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve
Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve was recommended to us during our boat trip by the captain and I can now see why. Spread over 45,000 acres, at this wetland you will find lagoons, sand dunes, islands and an abundance of nature – it’s home to hundreds of flamingos and the world’s largest populations of seahorses.
7. The Sandy Beaches
One of our favourite parts of our visit to the Algarve was visiting its beaches where everything from world class watersports and surfing to rockpooling is available.
With over 100 miles of the most beautiful coastline that you could find anywhere in the world, you really are spoilt for choice here from small private coves to miles of unspoilt beaches – all of the Algarve’s blue flag beaches are family friendly.
Our favourite was at Praia da Falésia one of the longest beaches in the Algarve where we had great fun, building sandcastles and jumping over waves in the ocean creating so many lovely holiday memories.
8. Instagrammable Coastline and Caves
Like its beaches, the coastline of Algarve is spectacular with orange sandstone cliffs providing a dramatic backdrop against the golden sands and ocean below.
You could have enough Instagram content for a month and that’s before you reach one of the star attractions, the Benagil sea caves.
The Benagil Sea Cave is one of the most famous caves in Portugal and kids will love the adventure of reaching this natural wonder by boat.
Benagil is a huge circular cave with a giant hole almost 100ft above its own beach which allows light to flood in. You can only reach the cave by sea entering via two of the giant rock arches and nothing can prepare you for their sheer magnificence.
9. Water Parks
We love water parks and there are several to choose from in the Algarve. Although they won’t compete with the water parks you find in Orlando or Dubai, the three options below are great fun for all the family and are a great way to cool down from the heat.
Aqualand and Slide and Splash waterparks are the most popular and both offer a range of slides suitable for all the family and for adrenaline seekers you have to try the Kamikaze and Banzai slides of Aqualand and Slide and Splash.
Kids will also love the Aquashow water park which combines fast slides and lazy rivers with watching the animal shows once you have dried off.
10. The History
There are so many picture perfect castles steeped in history, villages and museums to visit. Some of the highlights include Sagres, Monchique and the castle of Silves, which is one of the best preserved castles in the Algarve.
11. The Food
Forget Nando’s for a taste of Portuguese cuisine you have to visit the Algarve (although you can get authentic Piri Piri sauce here) the Algarve is famous for its delicious seafood
One of our favourite traditional options was the delicious pasteis de nata that we would have for breakfast each morning.
At Vilamoura, home to Portugal’s largest marina you will find many great restaurants serving a wide range of international cuisines to suit all the family (if your kids are not fussed by two of the region’s main dishes salted codfish and sardines.)
As you wander past the huge multi-million pound yachts moored at Vilamoura marina look out for the sardine shop which is dedicated to various different types of sardines – didn’t I mention that sardines are a big thing here in Portugal.
The marina has everything you could need, even Cristiano Ronaldo has a store here, one of the many designer and high street shops dotted around the marina, interspersed with restaurants, bars and some of the best ice creams you could dream of.
A personal favourite of ours Amorino offered some of the best macaroons and gelato that you will ever taste.
12. World Class Golf and Spas
Algarve is well known for having some of the world’s best and most beautiful golf courses (there are 42 courses to choose from) – but it’s not just for grown ups. The Family Golf Park in Vilamoura offers a fun mini golf course that all the family can enjoy.
If relaxing in a spa is more your thing – then like the golfers you are spoilt for choice here, with some of the best spas in Europe.
A personal highlight for me was visiting the 7Seven Spa – Portugal’s largest spa, complete with four hydro thermal pools, sensory showers, whirlpools and relaxation rooms. Between 9.30-11am each morning the spa was open to families and it was a great way to start the day – in fact the kids enjoyed their first visit so much they said it was one of their favourite experiences.