Friday, June 7, 2013

Best Family Fun in the Algarve

The Algarve region on Portugal’s southern coast is a safe and inexpensive vacation destination for families and couples alike. English is spoken in most establishments and eight different airlines offer London to Algarve flights daily. Car rental is not expensive, and is the recommended way to explore the area.

Best of the Beaches The Algarve has more than 200 km of pristine sand beaches. Each beach has its own ambience, and several are particularly recommended for families. In Western Algarve, Três Irmãos and Vau in Portimão and Grande Ferragudo in Lagoa are good picks; in Central Algarve, Ancão and Quinta do Lago in Loulé and Galé, Arrifes and Santa Eulália in Albufeira; and in Eastern Algarve, Cacela in Vila Real de Santo Antonio. If you visit from mid-April through mid-June don’t miss seeing artists at work on entries for the annual Sand Sculpture Fiesta, held on one of the local beaches. When afternoon heat sets in, pedal kayaking and sightseeing boat trips along the coast are good ways to stay cool.

Just Add Water Water parks are popular throughout the Algarve, and no matter where you stay there’s bound to be at least one nearby. Aqualand, reachable by bus if you’re in the Albufeira area, is the region’s largest, with dizzying near-vertical drops and high velocity slides for thrill seekers, gentler descents and a wave pool for others, and a Rainbow Park for the very young. Also near Albufeira is ZooMarine which combines water park fun with an aquarium and live shows. Slide and Splash, Aquashow and Atlantic Park are also good for families seeking a day’s outing.

Fun on Land Wheels are usually a big hit with kids and Karting Almancil near Albufeira has a kartand track for everyone, even toddlers. In Western Algarve, Blokarting Sagres features a specially built track and sail-powered karts. Quad bike tours are one of the most popular activities on offer. No experience is necessary and after a short instruction course even fairly young children can handle a bike on their own. Quad Ventura in Albufeira, Algarve Buggy Tour in Luz and Rooster Quad Day Tours in Faro all get high marks from visitors.

Active families will enjoy Parque Aventura near Santa Eulalia Beach. This forest adventure park challenges you navigate by trails, games, and fun features like rope bridges and zip lines. East of Faro is Braveland, an adventure park that features everything from bouncy castles and slides to climbing walls, kayaking, archery and orientation trails. Families can play volleyball and table tennis, go on treasure hunts, and settle feuds with paintball and squirt gun duels.

The wealth of activities, a favourable exchange rate, abundance of resorts and opportunity to compare cheap Portugal flights make the Algarve perfect for a family vacation that won’t break the budget.

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