26 Sep 2023

Portugal with Kids: The Ultimate Family Vacation Destination in Europe

Portugal with Kids: The Ultimate Family Vacation Destination in Europe


Portugal is quickly becoming one of the top family-friendly vacation destinations in Europe, making it an ideal spot for a portugal small group tour. Portugal placed third worldwide for its kid-appeal. With its sunny weather, stunning beaches, abundance of castles, and famously delicious cuisine, Portugal has so much to offer families on a small group tour.

From north to south, Portugal is filled with vibrant cities, fairy tale towns, and breathtaking natural landscapes perfect for making memories with your kids. Cities like Lisbon and Porto offer incredible history, interactive museums, boat tours, and charming trams. The southern Algarve region boasts some of Europe’s best beaches with calm, kid-friendly waters. And places like Sintra and Obidos seem straight out of storybooks with their castles and palaces.

No matter your family’s interests or travel style, Portugal delivers an amazing variety of experiences. Kids and parents alike will love exploring ancient castles, learning to surf, going on safaris and river cruises, marveling at aquariums and zoos, and eating delicious Portuguese cuisine. With so many family-friendly resorts, hotels, B&Bs, apartments and activities, Portugal has options to suit any family’s budget and needs.

So if you’re looking for the perfect European destination filled with culture, beaches, adventure and unforgettable experiences tailored for families, look no further than Portugal for your next vacation.


Lisbon is an amazing destination for families visiting Portugal. The city has a fascinating mix of history, culture, and family-friendly attractions.

The historic trams winding through the city are a hit with kids. Riding Tram 28 through the winding, cobblestoned streets of Alfama is a classic Lisbon experience.

The Lisbon Oceanarium is one of Europe’s largest aquariums and a top attraction for families. Interactive exhibits let kids get hands-on with sea life.

Sao Jorge Castle is an 11th century Moorish castle with sweeping views over Lisbon. Kids love exploring the ramparts and towers. Nearby are the Lisbon Story Centre, an interactive museum bringing Portugal’s history to life, and the National Coach Museum filled with antique carriages and coaches.

Parque Eduardo VII is a great spot for families, with expansive green spaces, a duck pond, electric toy boats, and a panoramic viewpoint. The Gulbenkian Museum has a hands-on science exhibit for kids.

Belém is home to Portugal’s famous Pastéis de Belém custard tarts. The area also has kid-friendly museums like the Maritime Museum and Berardo Collection of modern art.


Porto is a charming and colorful city along the Douro River that offers plenty of family-friendly activities. Families can take scenic river cruises along the Douro to enjoy views of Porto’s iconic bridges and architecture. Porto is also known for its “Harry Potter vibes” with its bookshops, cafes, and cobblestone streets that resemble Hogwarts and Diagon Alley. Families can let their imagination run wild wandering the historic Ribeira district.

Kids will love painting traditional Portuguese azulejo tiles at one of the many ceramic workshops. The World of Discoveries is an excellent interactive museum for families to learn about Portugal’s history of exploration. The Jardins do Palácio de Cristal are beautiful gardens right along the river that are perfect for picnics and letting kids run around.


The Algarve region in southern Portugal is known for its stunning beaches and family-friendly resort towns. With over 150 miles of coastline, calm waters, and plenty of sand, the Algarve has some of the best beaches in Europe for families.

Some of the most popular family beach destinations in the Algarve include:

  • Praia da Rocha - located near Portimão, this large beach has calm waters for swimming and huge sandstone cliffs.

  • Praia da Manta Rota - a laidback beach town with 5 miles of sandy beach perfect for sandcastles.

  • Praia do Barril - accessible by little train, this beach has calm, clear waters and a pirate shipwreck playground.

In addition to beaches, the Algarve has many family-friendly attractions inland, including:

  • Zoomarine - one of the largest marine animal theme parks in Europe, with shows, rides, and interactive exhibits.

  • Slide & Splash - a popular waterpark with speed slides, a lazy river, and areas for younger kids.

  • Krazy World - a zoo with exotic animals, plus activities like pedal carts, bungee trampolines, and go-karts.

Some of the best family resort towns in the Algarve include Albufeira, Vilamoura, Praia da Rocha, and Lagos. These towns have vibrant beaches, walkable marinas, splash parks, and plenty of dining and accommodation options for families.

Sintra - Fairy Tale Castles and Palaces

Sintra is often described as a real-life fairy tale village, with its stunning castles and palaces perched atop lush hills. It’s a popular day trip from Lisbon and one of the top destinations in Portugal for families. The magical castles like Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle are designed like they’re straight out of storybooks, which kids love.

Some of the highlights of visiting Sintra with kids include:

  • Exploring the 19th century Romanticist Pena Palace, known for its vibrant, eclectic design with a mix of architectural styles. You can tour both the palace interior as well as the gardens.

  • Climbing up the old walls and paths of the Moorish Castle, with sweeping views over Sintra. Pack a picnic to enjoy in the castle grounds.

  • Taking a tuk tuk ride or carriage through the hilly, winding streets to see the various sights and palaces.

  • Letting kids’ imaginations run wild at Quinta da Regaleira, with its mysterious tunnels, hidden grottos, and wishing wells.

Sintra makes for a magical day trip for families, especially for those who want to spark their kids’ sense of wonder while exposing them to fascinating history and culture. Come ready to explore hilltop castles that look straight out of fairy tales.


Coimbra is a charming university town that has plenty to keep families entertained. The historic city center is very walkable, with pedestrian streets lined with cafes and shops. Coimbra has a relaxed, youthful vibe thanks to its large student population.

Some of the top areas and activities for families include:

  • The Science and Technology Park, with hundreds of interactive exhibits on science, math and technology that will appeal to kids of all ages.

  • Old Cathedral (Sé Velha), 12th century Romanesque cathedral with park and ancient crypt that can be explored.

  • Portugal dos Pequenitos, a theme park with miniature versions of Portugal’s architectural wonders, great for young kids.

  • Coimbra University, one of the oldest universities in Europe, with a magnificent baroque library that Harry Potter fans will appreciate.

  • Mondego River, take a cruise or relax by the river beach at Parque Verde do Mondego.

Coimbra has a relaxed pace and plenty for families to see and do for a day or two. The university town vibe also appeals to older kids and teens.


Cascais is a charming coastal town located just 30 minutes from Lisbon. With its sandy beaches, maritime museums, and seaside promenades, it’s a fantastic family-friendly destination.

Some of the top things to do in Cascais with kids include:

  • Exploring the Centro Histórico (historic center) with its cobblestone streets, boutiques and ice cream shops. Wander through Largo Camões, the main plaza surrounded by restaurants and cafes.

  • Spending a day at Guincho Beach, known for its wild waves and windswept dunes. Kids will love playing in the sand and exploring the coastline. Guincho is located in the protected Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.

  • Visiting Marechal Carmona Park, a green oasis with a lake, playgrounds, mini-golf and an open-air auditorium that hosts concerts and events.

  • Trying out the ropes courses, zip lines, trampolines and more at Zazulê adventure park, perfect for burning off energy.

With plenty of parks, beaches, and family-friendly sites, Cascais is a wonderful destination for those traveling with children.

Top Activities and Attractions

Portugal has an abundance of museums, boat tours, aquariums, castles, beaches, and parks that make for memorable family adventures.

The interactive museums are a hit with kids, like the National Railway Museum with its model train displays and simulators, and the Science Museum loaded with hands-on exhibits. The Oceanário de Lisboa is one of the largest aquariums in Europe with over 15,000 sea creatures to discover.

Boat tours along the rivers in Lisbon and Porto offer relaxing family sightseeing. Portugal has fairytale castles like Pena Palace in Sintra that kids obsess over and many beach destinations with calm waves for young swimmers, especially in the Algarve. Surfing lessons are available for older kids wanting to ride the waves.

There are kid-friendly parks like Portugal dos Pequenitos with miniature models of Portuguese monuments and the Lisbon Zoo and Oceanarium with amusement park rides. Portugal has great family-friendly festivals happening year-round like parades, concerts, medieval fairs, and puppet shows.

Family-Friendly Accommodations

Portugal offers a variety of accommodations suitable for families with kids of all ages. Here are some of the top options:

Kid-Focused Hotels and Resorts

Hotels and resorts geared towards families offer amenities like kids’ clubs, playgrounds, game rooms, family-friendly pools, and more. Some top options include:

  • Martinhal Sagres Family Resort - Luxury resort in the Algarve with kids club, multiple pools, and rooms designed for families.
  • Pine Cliffs Resort - Luxury resort in the Algarve with kids’ club, large family suites, children’s pool, and direct beach access.
  • Ukino Palmeiras Village - All-inclusive resort near Lagos with kids clubs for all ages, sports and activities for families.

Apartment Rentals

Renting an apartment is a spacious, convenient, and affordable option for families. Choose one near parks, attractions, beaches and with amenities like a kitchen, washer/dryer, balcony, and separate bedrooms.

Family-Friendly B&Bs and Guesthouses

Smaller, family-run accommodations provide a personalized, charming stay. Look for family rooms, backyard access, toys or games, and owners who welcome kids.


Camping allows families to enjoy the outdoors affordably. Many campgrounds offer amenities like pools, playgrounds, recreation areas, and planned kids’ activities.

Getting Around Portugal with Kids

Getting around Portugal with kids is fairly easy, especially in the major cities. Here are some tips:

Navigating Airports

Many of Portugal’s airports are very family-friendly. Lisbon and Porto airports have play areas to keep kids entertained, nursing rooms, and stroller rentals. Allow extra time at security and checking bags when traveling with children.

Public Transportation

Buses, trams, metros, and trains in the big cities like Lisbon and Porto are easy to use with strollers. Validate your ticket before boarding. Kids under 4 ride for free.

Taxis and Rideshares

Car seats are required for kids under 12 in taxis and rideshares. Consider bringing your own or renting upon arrival since availability is limited.

Driving Tips

Renting a car allows maximum flexibility for road tripping between cities and towns. Use child safety seats and booster seats as required by age. Stop often for active kids.

With a little planning, getting around Portugal with kids using public transportation or driving can be smooth and stress-free. Just allow extra time and have snacks and toys on hand!

Things to do

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