Here’s 5 activities you need to do with your loved ones while visiting this coastal Mediterranean paradise:
5 Fun Filled Family-Friendly Activities to do in Portugal
1. Walking through central Portugal
Walking should be a part of any itinerary here in Portugal. This will prove to be an easy tour, full of fresh mountain air, pine forests, coastal flowers, chestnut trees and gentians. Birds are abundant, from eagle owls to Egyptian vultures to golden orioles and the captivating, colourful bee-eater. Explore the age-old villages with ancient churches and satisfy your hunger with delicious local cheeses, black pudding and delicious wines before arriving at Serra da Estrela, mainland Portugal’s highest point, where you can triumphantly survey the rugged peaks and granite formations that rise from the lakes around you.
2. Riding horseback along the Costa Azul
From the back of one of Portugal’s famous Lusitano horses, discover the Costa Azul, or Blue Coast, which covers the southern stretch of the country’s west coast. It is remote and untouched, even during the summer months, when you have the deserted beaches and flower-filled landscapes to yourself. Starting in Grandola, 100km south of Lisbon, the trail begins in the cool of pine forests and cork groves before continuing to the mouth of the Rio Sado, a sanctuary of 57,500 acres, where you are likely to see dolphins playing. From here, continue south through mile after mile of empty beaches, lapped by turquoise waters, sparkling lagoons and white washed fishing villages. This eight-day trip with Unicorn Trails includes six days of riding (for 4 to 6 hours a day).
3. Surfing on the Silver Coast
Portugal’s long stretches of coast provide ideal surfing conditions for all levels of expertise from beginner to advanced, but nowhere is better than the Peniche peninsula, which recently held the APS World Surfing Championships. It delivers excellent surfing all year round, with as many as 20 different wave conditions within a 15km radius. The Surf Castle sits in the pretty village of Baleal, right on the beach. Baleal is unique for its north- and south-facing surf spots which means that regardless of the wind direction, somewhere will be surf-able. The Surf Castle School has been operating since 2007 and Pedro Pulido Valente, the head surfing coach has over 20 years of experience. With views from your bedroom window of Lagido, a famous reef break, and one teacher to every six students, you will be dropping a wave or surfing the green wall in no time.
4. Birdwatching, Santa Clara Lake
The diverse landscape of the Alentejo has created an extraordinarily rich bird life, with more than 120 resident birds and endless migratory species passing through, particularly in April and September. June, however, is when weather is best for birding as young birds fly the nest. Frank McClintock, an expert birder and qualified guide, lives in Quinta do Barranco da Estrada, by the tranquil shore of Santa Clara Lake: 10 rooms spill out onto terraces with lake views and a lawn running down to the water that allows birdwatching from your room. Expect though, to venture further afield, with Frank and a picnic, into cork forests and wide-open plains, to spot great and little bustards, woodchats, stone curlews and more, or to the coast to see the world’s only sea-nesting white storks. Return each night to the Quinta farmhouse, to a home-cooked dinner.
5. Scuba diving, Algarve
The Algarve’s coastline is a sublime backdrop to diving, rich in sea life with endless caves and fascinating rock formations. While locals free-dive in search of octopus to sell at local markets or toss on the grill for lunch, Open Waters in Quarteira teaches a variety of different Scuba School International and PADI courses. You can master scuba diving through theory, swimming-pool practice and finally the sea, or choose the more advanced wreck diving, fish identification or digital underwater photography. Diving suits, masks, tube vest, tank, regulator, fins and weight belt are all included in the price, which starts at $60 per dive once yourself in the much sought after Conrad Algarve, which will organize “diving baptisms” for first timers and transport to the school.
Main Image Credit: Rick Ligthelm/Flickr