5-Day Guide to Lisbon & the Algarve With Kids

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Advisor - Laura Allen
Curated By

Laura Allen

  • International Travel

  • Portugal

  • Lisbon

  • Algarve

  • Arts & Culture

  • Beaches

  • City Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Kid-Friendly

  • Sightseeing

  • Local Culture

people on beach next to body of water during daytime
Curator’s statement

Portugal is family-friendly and easy to get around with a rental car, making it an awesome choice for travel with younger kids. The gorgeous Algarve region is not even three hours south of Lisbon so the two areas pair perfectly together for a week long trip. Relax at one of the many beach resorts along the southern coast to enjoy the views and wide open space, and then head to the city where there are plenty of activities for kids and adults. The Portuguese people were wonderful with our 18 month old - we had many waiters making silly faces, picking up and washing pacifiers and just generally making us feel welcome. Plus, the wine is divine and cheap :)

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Day 1: Arrive in Lisbon + Travel Day

aerial view of road and trees during sunset

If you aren't too tired from the flight, go ahead and drive down to your resort in the Algarve region. It's a good opportunity for kids to sleep in the car; doing the stops in this order means you won't have to make the drive to the airport on departure day since you'll end the trip in Lisbon. Take in the sea air and views and enjoy an early dinner at the hotel.

Day 2: Beach Day

stairs leading down to ocean during daytime

The beaches in Portugal are stunning and can be sandy coves or dramatic cliffs. The Atlantic here is colder than most people expect so you may not be eager to swim. Because of the cliffs, many of the beaches have larges staircases that descend down to the sand. Older kids may enjoy surfing, kayaking or sailing. The area west of Lagos is more rugged/less developed and you can visit nearly deserted beaches with incredible views. Pack a picnic for lunch to enjoy on the beach.

Day 3: Explore a Beach Town

people on the beach next to ocean during daytime

Lagos and Albufeira are two of the larger towns. Albufeira is a bit touristy with tons of souvenir shops and nightlife. Lagos is more scenic, laid back and family-friendly. You'll find lots of shops here with ceramics, leather goods and jewelry. There is also a zoo in Lagos. In between the larger towns, you'll find small fishing villages such as Carvoeiro, Salema, Olhão or Alvor. If you are in the area in the spring or summer, kids will enjoy the giant sand castles at Sand City near Lagoa. You can get an authentic Portuguese meal with plenty of seafood in any of the beach towns.

Day 4: Travel to Lisbon & Walk Along the River

people standing at cafe counter

Play at the hotel pool before making the 2-3 hour drive to Lisbon. For a pick-me-up, grab pastries at Zarzuela (complete with gluten free treats!) and then walk along the water front. Tip: bring a baby carrier for little ones because the streets are hilly or have cobblestones.

Grab dinner at Time Out Market (but don't wait until you get hungry because it gets busy).

Day 5: Take in Lisbon's History

buildings with body of water in background during daytime

The historic part of the city is compact and walkable to its easy to explore in a day or two. The lifts are fun to ride and will take you up Lisbon's steep hills. Kids will love taking a guided tuktuk tour (similar to a golf cart and has seat belts) to get an overview of the city and to take a break from walking. Make sure to go to the top of Saõ Jorge hill to visit the 11th century Castelo de Saõ Jorge. Enjoy dinner in an 18th-century palace at Palácio Chiado.

Advisor - Laura Allen

A note from Laura

If you have more time make sure to visit the magical town of Sintra to see the royal palaces and villas. Another great day trip is the beach town of Cascais where there is a charming waterfront village with ice cream shops and a carousel.

Need to Know

For more family-friendly travel tips, check out my guide to Bar Harbor: Family-Friendly Vacationing in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Advisor - Laura Allen

Travel Advisor

Laura Allen

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