Portugal Vacation Ideas
Portugal Vacation Ideas
Spring, summer, fall
Portugal is one of Europe’s most picturesque countries — colorful landscapes bursting with bougainvillea, stunning coastal cliffs, golden beaches, beautiful rivers and remarkable historic architecture. There is a warm and creative energy here, brought to life by the hospitality and welcoming spirit of the people, the love of design and culinary arts, and the obvious zest for outdoor adventure. Crisscrossed by vintage trams that carry locals and visitors along the steeply winding streets, Lisbon retains its Old World charm; romantic Porto is the jumping-off point for the Douro Valley wine region. If you’re seeking sun and sand, spend a few days in the Algarve, the hub of beach life along the southern coast.
Because Portugal is a relatively compact country, visitors can cover a lot of ground in just one to two weeks without feeling rushed. Spend your first three nights in Lisbon, getting acclimated to this vibrant city full of history, rustic food and culture. Listen for the strains of traditional fado music emerging from restaurants as you walk past buildings clad in azulejos, or colorful ceramic tiles. Lisbon played a central role in the Age of Discovery, and monuments in the waterfront Belem neighborhood pay tribute to explorers such as Ferdinand Magellan and Vasco da Gama. Be sure to dedicate a full day to exploring the fairytale town of Sintra, an easy side trip.
Zip through Lisbon’s most historic neighborhoods on a tuk tuk while sampling culinary delights.
A driver-guide will whisk you around Sintra as you visit castles and palaces nestled in the hillsides.
Lisbon’s iconic, ornate tiles serve as your inspiration while you paint one of these distinctly Portuguese creations to keep as a souvenir.
Ride Lisbon's trams and funiculars through this hilly city with a private guide, stopping at local gems and points of interest along the way.
Travel a few hours south of Lisbon to the Algarve and spend three or four leisurely days taking in its dramatic coastline. Indulging in the region’s luxurious yet extremely kid-friendly beach resorts is just one highlight. In addition to its golden sands, the Algarve offers limestone cliffs and sea caves to explore, idyllic fishing villages and towns rich in history, and watersports of every imaginable type.
Enjoy the Algarve’s rugged cliffs and powerful winds on a private sailboat excursion.
Instructors can help your family ride the waves in one of the few places where you can surf in Europe.
Sway along in the saddle as you trot through the sand on horseback in the company of your guide.
Cruise along the coastline with an expert naturalist as you keep an eye peeled for these magnificent marine creatures.
East of Lisbon on the border with Spain, Alentejo is often compared to Tuscany, yet it is largely untouched by mass tourism. Families typically spend a couple of days here enjoying the wide-open spaces and kid-friendly activities. Vast stretches of farmland and cork forests are interspersed with medieval towns and ruined castles that capture young imaginations. Spend your evenings gazing at the stars, which are easy to see in this rural part of Portugal.
A guide will take your family on the quietest back roads, passing through traditional local villages.
Start your day paddling along a beautiful lake surrounded by nature, and end with a picnic lunch on an islet.
Spend a day with a local expert exploring the mighty castles that once stood guard along the Spanish border.
Accompany your guide on a walking tour of Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its Roman ruins and eerie bone chapel.
Venture to the northern region of the country to experience Porto and the Douro Valley. Portugal’s second-largest city, Porto is more sedate than Lisbon, but it possesses a romantic charm all its own. Between sips of the legendary wine produced here, you’ll wander around medieval bridges and cobblestone streets, then savor amazing yet still kid-friendly cuisine. Devote at least a day to visiting the Douro Valley vineyards, tasting your way through a wealth of boutique wineries.
A pastry chef will teach your family to make pastel de nata, a classic Portuguese custard tart.
Pedal along the Douro River and enjoy the beautiful sights of Porto’s waterfront.
See the highlights of architecture, art and history in Porto with a kid-friendly guide.
Travel throughout the Douro Valley with an expert in the area's wine culture, with ample stops for sipping and savoring.
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