Portugal is a great option if you are looking for a vacation that can combine independent travel with some resort and/or beach time. Throughout the country you will find medieval castles, white-wash countryside villages, vineyards, outdoor adventure opportunities along with cosmopolitan cities that still maintain an old-world flare. The Algarve region boasts some of the most picturesque beaches in the world set amidst ochre cliffs and myriad of relaxing resorts. Although it maintains many historic and cultural sights, you will also find modern amusement parks, aquariums, playgrounds and more to give your vacation a balance that your children will be craving. At a minimum, I would recommend this 15 day itinerary to cover Lisbon and the southern half of the country. Accomodations are in the moderate price range but have been chosen to get the best experience for your money.
Day 1: Arrive at Lisbon Airport via international flight. Take a taxi to your accommodations. We rented an apartment through www.travelingtolisbon.com. Apartment 85 was great for our family in a good location with a beautiful terrace but there are many options to choose from.
Day 1-5: Sightseeing in Lisbon. Take time to wander through the various neighborhoods. The Alfama district is difficult to navigate with a stroller as there are lots of steps, so I recommend a backpack carrier for your small children. The Oceanarium at Parque das Nacoes is a highlight for all ages. Try to be there on a Tuesday or Saturday, so that you can go to the flea market ‘Feira da Ladra’ in Alfama
Day 5: Take taxi back to airport to pick up Rental car. Drive 90 minutes to the village of Estremoz. Stay at Monte dos Pensamentos (www.secretplaces.com) in an apartment that will sleep four. They also have a baby cot available if needed. Tel # 011-351-268-333-166. Relax at the pool, wander the property to see various farm animals and vegetation. Visit the village or pre-arrange a tour of the local vineyard- J. Portugal Ramos-vinhos.
Day 6: Drive to Vila Vicosa and tour the castle and village. We stayed overnight at www.pensaopolicarpo.com tel # 011-35-266-702-424. It was a basic hotel at a good price in a great location. They are able to provide extra beds and baby cots but may not be suitable for large families.
Day 7: Tour the town of Evora. Take your children to the park. Visit the standing stones, Almendres Cromlech on your drive south. Drive to Lagos ( 218 km ) via toll highways for the quickest route.
Day 7-14: Stay at www.clubeportomos.com tel # 011-351-282-790-550 in Lagos in the Algarve region. Take day trips to Sagres, Lagos Zoo and/or Zoo Marine theme park. Take a boat trip to see the grottos and sea caves. Walk the historic part of town ( lots of children’s toy and clothing shops) and kids can take a spin on the carousel. The beaches are beautiful and there are cliff top hiking trails from the resort all the way to town. There is also an indoor pool, gym, sauna and jacuzzi and games room for rainy days at this resort.
Day 14: Drive via toll highway back to Sintra. Allow approximately 5 hours for the drive. Stay at www.casadovalle.com tel # 011 (+351) 91 937 1622. There is a set of 2 adjoining rooms that can be rented for larger families. They also have a crib available. Tour castles (Palacio da Pena and Castelo dos Mouros are the 2 most impressive), gardens, walking trails.
Day 15: More time in Sintra. Try to arrange flight departing in the late evening or stay another night in Sintra. Drive to the airport to drop off rental car. (30 minutes)
I hope you enjoy your trip and can find this blog entry useful. Everybody has different interests, however I think this can give you a starting point. Please check out the websites for each destination to see if it looks like a fit for your family. For background information on this series, please see Introduction: Itinerary Series.