While the beautiful, sun-bleached beaches are the main attraction for most people taking their holidays to the Algarve, if you’re travelling with the whole family you might find you need something extra up your sleeve to keep the youngsters happy. When the powder-soft sands and aquamarine waters of the Algarve’s beaches lose their appeal, you can enjoy some family fun at one of the many Algarve theme parks.
Theme parks in the Algarve have something to suit all tastes and all ages. To help you decide which ones to put on your list, we’ve created a handy guide to some of the best Algarve theme parks for families.
A cross between a waterpark and a marine park, Zoomarine is one of the most popular theme parks in the Algarve. You’ll find it in Guia, just a short drive or bus-ride from Albufeira. If you want to give the kids a chance to burn off some energy and cool down at the same time, there are some fantastic rides and slides. Younger visitors can enjoy the thrill of age-appropriate attractions such as the Buffalo Mini Roller Coaster, the Zoomarine Express, and the water cannons, slides and pools in the Aquasplash zone.
Older children and fearless adults can ramp things up a bit with a white-water ride on the River Rapids, the superfast Harikiri slide, or the twists and turns offered by the Aquatube and Body Slide. It’s also a marine park that’s dedicated to the conservation, rescue, rehabilitation and release of marine creatures.
Algarve theme parks aren’t all about water and getting wet. If you’ve got a head for heights, look out for the Adventure Park logo. You’ll find three of these tree-top theme parks in Algarve, located in Lagos, Albufeira, and Vila Real. If you’ve ever seen a Go Ape park, then you’ve got a good idea of what you’re in for: wooden, bridges, zip-lines and rope ladders, all housed in the canopy of a forest. The Adventure Parks at Lagos and Albufeira also have paintball battlefields, so you can level up the fun and get messy at the same time.
Petrol-heads of all ages will enjoy a trip to Karting Almancil, where you’ll find go-karting tracks for all ages and abilities. Youngsters between the ages of three and six can hop in a mini Formula One car and steer themselves around a safe and small track, while those aged between seven and 12 can get behind the wheel of a bigger, petrol-powered go-kart and navigate the twists and turns of the junior track. Karting Almancil is open between 10am and midnight, seven days a week.
Adventure Golf Alvor
If you prefer your entertainment to be more relaxed and low key, head to Alvor for the best in golfing entertainment, but with a little bit of a bite. Golf Alvor is like trying to play a round in Jurassic Park. You’ll find dinosaurs at almost every turn, including a Tyrannosaurus Rex and everyone’s favourite lurking lizards, the velociraptors. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a case of all roar and no score: this theme park has challenges for newbies and seasoned fans of the five-iron, including the 18-hole professional course. With an onsite terrace bar, this might be one of the quieter Algarve theme parks, but it’s certainly one of the most entertaining.
Home to over 120 different species, from adorable Ring-tailed Lemurs to wallabies, magnificent lynx cats, and cheeky parrots, Lagos Zoo is a great day out for the whole family. Watch the cormorants and pelicans getting their lunch between 11.30am and 3pm, or go ape watching the primates chow down at 4pm. There’s lots to see and do, all with the emphasis on conservation and animal welfare.
This has to be one of the top theme parks in Portugal, and a must-visit on every family holiday. Wet, wild, and with thrills for all ages, you can try wakeboarding, whoosh down white-knuckle slides, or float down a lazy river. Don’t worry about bringing a picnic as there’s plenty of on-site restaurants and refreshments on offer.
Slide and Splash
Get ready to slide at one of the most popular theme parks in the Algarve. It’s designed to give you non-stop fun all day, no matter how young or old you are. Pick up the nerve to take on the Black Hole or the Kamikaze, or take the little ones to meet the dragon that spits water, not fire. Relax and dry off in one of the many parkland areas, where you can enjoy an ice-cream before the next round of water-based fun.