Things to do in Portugal

When you think about the best places to visit in Portugal, the beautiful beaches in the Algarve and over on Madeira may come to mind. But this country has so much more to offer beyond the shoreline. So what’s out there if you get tired of the beach and you’re looking for things to do in Portugal?

Find your favourite beach

Let’s start with those beaches, before we head inland. Portugal’s superb beaches range from volcanic shorelines to long sandy stretches, and you’ll have plenty to choose from along the Algarve and over on the island of Madeira. If you want to discover lesser known spots, it’s well worth heading off the beaten track. Just a short drive west of Albufeira on the mainland, you’ll find family-friendly Praia Gale. And just 20 minutes outside central Lagos is Meia Prais, one of the Algarve’s finest beaches. It’s also worth taking a boat trip over to Algar Seco, said to be one of the most impressive rock erosions in Europe.

Visit family-friendly attractions

Wherever you are in Portugal, you won’t be too far away from family-friendly attractions. Of course, the kids’ll love spending time on the beach and splashing around in the sea. But when you’re ready for a change of scenery, a trip to the local waterpark could be on the cards. Zoomarine on the Algarve is one of the best things to do in Portugal for families, with plenty to see and do, and lots of interactive displays to get kids up close to the animals.

In Madeira, you can all take a wonder through the cobbled streets of Funchal before riding the cable car up to the village of Monte. The kids will love it, and they’ll be blown away by the views when they reach the top. The island is also home to another fun-filled waterpark, which promises thrilling slides and chutes that grown-ups will love, too.

Get active

If you feel like picking up the pace, you’ll want to try your hand at water sports down at Praia d’Oura. From fun-filled banana boat rides to water-skiing and wakeboarding, you’ll have a superb selection to choose from. Elsewhere, even the keenest of golfers are well catered for here. You’ll find world-class golf courses over on the Algarve, where you can make your way around the fairways while taking in the ocean views. One of the highlights is the Pestana Golf Resort, which is only ten minutes from the resort of Carnoeiro.

Sample Portuguese cuisine

Fresh fish is plentiful across Portugal and it plays a key part in the Portuguese diet. You’ll find lots of lovely seafood restaurants around the coast serving up the catch of the day. If you want to sample some for yourself, you should give the traditional bacalau dish a try; it’s salty cod served with sliced potatoes and rich cream. In the Algarve, most menus will feature cataplana; this mouth-watering stew of pork and fresh clams is cooked and served in a traditional copper pan. Wine fans will want to take a trip to Lagos, where you can go wine tasting at the Monte de Casteleja. And if you’re over in Madeira, you’ll want to wash down your meal with the famous Madeiran wine.

2. Sardine Festival

Who would’ve thought that the humble sardine would have its very own festival! The Algarve’s calendar is chock-full of spectacular celebrations, and the Sardine Festival in Portimão
Find out more

3. Cataplana Festival

From religious processions to riotous parties, you’re never far from a festival in Portugal. The Cataplana festival, held in towns across the coast of the Algarve, is one for every foodie’s diary.
Find out more

4. Fatacil Fair

Learning about the different cultures and customs around the world is one of the best things about travelling, which is why a visit to the Fatacil Fair in Portugal’s Algarve should be on your holiday to-do list.
Find out more

5. Portugal Nightlife

Planning a holiday to Portugal and eager to make the most of the country's amazing nightlife? Then here are some of the best places for Portugal nightlife.
Find out more

10. Praia Gale

For a fun-filled day at the beach, make sure you pay a visit to Praia Gale. Just a short drive or bus ride west of Albufeira, it’s a long, family-friendly beach with plenty to see and do.
Find out more

11. Praia da Coelha

For a peaceful day relaxing on soft sands and paddling in crystal clear seas, look no further than Praia Coelha. A tranquil cove a short drive west of Albufeira
Find out more

21. Cero de Vila

A visit to the roman ruins of Cerro da Vila is one for the history buffs, as it’s crammed full of facts and its museum is filled to the brim with artefacts.
Find out more

22. Vilamoura Marina

No matter what time you visit, Vilamoura marina is one of The Algarve’s greatest hotspots. It’s the hive of activity in Vilamoura and from day to night, there’s always something going on here.
Find out more

36. Zoomarine

For a fun-filled day trip with the family, jump into a car and take a drive to the popular Zoomarine less than half an hour away. The huge park is split into different zones; so expect to find authentic white sand by the pools and pirate ship theme by the sea lions.
Find out more

37. Fishing harbour in Alvor

Alvor has a deep heritage with fishing entwined into its roots, so what better way to explore the local traditions than to spend an afternoon by the beautiful harbour. Watch the boats as they bring their catch in from the deep Atlantic waters.
Find out more

38. Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve

If you are in need of some peace and quiet away from the bustling beach, take a stroll through Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve. Witness the spectacular ecosystems and numerous plants, animals and insects.
Find out more

39. Go on boat trips from Albufeira

If you prefer to stay above the water but still want to explore the magnificent coast, set sail on one of the variety of boat excursions available. Enjoy sailing across the stunning waters, travelling from bay to bay.
Find out more

43. Visit Albufeira Old Town

Venture to the opposite end of the strip to find the original Albufeira, commonly know as the Old Town. The quaint setting oozes tradition, which can be seen through the narrow, cobbled streets and decoratively painted buildings.
Find out more

44. Tavira Island

For a relaxing day in a stunning part of the Algarve, make sure you visit Tavira Island when you go on holiday to this picturesque Portuguese region. It’s hard to beat the island’s soft pale sands and turquoise sea
Find out more

45. Aquashow Park

Look forward to a great day out for the whole family with a visit to Aquashow Park. Just a few kilometres outside Quarteira, the park’s in between Faro and Albufeira and takes around 25 minutes to get to by car
Find out more

46. Ponta da Piedade

If you’re going on holiday to the Algarve, and especially Lagos, a trip to see Ponta da Piedade is an absolute must. The spectacular stretch of coastline is a stunning collection of caves, grottoes
Find out more

47. Zoomarine Algarve

Get ready for a fun-filled family day out when you pay a visit to Zoomarine Algarve. The park’s just over 20 minutes by car from Albufeira, and is the perfect place to spoil the kids on your holiday to the Algarve.
Find out more

48. Praia de Marinha

To enjoy some spectacular scenery and the Algarve’s warm sunshine, make sure you spend a day on Praia de Marinha. Around 20 kilometres from Albufeira, the beach is a stunning place to relax and unwind.
Find out more