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.
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.