- Get creative and paint traditional tiles in Porto
- Take an amphibious boat tour of Lisbon
- Hike a family-friendly route through Peneda-Gerês National Park
- Spot dolphins and search for hidden coves on the beaches of the Algarve
|Day 1||Arrive in Porto, Taste of Porto Food Tour||Porto|
|Day 2||Porto for Kids, Tile-Painting Workshop||Porto|
|Day 3||Culture & Hiking in Peneda-Gerês National Park||Porto|
|Day 4||Transfer to Coimbra via Aveiro & Buçaco Forest||Coimbra|
|Day 5||Explore Coimbra, Visit the Schist Villages||Coimbra|
|Day 6||Transfer to Lisbon via Mira De Aire Caves||Lisbon|
|Day 7||Lisbon Tuk-Tuk Tour, Amphibious Boat Tour||Lisbon|
|Day 8||Day Trip to the Palaces & Forests of Sintra||Lisbon|
|Day 9||Drive to Évora, Self-Guided Tour of Megalithic Sites||Évora|
|Day 10||Alentejo Countryside Tour||Évora|
|Day 11||Drive to the Algarve, Dolphin Watching Tour||Algarve|
|Day 12||Algarve Beach Day||Algarve|
|Day 13||Catamaran Cruise to Benagil & Carvoeiro||Algarve|
|Day 14||Drive to Lisbon & Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Porto, Taste of Porto Food Tour
Welcome to Portugal! Upon arrival at Porto's airport, you will be met by your driver, who will transfer you to your hotel in the city center. Settled by Romans, Porto is known for its delicious port wine, medieval townhouses stacked up beside the beautiful Douro River, and churches dressed up in blue-and-white azulejo tiles.After you've had some time to settle in, get to know Porto in a way that will please every member of the family: on a guided culinary adventure. Be introduced to Porto's exciting food scene and get off the well-worn tourist path to explore a side of the city that most travelers rarely see. Local families will welcome you into their small, authentic restaurants, cafés, and bars. Taste a range of traditional dishes, local pastries, and Portuguese wines (for the adults, of course). Since this is a private tour, it can be adapted to your family's needs and interests to create the perfect welcome to the city.
Day 2: Porto for Kids, Tile-Painting Workshop
Today's kid-friendly tour of Porto provides a fun introduction to the city's history and must-see attractions, customized to your family's pace. Admire Romanesque, Baroque, and neoclassical monuments, including the São Bento Train Station, the Clérigos Tower, and the Lello Bookshop. End at an amazing viewpoint, where you can take breathtaking photos of the city and ride the funicular for an entertaining way to get around this hilly city.In the afternoon, the whole family will get the chance to flex their creative muscles during a two-hour tile-painting workshop. Portugal's tile-covered buildings are a beautiful and important part of the country's heritage. Most houses in Porto are decorated with small pieces of ceramic tile, which were painted by hand in the now-disappeared tile factories of the region. Paint one-of-a-kind azulejo tiles yourself using traditional techniques, and take home a cherished memory of your trip to this beautiful city.
Day 3: Culture & Hiking in Peneda-Gerês National Park
Let the kids burn off some energy today with a hiking trip to Peneda-Gerês National Park, a vast protected area of 436 square miles (703 sq km) near the Spanish border. Your trip among the park's wild mountain landscapes will include several shorter, accessible hikes that get you up into the best scenery of the park in a short time. The hike will be adapted to your family's needs and the ages of your children.
Throughout the day, see some breathtaking viewpoints, from mountain panoramas to waterfalls. Kids will love swimming in crystal-clear lagoons with only fish for company and spotting the plentiful local flora and fauna. Wildlife to watch out for include garrano (wild horses), wild boar, wildcats, deer, otters, and three species of endangered bat. At one of the most iconic viewpoints, you'll sit down to a family picnic of traditional local food while admiring the gorgeous scenery.
There will also be a cultural side to your adventure today. As you travel between the scenic highlights of the park in a 4WD vehicle, your knowledgeable local guide will give you numerous insights into the park and its inhabitants. You will also get to see and experience the area's centuries-old villages, where ancient traditions have been preserved and meet the villagers that help conserve the region's distinctive culture. Head back to Lisbon in the afternoon, where the kids are sure to sleep well after a day spent in the fresh mountain air.
Day 4: Transfer to Coimbra via Aveiro & Buçaco Forest
Meet your driver this morning and set off for a road trip south. Stop first at Aveiro, located on the edge of an extensive coastal lagoon system. It's a prosperous town with an attractive center and a youthful, energetic buzz, sometimes called the "Venice of Portugal" thanks to its small network of picturesque canals. Youngsters will be delighted to stop for a cruise down Aveiro's peaceful canals in a local moliceiro, the colorful boats traditionally used for seaweed harvesting but now repurposed for canal cruises.If your family wants to spend some time in nature (or the kids need to stretch their legs en route), the Buçaco Forest is another great place to stop. The forest forms part of the European Route of Historic Gardens and is home to more than 250 species of trees and shrubs. There are six different walking trails, and you'll also find lakes, fountains, and small chapels that were originally built by monks. Be sure to visit the Palace Hotel do Buçaco, located in the center of the forest, and see the beautiful boxwood gardens. This afternoon, continue to Coimbra and get settled at your base for the next two nights.
Day 5: Explore Coimbra, Visit the Schist Villages
Coimbra is a charming, historic city that's considered one of the oldest university towns in the world. The main attraction is the university, founded in 1290 by King Dinis, complete with a magnificent Baroque library that boasts over 200,000 books stored in gilded, carved bookshelves. The Chapel of Saint Michael next door is also worth a visit, and you should enjoy a nice walk within the old medieval streets of Coimbra's ancient center. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the old feel of the town and the many hidden corners to discover.Later on, get off the beaten path to a region many Portuguese don't know about. Spread across the Serra da Lousã and Serra do Açor ranges, and quite close to the stunning Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela, the 27 Schist Villages are so-called because of the stone that was used to construct the houses. The villages are mainly famous, though, for being peaceful places where time stands still, and for the delightful mountain landscapes surrounding them. This is a place where you and the kids can stroll and absorb the peace and quiet.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Transfer to Lisbon via Mira De Aire Caves
Get back on the road today and continue south to Lisbon, stopping en route at the impressive Grutas Mira de Aire. These are the largest underground caves in Portugal, formed during the Middle Jurassic Age more than 150 million years ago. The caves were only found in 1947, and in 2010 were elected one of the "Seven Natural Wonders" of Portugal.
Day 7: Lisbon Tuk-Tuk Tour, Amphibious Boat Tour
Get to know Lisbon today on a couple of fun tours that are sure to keep the kids happy: one by tuk-tuk, the other by amphibious vehicle. Start on an electric tuk-tuk tour—a fun, eco-friendly mode of transport sure to delight all ages. Led by a knowledgeable guide, you'll zip through the capital's modern and historic districts, from the neoclassical avenues of Baixa to the cobblestone alleys of the bohemian Bairro Alto. Discover the city's fascinating history and hidden corners along the way, and stop at stunning panoramic viewpoints like São Pedro de Alcântara, Parque Eduardo VII, Senhora do Monte, and Santa Luzia.
Later, board an amphibious vehicle. Explore the heart of Portugal's capital by land and river without leaving the comfort of your seat. Is it a bus? Is it a boat? It's both! Get ready to plunge into the Tagus River with a big smile on your face (while staying dry). You'll be entertained by lively storytelling guides who will share myths, legends, and curiosities with you during an entertaining 90-minute show full of positive energy and passenger interaction. It's all about fun and laughter. Don't expect a "traditional" sightseeing tour and guide, but rather a memorable experience for all ages.
Day 8: Day Trip to the Palaces & Forests of Sintra
Follow in the footsteps of kings and queens today with a guided exploration of magnificent Sintra. Experience the quiet of the dense and dewy forest and the charm of the many 19th-century palaces that dot the mountainside. Sintra is an essential day trip from Lisbon and the perfect adventure for families of every age—plus, there are challenges and fun activities for them along the way.
The kids will love running through secret passageways and climbing turrets in the gardens at Quinta da Regaleira. Hear about the legends and myths of Sintra and the real-life authors and artists who have left their marks here, including Lord Byron and Hans Christian Andersen. Wander through the Sintra historical village, stopping for a travesseiro—the traditional sweet of Sintra. Continue the adventure at the National Palace of Sintra, a hunting retreat and summer resort for the Portuguese monarchy and its court during the Middle Ages. See if the kids can guess what two giant triangular chimneys were used for!
Day 9: Drive to Évora, Self-Guided Tour of Megalithic Sites
Pick up your rental car today and start the self-drive portion of your Portuguese adventure. Your first port of call is the ancient city of Évora in the Alentejo region. This UNESCO World Heritage City has a rich history and unique cultural roots that date from Roman times. The best way to see Évora is on foot. Whitewashed houses and shops line its narrow streets, along with outdoor cafés and spectacular historic sites like the ruins of a first-century Roman temple. It's a chilled-out, attractive place that families will enjoy taking their time to explore.
Later on, visit some megalithic monuments on the outskirts of town. There are more than 10 megalithic sites in and around Évora dating back to the Neolithic period (5500-4500 BCE), making Alentejo one of the most important sites in the Iberian Peninsula. Kids who are interested in ancient history will be fascinated with this place. Explore the mysterious stone circles, dolmens, and funerary monuments, including the great Cromeleque dos Almendres—built 2,000 years before Stonehenge.
Day 10: Alentejo Countryside Tour
Take a break from navigating today as you join a driver for a guided exploration of the Alentejo countryside. Enjoy the slower rhythm amid the golden plains here; residents of the Alentejo region are more traditional than in other parts of Portugal, something you'll see reflected in their home-cooked cuisine and intricate handicrafts.
Get to know the locals and their culture today as you visit medieval villages, a cork forest, and an olive oil farm for a tasting. Here, you can tuck into a delectable lunch at a traditional Alentejo restaurant. This is a relaxed day out in the countryside, where you and your kids can get a glimpse of authentic rural Portuguese life and go at a slower pace.
Day 11: Drive to the Algarve, Dolphin Watching Tour
Leave Évora today and drive south to the Algarve, a famous stretch of dramatic cliffs and golden beaches along Portugal's southern coast. After settling in, it's time to get up close and personal with playful dolphins on a catamaran cruise. The Algarve region is a haven for these fun-loving animals, and you're likely to see them socializing, frolicking, or feeding near the catamaran. Learn about the fascinating habits of these highly intelligent sea creatures, and keep a lookout for other types of sea life that frequent these waters! The cruise culminates with a stop in a nearby bay for swimming, snorkeling, and a snack.After the dolphin watching, you and your kids will have the chance to enjoy water activities as you head to a peaceful and secluded bay. Go for a swim, sunbathe, jump on a water slide, and just have fun with your family as you admire the stunning views of the unspoiled coastline.
Day 12: Algarve Beach Day
Spend today enjoying the spectacular beaches of the Algarve with your family. You have plenty of options, and you can spend the whole day at one beach or travel between a few. One option is Praia de Odeceixe, with a white sandy beach at the mouth of a river giving it the best of both worlds: shallow calm waters on one side and more boisterous waves on the other. There's also a surf school on the beach that older kids might enjoy.
Alternatively, head to the glorious beach at Ingrina. This pretty, shell-shaped cove is sheltered and quiet, ideal for those with young families to relax, knowing that no one can wander too far. The sea is calm, which makes it perfect for splashing around in the shallows. Or you could also continue on to Praia da Marinha, with its signature amber rock stacks, boat trips to explore the surrounding caves, clear blue water perfect for curious snorkelers, and silky white sand.
Finally, you might want to check out Praia do Anção. This enormous stretch of pristine beach is popular with families. It has lifeguards patrolling the calm waters, plenty of space, umbrellas, and sunbeds to rent, water sports galore, and lots of choices for snacks and beach bars. Even the sand dunes behind it are protected, which has prevented too much hotel build-up around this beautiful stretch of shore.
Day 13: Catamaran Cruise to Benagil & Carvoeiro
Set sail today on the penultimate family adventure of your trip, casting off from Portimão to explore the world-famous Benagil Caves. Along the way, you'll pass the famous beaches of Carvoeiro, Algar Seco, the Alfanzina Lighthouse, Benagil, and Praia da Marinha's stunning views. Relax on the catamaran's twin sunbathing nets and enjoy the gentle breeze as you cruise along this unforgettable coastline, then anchor in the lovely coves of João de Arens for some swimming, paddleboarding, or snorkeling. You can choose the watersports that suit your family's ages and abilities to create the perfect custom excursion.
Day 14: Drive to Lisbon & Depart
It's time to say farewell to Portugal today. At the appropriate time, drive to Lisbon for your flight home, making sure to leave enough time to return the rental car and check in for your flight home. If your flight is later in the day, there might be time to stop along the way for one last swim at a beach or to enjoy a leisurely lunch overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Adeus!
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