Top 10 activities to keep the kids entertained this summer The Algarve is a great place to be in the summer but, as any parent knows, keeping the kids busy and happy can be a challenge to say the least. With that in mind, in collaboration with My Destination Algarve we’ve compiled 10 of the best activities for kids to help you make this summer the best yet. Go forth and have fun!
Get wet and wild With no less than four exiting venues to choose from in the Algarve, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to waterparks - and there’s never been a better time to visit them. Slide & Splash is celebrating its 30th anniversary with an exciting new slide, The Big Wave, set to open this summer. Meanwhile, Zoomarine - which has rides and shows focused on environmental education as well as slides - is celebrating 25 years, with lots of fun stuff going on. Book online in advance for discounts of up to 15% at both venues. Visit the land of sand Now in its 14th year, the annual Fiesa Sand Sculpture Festival at Pêra is back and better than ever! Billed as the largest sand sculpture festival in the world with up to 40,000 tonnes of sand used, it’s lovely during the day and magical by night. There’s a bar serving drinks and snacks, occasional live music and a very relaxed vibe. This year’s theme is music, so kids can enjoy spotting the likes of Lady Gaga or the characters from Frozen - or else you can educate them in the ways of U2 and Frank Zappa! Tickets are €9 for adults, €4.50 for children up to 12 years, and free for children up to five. Senior citizens receive a 15% discount.
Take to the trees If you’re looking for adventure, a trip to a tree top adventure park is just the ticket. With sites in Albufeira and Lagos, Luso Aventura adventure parks have a variety of high rope assault courses designed for those seeking an exciting physical challenge, all under the watchful supervision and encouraging guidance of qualified personnel. Both parks offering courses accessible from four years old, and no physical training is required to enjoy them. lusoaventura.com Embrace your inner pirate While they might not usually want to sit still for too long, most children really enjoy boat trips. The adventure of boarding, hoisting the anchors and riding the waves while trying to spot pirates on the horizon usually goes down very well. Add in a trip through the caves and secret grottos of the coastline aboard a small boat and a BBQ lunch on a private beach and you should have a very happy tribe of swashbucklers at the end of the day. Give geocaching a go If you’re sat there thinking ‘geo-what!?’ then allows us to explain. Dubbed ‘the world’s largest treasure hunt’, geocaching involves using GPS-enabled devices (such as mobile phones) to navigate to geocaches (containers) hidden at given coordinates. On successfully discovering the ‘treasure’ geocachers can leave a message in the log book and swap a piece of ‘treasure’ left by a fellow player in exchange for another item. It’s great fun and there are already plenty of locations in the Algarve visit geocaching.com to find out more. Awaken their curiosity Kids love to get involved and that’s exactly what they can do at the Centros de Ciências Vivas in Faro and Lagos. There are plenty of interactive exhibitions and experiments to awaken curiosity. The centres are inspired by Portugal’s rich seafaring past and give a nod to renewable energy. Great on cloudy days or for a break from the heat, and very good value for a few hours’ fun. A family ticket for two adults and up to six (!) children costs €8. Pack a picnic Leave the beach behind for a few hours and discover the beauties of inland and rural Algarve. In the west, head uphill to Monchique where you can enjoy some great country walks and find some lovely scenic picnic spots - the ‘small routes’ on
the Via Algarviana are ideal. Elsewhere, at the Fontes de Estômbar (natural springs) you can follow trails along the River Arade, do a spot of bird-watching and fire up the barbecue for lunch while the children enjoy the playground. To the east, the Pego do Inferno near Tavira is spectacularly beautiful, with a waterfall, rock pools, rich vegetation and picnic areas galore. Discover a whole world of fun FunWorld in Porches (funworld.pt) is once again hosting a summer programme of events for six to 16 year olds, with the focus on being active, healthy and, as the name suggests, having lots of fun! Week-long camps run until 16th September (8.30am to 17:45pm daily), each with a different theme - everything from Star Wars and the Wild West to Junior Masterchef! Costs include all activities, insurance, lunch, morning and afternoon snacks and drinks. Kart them to the racetrack If your kids feel the need, the need for speed, then karting is an option with three locations in the Algarve. The indoor track at Olhão is the largest in Europe, there is a pretty impressive outdoor track at Almancil, and another fabulous karting track near Portimão, adjacent to the International Race Track, home to world championships and Superbike competitions.
Get active There are so many activities available across the Algarve, particularly during the summer months. Check out the local tennis clubs, and ask about surf and sailing schools at the marinas and beaches. Do a bit of horseriding - there are centres all across the region offering lessons and guided treks through the countryside or on the beach. Meanwhile, each summer at Praia da Rocha beach there is a full programme of beach activities - volleyball, hydro gymnastics, yoga, surf try outs and even scuba try dives. Best of all, many of these activities are totally free of charge! For more ideas on what to do in the Algarve this summer: mydestinationalgarve.com