As the closest nation in Europe to the U.S. and one of the best values in Europe today, Portugal is welcoming to families. With great beaches, attractions, and family friendly hotels, Portugal has lots for a family to do, and Portuguese culture cherishes children. You will find free hotels stays for kids (with breakfast), and in most restaurants - high chairs.
Here are a few ideas:
The Serra do Gerês protected natural reserve in the north of Portugal, one of the most picturesque regions in country. It offers a vast range of activities such as: easy water sports out on the Caniçada reservoir; nature walks (in group or with a guide), or visits to traditional local villages (Soajo, and Lindoso) appeal to all family members. Accommodation is available for all tastes and budgets, from campsites to country hotels, to the Aldeias de Portugal facilities and charming rural tourism properties. All of these share great service and a typically warm welcome. On such a physical holiday your family are certain to build up an appetite, and the quality of the local food matches the surroundings.
Lisbon is a lively and easy to get around city that has a great deal for those visiting with children.. Lisbon is a perfect city to spend a few days with the children. It is safe and friendly, the climate is favorable and it is easy to get about on foot. And that is all in addition to the countless activities and facilities, both outdoors and indoors, especially put on for children. If it is good weather, take to the capital’s parks and gardens. Try the city zoo (www.zoolisboa.sapo.pt <http://www.zoolisboa.sapo.pt>) with its dolphin shows and lion feeding or for a better view of the animals, ride the cable car. In Monsanto, the city’s park, let the kids run off high spirits on the swings, slides and other amusements of the Park of Índios. And if the day is a little cloudy, there is a full range of museums and libraries offering classes and workshops. The Calouste Gulbenkian Planetarium will tell them all they want to know of the stars above. And the Pavilion of Knowledge (www.pavconhecimento.mct.pt <http://www.pavconhecimento.mct.pt>) will reveal the new and cool in scientific advances in an especially child-friendly way.
However, the favorite will undoubtedly be the Lisbon Oceanarium(www.oceanario.pt <http://www.oceanario.pt/> ) one of the largest in world, for an evening spent in the unforgettable company of sharks. Kids love the huge windows on the massive tanks.
Outside Lisbon in the royal village of Sintra our suggestion is to visit the original To Museum (www.museu-do-brinquedo.pt), in Lourinhã enjoy a museum where families can learn about dinosaurs (www.museulourinha.org or pay a visit to the Natural Monument of Dinosaur Footprints in the Serra de Aire Nature Park. Just 1 hour north in Coimbra don't miss the "Portugal dos Pequenitos" Portugal in miniature attraction park – with little house for the kids to explore. http://www.fbb.pt/pp_apresentacao.htm
You can also travel by plane to Porto Santo Island off of Madeira and enjoy six miles of fine golden sand where the children can run around and play to their heart’s content. And when you arrive, relaxation will be almost instant. Stroll through the cobblestone streets, walk along the beach, swim in the clear waters of the ocean or hire a bike or an off-roader and set off on an adventure around the island, passing the Pico do Castelo, the viewpoint of Miradouro das Flores, Canaveira Point and Fonte de Areia. Water-sports such as sailing, windsurfing, jet-skiing or water-skiing are available throughout the year. And it offers a dry, settled climate.
For more information visit www.visitportugal.com <http://www.visitportugal.com>