10 best family holidays in Portugal

From luxurious villa retreats with kids' clubs and spas to eco-friendly campsites, we've found the perfect holiday for you and your crew

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Portugal is known for its fabulous family holiday options, with stunning beaches, plenty of child-friendly hotels, and a range of prices to suit all budgets.

Here’s our pick of the top choices…

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1. The Martinhal Quinta Family Resort, Quinta do Lago, Algarve

Average transfer time: Around 35 minutes from Faro airport

With luxury villas and chic townhouses, each with private swimming pools, the accommodation at The Martinhal Quinta Family Resort is spacious, making it perfect for families.

MadeForMums judge Jessica Gibb says, “Although your villa has all the privacy of a self-catering holiday, you can also use the resort’s facilities like the kids’ club and daily maid service.”

There’s a crèche and kids’ club for children from 6 months to 9 years old, while older children can entertain themselves in the Blue Room, an indoor games room with everything from PlayStations to table football. 

The resort also gives you the opportunity to pre-book baby equipment, such as bottle sterilisers and warmers (although if you prefer to take your own check out Milton’s super-handy travel steriliser or the genius Tommee Tippee Travel Food Warmer – both ideal for popping in your carry-on luggage).

Available from: Expedia offers 7 nights at The Martinhal Quinta Family Resort for a family of four in a two-bedroom townhouse from £1,548 in September 2019 (accommodation only)

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2. Pine Cliffs Resort, Olhos d’Agua

Average transfer time: 45 minutes from Faro airport

Unwind in sumptuous surroundings at the award-winning luxury Pine Cliffs hotel, which takes its name from the pine trees and stunning cliffs that surround it.

Laze by one of the six pools, or like the Martinhal Quinta Family Resort, you can take advantage of extensive leisure facilities including watersports and tennis.

There’s also a huge play area, including a pirate ship to explore, while the Scott Dunn Explores kids’ club is run by qualified nannies. Ideal for families with older children, the club is suitable for children aged from 4 months to 11 years.

There’s also plenty to enjoy as a family. For example, guests can choose two activities, such as a private family cooking class at the exclusive new Mimo Cookery School.

Available from: Scott Dunn offers 7 nights at Pine Cliffs Resort from £3,980, based on a family of four sharing a two-bedroom Comfort Residence and includes international flights, private transfers and two places in the Scott Dunn Explorers kids’ club. www.scottdunn.com

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3. Club Med, Da Balaia Portugal, Algarve

Average transfer time: Around half an hour from Faro airport

Perched on a cliff-top in the Algarve, the Club Med, Da Balaia Portugal is the perfect choice for active families.

The hotel is a luxury, all-inclusive option, but not only does that mean unlimited ice-creams for the kids, but it’s packed with activities your children can enjoy as part of your package, from tennis lessons to circus activities. 

MadeForMums Content Editor and Social Media Producer and mum of 1 Tara says, “There really is something for everyone. The kids’ clubs are exceptional, the food excellent and the staff friendly and helpful.”

However, she does admit “it’s not cheap”, so it’s worth saving up or seeking out special offers – read the full MFM review of the Club Med, Da Balaia Portugal.

The smallest visitors can be entertained in the crèche (4-23 months), while the kids’ club is open to the oldest age range of children in our list – up to 17 years old.

While the kids are making new friends, grown-ups can indulge in the Cinq Mondes spa.

The main restaurant offers a buffet dinner of international cuisine, but there is another restaurant with table service. There’s also a Baby Corner where parents can prepare food for the youngest members of the family.

Available from: A week’s stay for a family of four in September 2019 costs from £3,422 including accommodation on an all-inclusive basis, flights and transfers. www.clubmed.co.uk

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4. Zmar Eco Experience, Zamnujeira do Mar

Average transfer time: Around 1 hour 40 minutes from Faro airport

Set among spectacular scenery near Alentejo’s Vicentina Coast, the Zmar Eco Experience is a great choice for families on a budget.

Unlike the swanky Pine Cliffs Resort and Club Med, Da Balaia Portugal, you won’t be indulging in luxury accommodation, because at Zmar Eco Experience you camp, taking your own tent – but it’s a snip of the cost.

However, you don’t miss out on facilities, as there’s a waterpark with an Olympic pool, paddling pool and indoor wave pool.

The outdoor space is great, with a small farm for young guests to coo over the animals, a playground and sports activities, plus a kids’ club.

And if you don’t feel like cooking over a campfire, the site has a restaurant serving fresh local food.

Unlike Pine Cliffs resort, it’s not set beside the beach, however it’s just a short drive from the beaches of Almograve.

Available from: The price for a family of four staying a week starts from £155.43, based on stays in October, November and December 2019. Pitchup.com.

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5. Portugal Family Surf School, near Porto

Average transfer time: 30 minutes from Porto airport

If you like the idea of a sporty holiday like Club Med but it’s out of your price range, then Portugal Family Surf School could be a great option.

Like Zmar Eco Experience, it involves camping. But while you can’t take your own tent to cut costs, the tipi tents provided are comfortable and attractive.

The holiday is aimed at older children – they recommend six years plus. You’ll join your children in the morning, learning to surf, and afternoons are kept free to practise or enjoy other optional activities available in the area such as yoga classes, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking or beach volleyball.

However, unlike many resorts including The Martinhal Quinta Family and Zmar Eco Experience, there isn’t a kids’ club you can take your children to.

Available from: Families Worldwide (familiesworldwide.co.uk, 01962 302062) offers Portugal Family Surf School from £1,996 for a family of four including 7 nights’ B&B camping accommodation, 5 dinners, surfing lessons and transfers. Prices valid for summer 2019.

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6. Vilalara Longevity Thalassa & Medical Spa, Armação de Pera

Average transfer time: Around half an hour from Faro airport

Feel like having kids has taken its toll on your skin? Then take a trip to Vilalara Longevity Thalassa & Medical Spa, which has one of the best thalassotherapy centres in the world.

There’s an enormous array of treatments that you can indulge in while your children are being cared for in the kids’ club.

Unlike resorts such as the Club Med and Pine Cliffs Resort, which will take children from 4 months old upwards, the Koala Club only takes children from 3 years old (until 12), and it’s only supervised by staff in high season, so check the dates before you book.

Available from: Health and Fitness Travel offers 7 nights at Vilalara from £3,030 for a family of four travelling in October and November. Price includes breakfast and return private transfers.

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7. Muxima, Aljezur

Average transfer time: About 1hr 15 minutes from Faro airport

Surrounded by a 28-hectare cork and eucalyptus forest, this North African-inspired eco-retreat is an ideal spot for a tranquil break.

Peace and quiet is the name of the game here. You won’t get the pampering of Vilalara Longevity Thalassa & Medical Spa or the non-stop activities of Club Med, but you will get some back-to-nature family fun.

Kids can learn to surf, visit the resident donkey, play in the Wendy house or splash around in the eco-friendly pool, which has a shallow end. Plus there is lots of equipment you can borrow including pushchairs, high chairs and travel cots.

The secluded spot also has loads of space for little ones to explore, and the owners have two children of their own who always appreciate new playmates! 

Available from: i-escape.com offers a week for a family of four from £1,208 for a week including breakfast in September 2019.

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8. Salema Beach Village, Salema

Average transfer time: Around 1hr 15 minutes from Faro airport

Set in the charming seaside village of Salema, the duplex townhouses of Salema Beach Village are great if you want to self-cater.

You’ll get your own garden and terrace, and although you don’t get the ultimate luxury of a private pool here (as in the Martinhal Quinta Family Resort), there is a shared pool to swim in.

You can borrow stair-gates, cots and high-chairs for your children and if you don’t fancy cooking, there’s a range of restaurants within walking distance (check out our round up of the best lightweight buggies for tiny travellers, including the Familidoo Air which can even fit into an overhead airplane locker).

This is a great option for smaller budgets, however, unlike most of the rest on our round-up, there is no kids’ club.

Available from: www.alternative-portugal.co.uk offers a week’s accommodation for a family of four in a two-bed townhouse from £917 in September 2019.

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9. Martinhal Cascais

Average transfer time: About 40 minutes from Lisbon airport

Also part of the luxurious Martinhal group, the Martinhal Cascais is a fabulous choice for those who want to take a trip to Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, too.

It’s packed with child-friendly features like the extra child-height set of bannisters on the staircase. And as with the Martinhal Quinta Family Resort you can also pre-book equipment including prams and bottle sterilisers using The Baby Concierge.

The Martinhal Cascais’s crèche and kids’ club runs from 6 months to 10 years old, plus they will organise activities for children aged 10 to 17 years old, too – great for families with a wide age range of children.

Available from: www.alternative-portugal.co.uk offers 7 nights for a family of four in a 2-bedroom villa suite from £2,583, price based on a week’s stay beginning 2 November. Includes buffet breakfast.

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10. Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort

Average transfer time: About 45 minutes from Faro airport

Sink into the sumptuous new family rooms at the Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort, which have wonderful ocean views.

There’s a kids’ club filled with activities for under 10s, so you can enjoy some me time by the pool, which overlooks the Atlantic ocean, or head to the spa.

Unlike some others on this list including Club Med, you won’t find your day filled with on-site activities, but staff will help you get the most of your trip by organising special day trips if you want to. 

Available from: You can book the Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort direct at www.nh-hotels.com. A Family Deluxe room for four people, with bed and breakfast, costs from £1,977, based on a week’s stay from 22nd September. 

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