Two young children standing in front of Algarve beach and cliffs

Activities


An Active Family’s Guide to the Algarve


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The golden beaches of the Algarve may tempt sun-worshippers from far and wide, but there’s so much magic waiting on those beautiful shores. Opportunities to discover the real Algarve, chances for adventure and activity – you’ll be creating those treasured memories with loved ones in no time. The captivating Atlantic coastline, panoramic countryside and sunny climate are ideally suited to outdoor life. While away from the bustling tourist spots, the best of the Algarve is waiting to be uncovered – lands that many visitors have forgotten, or simply don’t know exist. Dive into our top picks for an active family holiday in Portugal’s southern masterpiece…

Active days

Cycling

A woman and young boy cycling on a sandy beach

Looking for a family friendly adventure to kick-start your villa holiday? A wheelie good time awaits in the Algarve! Cycling is an enjoyable and energetic way to explore southern Portugal’s stunning and diverse landscape. Limestone caves and rugged grottos are scattered in pockets of pure beauty. On your two-wheeled jaunt, discover hilltop villages and agricultural terrain linked by quiet roads and dirt tracks. There’s no hidden surprises or steep hills – most of the terrain is flat, suiting all ages and fitness levels. With year-round sunshine, there’s never a bad time to explore on two wheels! September to June offer the most pleasant temperatures, avoiding the high heat and crowds of July and August. Why not check out some of our top routes for cycling in the Algarve?

Kayaking

Kayaking through cliffs and on turquoise waters in the Algarve

Bobbing on the surface of Atlantic waters, take in the coast on a kayak! Find your flow at Ria Formosa Natural Park, stretching for an impressive 60km. In an ever-changing lagoon system, weave your way through narrow channels and natural inlets, spotting intriguing sea life below and rare birds above. Even your little ones can join you on a kayak adventure – those as young as six can grab a paddle and float into Portuguese beauty.

Adrenaline adventures

Scuba Diving and watersports

Two scuba divers in clear waters

Scuba diving on the Algarve opens up a world of colourful marine life and amazing rock formations immersed in Atlantic waters. The magical feeling of breathing underwater is like no other holiday memory – it’s an extraordinary experience for the whole family! Dive into cool blue waters, feeling the light waves brush past your swimsuit. You’ll feel unstoppable with the power of those flippers! Whether you’re a qualified professional or a beginner, there’s scuba diving experiences for all in southern Portugal. After exploring the underwater world, perhaps you’ll crave some adrenaline above the surface? Thrilling watersports including surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and parasailing are offered at many beaches along the Algarve’s coastline. Take your pick!

Family fun

Sailing

Small boat in a sea cave on the Algarve coastline

Sailing and boat trips top many holiday itineraries – especially for those with little ones. There’s something so captivating about hopping onto a boat as a youngster. It’s the thrill of excitement as the motor starts up, the anchor is released and the sea journey begins. Although you may not admit it, adults are often equally as excited! You’ll enjoy the serenity of being out at sea, with calming waves and a refreshing breeze. Take a scenic trip, setting your eyes on striking rock formations. Or perhaps venture on a boat safari to spot majestic dolphins flowing with the rhythm of the waves. Don’t forget your camera! These are moments you’ll want to treasure.

Zoomarine

Zoomarine waterpark in the Algarve

A boat adventure is sure to spark your imagination – what’s waiting below the vast ocean surface? For a fantastic family day of sea discovery, Zoomarine ticks all the boxes! Find amusements to satisfy those thrillseekers and chillseekers. With sea life shows, bird presentations and a huge aquarium, there’s something for everyone. The park has a proud focus on ocean conservation, homing a centre for the rescue, rehabilitation and release of marine species. While enjoying the fun and memories with loved ones, you’ll have peace of mind that our marine friends are well-looked after and loved throughout the park.

Fiesa Sand Sculpture Festival

Gorilla Sand Sculpture at the annual Fiesa Festival

After all those thrills and splashes, get lost in a world of sand at Fiesa Sand Sculpture Festival. This sand city is the largest sculpture of its kind in the world. Sand artists from all corners of the globe chisel and mould an incredible 45,000 tonnes of sandy grains. They creatively carve human figures, animals and even entire city landscapes. You may even spot your favourite cartoon character! A visit here is magical for all ages and a vision of artistic beauty. Let the creativity and imagination flow with your family under the Algarve sun.

Uncover your homely James villa in the Algarve – your base for a Portuguese adventure! We’ve even got some tips for finding the ideal Algarve holiday for your budget.

Helen Wright

Helen Wright is a Junior Content Executive at James Villa Holidays.

If I'm not in the gym attempting to keep fit or challenging myself to a new personal...

See all articles by Helen Wright

See all articles by Helen Wright


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