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Rivers and Mountains: Family Adventures in Portugal

Family vacations for me are a patchwork of memories – there were the many summers that my cousins and I hunted the coastal jetties daily for starfish and mussels, returning home tired and sunburnt and with buckets full of seafood. And later on, when as a teenager, my mom woke me early every morning for a walk on the beach as the sun rose – just the two of us. At the time, I complained a bit, but still it’s my most cherished memory of that particular vacation. Notice that nowhere in these memories are there fond recollections of long lines, big crowds or amusement park-style entertainment. Family vacations are a time to slow down, reconnect. And while Portugal is rightly famous for its beautiful coastline and breathtaking scenery, there are magical places just waiting to be discovered where kids and parents alike can do just that while seeing some of the most beautiful spots on the planet without the crowds. Here are some ideas for a family adventure that gets you off the beaten track.
Family adventure in the North: for the nature lover
Arouca Geopark
Adventure abounds here in this land that used to be underwater. Today, the park is home to fossils that date back millions of years. Part of UNESCO’s European Geoparks Network, there is no shortage of things for the whole family to enjoy. From hunting for fossils that date back millions of years, to hiking, swimming, rafting, kayaking and exploring villages of traditional schist houses.

Passadiços do Paiva
The Passadiços do Paiva stretches 8 km along the Paiva River gorge, the last wild and untamed river in Portugal. A series of beautifully constructed wooden stairs and walkways, you will be surrounded by some of the […]

Award winning travel blogger who dedicates his work to the soul and sense of place of the locations he has visited, the people he has met and the food he has tasted.
June 23, 2016|

Best Small Hotels in the North and Douro

Portugal was born in the North. And arriving in Porto, it feels like taking a step back in time. Red roof tiles tumble from hilltops to the riverfront, the cries of gulls wheel above the river and out to the sea, ancient streets tangle around buildings covered in tile that that saw new lands discovered, kings and queens come into power, and the creation of some of the finest wines on the planet. But make no mistake – Porto may have an ancient soul, but its pulse is every bit modern with some of the best small hotels in Europe.

Porto is often called Portugal’s second city, second in size to Lisbon. But where Lisbon is graceful and full of light, Porto is darker, faster, and an assault to the senses. You can feel the energy – the collision of old and new – in the streets. For me, the best way to explore Porto is to wander. Take time to explore the back streets, visit the Port wine houses, sample the distinct and delicious cuisine of Porto in the tascas, market and specialty stores, and spend the night in one of the best small hotels, historic and charming.

After a few days in Porto, head out of town to the Douro Valley. The rest of the world is just starting to catch on to what the Portuguese have always known – they make great wine. And much of the country’s best wine is made here, in the Douro Valley. The Douro Valley is the world’s first officially designated wine region. It’s known internationally of course for its Port wine, but some spectacular table wines are being made here as well. The scenery is breathtaking with […]

Award winning travel blogger who dedicates his work to the soul and sense of place of the locations he has visited, the people he has met and the food he has tasted.
June 13, 2016|

A Guide to the Best Beaches in the Algarve

There are a lot of ways to measure the arrival of summer in Portugal.

Technically, it arrives in June. But by early May when the sun starts to shine in earnest, the sun and surf-loving Portuguese head to the beach. The Algarve coast, in the south of Portugal, hosts some seriously spectacular beaches. In fact, they are routinely named some of Europe’s finest. The climate and atmosphere are Mediterranean, but don’t forget, this is the Atlantic. So good waves and watersports abound alongside more gentle waters good for family fun. There are more than 150 beaches to choose from, but we’ve done the hard work to bring you the best beaches in the Algarve.

Surf’s Up
Praia da Arrifana
This popular beach is more than 500 meters long and surrounded by tall cliffs. Surfers and body boarders can take advantage of Atlantic waves within the confines of the protected cove of Arrifana.
Praia do Martinhal
With a long sweep of golden sand, marshes, lagoons and a small island out at sea, this beach has something for everyone. It is a favorite among windsurfers, surfers, body boarders, snorkelers and kayakers.
Praia do Amado
Recognized as one of the top surfing spots in Europe, Praia do Amado is host to several surfing and body board competitions that include local and international surfers. There is a surf camp run by the local surf school, teaching visitors how to take full advantage of the natural swell conditions along the west coast of Portugal.

 
Family Fun
Odeceixe
A long beach cut in two by the mouth of the Seixe creek, Odeceixe is a haven for families with convenient facilities, easy parking, a snackbar, restaurants and sunbeds. And for the little ones, there is a lifeguard always on duty. If sightseeing […]

Award winning travel blogger who dedicates his work to the soul and sense of place of the locations he has visited, the people he has met and the food he has tasted.
May 4, 2016|
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