If, like me, you get a little bored lounging around the beach all summer getting sand in your sandwiches and sun cream in your eyes, the Algarve is the perfect place to go. Not only can you use every cliché out there to describe the beaches, which are amongst the best in Europe, but there are a plethora of sports and activities to enjoy with a short Faro airport transfer to all the major resorts
It is thus the perfect place for family holidays, where little kids can enjoy sandcastles and swimming and big kids can have some adventures. Here is my pick of the top activities in the region.
Explore the incredibly clear water and diverse marine life around the Algarve coast on a SCUBA diving trip. There are a number of schools with great reputations where you can take your first plunge or accompany a more experienced group. You can even take your PADI qualification if you have longer to spare.
There are several top quality water parks in the Algarve region. Probably the best is the enormous Aqualand. Rides, chutes, rapids, wave pools and an adventure playground for water babies ensure that the park will suit the whole family.
Not really my thing, but great for dads who enjoy donning their tartan trousers, the Algarve’s golf courses are renowned for being some of the best in Europe for serious golfers. There are a variety of courses with varied terrain, top notch clubs and excellent reputations. For people like me, there are lessons for improving your swing, or finding out how golf differs from hockey (how was I supposed to know you don’t tackle your opponents?)
More to my taste, there are also loads of great quality riding schools in the area. With trails along the coast and dramatic scenery, the Algarve provides quality riding terrain. Kids will love taking lessons and exploring the Portuguese countryside and most places have English speaking instructors. One of the best reputed schools is The Stables
A relatively new phenomenon, Blokarting is great for the adventurous amongst us and is a quality family day out. Head out to the Sagres side of the Algarve
where there’s plenty of wind, and hire a fleet of these sail-powered karts. The ride is truly exhilarating, and after a 40 minute training session you will have pretty much got the hang of it. You can then steer yourself around the tracks and have family races.
The Algarve countryside is stunning, with wild flowers, red earth and dramatic mountain scenery. This and the mild temperature ensure that it’s great for cycling. There a number of bike-hire outfits with the option to pre-book before your holiday. At these shops, you can also get advice on routes and secluded trails, or hire a guide if you’re worried about getting lost.