Portugal is situated in the Southeast coast of Europe & is an ideal holiday destination for parents with young kids
Portuguese society largely revolves around family life and the country is very child-friendly and families will find it one of the easiest places for a holiday. Flight time from the UK and Ireland is less than three hours which is manageable with a baby or toddler and the weather is warm and sunny. You will be able to find all of your baby and toddler essentials such as baby food, formula, nappies and wipes in the supermarkets and fresh cows milk can also be purchased easily (see ‘Baby & Toddler Essentials in Portugal’ for more information).
When to go
Portugal is quite a diverse country and the weather varies from region to region. July and August is the high season and you can expect crowds and a price increase of 30% during this time. The temperatures can be very hot during this time so make sure to use plenty of sun protection and keep kids hydrated.
From April to June and September and October the weather is still warm but not as uncomfortable. This is a great time to visit if your kids are not yet in school. The resorts are not as crowded during this time but the ocean is cooler.
Where to go
Portugal’s capital, Lisbon is filled with history, culture and charming cafes. The coastline is stunning with panoramic views and there are many beach resorts which will suit families with young children. The Algarve is a very popular destination for parents with babies and toddlers and there are many hotels and resorts along the southern coast which cater specifically for younger children and offer child care, play areas and kids menus.
There are plenty of toddler friendly activities in Portugal, particularly in the Algarve and toddlers will love the beach. Museums and other attractions don’t usually charge for under 4s, while under-12s get in for half-price. On public transport, under-5s go free while 5- to 11-year-olds travel half-price on trains but pay full fare on metros and buses.
Flights to Portugal
- You can fly to Lisbon from Dublin with Aer Lingus and Ryanair, flight time is approximately 2 hours 50 minutes. You can fly direct to Lisbon from London and other UK airports with Easyjet, Ryanair, TAP Portugal and British Airways. Flight time is 2 hours 45 minutes.
- There are flights to Faro from Cork and Dublin with Aer Lingus and Ryanair. This is the jumping off point to the Algarve and southern coast of Portugal. Flight time from Cork to Faro is 2 hours 30 minutes direct and from Dublin it is 2 hours 55 minutes. You can fly to Faro from London Gatwick with Easyjet and from London Luton with eDreams. You can also fly to Faro from Glasgow and Birmingham with Thomson. Flight time from London to Faro is 2 hours 55 minutes and from Edinburgh it is 3 hours 20 minutes.
- All inclusive package holidays are a popular way to travel to Portugal and may save you money as you will be paying for your flights and accommodation together. Thomson, First Choice and Monarch offer package holidays to the Algarve from the UK. If you are travelling from Ireland you can go with Budget Travel, Sunway and Falcon Holidays.
Lisbon airport is an old but well organised airport only 6 km from the city itself
Transport You can travel from the airport by metro, by the special Aerobus service or by taxi. The metro is the cheapest and fastest mode of transport and costs only €1.40 for a one way ticket. The Aerobus departs from the parking bay in front of the arrivals area and costs €3.50 and takes you to Baixa. Taxis cost about €15.00 to Lisbon city centre but considerably more to resort towns so remember to negotiate your fare before leaving or request the driver to switch on the meter
Car seats are not mandatory in Portugal and if you do not wish to bring your own you will need to travel with your baby on your lap in taxis. You could also opt to rent a car seat from Baby Storage Rooms and these can be delivered to your hotel or to the airport on arrival. Best Airport Transfers, Lisbon also offers collection by taxi with a car seat free of charge but you will need to pre book this service.
Facilities There is no Wifi in Lisbon airport and the restaurants and cafes are quite expensive. There is a play area for kids in terminal 1 and baby changing facilities are also available.
Many of the low budget airlines have long check in queues and board from the tarmac parking bays with passengers being transported between the terminal and the airplane by bus. You will probably need to traverse stairs and airplane steps for these flights. Keep this in mind and get to the airport in plenty of time.
Faro Airport is situated on Portugal’s Algarve coast and is quite small. The airport is located just 4 kms from the main city area. There are no trains at the airport but most people tend to hire a car or take a bus or a taxi to their resort which can take anything up to 2 hours depending on where you are staying.
There are international car rental desks at the arrivals area along with ATM machines and a tourist information desk. You can hire a taxi with a baby car seat from Algarve 365, who specialise in providing transfers from Faro airport to the resorts with a range of baby and toddler seats to suit all sizes as does Faro Airport Transfers however you will need to pre-book. There is also a children’s play area in the airport and changing facilities for when you are departing.
Portugal is only 1 hour ahead of Ireland and the UK so your baby should have no trouble adjusting to the change. If you are staying for a short time you could keep your baby or toddler on home time to help him or her adjust.
You can fly from Lisbon to the Algarve. Renting a car is another great way to see the county.
For more, see… Getting Around Portugal
Portuguese food combines locally sourced ingredients (especially fish, seafood, pork and game) with a straightforward preparation that lets the flavours shine through. Grills and barbequed food are very popular and are done well. The simplicity of Portuguese cuisine is ideal for feeding toddlers as ingredients tend to be fresh and simple. Most restaurants in tourist areas will offer high chairs and kids menus or kids portions. In places more off the beaten track, you might consider bringing a fold away high chair or travel booster seat.
In the Algarve, you will be able to enjoy local seafood; grilled sardines are a firm favourite throughout the country. Grilled beef, chicken and pork are the mainstays of most menus and Presunto is Portugal’s version of Parma ham.
Accompanying nearly every dish will be potatoes, either fried or roast in the case of most meat dishes or boiled if you’ve ordered fish. Carrot, turnip and green salad is also a popular accompaniment. Seasonal fruit ranges from spring cherries and strawberries to summer melons, peaches and apricots. Available year-round are bananas and pineapples.