We spent the last two summers in Portugal (drove there with a 6 year old as we didn't want to get on a plane coz of COVID), and cannot recommend it enough. However, I would not
recommend Albufeira, unless of course you like a resort-y vibe with fish and chips shops and English breakfasts everywhere, and drunk British tourists all over the streets after about 6 PM. Zoomarine however was quite nice — that said, there have been allegations that Zoomarine treat the animals quite cruelly (https://algarvedailynews.com/news/16840 ... ploitation
). I was a bit torn about going there, but DD absolutely loved the place, so I'm not judging.
Where I do recommend staying in is Lagos! It is such an amazing little town with a lovely vibe; it's quite touristy, but not trashy like Albufeira, and has a more mixed tourist crowd from all over Europe. It just felt more family friendly. A few things we really enjoyed during our time in Lagos, both in 2020 and in 2021 were:
- A kayaking trip to the Benagil caves: DD screamed and cried all the way through, only to say later it was the best experience of her life. Both times.
- Abigail's Cafe in Lagos (https://www.google.com/search?q=lagos%2 ... jXfu9Lo;mv:[[37.112377599999995,-8.670128199999999],[37.0942967,-8.6814435]];tbs:lrf:!1m4!1u3!2m2!3m1!1e1!1m4!1u2!2m2!2m1!1e1!1m4!1u1!2m2!1m1!1e1!1m4!1u1!2m2!1m1!1e2!2m1!1e2!2m1!1e1!2m1!1e3!3sIAE,lf:1,lf_ui:9) - it's run by this American woman and her Portuguese husband, and it's really nice. They do excellent smoothies, and do beach yoga classes some days for a €5 charge. The waiters are lovely, even if some of them definitely do give off a bit of a f***boi vibe (the guys who own the cafe own a backpacker hostel, and it was very clear as to why some of the young men who worked at the cafe hung around ;-P)
- There's this amazing trampoline just by the beach in Lagos; I spent many hours there. I recommend taking an Umbrella to protect yourself from the sun, coz your kids will make you stay there for hours on end and spend a fortune
- There's some excellent beach-side cliff walks along the coast in Lagos.
- I also recommend going to Sagres to look at the Atlantic. Be warned, though, the wind there will remind you more of Land's End than of Portugal or Spain
- Carvoeiro is an awesome place too; we stayed there for a week in 2020 and absolutely loved it. It's a lot smaller than Lagos, but we were both working during hte week, so we got a bungalow in a gated community with a pool so DD could entertain herself in the kiddie pool (too shallow to risk drowning) while we worked on the verandah.
Hope this helps. Man, I wish I was off to Portugal this summer
P.S.: If you're into fitness and would like a workout when you're over there, Phil Soames is awesome (https://soamesfitness.com/philandlisa/
). Funnily enough, Phil was a fireman in Clapham before he moved to Portugal to get away from Brexit.
P.P.S.: The Indian restaurants on the Algarve are generally surprisingly excellent; way better than the average outside of Tooting and Eastham in London. (Source: I'm Asian