FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

5 Places Your Family Must Go in Portugal

by Barbara Rogers

Aug 12, 2020

Photo: Stillman Rogers

Destinations / Europe

Family-friendly Portugal retains the charm and atmosphere of old Europe — at some old-fashioned prices — while at the same time offering stylish contemporary hotels and travel infrastructure.

Lisbon No. 28 Train. Photo: Stillman Rogers

 

Lisbon

Kids will know they are in Europe right away when they climb the narrow streets of steep hillside neighborhoods between tile-clad buildings. For an added bit of local color, hitch a ride on the yellow No. 28 streetcar to Alfama, alighting at Largo Santa Luzia, a garden overlooking the Alfama’s rooftops to the river. Continue climbing through narrow streets to Castelo de Sao Jorge for sweeping city views. In the castle’s vaulted interior, multimedia exhibits show the history of the city and fort. For a look at modern Lisbon, head to the Oriente Station to visit one of Europe’s finest aquariums, Oceanario.

 

Sintra

Portuguese royalty loved Sintra’s cooler climate during hot Lisbon summers, and a young king of the romantic era built his fanciful hilltop castle here. You can’t take Pena Palace castle seriously, with Medieval parapets, Gothic towers, cupolas, carved flourishes, Moorish arches and onion-shaped domes, all painted in candy-box colors. Pena Park is a garden of camellias and rare plants, and the ramparts of an older genuine castle crown the hill behind the palace.

 

Quinta da Regaleira is a smaller, but equally eccentric palace set in landscaped gardens with grottos and a warren of underground passages reached by a spiral staircase into a 200-foot-deep dry well. Monserrate is a small, Moorish-style palace resembling a stage set for Arabian Nights, sitting on a hilltop above tropical gardens. Sintra is a short train ride from Lisbon.

 

Obidos

This white town north of Lisbon was the traditional wedding gift Portuguese kings gave their queens. The picture-perfect village sits inside walls, and you enter though an impressive fortified gate with two right-angle turns inside it (making it more difficult for attackers to get through), so you really feel as though you are entering a Medieval town. At the far end is a small castle that’s now a pousada — kids love the idea of sleeping in a real castle kings and queens once lived in. From the castle you can access the ramparts of the town wall to look down on the red-tiled rooftops.

 

View from Memo Alfama. Photo: Stillman Rogers

 

Coimbra

Portugal dos Pequenitos, in the old university city of Coimbra, appeals to adults as much as it does to children. Child-scale models of buildings from all over Portugal and its former colonies in Brazil, Angola, Goa and Macao are literally a mini-tour of the country and its former empire. Many of them are large enough for children to enter, and it’s a good introduction to places they will see as you travel around the country.

 

South of Coimbra, Conimbriga is Portugal’s finest Roman site. Conimbriga boasts beautifully detailed mosaic floors, well-preserved thermal baths and remains of villas with atrium pools and restored fountains. It was overrun by barbarians, who swarmed over the hastily built wall that still runs through parts of the city. Visit the adjoining museum first to learn how Roman colonials lived in this once beautiful city.

 

Castle at Marvão, Portugal. Photo: Stillman Rogers

 

Marvão

Even if Marvão didn’t have one of Portugal’s best castles to explore, it would still be worth visiting to wander in the narrow stone lanes between whitewashed houses with carved windows and wrought-iron balconies. The 13th-century castle that once guarded the Spanish frontier is irresistible, with its vast courtyard, high walls, towers and battlements to walk. Just inside its entrance gate, steps lead to the huge vaulted cistern and inside the little handcraft shop is a gigantic oven.

 

If you talk loudly inside the keep, voices sound even louder, as canny Portuguese built it to echo, making the fortress seem better defended than it was. The castle is open and lighted all night, so stay over in one of the small inns and wander inside the castle after dark. A flashlight is handy on stairs and in spooky dark corners — kids will love it.

#WhereverFamily

Insta Feed
Multigenerational
Nov 24, 2021

Grenada’s Underwater Sculpture Park Completes Renovation

The renovation project at Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park, off the west coast of Grenada in Molinere Beauséjour Marine Protected Area, was completed earlier this month.

A Suite Ride at The Peninsula Beverly Hills

The Peninsula Beverly Hills makes staying in a suite even sweeter! Guests who book one of the hotel’s elegant suites are offered complimentary use of a luxury BMW for the length of their stay. While Beverly Hills has so much to offer, having a car gives you the freedom to see even more of Southern California, whether it is driving up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu, or continuing on, past Santa Barbara, to Santa Ynez wine country.

Caribbean
Nov 22, 2021

Cyber Monday Deals in Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia invites travelers to experience the island’s beautiful beaches with incredible Cyber Monday deals. The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority makes it easy for travelers to score the best lodging and tour deals with a dedicated Cyber Monday website.

Kids
Nov 19, 2021

Celebrate the Holidays in Virginia Beach

Kick off the holiday season with a family-fun trip to Virginia Beach. All season long the destination will be jampacked with holiday activities.

Kids
Nov 18, 2021

Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas at Club Wyndham

Hallmark Channel and Club Wyndham partnered for an immersive Countdown to Christmas this festive season, allowing travelers to step into their favorite Hallmark Christmas movies at Club Wyndham in New York City, Vail and Nashville.

Kids
Nov 17, 2021

Celebrate the Holidays with Festivities in Wailea, Hawai’i

There is no better place to celebrate the holidays this year than Wailea, Hawai’i. Look to Wailea Beach to witness Santa and his elves emerge from the ocean in a decorated Hawai’ian outrigger canoe stocked full of candy canes, ready to kick off the festivities. Some of Santa’s elves will even surf Hawai’i’s great waves to make their way to shore. The entrance will be nothing short of special as they land on pristine Wailea Beach in front of the Grand Wailea Resort. Kids can meet Santa and take photos with him before he makes his way toward the resort.