Few places are as ideal for family travel as Portugal. That is especially true now, when Portugal’s all-out response to the pandemic has kept it one of the safest places to travel.
Children are welcomed and indulged: Helpful people will quickly give you a hand getting the stroller up a flight of stairs; crying children will be greeted with sympathetic smiles, not scowls; booster seats will appear before you’re seated at the table; and waiters will smile and suggest foods for fussy eaters.
Entire luxury resorts cater to families, such as Martinhal Sagres Beach Family Resort in the western Algarve, where children can join parents at dinner or not. Trained staff members amuse children in a glass-walled playroom adjacent to the restaurant while parents enjoy a leisurely dinner, and waiters are adept at avoiding little people underfoot.
It’s not just the people who make Portugal such a delight for families. The land itself is welcoming. Beautiful golden beaches stretch across the Algarve and the length of the Alentejo coast. Hilltop villages are crowned by castles, like the one at Marvao, igniting any child’s imagination.
Along with walking atop castle ramparts, kids can walk on roads built by the Romans, absorbing history as they stand inside Roman villas, see the complicated structure of Roman baths and explore Celtic hillforts built centuries before the Romans. Driving routes lead to even earlier prehistoric stone circles and dolmens.
Even the churches — not usually the most exciting attractions for children — enchant them with eye-boggling gold altars and entire walls of tile scenes. Just getting from place to place is fun: bright yellow trolleys, elaborate elevators and funiculars navigate Lisbon’s steep hills, becoming attractions themselves. The streets are paved with mosaic designs and the subways lined by bright tile artwork.
Kid-pleasing attractions range from the state-of-the-art Lisbon Oceanarium to the charming, vintage Portugal dos Pequenitos. This child-sized village replicates Portugal’s most famous landmarks and buildings in detailed miniature.
In Sintra, walk through sumptuous palaces where kings and queens once lived and explore passageways and grottos in the mystical gardens of Quinta da Regaleira. While in Sintra, be sure to stop for some of the town’s famous pastries, sure to be a hit.
Parents, meanwhile, will find art, history, gardens, magnificent scenery and some of the world’s best wines to enjoy as their kids fall under Portugal’s magical spell.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next family trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through the U.S. Virgin Islands with us.
United Airlines officially became the only major U.S. airline to own a flight training school with the opening of United Aviate Academy on Jan. 27. The moment was made even more historic with its inaugural class, which is 80 percent women and people of color.
If your family travel brings you to the greater New York City region, opt for a taste of nostalgia (or the grown-ups and fun and imagination for the kids at American Dream’s Nickelodeon Universe. Since I don’t have children, I recruited my best friend and her 6-year-old twins, Declan and Delaney, to help me check out the Nickelodeon-themed theme park and all the ways it brings to life favorite characters from cartoons both past and present, like Rugrats!, which I watched as a child, and Spongebob Square Pants, which is more Declan’s speed.
Blue Mountain Resort, located in the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains, offers plenty of activities for family travel. This past weekend, Blue Mountain Bike Park officially opened for summer. The park offers Pennsylvania’s highest vertical and largest bike park where all mountain bikers, from beginners to experts, can navigate 29 thrilling bike trails.
Embark on a family journey through The Last Frontier with Celebrity Cruises® and experience an unforgettable luxury vacation in the untouched natural beauty of Alaska. The breathtaking landscape of this pristine wilderness sets the stage for every memorable moment from up-close, awe-inspiring views of glaciers to observing native wildlife, including whales, bears, bald eagles, and moose. This corner of the world offers not only spectacular scenery, but also opportunities to learn about the history and culture of Alaska — from the native people who’ve lived here for centuries to the adventurers seeking their fortunes during the gold rush. No matter which sailing you choose, you’ll journey through the ever-popular Inside Passage — one of the most popular experiences on any Alaska vacation — and visit Hubbard Glacier or Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier.
There was a time when traveling by private jet was reserved for the ultra-rich and celebrities looking for luxury and privacy, but, in recent years, a new model of private jet travel opened the door for all of us, including family travelers, to experience this mode of luxury travel.