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Family Attractions and Activities

Porto Moniz natural swimming pools
Porto Moniz natural swimming pools
Holger Uwe Schmitt | BY-SA

The remote village of Porto Moniz on the north-eastern tip of the island has a history of whaling.  Today it remains a picturesque fishing village which visitors are drawn to the experience the unique joys of bathing in the natural lava pools. Try to come here before 11am or after 3pm when you won't have to share the delights on offer here with hordes of coach parties. 

The main reason people come here is to experience a dip in the natural rock pools, surrounded by stunning lava rock formations. The pools, joined together by a series of paths are the ideal spot for taking a dip in...

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Madeira
Family Natural Unusual
Sportagua Water Park - Peniche
Sportagua Water Park

This outdoor water park is located just off the main road into Peniche, close to many of the most popular beaches. Family-friendly, the site has a fun array of water-based facilities for those of all ages. Younger children are able to splash about in the shallows of the children's pool or slip their way down the dedicated slides. Meanwhile, parents are able to get their dose of daily exercise in the 35-metre main pool.

In addition, Sportágua boasts a multi-track slide, two hill slides, and another known as the 'kamikaze'. The last is a high-speed tube slide. They each come together...

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Peniche
Family
Portugal dos Pequenitos, Coimbra
Portugal dos Pequenitos
José Goncalves | BY-SA

Portugal dos Pequenitos can translate as "Portugal of the Little Ones" or "Portugal for the Little Ones". Either one would be appropriate for this Portugal in miniature which will particularly appeal to younger visitors. Founded by Professor Bissaya Barreto, a local doctor and lecturer at the medical school, his goal for the park was to be "a living portrait of what it is to be Portuguese and the Portuguese presence throughout the world". The result is both entertaining and educational with a range of scaled-down versions of Portugal's finest national...

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Coimbra
Family Unusual
Autódromo Internacional do Algarve
Autódromo do Algarve
Klugschnacker | BY-SA

The last time Portugal hosted the Grand Prix was in 1996.  Since then $250 million has been spent putting the infrastructure in place to bring Formula 1 back to Portugal.  The Autodromo, just outside Portimão is a 2.9 mile (5km) circuit which has been compared to the old Nurburgring for its big downhill slopes and hair-raising sharp turns.

It has been used since 2010 as a F1 testing site and hosts regular motoring events, including the World Superbike Championship and the F1A GT. A five star hotel and a number of apartment blocks can also be...

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Portimão
Family
Aquashow Park - Algarve
Aquashow Park

Situated around 2km inland from Quarteira is the Aquashow Park, a huge complex centred around one of Portugal's largest water parks.

Aquashow is home to a good selection of water-based rides suitable for a range of ages. From adrenaline-fueled free fall slides to just bobbing around.

The rides themselves are all various combinations of slides, chutes and flumes with or without inflatable tubes. Where they vary is how high, twisty and fast they are but all finish with you shooting out of the end into a pool.

At the fastest end of the scale are the White Fall and new...

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Quarteira
Family
Slide and Splash waterpark
Slide and Splash waterpark
Slide & Splash

Slide & Splash is one of the Algarve's biggest and best water parks featuring a selection of water flumes, chutes, pools and aquatic fun that should appeal to all ages. Established in 1986 the park has grown to fill its sizeable site with fun-packed activities and new rides.

The main attractions here are the big water slides and you can probably guess a little about some of them from their names; Corkscrew, Banzai, Black Hole, Plunge, Tornado, Kamikaze and the new Big Wave. Most of these involve zooming down chutes of various steepness and twisty-ness at great speed before...

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Portimão
Family
Parque da Mina, Monchique
Parque da Mina
Zbigniew Rutkowski | BY-SA

The Parque da Mina is a theme park with a genuine theme. Centered on an old iron ore mine the park provides an an entertaining view of the workings of the mine along with a range of fun activities in the surrounding park.

On the heritage side of things you can learn about the workings of the mine, visit the medronho (moonshine) distillery and tour the 18th century manor house. There is also a nature trail through the landscaped surrounds of the Sierra de Monchique with plenty of picnic spots amongst the trees.

The park is home to a small petting zoo with a range of animals to...

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Monchique
Family Industrial
Zoomarine Algarve
Zoomarine Algarve

Promoting conservation, environmental education and FUN! Zoomarine combines an important message with hands on shows and a huge water park.

Located just a few kilometers from Albufeira, here you can see presentations with the parks animals. The highlight of all these has to be the dolphin show which is along the lines of those at the famous Florida Seaworld. These feature displays of amazing acrobatics and the dolphins showing off their intelligence. Not only can you watch the performance, you can swim with the dolphins, although this does require booking in advance. 

Other...

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Albufeira
Family Wildlife
Aqualand - Algarve
Aqualand - Algarve

Aqualand is one of Europe's largest outdoor water parks and features a range of chutes and slides suitable for all ages.

The park is home to several notable rides suitable for adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers. The "Kamikaze" is the biggest slide in Portugal measuring over 100ft (36m) high it takes a mere 4 seconds to plummet to the bottom! Slightly less intimidating is the "Hydra" a more traditional water chute with a long, long corkscrew section.

A less usual ride is the "Banzai" which sees riders hurtle down a 23m slide sitting on skim board before shooting across the...

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Armação de Pêra
Family