Since I started One Tiny Leap nearly four years ago, I have seen interest in Lisbon explode. Now every time I go back the city seems to be different: new restaurants, bars, shops, street art, museums everywhere you look. I’m really happy to have done my bit promoting a city I love, especially because it’s so perfect for family holidays.
But in peak season Lisbon gets really crowded nowadays, so I have started recommending to people that if they want to get a true taste of Portugal they look further afield. One region I think deserves more love is the place where I grew up, Alentejo, sandwiched between Lisbon and the Algarve. It’s a little slice of paradise where you can find long stretches of sandy beach, olive groves and lots of ‘montes Alentejanos’ – the traditional houses, and what I think might be the best seafood in Portugal.
Alentejo is a natural playground, and I count myself very lucky for having grown-up there and still go back at every chance I get. This stretch of coast is great for surfing and kite-surfing, and the countryside perfect for activities such as canoeing and cycling and horse-back riding. Plus it’s easily reachable from the capital – in fact this is where many of the locals have started to head to, instead of going to the more obvious Algarve region.
Family holidays in Alentejo
Like I say, I spent my childhood in Alentejo and have really fond memories of it. I’ve taken my own son there on his holiday too, and I think it’s ideal for a family getaway. Not so busy or so hot as the Algarve, but still loads to do.
Recently I heard about a family activity holiday company called Activities Abroad, who organise really fun-sounding trips, organised by experts and managed by professional instructors, both during summer and winter. Founded in 2002, this multi-award winning holiday company is all about shared family experiences – something I really love.
If you’re like me, you like your holidays to be adventure-packed with something to do for everybody, which is exactly what Activities Abroad offer. They have a week-long surf-and-stay package on the Alentejo coast that looks both brilliant and really good value. They throw in other experiences too such as canoeing, ziplining and abseiling, suitable for kids aged 8 and over (plus parents!). My son and I have already been perusing their website looking for next summer’s getaway when he turns 8! Though Portugal is the obvious choice for us, we may head somewhere new… I love all of Activities Abroad’s other destinations, so we may have to do a game of rock paper scissors to decide which one will win – at the moment we’re a bit undecided between Croatia, which I haven’t visited for 10 years, or the even more exciting Borneo! I also really, really love the thought of husky sledding in Finnish Lapland so we may try to squeeze that in..?!
Want to know more about the joys of Alentejo and family holidays there? Drop me a line and I’ll be happy to give you some advice, or get in touch with the good people of Activities Abroad for some more inspiration!
nb: this post has been sponsored by Activities Abroad, but as always all opinions of Portugal are my own.