Happy Families in the Center of Portugal

Praia Fluvial_Aldeias do Xisto_ by ARPT Centro de Portugal
Place: Praia Fluvial_Aldeias do Xisto
Photo: ARPT Centro de Portugal
Photo: ARPT Centro de Portugal

If you’re looking for ideas for your next family holidays, did you know that Central Portugal has a highly diversified range of activities to offer?  There are sea beaches on the coast, theme and adventure parks, open air activities, protected areas and nature parks, as well as world heritage museums and monuments—you’re sure to find just the right options to include in your plans.

At the shore, it’s easy to keep the little ones entertained. Swimming in the sea, walking through the Ria de Aveiro, learning to surf and playing games on the beach will certainly be part of the moments spent together as a family Or instead of going to the beach, you can visit the salt pools at Aveiro and in Ílhavo, the Maritime Museum and Codfish Aquarium.

Then, along the coast, you will find the Salt Museum at Figueira da Foz. But if the young ones are more adventurous, then the aquapark, in summer, or the tree-climbing Park are guaranteed fun places. 

© Parque Aventura, Figueira da Foz

And if your children are fascinated by dinosaurs, they’ll adore the educational Dino Parque, at Lourinhã and the museum of this pre-historic period. In this region, and especially in the Nature Park of Serra de Aire and Candeeiros, there is a large number of fossil records of these giants that populated the planet in the past. Here, visitors can see one of the oldest and longest tracks of dinosaur footprints and a nest of dinosaur eggs that are unlike any others in the world because of their size. Your visit to this protected area can also include a trip down into the Mira d’Aire Caves (Grutas de Mira d'Aire) or the Coin Caves (Grutas da Moeda).

Travelling inland, you come to the city of Coimbra, home to the oldest University in the world, classified as a World Heritage. Here, too, is the Portugal dos Pequenitos miniature theme park, built in the mid-20th century to give a vision in miniature of Portuguese history and culture. In the university complex, you can visit the Museum of Natural History and one of the Live Science Centres of this region. Lying about 20 km from Coimbra, near Condeixa a Nova, the ancient Roman city of Conímbriga is worth a visit that will be a different experience. And 25 km away, at Miranda do Corvo, you can spend the day in the Biological Park of Serra da Lousã, which has a zoo with wild Portuguese species, an ecomuseum and a live museum of traditional arts and crafts. 

© Portugal dos Pequenitos

If you prefer to continue on to the border, passing through the region and becoming acquainted with new places, the trip will also be an opportunity to show your children how people live outside the urban centres and at the same time enrich their habitual routine dominated by technology. The activities organised by the Schist Villages or in the Historic Villages are certainly excellent programmes for a different holiday. These include walks and bicycle trails, diving along the river beaches, and workshops for children that demonstrate traditional skills, such as how to make bread the old-fashioned way.  

© Aldeias do Xisto, Turismo Centro de Portugal

In the autumn and winter, the challenge is to make the most of the colder weather. We suggest an outing through the Nature Park of Serra da Estrela to go up to the highest point in mainland Portugal to play in the snow and go skiing. On the way, visit Viseu and, inside the nature park, the small villages of Seia, Sabugueiro, Manteigas, Celorico da Beira or Gouveia. The Viseu Adventure Park, the Toy Museum or Bread Museum, in Seia, among others, and open-air activities are very popular attractions in this region.

In addition to these suggestions, check out the other possibilities offered in the region of Center of Portugal (in “Related Contents”) as you plan your next family holidays.

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