Is Alvor in Portugal a good holiday spot for a toddler? Alvor is a fishing town that has developed into a holiday destination. The town is situated on the banks of the Odiáxere River and is walking distance from a large sandy beach. The town has traditional white washed houses, narrow cobbled streets and small fishing boats pulled up along the banks of the river. And of course newer apartment blocks for all the tourists. The tourist area of the town centre is small; a couple of streets full of restaurants, cafes and bars.
Things to do
Go for a walk along the elevated walkways that cross the sand dunes and mud flats of the Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve. I like to find buggy-friendly walks wherever we are on holiday and this is an easy one. These pathways provide a pleasant walk with scenic views over the estuary, which is a haven for bird life. The paths are wide enough for a buggy or pram – handy for encouraging a nap…
Hang out on the beach. I love a good beach and this sandy beach stretches for over 3.5km, from the sand dunes of the Odiáxere natural park in the west to the sandstone cliffs of Prainha in the east. There is little tourist development directly on the beach front, apart from the beach restaurants. All of these have a patch of sun beds, which are reasonably priced in the off season. Definitely worth getting so that your toddler has some shade to play in. And keep an eye out for the guy selling fresh custard donuts mmm…
If you fancy some time away from the beach, try Lagos zoo. This is about the only toddler-friendly attraction in the vicinity. Cats travel agency can organise trips there for you.
Is it toddler-friendly: It is fairly small, so easy to get around for a toddler. It attracts quite a lot of young families, so toddlers are welcomed everywhere. All the restaurants we went to had high chairs. Particularly recommended restaurants for toddlers are:
Made in Belfast, a cafe which has a corner for colouring and chalk drawing
Grande Muralha Chinese restaurant, which has a small slide/climbing frame
Restinga Ria, overlooking the harbour, which has a small train ride (1 Euro a go)
When to go: We visited in early October which was perfectly sunny and warm (around 25 degrees). The average temperature is similar in mid-late May, so these are the best two months to visit with a toddler in my opinion. Not too hot, not too crowded. October just edges it for me because the sea temperature is slightly higher. But be warned, the sea is always cold in Alvor as it is fed from the Atlantic Ocean.
How to get there: Faro airport is around 70km away and all the low-cost airlines fly there. There are lots of transfer companies running between Faro and Alvor. You can arrange a private transfer for around €50-60 or a shared transfer for around €10 per person. The transfer company we used, Green Bus, had toddler car seats available.
Is it expensive: I think that the accommodation is averagely priced compared to other European beach destinations. I didn’t manage to find any bargains! I found that eating out was fairly inexpensive, but that coffees/drinks/ice creams could rack up if you were not careful. There is a supermarket on the edge of town if you are self-catering, which would make for a very inexpensive option.
Is Alvor in Portugal a good holiday spot for a toddler?
My Overall Opinion
Alvor is close to a fabulous sandy beach, making it great for a relaxing holiday in the sun with a toddler. But if you want flat, warm seas I would head somewhere on the Mediterranean Sea. Parts of the town have retained their traditional character, but other parts appear a little run down and deserted outside of the main season. There is a large selection of hotels and self-catering apartments, so I would recommend picking one near the centre and walking to the beach (rather than the other way round). There isn’t much to do apart from the beach, so if you are looking for historical sites or lots of activities for your toddler, look elsewhere.