As a family travel blogger, we have visited many countries and stayed in many kid-friendly hotels, but none impressed me more than the best family hotels in Portugal. These family resorts in Portugal take “kid-friendly” beyond activities or kid’s menus, they truly consider families in every aspect of the hotel design and operation.
I have been especially impressed with the Martinhal properties. Martinhal operates four hotels in Portugal; two in the Algarve, one in Lisbon, and one in Cascais. I visited the Martinhal Chiado in Lisbon and the Martinhal Cascais as part of a press trip, and on my recent return trip to Portugal, I stayed at and visited 15 other family-friendly hotels in Portugal and these are my favorites. If you are looking for where to stay in Portugal with kids, read on.
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Best Family Hotels in Portugal
Note: My accommodations were complimentary for purposes of editorial review. All opinions are my own.
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The seaside town of Cascais is just 30-45 minutes outside of Lisbon, making it a perfect pairing with a city break in Portugal’s capital. Whether you use Cascais as a spot to overcome jet lag, or you end your trip with a bit of relaxation, plan on spending at least two-to-three days in Cascais. Martinhal Cascais opened in the Spring of 2016 with all the attention to detail delivered at its original properties.
The husband-wife team behind the Martinhal brand have four kids themselves and they have created an environment that caters to families without Disneyfying the experience. The atmosphere is classy and stylish, and the ambiance is comfortable and welcoming. There may be playgrounds and structures throughout the grounds, and fun, floppy pillows to lounge on in the lobby; yet it still feels like the kind of place where you want to change for dinner (not that you have to.) Kids are clearly ever-present and welcome, yet somehow the properties are surprisingly quiet. But not so quiet that parents should feel that children are to be seen and not heard.
When I say they go above and beyond to build family-friendliness into every aspect of the experience, I mean it. The menus in restaurants offer baby food options. Yes, baby food. Not a kid’s menu, but homemade baby food. (And they also have kid’s size portions for menu items too!) Instead of looking around for a high chair in the dining room, there is an abundance of them.
There are play areas in the restaurants, smoothies on the bar menus, spa treatments for kids, flip-down bunk beds, potty seats and step stools in the bathroom, and so much more. The Martinhal commitment to families goes way beyond some check-in gifts (yes, they have those too) and a kid’s club. I may have been hosted at the hotels on a press trip, but I definitely drank the Kool-Aid and I’ve seen with my own eyes how these are the best family hotels in Portugal.
The property offers 68 hotel rooms and four hotel suites. All will sleep a family of four with either a pull-out couch, flip-down bunk beds, or rollaway beds and baby cots. The suites offer a sliding door to divide the living area from the bedroom to offer families great privacy. They are also large enough to fit a baby cot to accommodate a family of five (if one is a baby.)
Larger families can also consider one of the 12 luxury villas on the property. Six of the villas will fit a group of six, and the remaining six villas can only accommodate a family of four (plus a baby cot.) The villas are equipped with full kitchens, patios, a dining area, and a large, sun-filled living space. The bedrooms are upstairs and the stairs are protected by child gates. These autonomous units are located near privately-owned homes, but still have full access to the property amenities.
Martinhal Cascais offers both full-board and half-board (breakfast plus one other meal) packages, as well as a la carte options. All on-site properties offer kid-size portions, baby food, and a delicious assortment of healthy food options. In addition, families can get a breakfast basket in-room delivery for light bites in a comfortable environment.
Terraco is the main dining restaurant, offering a full breakfast buffet and Portuguese specialties for dinner. In addition to the accessibility of high chairs and kid-friendly food options, the restaurant offers a child play area. During meals, this area is staffed by someone from the kid’s club, who will offer supervised play and activities while parents enjoy the rest of their meal. In addition, the courtyard off the restaurant patio offers colorful play structures and grassy areas for letting some energy loose.
During our stay, we enjoyed the buffet breakfast, as well as a hosted buffet luncheon at Terraco. The breakfast offers a robust number of options from freshly made eggs to pancakes, fresh bread and pastries, freshly-squeezed juices, fruits, yogurt, cereals, cheeses and meats, and even sparkling wine. The lunch options were equally delicious with some creative and healthy options including grains, salads, and vegetables.
This Italian trattoria offers family favorites such as pizza and pasta for both lunch and dinner. I didn’t notice that this restaurant was open during our stay in late April so you may want to check on their seasonal hours.
M-Bar is located above the Kid’s Club and offers coffee, ice cream, pastries, and light bites throughout the day. I was impressed by its selection of healthy options, kid-sized portions, smoothies, and suggestions for food and wine pairings.
The Kid’s Club at Martinhal Cascais offers fun options for kids from six-month-old babies through early teens. Except for babies, the kid’s club is also complimentary. Outside kids love the multiple playgrounds, basketball court, soccer/football field, tennis courts, in-ground trampoline, and the giant bouncing pillow.
These areas are open to all guests with a room key, although some do have weight and height limitations. You will also find Martinhal’s signature VW van, offering a fun spot for kids to climb through and play in…plus a cute photo opportunity.
Inside, the kid’s club is broken into multiple areas. There is the baby room and the main playroom, as well as an activity room for structured programs. These structured activities include cooking classes and art workshops.
The Kid’s Club offers two drop-off sessions per day, as well as two drop-in playtimes for families. The playtimes offer a great way to acclimate younger or more hesitant children with the staff to prepare them for drop-off. Older kids can also participate in activities organized through the teens club and through What’s App.
For families traveling with small children, Martinhal really tries to make travel as stress-free as possible. Through the baby concierge, families can pre-book baby cots and baths, potties, baby-proofing and safety gates, and bottle warmers and sterilizers. Diapers and other baby items are also available for purchase.
There are three pool options throughout the property, although not all are available year-round. The main outdoor pool, which isn’t heated, is open from late spring through late summer. If you are looking for a heated pool, head to the “bubble,” accessible through the kid’s club. This indoor, heated pool is perfect for year-round play and swimming instruction.
You can also find an indoor/outdoor pool in the Finisterra Spa. The indoor pool is heated, but the outdoor portion is not. You can’t swim from one to the other but you can easily get out of one and walk outside to hop into the other. Even though this pool is part of the Spa, families with kids are still welcome. In fact, they even supply swim diapers if needed!
You would think that the spa would be the one adults-only retreat within the resort, right? Guess again. Even the Spa welcomes families. They offer mother-daughter and father-son treatments, as well as teen and tween options. In addition to the nine treatment rooms and pool, there is also a whirlpool, sauna, and steam room. Note that the hot tub is not kept too hot, therefore it is available for small children as well that aren’t typically allowed in a hot tub. That said, if you like a really hot soak, you may find it a bit chilly. There is also a small fitness room and yoga and pilates classes (not included) can be booked in advance.
Martinhal Cascais is tucked into a residential area of the seaside town of Cascais. It is nestled between two championship golf courses. It is also just five minutes away from beaches, which are famous for windsurfing and surfing.
If you are looking for a calmer beach for little kids to splash about, there are also small beaches near the marina in the town of Cascais. Martinhal offers bicycle rentals, including child bikes, trailers, and e-bikes, so that families can easily bike into town using the seaside bike path. Just note that you will need to bike off the path in some spots.
The bike path also is a great spot for a family walk along the coast where kids can enjoy scrambling on the rocks near the sea. If you prefer to stay outside of the city, you can also use Cascais as a home base to explore the area. You can easily take a day trip to Sintra to see Pena Palace, and take day trips into Lisbon.
Martinhal Chiado, Lisbon
Just like Martinhal Cascais, the Martinhal Lisbon Chiado in downtown Lisbon is just as family-friendly, but with a totally different vibe. Instead of a spread-out resort made for relaxation, the Martinhal Chiado is the world’s first city-center luxury family hotel, which captures the history and charm of Lisbon.
Located in the Chiado neighborhood of downtown Lisbon, the Martinhal hotel is within easy walking distance to shops, restaurants, bars, public transportation, and many famous sights. While located on the street, it is a relatively quiet neighborhood and suites on the higher floors may even offer views down to the river.
The Martinhal Lisbon Chiado is an all-suite hotel, offering 37 family-friendly suites of various configurations. There are studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom options available and they will work with you to help place your family into the best fit. Each has flip-down bunk beds, just like at Martinhal Cascais, and can sleep from two to six people.
There is also a full kitchen equipped with a small fridge, stove, microwave, dishwasher, and even a clothes washer/dryer! The kitchen is fully equipped if you wanted to pop down to the market and cook instead of going out (or bring something in to eat in comfort!) I was pleasantly surprised to find a highchair and child utensils, as well as basics like salt, pepper, and olive oil.
You again see where all the family-friendly touches come into play. Instead of a coffee table, there is a round, cork ottoman. Instead of sharp corners on the dining table, the table and chairs have rounded edges.
Even the bathroom offers up tubs, step stools, and potty seats. In addition to the strollers to borrow downstairs, there is room to park the stroller in the apartment. And, if you forget something or don’t want to pack it, the baby concierge is also there to help.
Dining at M-Bar
The ground floor cafe offers guests a quick breakfast in the morning or light bites throughout the day. In the evening, room service is available. Plus, they will also deliver breakfast baskets to your room so the family can relax around their private dining table instead of in a busy restaurant. This is also a perfect spot for an afternoon ice cream, tea, or wine and cheese plate. As I found at the Cascais property, the food is fresh, healthy, and delicious.
The Martinhal Lisbon Chiado also offers a kid’s club for children from six months to early teens. There is also a playroom where parents can come and enjoy some playtime together, offering siblings a chance to nap or mom/dad the ability to sleep in while the rest of the family plays.
In addition to the daytime program, Martinhal Chiado offers a pajama club in the evenings, so mom and day can go out and enjoy dinner and the nightlife. This program is also complimentary (except for meals.) Private babysitting can also be arranged.
Evora Farm Hotel & Spa, Evora (Alentejo)
Newly opened in 2021, the Evora Farm Hotel & Spa in Alentejo has created an experience that is as equally welcoming to families as couples. The atmosphere was family-friendly, which still felt sophisticated and chic. From the minute you arrive and see the small tables and chairs arranged for children in the lobby, you know that families are welcome.
The hotel is located on the Herdade do Perdiganito, an 11-hectare estate featuring footpaths and meadows that stretch all the way to the stream at the Monte Novo Dam, within the estate’s boundaries. The contemporary architecture is quite a surprise given the name of the hotel, featuring wood and the typical Alentejo blue and white decor using organic and artisanal materials.
The Evora Farm Hotel offers 56 rooms and five villas, all of which have open-air balconies or terraces. Some rooms are even outfitted with family-friendly bunkbeds in addition to the double bed. For larger families, Evora Farm Hotel offers private villas, which have a balcony and private pool.
The villas offer three bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, as well as a large lounge that is divided into a comfortable living space, dining area, and kitchen. The villas even offer a washer and dryer, making them perfect for a longer stay.
The hotel has a beautiful indoor/outdoor restaurant and bar, À Terra Restaurant. The menu features a modern take on traditional Alentejo cuisine, using local suppliers and regional products, and the hotel’s own organic garden where they grow vegetables, fruit, and herbs. The hotel also produces its own olive oil. The restaurant offers seasonal menus based on a healthy and sustainable diet, along with a kid’s menu and a Gin Experience menu (for the grown ups!).
The Evora Farm Hotel has two outdoor pools in the summer, and in winter, the heated pool in the spa keeps you warm and cozy. As an educational farm, the Evora also offers families an opportunity to meet the farm animals and participate in programs like planting and harvesting vegetables. There is even kids animal yoga!
On property, families can enjoy a range of optional activities such as pottery workshops, cooking classes, picnics, family walks, star gazing, or even splurge on a hot air balloon ride. There are any number of outdoor spaces and indoor play areas to have fun together and a kid’s club is available.
DOURO41 HOTEL & SPA, Castelo de Paiva
Located on the Douro River in Castelo de Paiva, Douro41 is about 40 kilometers from Porto and a little over an hour from the central Douro River Valley. This riverfront hotel offers the opportunity to relax after a visit to Porto, with plenty of nature activities on-site and nearby. I think one of the reasons I loved this hotel was all the various guest experiences that they can arrange. While there are many on-site activities for younger children, I think Douro41 is especially well-suited for families with active teenagers.
Douro41 is built into the terraced hillside, stretching down almost to the water’s edge. Built in schist and glass, the Douro41 has the feel of an eco-hotel, and while the stone can at first appear cold, the welcoming staff and comfortable rooms make you quickly feel at home.
When you walk into one of the rooms or suites, you are immediately drawn to the panoramic view from the floor-to-ceiling windows, which make you feel like you are truly on the river. The Douro41 offers suites with private balconies or terraces and can combine some rooms types to accommodate families. With neutral tones and minimalist, yet sophisticated furniture, you can’t help but want to lie in bed and soak up the view.
You are in for a treat when dining at the Douro41. Downstairs, you will find the À TERRA Bar & Canteen, offering pizza from its wood-burning oven and a simple menu with modern, comfortable, and comforting food featuring local ingredients. This is perfect for families with younger children or those seeking a more casual dining experience.
Upstairs, the RAIVA restaurant is more refined, with choices between the best regional delicacies or Chef Dárcio’s signature courses. This is also where you will find the sumptuous breakfast buffet in the mornings, a great way to start your day!
The amenities and activities offered at Douro41 really set this property apart from the others. On-site, there are two outdoor pools, including one reserved just for adults. The main pool features a pool bar and restaurant (in season) and incredible river views. The spa at Douro41 offers an indoor pool, fronted with glass windows that overlook the serenity of the river below, giving the impression of an infinity pool. The indoor pool can be used by families during specific hours.
The spa also features five treatment rooms, a shower sensations circuit, and sauna, and a Turkish bath. To complete the newly opened Spa, Douro41 also offers a 24-hour fitness center. In addition to the spa, the hotel has many cozy and comfortable corners to explore and play including a games room with a snooker table and games for young children, the movie corner with comfy seating and evening viewings, and the library.
Douro41 can also arrange an abundance of on- and off-site activities including guided walks, off-roading tours, a visit to the Arouca suspension bridge, Douro River boat tours on the hotel’s private boat, canyoning, wine tasting, private picnics, water skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking, and other water sports.
São Lourenço do Barrocal, Monsaraz (Alentejo)
São Lourenço do Barrocal has earned the Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Award for Top Hotel in Spain and Portugal for 2021 and it is easy to see why. This Leading Hotels of the World and Virtuoso property offers comfortable luxury in an authentic setting. Located near the town of Monsaraz, this property has a rich history of being in the same family for over 200 years. And despite the luxury hotel moniker, it is more afforable than similar properties in other countries and it is family-friendly. (See my tips for how much a trip to Portugal costs.)
The hotel has a wide selection of spacious and luxuriously-appointed rooms and cottages, decorated in a contemporary and minimalist style that utilizes local textiles and materials. The two-bedroom yard cottages are perfect for families, offering spacious living and dining areas, as well as a full kitchen. Some even offer outdoor spaces with outdoor dining or relaxation space.
Larger families can choose the three-bedroom barn cottages, which were once large barns, horse stables and cowsheds. Single or two-story, these cottages have large areas to gather and relax together.
The primary restaurant at São Lourenço do Barrocal offers farm-to-table dining that features fresh organic produce and local delicacies which is deeply rooted in Alentejo’s tradition. A sumptuous breakfast is served in the restaurant each morning, with afternoon tea each afternoon in the hotel bar.
Guests can also enjoy seasonal dining outside under the stars at the Hortelão grill restaurant for a more casual option. This restaurant features fresh vegetables on the grill, alongside organic veal, acorn-fed pork of the Alentejo, and fish from the Alqueva lake.
In only a five-minute walk, you can visit some of the ancient megaliths nearby. Visitors also enjoy biking and hiking through the Alentejo countryside. On property, guests can enjoy estate tours, wine tasting, horseback riding, birding, archeological visits, garden visits, and family-friendly treasure hunts.
In addition to relaxing at the spa or one of the two outdoor pools (one of which is shallow to be kid-friendly), the hotel can also arrange hot air balloon rides, star gazing experiences with an astronomer, sky diving, boat tours, and more. For parents, wine tastings and visits to the winery are held every day and you can also take a short walk or bike ride through the estate’s vineyards, framed by the castle of Monsaraz.
Six Senses Douro Valley
A stay at the Six Senses Douro Valley might stretch the budget, but it may be worth it. This 19th-century manor home has been refurbished and expanded into a luxury property worthy of the Six Senses brand. But while it is posh, it is also warm and welcoming, with plenty of activities on-site, including many geared toward the younger bunch, making it ideal for families. Kids will especially enjoy a warm welcome from Acqua, the hotel dog that likes to oversee the lobby.
Located in Samodães, and not far off the main highway, the Six Senses is in a good location for exploring the famous, UNESCO Hertige-protected Douro Valley, famous for its production of Port and table wine.
The Six Senses Douro Valley is a perfect size, with just 60 guest accommodations including bedrooms with panoramic Douro valley views, spacious suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, private balconies, and wooden bridges leading to secret gardens.
The bedrooms are large, with suites offering panoramic vineyard views. Inside, you will find high-end amenities and fixtures, with everything from your choice of pillow options to a wine fridge to chill your local purchases. If you have older children, you will need to get two adjoining rooms, but the Six Senses does offer baby cots and rollaway beds.
The menus at the Six Senses Douro Valley focuses on the fresh ingredients grown in its organic garden and gathered from the surrounding local countryside. At the Vale de Abraão restaurant, guests can enjoy either the Open Kitchen or the Dining Room, with options to suit foodies or small critics, and everyone in between.
Guests can also gather at the Quinta Bar and Lounge for a quiet drink and some tapas, or afternoon tea and some local cheeses. In the warmer months, visitors can enjoy a Garden Barbeque in the Summer Garden, but when it is cooler, the perfect place for pre-dinner drinks is at the Wine Library and Terrace. The hotel can also arrange culinary experiences including a wine tasting, alchemy bar workshop, cooking class, or Chef’s Table dinner.
What makes the Six Senses a good choice for families is the range of on-site amenities as well as the on and off-site activities they can arrange. A stay should include a visit to the spacious Six Senses Spa, which occupies 23,700 square feet with 10 treatment rooms, a heated indoor pool with water jets, and a refreshment bar. The Alchemy Bar in the Spa, where potions of herbs, salt, grapes, and a range of exotic ingredients are individually blended for scrubs and masks, is also used to host complimentary workshops for guests.
For wine enthusiasts, there are many wine-related activities including wine and dine river cruises, interactive oenology courses, visits to nearby wineries, and even, during harvest, the chance to stomp grapes! Other cultural activities include tile painting and workshops such as pickling at the Earth Lab.
If you choose to be more active, you can enjoy e-bike tours, tree climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, paddleboarding, or riverboat tours. Beyond wine tasting, you can also discover the nearby medieval town of Lamego, with its centuries-old palaces and Cistercian monasteries, which is just a 30-minute drive from the resort.
Martinhal Sagres Beach Resort & Hotel (Algarve)
The Martinhal Sagres Beach Resort & Hotel is positioned within a protected natural park near the historic fishing port of Sagres, on Portugal’s unspoiled western Algarve coast. Of course, this hotel offers all the family-friendliness that the other Martinhal properties mentioned above provide.
The Martinhal Sagres Beach Resort is a perfect solution for families that are looking for the self-catered, independent living of a beach house, paired with the services and amenities of a full-service resort. The hotel offers a range of beach houses including townhouses, luxury villas, ocean and garden homes, and apartments. Some offered shared swimming pools, while others offer private pools.
Standard hotel rooms are also available, with 37 rooms, including two duplex Beach Suites, all of which have private balconies or terraces that afford impressive ocean views. Children and babies are completely welcome at Hotel Martinhal and guests have full access to all the resort facilities. There are 9 Terrace Rooms in the main hotel building, 26 Beach Rooms in the cuboid clusters right next to the main hotel building, 2 duplex Beach Suites and interconnected rooms for larger families, all of which enjoy spectacular sea view.
At the Martinhal Sagres Beach Resort, all restaurants are family friendly, featuring a dedicated children’s play area and a special children’s menu that includes a variety of fresh purees for babies. Os Gambozinos is the perfect restaurant for the whole family, while O Terraco is the perfect place to start your day. As Dunas commands an enviable location overlooking the beach at Martinhal Sagres and there are also numerous take-away options throughout the resort.
There are five kids’ clubs around the resort designed for different ages. Even if children don’t want to join the kid’s club, there is plenty to do including tennis and soccer academies, the Blue Room with console games, PlayStation, or more traditional games such as table football, snooker, table tennis and Air Hockey.
This is also the space for the family cinema sessions with a different movie every day. Other activities include a kayak tour, outdoor laser tag, pump bike track, beach games, surfing, jeep tours, horseback riding, and more.
Sublime Comporta Country Retreat & Spa, Comporta (Coastal Alentejo)
If you are looking to pair a busy city break in Lisbon with some beach relaxation nearby, the wide beaches of Comporta in Coastal Alentejo is a perfect match. The Sublime Comporta Country Retreat and Spa is an eco-hotel nestled on a beautiful 17-acre estate, characterized by mature pines and cork trees, vineyards, rice fields and nearby white sandy beaches.
The accommodations are spread throughout several buildings throughout the property. It is easy to walk around, but golf cart transportation is available, as well as nearby parking. You probably will want a car if you are visiting as the hotel isn’t located on the beach, but shuttle services are provided if needed.
The hotel offers 23 rooms and suites, as well as 22 cabana-style villas with two to five bedrooms each. The individual standard rooms are fairly small, but the villas are perfect for families. Each villa has a private pool, a fireplace, kitchen, living space, and several terraces and outdoor living spaces.
Sem Porta, the hotel’s primary restaurant, features traditional Portuguese dishes in a spacious, comfortable environment. There is plenty of outdoor dining spaces available, which would be perfect for families with young children that have trouble sitting still. This is also where you will find the hotel’s extensive breakfast buffet.
Tasca da Comporta is a seasonal outdoor restaurant offering small bites in a casual setting. For something more unique, you can book a dining experience in the middle of the hotel’s organic garden called The Food Circle. Up to 12 people can enjoy an unforgettable experience in direct contact with the chefs and the earth, dining under the stars and surrounded by the aromas of the garden.
In addition to the hotel pool and spa, guests can enjoy dolphin and bird watching, horseback riding, sailing, surfing and wine tasting nearby. Some families will only want to spend days exploring the 60 km of gorgeous beaches nearby. The beaches are wide, with soft, rolling dunes and plenty of space to spread out and get away from crowds. You will especially want to stick around to enjoy one of Portugal’s stunning sunsets.
Planning a Trip to Portugal?
If you are planning a family vacation in Portugal and want some help creating an amazing itinerary, be sure to reach out to Epic Travel and don’t forget to tell them that you read about them on We3Travel for your free VIP welcome gift when you arrive. In the meantime, check out these other articles:
- Everything you need to know about planning a trip to Portugal
- How much does a trip to Portugal cost?
- 3 Days in Lisbon itinerary
- Self-guided walking tour of Porto
- Tips for visiting the Azores
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