Portugal is a beautiful country, filled with friendly people and amazing seafood. In my opinion, there are 4 main areas on mainland Portugal that will give you a good first taste of the country; Lisbon, Porto, the Duoro Valley & the Algarve, all of which you can get a taste of in two weeks. Portugal is so child and family friendly, which makes it one of the reasons we keep returning time and time again.
We flew round-trip into Lisbon, this was for convenience as we could not get a direct flight into Porto from JFK. Lesson learned from last summer, leaving JFK in the summer, almost guarantees you a delay, we missed our connecting flight and din’t want to have to deal with that again. This was a very wise decision, as we were delayed over 4 hours, our flight did not take off till after midnight.
Airport Security with a toddler: Luckily we had Delta Sky Priority, so check in was a breeze, the lines were so long at the regular check in. We made it through security with no problems, they didn’t even make me take my daughter off my back, I carried her right through in my Sakura Bloom Onbuhimo! I have always found that by being super nice, you will be treated nicely in return. I had liquids and food, which were above the minimum, but always keep those in an easy to access Ziploc, a quick swab and we were on our way, no fuss! Always tell the agent you have food for the baby so they don’t flag you.
Waiting in the airport with toddler: Some amazing perks we had were Sky Priority, and the use of the Delta one Sky Club. We were able to relax in comfort in the Delta One Sky Club to pass the time, a 4 hour delay is never fun, especially with a toddler that should have been in bed at 7:30pm. We took off after midnight!! My daughter fell asleep in the stroller in the Delta One Sky Club, then I had to wake her to get on the plane. Shes a trooper!
Flying with a toddler: I have never bought a seat for my daughter, she can fly free (just pay taxes) till 2, so we are taking full advantage. This flight we lucked out! We got upgraded to Premium Economy, but our old row was empty, I asked the flight attendant if we could move back and the whole row was ours!!! In flight service is a pain, it lasted till 2 am, seriously, who wants dinner at that hour?! We watched finding nemo, I had the cutest little headphones for my daughter, we fell asleep around 3am and slept through breakfast.
Jet lag with a toddler: My rule of thumb is to power through day one. I don’t adjust bedtime back to her American bedtime, how would you in Europe, everyone eats late. We enjoy the culture and roll with it, she usually would fall asleep in the stroller around 9pm, then I’d do dinner and transfer into the crib by 11pm. This actually makes coming back home way easier.
Naps on the go: I’m lucky that my daughter literally naps anywhere, whenever she is tired. We never have had a nap schedule, even at home, call me crazy by it just didn’t work and was never worth the fight. She naps when she is tired and literally naps anywhere!
Agenda to see Portugal in 2 weeks: Porto and Lisbon are a must, and I recommend 3 nights in each city, I would spend no less than a week in Portugal, and ideally 2 weeks. I’ll dive into each area in depth, click the corresponding links to read up on each city!
- Flights Round-trip into Lisbon
- Guimarães (1 night)
- Porto (3 nights)
- Duoro Valley (3 nights)
- Algarve (4 nights)
- Lisbon (3 nights)
- Sintra (day trip)
After your first trip to Portugal where you had a good taste of the 4 main regions make sure to put Portugal back on your travel plans. There are so many stunning villages to explore along the coast of Mainland Portugal. And there are two amazing Archipielagos; The Azores, and Madeira.
- Sao Miguel, The Azores
- Azenhas do Mar
Tips for travelling Portugal with kids: I was impressed with how child friendly the whole country was. From the moment we landed in the country to the moment we left, I was made to feel that travelling with my daughter (18 months old) was not an inconvenience to anyone, she was welcomed everywhere with open arms. Every restaurant provided a high chair, all of our accommodations provided a cot with baby bedding and a high chair, Taxi & Uber drivers, helped get the stroller in and out of the cars, the airport staff (without us asking) let us cut the whole customs line, strollers were available free of charge in the airport from the gates to the baggage claim, everywhere I turned someone was offering a hand to make things just a little bit easier for us.
Getting around Portugal: Public transportation in Europe is reliable and affordable, train systems are a great alternative to rental cars.
- Porto: Use Taxi’s, Ubers & Trams. Do not use a rental car.
- Lisbon: Use Taxi’s, Ubers & Trams. Do not use a rental car.
- Duoro Valley: I highly recommend a rental car, public transportation isn’t accessible in this region.
- Algarve: I highly recommend a rental car, public transportation isn’t accessible in this region.