man in Coimbra Portugal with a baby that is holding its pram

Portugal with a Baby and Toddler [Complete Guide]

Visiting Portugal with a baby or toddler is high on many families’ wish lists as one of the first trips to take abroad with their little one. 

The mixture of sun, sand and culture is an absolute winner and there is plenty for everyone. We took both of our daughters to Portugal when they were just a couple of months old. We loved it and I am sure that you will too. 

Here are our top tips for travelling to Portugal with a baby or toddler.

Is Portugal Baby-Friendly?

Yes, Portugal is very baby friendly. The Portuguese love babies. If you are travelling to Portugal with baby you will probably take on the status of a minor celebrity, people will come up to you asking questions generally coo over your little one.

It is all done in a super friendly way and not intense or anything to worry about. 

Is it Safe to Visit Portugal with a Baby or Toddler?

Yes. Like anywhere in the world you should take sensible precautions, but overall Portugal is a safe country for toddler travel.

The driving in Portugal is pretty bad and can take some getting used to. You will see plenty of cars on the road that have clearly had quite a few bumps along the way so it is worth being extra careful when you are on the roads.

Can you get Baby Supplies in Portugal?

You should be able to find anything that you might need for your baby in Portugal. Costs can be higher than in the UK for things like nappies/diapers and in particular baby wipes are way more expensive than at home. 

You can find baby food, formula, bottles etc. in the supermarkets but we have always taken a supply with us from home.

When to Visit Portugal

Portugal is a good year-round destination. But, with its Mediterranean climate, your best bet is to go between May and September if you are looking for warmer weather.

The summer months can get busy, especially July and August so if you only have very young children we highly recommend going to Portugal in June or September. It is much cheaper if you can avoid the peak summer months – make the most of avoiding school holidays while you still can!!

Getting to Portugal with a Toddler and Baby

Portugal has a few international airports so it is worth looking at where you can fly to that fits your planned itinerary. It may be that you can use a smaller airport for a more hassle-free journey and a shorter travel time to your first hotel.

The main airports on mainland Portugal are Lisbon, Porto and Faro. 

We find that the best way to find cheap flights is to use Skyscanner.

Flying with a baby is always something that people worry about, we have written posts with our top tips for getting through the flight. Don’t worry, the flights are never as bad as you think they will be. 

>>> Flying with a baby checklist

>>> Flying with a toddler checklist

How to Travel with a Baby in Portugal

We have travelled to Portugal several times with babies and toddlers. 

We have travelled around by public transport and have also rented a car. There are advantages to both but overall having a car makes things a lot easier when you are transporting young kids and all their stuff. 

Public Transport in Portugal

Portugal has a good train network that reaches many of the towns that you are most likely to have on your itinerary. Tickets are reasonably priced and train services are efficient on modern trains. The price of your ticket varies depending on the class of the train and the speed of the service.

In most cases, it is best to book tickets in advance as seat reservations are required, and it will ensure that you get the best price.

You can do this online and get an electronic ticket sent to your phone or you can print them out. If like us, you aren’t always good at planning ahead you can buy tickets at the station. It’s best to check online first so that you know which trains are best for you considering the overall journey time and cost.

Car Rental in Portugal

It has to be said having a rental car makes travelling with babies and toddlers a LOT easier and has become our preferred option when travelling in Europe.

It gives you greater freedom to travel at the time you choose and that best fits in with nap times, it is easier to break up journeys and also allows you to visit places that are harder to visit on buses and trains.

Arranging a hire car couldn’t be simpler, but make sure that you book it in advance, even if it is just the day before. We always book through RentalCars.com, a great comparison site that will help you to pick the best deal.

We usually take our own car seat with us from home as it is much cheaper than renting one for a couple of weeks. We have this one that we use just for travel. If you have children 4 years or older, you might like to take along a Mifold travel booster seat.

Eating in Portugal with a Baby and Toddler

One of the great things about visiting Portugal is the abundance of wonderful food at reasonable prices. One thing that can be a bit challenging in Portugal is the opening hours of restaurants. They open by our standard standards at around 8 o’clock (or 7 if you are lucky) and are often only open for a couple of hours around lunchtime.

A few times in more remote areas we ended up missing lunch service and struggled to find any food at all as the shops are open similar hours.

In the evenings the restaurant opening hours do not really fit in with our children’s eating habits as they usually eat before 6 pm. 

This is less of an issue if you are travelling with a baby. With some luck, you will be able to feed them milk and baby food and have them asleep in the stroller so that you can enjoy a nice relaxing meal together. 

If you are travelling with a toddler or older child it can be more of a challenge as they get hungry and need something NOW.

On our last trip, we mostly went self-catered and cooked our own dinners which solves this problem (and saves some money), but it does mean that you miss out on trying as much local food.

Most restaurants will be able to provide you with a baby high chair but we like to travel with a Totseat chair harness, just in case.

Where to go in Portugal with a Baby and Toddler

It is always really hard to decide where to go in Portugal. There are just so many amazing places to visit. From mountains to churches, beaches to hilltop castles, Portugal has some of the best and most beautiful in every category.

Once you have decided to visit Portugal, choosing exactly where to travel in Portugal with a baby or toddler is far harder, but don’t stress about it as wherever you go is sure to be amazing! We tend to travel around a bit and we have been to Porto with a baby and Algarve with a baby amongst other places

To help you decide where to go in Portugal with a baby or toddler, we thought that we would share some of the places that we have enjoyed visiting over recent years, always with a child (or two) under 4 years old.

Lisbon

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a great place to visit with young children. You can spend your time riding cable cars up steep hills, enjoy sweeping views over the city, visit an aquarium, take day trips to the beach and eat delicious Portuguese custard tarts. What’s not to like?

It is a lovely city with a lot of history, but the historic centre is relatively compact. This makes it ideal for exploring on foot with a baby or toddler. Lisbon is a good place to come for a few nights away or as the starting point to adventures throughout the country.

Porto

Algarve

Sintra

Coimbra

Obidos

 

7 Great Things to do in Portugal with a Baby or Toddler

The things that you do in Portugal with a toddler or baby will largely be influenced by where you have chosen to go and by the exact age of your child. The things to do in Portugal with a 6 month old or things to do with a 10 month old, can vary quite a lot from what you might do in Portugal with a 2 year old.

When infants are really small you take advantage of the fact they are small and light and spend a lot of time sleeping. This should mean that to a large extent you can spend your holiday in the same way that you would have before you had children.

As they get a bit older you will need to factor in more time doing ‘kids things’ to keep them happy (our preschoolers absolutely loved Zoomarine in Algarve). Here are some ideas of things to do with your little one.

Hit the Beaches

Travelling with a toddler or baby can be hard work so we always like to factor in some beach time. It keeps them happy and is somewhat relaxing for us.

If your baby is at the stage where they put everything in their mouth you will need to be prepared to see them eat quite a lot of sand. Just keep an eye out for stones, shells, crabs or anything else that they might like to put in their mouths. We take our beach tent with us for some portable shade, privacy and somewhere for the baby to sleep at nap times.

Toddlers will love to paddle in the sea and play in the sand and luckily Portugal has some of the best beaches in the world. The beaches of the Algarve are probably the most famous and many of them have some stunning rock formations, they can be small and crowded though. 

For wide open beaches we love the Atlantic beaches of south western Portugal, but they are popular with surfers so be prepared for big waves and they are not idealfor swimming with a baby or toddler. 

Even the major cities of Lisbon and Porto have easily accessible beaches so you are never far from a great beach in Portugal.

Explore Pretty Old Towns

One of the great things about Portugal is just how many cute old towns they have dotted throughout the country. It is not just the famous places that have stunning architecture, you will find nice little places wherever you go (although not quite so many or quite so nice as in Italy – in my opinion anyway). 

We like to just wander aimlessly when we visit old towns. Why not let the kids have the map and chose your direction?

Go for a Hike

Having a baby or toddler need not mean that you confine yourselves to the beaches and towns. Grab your baby carrier and head out into the hills! 

There is some lovely scenery all over Portugal (although the trail marking isn’t always the best) and you should be able to find some nice little walks to enjoy with your little one.

Escape the Heat in a Church

If you visit Portugal in the summer you will probably be blessed with some glorious, sunny weather. This is great, but it can get a bit much at times so we often pop into a church to get out of the heat.

Churches are almost always cool, have pews to sit on and have a bit of a rest. This is great if you are carrying a baby around and want to put them down for a bit.

Find a Park

Finding a playground has become something of a priority for us on our travels, our girls are never happier than when they are climbing or sliding or spinning on something so we always try and break up the day with a trip to a local park. The only hard part is getting them to leave again so that we can explore some more!

Take a Boat Trip

We always enjoy taking boat trips, they are invariably in beautiful locations and give you a different perspective on things than from the land. 

With a baby or toddler, it is generally best to go for shorter duration trips. Some boat trips that we have enjoyed include a river trip up to Douro river from Porto and short trips out to sea in Algarve.

Go for Bike Ride in the Countryside

We find going for a bike ride with a baby seat on the back to be a truly liberating experience, and both of our daughters absolutely love it.

Cycling is such a great way to see the countryside you can travel at a good pace and see lots, but you are not travelling so fast that you miss everything in a blur.

There are many great places to cycle in Portugal, but probably one of the best areas is the Douro valley. Here you can cycle through vineyards and past quaint villages where it seems like time has stood still.

We have also done plent of mountain biking in the hills of the Serra da Lousa, but it can’t be done with a baby and even the road around here arent ideal as they are ver steep (very little traffic though).

Portugal with a Toddler or Baby

We hope that you have enjoyed reading our guide to visiting Italy with a toddler or baby. We really love it in Portugal and think that it is a great family travel destination. That’s why we keep going back!

I always like to explore new places and Portugal is one of the few countries that has drawn me back for multiple repeat visits so there must be something pretty special about it. 

Hopefully, you will enjoy your trip to Portugal with your child as much as we have with ours. 

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