The family-oriented Portuguese welcome children everywhere and there are plenty of opportunities in and around Lisbon, Portugal to keeps kids entertained. Here are 10 of our favorite family friendly activities.
1. The Oceanarium: Lisbon’s Oceanarium is one of the world’s largest aquariums. It is a deep-sea diving experience without any of the risks, with about 25,000 fish, seabirds, and mammals in an enormous central tank that is the size of four Olympic-sized swimming pools. Visitors can look into it from different levels for close-ups of the various creatures, including different species of sharks.
2. Tropical Garden: Lisbon’s beautiful tropical garden is a charming, yet often overlooked spot that has maintained all the ponds, towering palm trees, and over 4000 species of tropical plants that it had when it was created in 1906.
3. Coaches Museum: One of Lisbon’s most visited sights, the Coaches Museum has the largest and most valuable collection of fairytale coaches in the world.
4. Interactive Science Museum: The Interactive Science Museum has highly educational exhibits with cutting-edge technology and multimedia. There are fun interactive displays and simulations, explaining the use of technology in everyday life. Many of the world’s major scientific institutes contribute to thematic exhibitions, making this a rewarding experience for both adults and children.
5. Marionette Museum: The former 18th century Bernardas Convent houses a lovely collection of over 1,000 puppets, including some dating from the 17th and 18th centuries — knights, princesses, devils, among other characters.
6. The Toy Museum at Sintra: Another museum that will delight the entire family.
7. Colombo Shopping Center: A children’s play area can be found uptown on the top floor of Colombo Shopping Center, including a fun fair that claims to be the largest indoor amusement park in Europe with a roller coaster and other rides, video games, bowling, and a go cart track to entertain the kids as you shop.
8. Pena Palace: This fairytale palace is the most complete and notable example of Portuguese architecture in the Romantic period. It stands on one of the rocky peaks of the Serra de Sintra, and blends in a surprisingly fortunate manner with its natural background of greenery and crags, testifying to the aesthetic potentialities of the project.
9. Jeronimos Monastery: Enjoy some medieval storytelling in the cloisters of Jeronimos Monastery.
10. Parque das Nações: Parque das Nações is the district with the most family entertainment, offering several attractions suitable for people of all ages. Mostly traffic-free and with riverside walkways, it is a good place for a day out, with cable car rides, bikes for hire, water gardens, bowling, international restaurants, and a playground known as “Parque do Gil.”
Achill Island, in County Mayo, is Ireland’s largest island. The dramatic landscapes, stunning seascapes and rich history provide visitors with a wide range of scenic attractions, beauty spots and activities. Achill Island is easily accessible by a road bride from the beautiful Currane peninsula. The natural beauty and rich culture has provided inspiration for artists and writers for many years. Join Celtic Tours on the breathtaking Atlantic Drive along the coast on our West of Ireland tour.
Achill offers some of the best quality beaches in Ireland. These include the strand at Keem Bay, a beautiful, secluded valley located at the western tip of Achill Island. Keem Bay is a perfect horseshoe bay containing a popular Blue Flag beach at the head of a valley between the cliffs of Benmore to the west and Croaghaun mountain on the east.
The Atlantic Drive comprises over 40km of breathtaking coastal scenery that is ideal for touring in a car, and even better by bicycle!
The Tower at Kildavnet, the remains of a 16th century Irish tower house that was used by the legendary pirate queen Granuaile (Grace O’Malley).
The Deserted Village at Slievemore is a haunting reminder of times past. Comprising some 80 stone cottages located at the foot of the majestic Slievemore mountain, the Deserted Village offers a fascinating insight into life on Achill in former centuries.
With its Atlantic location, five Blue Flag beaches and breathtaking mountain landscape, Achill provides an unrivalled arena for outdoor activities and water-sports of all types. Water-sports available on Achill Island include surfing, windsurfing, canoeing & kayaking.
Achill, with its magnificent landscape and ever-changing light, its remote location and unique local culture, provides a fantastic setting for the creative arts. Achill’s artistic heritage is both celebrated and extended by Scoil Acla, a summer school that teaches traditional Irish music and culture.
Wilde Irish Chocolates
Tuamgraney | Clare
Chocolate is probably the one food that’s practically irresistible. Even the exotic names of the Wilde products are a temptation – Hazelnut Duet, Mocha Mocha, Truffle Temptation. Wilde is the only Irish maker of Organic Fairtrade chocolate, certified by the Organic Trust. There’s also a range of conventional and sugar free hand-decorated products. All the chocolates are handmade by the ‘Wilde Team’ in a small artisan outlet in Tuamgraney.
Skelligs and Cocoa Bean Chocolate Company
Ballinskelligs | Kerry
The Skelligs Chocolate Company and Cocoa Bean Chocolate Company have their production factory and shop on the tip of the Ring of Kerry Peninsula, right by St Finian’s Bay. Skelligs chocolates were created for the luxury market. These truffles use best chocolate from France and Switzerland, married with superb quality ingredients in the flavoured centres. Regulars on the choccie tasting menu include Vanilla Ganache, Strawberry and Champagne and Cognac and Cappucino.
Chez Emily Fine Handmade Chocolates
Ashbourne | Meath
Magical would seem to be the appropriate word for the Chez Emily Chocolate Boutique on Ashbourne’s Main Street. The shop front design with its two large windows offer a tantalising glimpse of the treasures inside, and oh what treasures! With a selection of over 30 different types, the counter is chock-a-block with the most delicious-looking individual chocolates – rum and raisin, cognac, vanilla, crème caramel are just some of the tempting names. Flake truffle supreme, amandine, (truffle coated in roasted almond flakes), cocoa delights, chocolate Florentines, candied orange segments, cherry liqueurs – even the names conjure up images of delights to come.
Marlenes Chocolate Haven
Westport | Mayo
Tucked away in a lovely little courtyard off James Street in Westport is the delightful shop that is Marlene’s Chocolate Haven. Not only a haven but also an absolute heaven for chocolate lovers. How can you choose between 30 varieties of chocolates and truffles? Especially when they have enticing names such as Love Potion or Rose Cream?
Kangaroo Island: a place of pristine beauty, amazing wildlife, rich history and gastronomic adventures. When visiting Australia, Kangaroo Island is well worth a visit. Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third largest island after Tasmania and Melville’s Island and is 70 miles southwest of Adelaide at the entrance of Gulf St. Vincent. Kangaroo Island is a touring choice on a number of Celtic Tours South Pacific Vacations including our new 16 Day DownUnder Explorer.
Kangaroo Island was once a part of mainland Australia, but was separated by a rise in sea level over 9,000 years ago. Stone tools found suggest that Aboriginal people occupied Kangaroo Island at least 11,000 years ago, but disappeared in 200 BC.
Kangaroo Island, with its lush, fertile lands, produces some of Australia’s finest gourmet foods. Gastronomic adventurers will be amazed for the likes of freshly caught King George Whiting, sheep’s cheese, marron, an exciting range of varietal wines and a unique variety of honey. In fact, Kangaroo Island is famous for its honey and for being the oldest bee sanctuary in the world. Ligurian honey bees were brought here from Italy. The bees flourished and are the only surviving Ligurian honey bees after disease killed all Ligurian honey bees in Italy.
Native bushland, pristine beaches, dense forest, soaring cliffs and towering sand dunes make up some of the intense natural beauty of Kangaroo Island. The wildlife on Kangaroo Island will astound you: sea lions basking on white beaches, koalas dozing in lofty eucalypts, pelicans soaring over shimmering lagoons.
If all that is not enough, take in the rich history, the thriving arts community or tour its spectacular lighthouses. It is not hard to see why Kangaroo Island is one of South Australia’s most popular tourist attractions, with over 140,000 visitors each year.
Everybody loves FREE! And Ireland has plenty of it. Here is a short list of some of the free attractions and activities in Ireland.
Museums & Galleries: All Ireland’s National Museums are free of charge! Visit the Natural History, the Archaeology and History and the Decorative Arts and History Museums in Dublin and learn all about the country’s colorful past. Many Art Galleries are free too – try the National Gallery or Ireland’s Museum of Modern Art. http://www.museum.ie
St. George’s Market: One of Belfast’s oldest attractions, there has been a Friday market on the St. George’s site since 1604. Home to some of the finest fresh produce, this charming Victorian building attracts visitors from near and far to sample the delights of Friday and Saturday markets. Sample the produce, relax with a coffee and a newspaper against a backdrop of live jazz or flamenco music. This market is a real Saturday treat and a great outing for all the family.
St. Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast: Explore the treasures of this Irish-roman-style cathedral. Mounted on top of the cathedral is the new, modern spire, ‘Spire of Hope’, rising 100 metres above the city. http://www.belfastcathedral.org
The Causeway Coastal Route and the Giant’s Causeway (Co. Antrim): The Giant’s Causeway, the source of legends of gigantic proportions, is a 50 to 60 million year old landmark of Ireland’s natural and mystical beauty. Located in County Antrim, the causeway was named the fourth greatest natural wonder of the United Kingdom and is the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland. Entry is free (although there is a fee for nearby parking). http://www.causewaycoastandglens.com
Downpatrick Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Tomb: This 19th century gothic cathedral was constructed on a sacred site. Its cemetery contains the tomb of St. Patrick. http://www.visitdownpatrick.com
Connemara National Park, Co. Galway: the park covers 2,957 hectares of magnificent landscape. The Interpretation Centre presents expositions on the fauna and flora, and a film. Visitors can make use of the hiking trails and picnic areas. http://www.connemaranationalpark.ie
Hunt Museum, Co. Limerick: Entry is free every Sunday between 14:00 to 17:00. One of the most beautiful private collections of art and antiques in the world, ranging from Neolithic to modern times, and includes a range of works by Renoir, Picasso and Yeats. http://www.huntmuseum.com
Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo: The tradition of pilgrimage to this holy mountain stretches back over 5,000 years from the Stone Age to the present day without interruption. Croagh Patrick is renowned for its Patrician Pilgrimage in honour of Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint. It was on the summit of the mountain that Saint Patrick fasted for forty days in 441 AD and the custom has been faithfully handed down from generation to generation. http://www.croagh-patrick.com
Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry: one of the most popular parks in Ireland, its history-rich scenery will leave you speechless. Walk amongst its 10.236 hectares to see its Torc Waterfall. http://www.killarneynationalpark.ie
Muckross Friary & Gardens, Co. Kerry: This Franciscan Friary was founded in the 15th century and is in a remarkable state of preservation. The cloister and its associated buildings are complete and an old yew tree stands in the centre.
Kilmacurragh Arboretum in Co. Wicklow: Around the ruins of a fine Queen Anne style house lie 52 acres of wild Robinsonian gardens began in 1715 and further expanded with the advice of the Directors of the Botanic Gardens in Dublin during the 19th century. Rare trees and shrubs abound for you to explore. Admission is free.
Islay is a small island west of the Scottish mainland and is the home of many well-known malt whiskies. Although a few milder versions exits, Islay whisky in general is smoky, peaty and salty and has quite a bit of tang and tar thrown into the mix. The island once had 23 distilleries operating at the same time but the number of active distilleries is now down to eight. Islay is a centre of “whisky tourism”, and hosts a “Festival of Malt and Music” known as Fèis Ìle each year at the end of May, with events and tastings celebrating the cultural heritage of the island. The whiskies of the distilleries along the southeastern coast of the island, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg, have a smoky character derived from peat, considered a central characteristic of the Islay malts, and ascribed both to the water from which the whisky is made and to the peating levels of the barley.
As the name suggests, the Lowlands is a flat region without mountains. It is also the southernmost part of Scotland. Whisky from the Lowlands is single malt whisky traditionally triple distilled giving it a smooth and slightly fiery taste. It is also very light in salt, peat and smoke as opposed to many other whiskies. Any Lowland whisky is a fine aperitif.
Speyside boasting the highest concentration of distilleries in Scotland, is the undisputed center for whisky in Scotland. Speyside is geographically part of the Highlands but is considered a separate region because of its size and the different characteristics of Speyside whisky as opposed to other Highland whisky. The region has received its name from the river Spey which cuts through the area. Many of the distilleries use water straight from the river Spey in their production process. The malt is considered to be refined, sweet and elegant. If you wish to introduce a friend to the world of whisky, a Speyside is a good choice with its rich flavour, complexity and relatively mild character.
The Highlands is the largest of the whisky producing regions in Scotland. The whisky is often powerful, has a rich flavor and is quite smoky although slightly less so than whisky from the Islands. Compared to the Lowlands, Highland whiskies often taste very different from each other. This is partly due to the size of the region which allows for greater differences in the microclimate, but variations in raw materials and productions techniques also play an important part. The word ‘glen’ is commonly used in the name of both Highland and Speyside distilleries and means ‘valley’.
The region Campbeltown was once a flourishing whisky region and the city of Campbeltown was considered to be the whisky capital of Scotland. In 1886 there were no less than 21 distilleries in and surrounding the city. Today only three distilleries remain. Campbeltown is still referred to as a separate whisky producing region, but today the reason is mostly historical.
It is not uncommon for this region to be confused with Islay but Islands is in fact a separate production region which consists of the islands Mull, Orkney, Jura, Arran, Shetlands and Skye. It is a source of constant debate whether Orkney belongs to the Islands or in fact should be counted as part of the Highlands region. Whisky from the Islands may be described as a milder version of Islay whisky and is often appreciated by those who have enjoyed whisky for a few years. The well-known whisky Talisker is produced on the beautiful Island of Skye. The Blackwood Distillery is the most recent addition to Scotland’s family of distilleries and is currently being built on one of the Shetland Islands.