Stockholm and Junibacken, the theme park based on Astrid Lindgren’s books such as Pippi Långstocking, had been in our travel plans for ages. Traveling from Helsinki to Stockholm with kids by ferry or by air is super easy with numerous daily connections between the two […]
Are you looking for Lapland holidays with a wide variety or activities and unique experiences for the whole family? Prefer a place accessible by public transportation? Ylläs, located about 200 km/125 mi north from the Arctic Circle, is a fantastic base for Lapland family holidays […]
Portugal’s southwestern coastline offers amazing views to the Atlantic Ocean over scenic beaches and impressive sandstone rock formations. Seeing the beaches, caves and grottos from the sea is something you shouldn’t miss if the weather permits! Also the Lagos old town is a charming place for a stroll and enjoying a meal. A bit further away is the Lighthouse of Ponta de Sagres at the southwesternmost point of Europe that’s worth the drive.
Lagos Coastline and Caves Kayaking Trip
We booked the kayaking tour online with Kayak Adventures. The check-in took place at the shop on Praia de Batata where we were guided to leave our shoes and towels in storage. The tour organizer provided us with a dry sack, life vests and paddles. We walked to the adjacent beach where there was a short briefing on paddling technique. Soon we were already pushing the double kayaks to water and hopping onboard. As soon as everyone on the tour was ready we started paddling west towards the caves and a motorboat came along for safety. There were plenty of stops where the guide shared stories about the history of the area.
We’re lucky with the weather and tide as the sea was quite calm and the tide was perfect. It was the first time for my daughter to be in a kayak but she was very quick to pick it up. It was the first time for me to paddle on the Atlantic and I find the views stunning – the sea was sparkling emerald and the standstone cliffs and rock formations were just breathtaking!
Bring along plenty of water, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, waterproof case for your mobile or camera. We found UV shirts useful but many people were paddling in their swimwear. The biggest challenges in kayaking was the quite high boat traffic so I’d recommend to practice paddling a bit in advance to fully enjoy the experience.
The first grotto was Lovers’ cave and it was the most exciting moment on the trip. The entrance to the cave was quite tight and it seemed to be quite shallow and we needed to turn in very small space while the water surging into the cave gave some additional challenge. At this point I was very happy to have some paddling practice in the background. The next grottos called “Kitchen” and “Cathedral” were much easier and wider. We reached the Ponta da Piedade and marveled the sea arches, cliffs and rock formations.
Finally we turned around and returned to the secluded beach for a swim. It felt wonderfully refreshing after kayaking for over an hour in the sun.
After half an hour break it was time to get on-board the kayaks to return back home. To make it super easy for us there was no more paddling ahead, but the kayaks were hooked to each other and towed by the motorboat back to the starting point. I wouldn’t have minded the additional paddling but it was nice to just concentrate in observing the amazing views.
It’s just a short walk from Praia de Batata to the Lagos historic center that’s a charming place set inside the town walls with little stores and lots of restaurants. We enjoyed a refreshing fresh squeezed juice, latté and milkshake at Kisa Real Italian Food that caught our attention with their gluten-free menu.
Our first impression of the Lagos Marina was the numerous stands selling boat trips, water sports and other activities which gave it a bit touristy feel. We had booked our online but noticed that it could have actually been easier to compare and get a good price by visiting there in person. Walking back along the canal in the evening, the entrance to the Marina looked more glamorous with boats passing by.
Lagos beaches are gorgeous but most of them require taking stairs or walking down a steep path which can make them challenging to families with small children. Meia Praia was our favorite beach easy access to parking close to the beach and long stretch of white sand. There’s a café for cold drinks or ice cream after sun bathing too. Praia Dona Ana is west from the Lagos historic center and has been highlighted as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.
Lighthouse of Ponta de Sagres
A bit further west from Lagos is the lighthouse of Ponta de Sagres that’s located in the south-westernmost point of Europe. Centuries back it was considered as the “Edge of the world” and looking at the impressive views and feeling the strength of the wind it really feels like there might not be anything else out there but the endless sea.
The high-speed train from Lisbon was a great way to travel to Lagos in just 3 hours and the closest international airport Faro connects the Algarve region with numerous cities across Europe. Renting a car may be the easiest way to get around for a larger group traveling longer distances but it’s good to know that there are tolls on the main highways that can add up expenses. Uber worked really well in the Lagos area, it was fast, reliable and affordable.
I was so excited about our Lagos cave tour that I would have absolutely wanted to kayak also the Benagil cave further to the east but had to save it for the next trip to the gorgeous Algarve region.
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We visited Hong Kong Disneyland on a Friday afternoon in November. The weather was surprisingly warm and it was crowded with long lines to almost all rides. We ended up mostly just walking around and admiring the parades and enjoying the Disney atmosphere. I’ve visited […]
March to April is the best time to visit Lapland because the darkness and freezing temperatures of the deepest winter are over and the sun is often pampering the winter wonderland’s visitors. In April the days are long already – if you are lucky the […]
We arrived in Gran Canaria on the day before New Year’s Eve hoping to relax in warm weather and sunshine. We got lucky and it indeed was sunny and warm every day. However, evenings were cool so it’s best to pack along warm clothes if you’re traveling to the Canary Islands in winter.
Top 5 things to do in Gran Canaria (especially if traveling with school-aged kids):
- Walking and running at the magnificent Maspalomas Dunes
- Having fun at the hotel pool
- Renting bicyles
- Renting a car and visiting Puerto Rico
- Day trip to Puerto Mogan
1. Walking and running at the magnificent Maspalomas Dunes
The highlight of the holiday was the morning outings – the sunrise is just amazing! Close to our hotel, there was a dried-up river or canal down to the Maspalomas Dunes and alongside are good walkways for walking, jogging and bicycling. Close to the seaside, there’s a beautiful natural reserve lagoon La Charca with lots of bird life.
2. Having fun at the hotel pool
Honestly, many kids enjoy most having fun at the pool and our hotel Canary Garden Club in Maspalomas had a great pool area with sunbeds to enjoy. There’s also a kiosk offering snacks and lunch. The breakfast buffet was excellent, lots of options including fresh fruit and vegetables. The bungalows are small and simple but fine when you spend most of the time outside anyway. There’s a small playground for kids and the surroundings make it easy for kids to run around without disturbing others. There’s a mini convenience store next to the reception and not far, within around 10 minutes walking distance, was a small mall Faro 2 with a Hyperdino grocery store.
3. Renting bicyles
We rented bicycles which we found to be lots of fun with just 15 euros in total for kid’s and adult’s basic bicycles for 24 hours and helmets were included. We recommend Elemi & Lino’s Bike located in Faro 2 shopping mall – they have a wide range of bicycles and helpful staff.
We had a wonderful day bicycling to the beach, having lunch at our favorite restaurant Café Colon that’s located at the root of the Meloneras lighthouse “Faro”.
4. Renting a car and visiting Puerto Rico
We rented a car for three days at a very reasonable price (around 150 euros) including full insurance cover from Isla Car. It was easy to drive around but finding a parking place close to popular places can be a challenge. We visited Puerto Rico and spent the day at the Angry Birds park. It’s basically a big playground with different activities like trampolines, climbing wall, slides, mini golf, etc. The 8-year-olds loved it and seemed to find more things to do all day. Other interesting attractions for an active day out with kids would have been Aqualand and Palmitos Park, but had to save those for another time.
We spent half a day in Atlantico shopping center that has a big Carrefour store and lots of popular brand stores like Zara, Mango and Desigual. The capital of the island Las Palmas is the number one shopping place but we skipped it this time.
5. Day trip to Puerto Mogan
On the last day with the car we drove up to Puerto Mogan which is a really beautiful small town by the sea. I would have liked to get there early in the morning to make it to the morning yoga on the beach. Unfortunately it wasn’t possible and I couldn’t find any outdoor yoga classes in Maspalomas. Anyway, we had a very nice lunch in a restaurant on the beach boulevard.
Overall, it was a wonderful holiday and Gran Canaria became one of my all-time favorite family travel destinations and there’s still plenty of things to do for our next visit! Traveling with kids isn’t always a breeze but it helps a lot to plan ahead – here’s for example some good tips to consider in preparing for the next journey with the little ones.
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It was Easter holiday when we packed our skiing gear and set off for my daughter’s first skiing holiday. Last year I spent Easter in Finnish Lapland for the first time in my life and it was an amazing experience to be surrounded with snow, yet […]
It was my second time to visit Corralejo, Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. The weather was quite windy which seems to be typical, so be sure to bring also warm clothes in addition to sunscreen if traveling there. However, I found the climate to be […]