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Family Fun

The protected parkland around Penha Longa Resort contains so many historically notable sites that it earned UNESCO’s first World Heritage Cultural Landscape designation. The park is home to cobblestoned villages, elaborate palaces and stunning Atlantic beaches and cliffs, all within a comfortable commute of the relaxed, luxe Penha Longa. Western Portugal’s enviable wealth of destinations warrants an ambitious itinerary that includes something for every family member who’s lucky enough to explore it.

Three kids and an adult drive a buggy down a paved road overlooked by trees

Day

1

MORNING
  • You’re on a Roll!

    Once you’ve explored Penha Longa’s exquisite grounds on foot, hop into a Jeep for a tour of the most interesting sites in the surrounding 545-acre Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.

AFTERNOON
  • A Towering Achievement.

    Enjoy the expansive views from the Royal Tower at the Castelo dos Mouros. The parapets and ramparts of this military fort stand as testament to the Muslim Andalusians who controlled the Iberian Peninsula from the eighth century until 1147.

  • National Treasures.

    The Palacio Nacional de Pena is a dizzying blend of architecture. One wing is a former monastery built in 1511; the other, added 350 years later, evokes German Romanticist castles. You’ll wander past artwork and artifacts and into chapels and halls. Or take a horseback ride through the gardens and orchards of Pena Park.

EVENING
  • A Taste of Italy.

    Venture to the Mediterranean with dinner at Il Mercato. The laid-back resort restaurant highlights the most extraordinary dishes found throughout the 20 regions of Italy — never fussy, always fabulous.

Aerial view of a lush green valley with buildings tuckes between the trees

Day

2

MORNING
  • Have a Fling.

    Try your hand at pétanque on the sports field at Penha Longa. Try to land your boule as close to the target as possible; unlike bocce, players usually toss their ball instead of rolling it, which allows for backspin, and the sport can be played on any appropriate surface — no official court required.

AFTERNOON
  • Surf and Turf.

    The solitary nature of Ursa Beach is why it’s considered among Portugal’s most beautiful — as long as you’re game for the hour long hike back up the cliff when it’s time to leave. Adraga Beach, farther up the Atlantic coast, is popular with surfers because of its crashing waves.

EVENING
  • Wuthering Heights.

    Watch the sun drop into the Atlantic from the lighthouse and massive wind-battered cliffs of Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe and, until the late 14th century, believed to be the edge of the world.

Close-up of a flag with the resort name, located on a golf course

Day

3

MORNING
  • Par Excellence.

    The world-class golf courses at Penha Longa Resort are ranked among the top 30 in continental Europe and take players on a journey through challenging hills and past picturesque lakes, medieval walls and castle towers.

AFTERNOON
  • Scientific Self-Discovery.

    Test and track your wits and reflexes while discovering tenets of science and technology at the Sintra Live Science Centre. The museum’s interactive exhibits let visitors even measure their own emotions.

  • Media Blitz.

    NewsMuseum examines the past, present and future of journalism and media, from radio-fueled revolutions to virtual reality. Browse galleries of famous photos and test your knowledge by answering questions about everything from the Gutenberg press to TV tickers.

EVENING
  • Soak Up Some Local Flavor.

    The cobblestone streets of Sintra’s town center wend past quaint shops and eateries well worth checking out. The fifth-generation Piriquita bakery, famous for its travesseiros and queijadas, has been in business for 160 years. For traditional Portuguese dinner entrées, duck into Tulhas Restaurante.

An espresso machine pours out into two cups

Day

4

MORNING
  • Continental Breakfast.

    Power up with espresso, scones and traditional pastries from Saudade, a charming coffee shop that occupies a historic former cheesecake factory (and still sells queijadas today).

  • The Royal Treatment.

    Beat the tourist buses and get an early start at the National Palace of Sintra. The palace is the only one in Portugal that has survived virtually intact from its Middle Ages incarnation, so its Moorish features, including dazzling tilework, remain today.

AFTERNOON
  • It Will Be Epoch!

    The Sintra Natural History Museum takes visitors even further back in time — millions of years, to be exact. Thousands of fossils, minerals and other specimens reveal the evolution of life over the geological eras.

EVENING
  • Utopian Ideals.

    Enjoy a sunset dinner at Villa Tamariz Utopia, the elegant yet laid-back Mediterranean restaurant in a renovated 19th-century villa that overlooks the Atlantic. The impressive menu includes a variety of seafood rice dishes as well as a selection of delicious Portuguese-style tapas and small dishes, divided into two categories: Sea and Land.

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Day

5

MORNING
  • Garden Party.

    The paths through the elaborate hunting grounds at the Monserrate Palace wind through separate Japanese and Mexican gardens; more than a thousand rosebushes; and Portugal’s first lawn. The building itself is a stunning combination of Arabic, Gothic and Indian architectural styles. 

AFTERNOON
  • Robe Warriors

    Relax and recharge at Penha Longa Spa, which in 2017 was named the best luxury resort spa in Portugal. The 16,000-square-foot, Thai-inspired facility offers signature treatments for adults, featuring products by Spanish luxury brand Natura Bissé, as well as unique options for teens and tweens.

EVENING
  • Freedom of Choice.

    The options are plentiful at B Lounge, where the dinner menu includes more than 100 types of gourmet burgers. The accompanying bar, not to be outdone, offers more than 150 gins.