A vacation in Portugal is always filled with history, medieval sites, sandy beaches, and thrilling activities. As a parent of an autistic child, you may be wondering how all those things equal an autism friendly vacation. Well, any vacation can be autism friendly if you plan ahead and do some research. I thought I would share some of the information I have about planning an autism friendly vacation in Portugal. Reading this information will save you hours of research on your own. Of course, I am always here to chat when you are ready to plan any autism friendly vacation for your family.
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Plan an Autism Friendly Vacation in Portugal
Portugal may be a small country. However, you should still keep in mind that it does take time to go from destination to destination. So, you won’t be able to pack everything into one trip if you want your vacation in Portugal to be autism friendly.
Thankfully, you can stick to one city, town, or region for your autism friendly vacation. This will make it easier for you to drive a rental car or utilize the country’s public transportation.
Accommodations in Portugal
You will obviously need a place to sleep at night while on vacation in Portugal. There are plenty of B&Bs, guest houses, and rental apartments throughout this country. You can also choose to stay in one of the many hotels.
Keep your family’s needs in mind while choosing your accommodations in Portugal. If you are unsure of which type of accommodation will be best for your family, I can help as I am planning your vacation.
Autism Friendly Things to Do in Portugal
Visit Ria Formosa Nature Park
Do your kids love nature? If they do, a visit to the Ria Formosa Nature Park should be at the top of your list. This nature park is full of canals, lagoons, islands, and swamps. It is a great place to explore and check out the country’s wildlife.
You will also find a couple beaches in this nature park. Be prepared by having your swimsuits with you.
Check Out Marine Life at the Oceanário de Lisboa
This happens to be the largest aquarium in Europe. Four marine habitats are on display within the main aquarium. Lots of fish and other marine life can be seen swimming around.
During your visit, you will also want to check out the amphibians and other mammals that call this aquarium home.
Have Fun at the Beach
The best beaches in Portugal can be found in the Algarve region. This area is along the southern coast of the country. Most of the beaches in that area are perfect for swimming and sandcastle building.
If you are not down in southern Portugal, you can always head to Praia da Adraga. It is approximately forty-five minutes from Lisbon. Another closer option to Lisbon is Matosinhos Beach.
Drive Through the Douro Valley
Taking a hike through the Douro Valley isn’t the most autism friendly thing to do in Portugal. Yet, it is a region that should be appreciated if you have the time on your Portugal vacation. So, I recommend taking a drive to see the lush vineyards and the rest of the countryside.
Take a Ride on the Lisbon Tram 28
One of the best ways to explore the city of Lisbon is by taking a ride on the Lisbon Tram 28. The tram will take you past many of the sites you will want to see during your vacation.
Once your ride is complete, you can decide if any of the sites you saw are worthy of an up-close look. Then you can simply visit those and get some free time later in the day.
Visit Livraria Lello
Livraria Lello is an infamous bookstore that was used as inspiration for the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. If your kids love Harry Potter, or simply love books, you must spend some time here.
The twisting staircases and unique designs can keep everyone in your family busy. So can all the books that line the shelves.
Take a Walk in the Charming Buçaco National Forest
You will hear nothing but complete silence most of the time you are visiting the Buçaco National Forest. I recommend picking up a map at the Posto de Turismo do Luso-Bussaco, which is the information center, before heading out on the trails. The map will allow you to choose a walking trail that is autism friendly for your family.
A couple attractions you may want to visit here include the Coimbra Gate, Buçaco Palace, and the Fonte Fria fountain.
Go Swimming in the Azores
If you have the time during your autism friendly vacation in Portugal, I recommend heading over to the Azores. These islands are off the coast of Portugal. On the island of São Miguel, you will find multiple geothermal springs. Those springs are perfect for swimming and relaxing.
See the Anchor Cemetery on Tavira Island
A unique activity in Portugal is visiting the Anchor Cemetery on Tavira Island. You can take a scenic train ride or the ferry over to this island. The train takes you directly to the cemetery, while the ferry drops you off three miles away. I recommend taking the train if your autistic child doesn’t love walking too far.
There are more than two hundred anchors within this cemetery. No one knows who put them there or why. All I know is it is a fascinating place that will appeal to boat and pirate lovers!
These are just some of the autism friendly things your family can do during a vacation in Portugal. There are many others and we can add those in, as I create the perfect Portugal itinerary for your autistic family. I can’t wait to make your dreams come true when it comes to an autism friendly vacation in Portugal. The stories you will share afterwards will be amazing! So, contact me and let me start planning this unique vacation your entire family will love.