I know that the current situation is far from perfect right now. You’re stuck at home (or about to be) with the kids and the partner getting under your feet, home-schooling, video-calling, dinner-making, laundry-doing and online shopping-queuing and a family getaway is not on todays priority list.
However… this too shall pass
It is one of those phrases that us as parents, especially mums like me will have seen whilst trawling the internet on raising children and problems they cause from sleeping to eating.
So knowing that this current isolating situation will not last forever let me tempt you to keep your travelling dreams alive, and think of a brighter, less static way of having a holiday. After being cooped up for who knows how long, your children and yourselves are going to want freedom and lots of it. My own children, 3 and 6 are energy hunting explorers. They love anything new and exciting.
Which is where the Getaway Van comes in for your post lockdown family getaway .
The Getaway Van is a family run business, with Graca and Abilio at the helm they are experienced in both family life and tourism in Portugal. Located in the north of Portugal it is where your journey can or should I say will begin :)..
First off, whenever my kids see one of the six getaway vans they get ridiculously excited, the colours, the size and the unique feeling of excitement that we are going somewhere new, somewhere different.
My son first went on one of the vans when he was 9 months old. We needed to take a trip to Lisbon from the North of Portugal. It was my first and his first experience of the van and also of Lisbon. We didn’t have much time to prepare for the trip but that is one of the beauties of the Getaway van. You don’t need to book hotels, cars, bring car seats, book train tickets etc etc…
We were able to use the free 4G portable wifi internet in the van as well as the free to use GPS you can see in the picture of my son ‘driving’ and ‘using’. Using these we were able to search the nearest and best campsites to where we were going. Using getaway we also saved money, getting a discount on the campsite as getaway has many campsite partners.
I am not, if I am honest, the best camper when it comes to tents, however, this was not your normal camping experience. The baby and I had plenty of room on our bed and dad had all the room he wanted on his bed. We slept really well and were nice and cosy in our van in our sleeping bags. The next morning we cooked up some food on the portable cooker at the campsite
The second thing I want to highlight is not only can you stay in far-flung places at the drop of a hat you also have loads of things for kids and families in the North. With the van you can explore all over the north of Portugal and park up anywhere that is a legal place to rock up.
Here are my and the
in Porto and North areas.
1 – Beaches.
I cannot miss beaches off my list. Being from the UK, the beaches here in Portugal are gorgeous, so smooth and soft on feet, with great sand castle building sand if you dig a bit. What is so great about them is nearly all beaches have a cafe to grab an ice cream or snack and easy access to the path. Another great thing about the beaches is if it is not sunbathing/playing in the sand weather there are miles of walkways to enjoy along the coast. Great for a morning or late afternoon stroll with the kids and/or the dog.
My favorite ice cream beach getaway in the north is a place called Povoa de Varzim. It has everything the kids want, beaches, playgrounds and best of all the most delicious ice cream in cafes (Kinder bueno ice cream? Yes , please)
2 – Surfing
Kids really need to burn off that excess energy, then look no further than surf schools in Portugal.
Those beaches are not just for looks there are some great waves out there too. There are lots of surf schools and Getaway is partnered with some of the best all over the country so take a look here.
3 – History and culture
Porto and the north are full of culture. When it comes to it, the kids will have been off of school for ages and a holiday can combine some learning as well as some fun. The city of Porto is teeming with culture and depending on the ages of the kids you can visit the many amazing tiled churches that are dotted around Porto, the cheese castle (don’t try and eat it, it’s not real cheese guys!) aka Fort of São Francisco do Queijo, as well as an interactive theme park ride where you learn about Portuguese history – on a boat!.
4 – A visit to Geres
Why go here?
- Natural landscape
- Biodiversity, there are wolves, eagles, horses, cows and many more to be discovered
- Traditional Architecture
- Walking trails and hikes
- Gorgeous waterfalls
- Adventure sports
5 – Port Wine and Fado
Obviously I can’t exclude Port Wine and you may have never heard of Fado.
Parents, singles, partners, surfers, adventurers all need a little down time to learn about the origins and details about one of the most famous exports of Porto. Along the spectacular river douro there are many different port wine cellars and getaway has some partners where you can get some discounts at certain cellars.
Often these cellars combine tours of the cellars with port tasting and sometimes have live Fado music. If you want to hear some traditional emotive portuguese music then I highly recommend a visit to a Fado show.
So if you have made it this far without the kids, work, mother in law/father in law calling for your attention, well done! Keep the Getaway Van in mind for your next trip. Avoid the hotels, the car hire charges and gain the best thing… a perfect family getaway.