Portgual, Madeira & Azores

Portugal, Madeira & Azores customer reviews

We are very proud of the feedback we get from our trips and are pleased to share reviews from past travellers. We aim to keep these as up-to-date as possible. Please do read the reviews to get a real sense of the kind of experience that you might have on a family trip to Portugal with Stubborn Mule Travel. And ring us if you’d like to talk through your plans.

swimming with dolphins in the Azores

Swimming with dolphins in the Azores

Graham Family (with children aged 7 & 8)

Travelled Summer 2022
Hi Liddy. Thanks for your email; we’ve been meaning to get in touch! Safe to say we had an absolute blast. Everything just worked and the balance of activities and downtime was perfect. We loved Lisbon/Sintra and the stops down the west coast in particular. M fell in love with Porto Covo. The Algarve was fun too (and sea warmer than west coast). The guest house in Porto Covo (which was lovely, by the way) worked fine with separate rooms as it turned out. We will follow up with a proper ‘review’ and any photos, and equally happy to chat through with you as well. Absolutely loved it all though. I’d almost liken our first Stubborn Mule trip to your first business class flight: tough to contemplate having to travel any other way in future….

Burley Family (with teenagers aged 15 & 18)

Travelled summer 2022
Hi Liddy. We had a super time thank you, which was mainly down to your company and their detailed knowledge of Portugal and great planning. As newbies to Portugal, I neither had a clue what we wanted to see or where we should stay, you basically sorted that all out for us. Plus you take away the hassle of booking flights, which I loathe. It made the holiday as pain-free as possible to organise from my point of view and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to have done it better. We were incredibly lucky, our 1 pm flight out of Heathrow was the first of the day to go to Lisbon, with the 2 previous ones cancelled. The guy who collected us from Lisbon airport was so lovely, he was like a tour guide on the way in, we asked him loads of things and he gave us loads of tips. A really good first impression.

The accommodation in Lisbon was slap bang in the centre, pristine, good breakfast and very helpful staff. They gave us a tip for a good fish restaurant on the first night and we sat on a lovely square listening to buskers eating a great meal. Lisbon coincided with the heat wave so we were up at the castle for 9.00am to beat the heat and the queues..by the time we came out 2 hours later they were queuing down the road standing in the direct heat. We decided against Sintra, as it was peak tourist season and we figured there was enough to do in Lisbon. We had booked a Fado night for that evening, which was nice to experience.

The following morning a great double act turned up, who were the car hire company. A lady and a man, bought a choice of 2 cars and helped us with our luggage to the local car park about 400m away where they had parked them. Again they gave us tons of advice and were really friendly. What was particularly lovely was that when they found out we were going to start the day by visiting the aquarium, they said they would lead us there and show us the right car park as it was on the way back to their main office. This made leaving inner Lisbon a lot less stressful. The aquarium was great, and not too full and we picked up a super meal in the surrounding restaurants.

Then we followed your directions via a quick pit stop at the Belem Tower and made a way via back roads down to Sesimbra. I spoke to one of your colleagues the day before we went and she gave some useful advice about where to park. We managed to park right outside our next hotel to drop the luggage off and then we parked the car as she suggested in the free car park at the top of the town.

The hotel in Sesimbra was the favourite accommodation for all of us. Again a fab location right on the lovely little central square. 20 mins after arriving we were in swim stuff on the beach just 200m from where we were staying! The couple who run the hotel are delightful, so friendly and thoughtful and the accommodation was very nicely decorated, clean, lovely view over the square and a super breakfast with lots of choice. We swam in the sea every day, lovely beaches, with space for everyone.

All the arrangements for coasteering and canoeing were well explained and worked well. The coasteering was truly hair-raising… no small jumps to build up your confidence, straight into great leaps off rock faces into the water and then clambering out to do it again and again. Not for the faint-hearted but quite an experience…you can only enjoy it after the event! Kayaking was a much more chilled event and we actually canoed past the next load of brave coasteerers. Nice lunchtime break on a secluded beach for a swim and a top recommendation from the organisers for a little fish restaurant on the roadside near them… the cheapest meal of the holiday with sardines fresh from the harbour. My husband who is a foodie said it was his favourite meal.

Then it was on to the coast, we decided not to stop off as we were a little worried about leaving the car with our luggage in. Thanks to the great location of this accommodation we discovered the estuary just next to us and the evening views were spectacular. The surf guy was a total delight, very organised, so friendly and very patient with a load of hopeless surfers! The beach was spectacular and pretty deserted, with just the right waves for beginners.

Overall, moving three times was great, we were ready for a change each time. Punctuating the trip with activities for the kids really worked, it gave us a structure for our days. The quality and location of the accommodation was excellent. All your info was super helpful, thank you.

Horsefield Family (with teens and young adults aged 17, 19 & 21)

Travelled to the Azores June 2022
Hi Liddy. Thanks for your email – we all had a fab time thanks – we will respond in more detail asap!

Griffin Family (with children aged 15 and 17)

Travelled to the Madeira Easter 2022
Hi Liddy. Just wanted to provide some feedback on the holiday, which we all really enjoyed. A massive thumbs up for Roberto who was amazing for us over the week. He’s an amazing guide and really knowledgeable and couldn’t have done any more for us. The hotel was great – they messed up our rooms as we ended up with the original booking (kids shared a double) but the rooms were lovely. Loved the pool! One thing for improvement would be to mention beforehand to take some warm clothing for the walk. It was cold up on top and we didn’t have the proper gear as hadn’t thought to take our walking stuff. Small point as thoroughly enjoyed the holiday.

Family L (with children aged 13 and 15)

Travelled to Madeira Easter 2022
Hi Claire. We had a fun holiday. I would definitely recommend (your guide) Roberto and his contacts for the activities we did – we really enjoyed all the activities… Thanks so much for your help in organising it for us.

Cocca Family (with children aged 8 and 12)

Travelled to the Azores Summer 2021
Wow! What an amazing holiday. Stubborn Mule has done it again. We had an absolutely awesome time! We were lucky to see close up a curious whale and its calf which just loved circling our boat. We swam with dolphins. I will never forget seeing a dolphin stare up at me in the deep blue sea before darting away. It was amazing to hear the dolphins communicate with each other. We rode bikes around a crater and paddled kayaks across a crater lake. We visited a lighthouse half buried in volcanic ash and learned all about volcanoes as we walked inside a lava tube. One night we lay on the ground staring at the clear night sky watching shooting stars and listening to the Cory Shearwaters with their distinct calls swoop just above our heads.

We climbed Pico, Portugal’s highest mountain, (2,351m), and enjoyed relaxing evenings eating fresh fish and unwinding by the pool. We hiked through amazing landscapes formed by volcanic lava flows. We relaxed in volcanic hot spring pools and learned to cook ‘cozido’ with a local chef. Our stew cooked for 5 hours in the ground by volcanic steam. We swam in waterfalls and spent an evening surfing as the sun set. We watched our 8-year-old overcome his fears as he leapt from 8m high into the deep blue sea on our coasteering adventure.

Throughout our guides were magnificent making sure that we had the best time. It was truly a holiday to treasure with some amazing memories. Thank you Stubborn Mule!

Barnes Family (with child aged 15)

Travelled to the Azores Summer 2020
We really loved our time in the Azores. We had quite mixed weather – some glorious sunny days but a bit of rain too, although I understand that this is completely normal summer weather. The activities were just what we were looking for – the whale-watching was incredible and we saw a blue whale which was a particular highlight for M. She’s now decided that she wants to do a PADI course so she can explore underwater a bit more!

The hiking was superb and we did a great trek around Sete Cidades. Our guide Juan was hilarious and kept M going the whole way with his Portguese version of Dad Jokes. The day of canyoning was also brilliant. This was our least good weather day and in fact it really didn’t matter at all, and we loved it anyway.

Cooking the cozido stew was fun although as a some-time vegetarian it was a bit meaty for me. But it was fun to understand how it cooks in the ground and the others loved it.

All in all, really fun and totally different to anything else we’ve ever done in Europe. A great suggestion, thank you!

Bernard Family (with two young adults aged 20)

Travelled Summer 2020
Thank you so much Liddy for arranging our trip at such short notice. Portugal was perfect for a family celebration with our 20-year-olds. Lisbon was a terrific way to start the holiday. It was lively, upbeat, and friendly, just what we’d hoped for. We loved the cafe culture, the circular tram trip, the museums etc and heard some traditional Fado music too. The cycling in Alentejo was fun and the beach blissful, as you said it would be. Such a stunning coast with great swimming and we all tried the SUPs and kayaks. Really appreciate everything you organised for us.


Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.

01728 752751

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