Praia Da Luz Scenes
Praia da Luz is another Algarve resort that has seen much development in recent years and it has become a firm favourite for the English ex-patriot community. It has retained its appeal and attractiveness by being held to a relatively low-rise landscape. A lot of the development has gone to the west of Praia da Luz, but it now boasts a wide selection of accommodation, with several hotels in the central hub of the village and many private holiday villa and apartment rentals. Despite its growth, much of Praia da Luz accommodation is easily accessible and within walking distance of the town and the beautiful beach, whose bay is sheltered by the 'Black Rock'.
There are lots of restaurants, cafés and shops along the promenade, which runs behind the beach. There are also all sorts of market stalls and artists displaying their work where you can browse if you want a break from the beach. Surprisingly, there are also some ruins of Roman baths from 3rd to 5th century A.D just behind the wall that runs along the promenade. There is a door in the wall which is open from 10am to 5pm every day and just up the steps are the remains of Roman baths. Luckily this last piece of history was saved from the developers and preserved and is now overlooked by modern villas.
It is easy to see why Praia da Luz is so popular for holidays, the resort has everything you need - a lovely beach; lots of restaurants, bars and cafés; a bank, shops for everything you are likely to need and all in a very attractive setting. It is an ideal resort for family holidays with everything so close at hand!
There are several mini-mercados (including a Spar) and a main supermarket ('Baptista') for your everyday needs and also a good shop selling natural products and all those alternative food products you thought you wouldn't be able to find; but if there is anything else you need, Lagos is around a 10-minute drive away. There is also a regular bus service.
Praia da Luz is an excellent family resort and you really don't need to travel further afield, but there are other fun things for families to do close at hand. Lagos Zoo is only a short drive away and it concentrates on smaller animals (the monkey islands are brilliant!) and birds and is ideal for an afternoon out. It's not too big, so not overly tiring for young children and also has a 'pets corner' which is very popular with 'children' of all ages!
Slide and Splash at Lagoa is the nearest water park for somewhere to cool off on those hot summer days and Zoomarine at Guia (near Albufeira) although a little further away, (about a forty minute drive) is another great family day out - take your swimsuits as there are pools as well. Going west towards Sagres, there is a Blo karting track just beside the N125 past Vila do Bispo and of course there are always the more exposed beaches of the western atlantic coast around Sagres for surfing.
It is well worth a day out in Lagos as it is so close and one of the most attractive towns in the Algarve. The main avenue runs the length of the town with the marina and town beach on one side and the cobbled squares and streets that make up Lagos town centre on the other. There are restaurants and cafes to suit all tastes and a lot of them have fantastic views across Lagos Bay. Lagos also has plenty of shops to tempt you and a splendid fish market which is open in the mornings. It is also a town with history - the narrow streets of the old centre are still ringed by 15th century defensive walls and a fort still 'guards' the entrance to the harbour. Take your beach gear with you as there are plenty of beaches to choose from - whether you fancy secluded, cove beaches with calm clear waters ideal for swimming, or the 4km long stretch of golden sand around the bay, Meia Praia which doesn't get crowded even at the height of summer.
Praia da Luz Algarve Portugal
Praia da Luz is approximately 6km's southwest of Lagos the former capital of the Algarve, Portugal. Praia da Nossa Senhora da Luz is the village named after the beach of (the church/ parish) of Our Lady of Light. Adored for it's sheltered bay and wide sandy crescent beach, Praia da Luz is a firm family favourite holiday resort (especially with the British holidaymaker) and is located within a short drive of the protected Costa Vicentina Natural Park and some of the finest and most varied beaches in Europe.
Praia da Luz like neighbouring Burgau was a small Portuguese fishing village comprised of little white fisherman's cottages along the cobbled main road (Rue Direita) leading to the village church and the side streets leading down to the beach. The village has expanded considerably since the 1960's and now spread out into the hills, west and north of the centre for some distance. The recent pedestrianisation of the promenade along the beach and the introduction of a one way system has helped maintain the quiet traditional feel.
Remains of a bathhouse and artesian wells were part of a Roman settlement and Luz was once inhabited by the Carthaginians. More recently Luz was a fishing village that specialized in octopus potting and also once had a canning factory by the beach.
The praia (beach) is wide and sandy curving around the bay and at its rear has a raised pedestrian promenade complete with benches and Palm tress. To the east the beach becomes thinner beneath the cliffs heading towards the Rocha Negra, a black igneous outcrop left by the now dormant volcanoes at Monchique. Two water sports centres offer water sports; sailing and windsurfing at the eastern end of the beach. Praia da Luz also has a diving centre. The beach is sheltered with gentle wave's ideal for a refreshing swim in the clean sandy bay. There are life guards and a coloured flag system indicating the swimming conditions. With little traffic Luz beach is in safe walking distance of much of the villa and apartments in Praia da Luz.
Climate of Praia da Luz
The climate is slightly cooler and windier than Lagos to the east while it is more sheltered and warmer than Sagres further to the west. Close to the beach as much of the older village is, temperatures are pleasantly cool at night even in mid summer and it is recommended to wear a coat in the evenings. Day time temperatures are pleasantly warm but Praia da Luz is far enough West that temperatures by day do not often exceed 35 degrees Celsius and the influence of the Atlantic also keeps mosquitoes to a minimum.
Day Trips/ Excursions
The walk up the Miradoura da Atalaia (108 m high) with it's fabulous views to the east of Praia da Luz takes one out into open countryside and along the cliff road. Wild flowers grow in spring and early summer among the fig trees and if you continue along the cliff road you can reach the idyllic Praia do Porto de Mos.
To the west of Luz lies the little village and beach of Burgau. It takes about an hour and a half to walk along the coastal road, around a large hill and down towards the beach. There are a number of cafes and restaurants or you could take a packed lunch and spend the afternoon on the beach. See for further information.
Monchique is about 45 minutes by car from Luz and is a lovely spot to collect fresh spring water, to walk among the trees and is famous for its chicken Piri Piri, thermal baths and cool mountain air.
There are many differing beaches to try especially those to the west within the Costa Vicentina natural park. The beaches near such as Praia donna Ana sheltered beneath the cliffs or the long Meia Praia stretching east of Lagos are also excellent.
Lagos is ideal for shopping in its pedestrianised centre. On Saturday morning's there is a traditional fruit and vegetable market by the bus station and Lagos also has daily fish market in the former slave market. The old town is home to plenty of little shops and a wide range of restaurants, cafes and a famous night scene and is very busy in the summer. The last bus into town is at around 7PM (later in summer) by the church and one can take taxis back (approximately 12 euros) all night.
Location map of Luz below.
There are plenty of restaurants centrally located in Praia da Luz that offer up international dishes including Italian, an Indian and a number of Portuguese restaurants. Neighboring Lagos offers higher quality and better value for money while Luz is more limited. The Fortaleza restaurant offers good meals in a superb setting and cheap bites can be had in the cafes around the village.
There are several small supermarkets including the Baptistas supermarket in town. However if you can make the Saturday morning market in Lagos you can stock up on a wide range of local fruit and vegetables including organic food and fresh eggs. Also be sure to visit the fresh fish market for the days catch. Barbecued fish, salads with boiled potatoes are a favourite.
The Baptistas supermarket in Luz is not far from the village church and sells a good range of food including some local organic foods and imports for the British or German holiday maker. Prices are a little steep as compared with the large hypermarkets on the outskirts of Lagos.
The Portuguese coffee shop next to the O Poço restaurant at the western end of Luz beach is a good place to have breakfast in the sun or to sit sipping a good cup of coffee.
Eureka Services, Internet & Video rental shop offers a good internet service and is located 3 minutes walk from the church on the right hand side of Rua Direita opposite the Ocean club main office. They have several machines and offer pre pay deals. The Lazuli bar also has one machine available for customers down by the beach.
The village post office and a cash machine are on the right hand side of Rua Direita opposite the Ocean Club office. The bus stop and taxi rank are by the village church.
Information courtesy of general internet research and algarveuncovered.com, portugal-info.net, tripadvisor.com, algarve-guides.com and many more sources
Villa Rentals in praia da Luz and holiday rentals in the Algarve Portugal in general are big business so you should expect to be treated with professionalism and with courtesy