The essential travel tips to plan your own exciting, adventurous or
relaxing holiday in Praia da Luz or the western part of the Algarve,
Portugal.This short article reveals some of the best beaches in Europe
as well as memorable day trips that will make your holiday.
The seaside village of Praia da Luz (pronounced loozh) lies in the western Algarve, Portugal only 6km west of the historic city of Lagos. It was once a traditional Portuguese fishing village that specialised in octopus potting with a small Tuna canning factory by the beach. Remains of a Roman bath house and aqueduct aswell as prehistoric Mehirs near by remind us of the regions ancient past.
Today Luz is a small yet thriving beach resort with numerous waterside apartments & villas. The main attraction is Luz’s beach with its arced bay and stunning black igneous rock headland, left behind by the volcanoes at Monchique. It is a small place with several local bars and restaurants and 3 resort complexes with outdoor swimming pools and tennis courts. Two water sports centers at the eastern end of Luz beach rent out sailing boats, canoes and Luz also has a deep-sea diving centre and camping site.
Luz is an ideal place to head out for walks in the hills and countryside in the morning or late afternoon. It is also a great place to relax and listen to the birds and watch people go by sipping coffee by the beach. Time slips by slowly with the calm waves licking the golden sands and towards sunset the beach is virtually deserted making it one of the best times to swim in the clean Atlantic waters.
There are plenty of places to visit in the vicinity of Praia da Luz such as the city of Lagos or historic Sagres to the west or to the cooler micro climate in the mountains of Monchique. There is a Market by the bus station in Lagos on Saturday mornings where one can buy locally produced organic fruit and vegetables. Also stock up on fresh fish for the barbecue at the daily fish market in Lagos. An ideal spot to eat out, have coffee or ice cream in the evenings Lagos has a pedestrianised centre and a lively night life. The last bus into Lagos is at around 7PM from the bus stop by the church and Taxis back are affordable costing around 7 Euros.
Monchique is a mountain range about an hours drive from Praia da Luz and makes an ideal place to visit in the afternoon and evening. The Caldes de Monchique are therapeutic thermal baths and the mountains cooler climate and woods are a beautiful place to take long walks. Roadside restaurants offer great value meals and the local brandy, cakes and wild boar are local specialties.
Praia da luz is situated close to many beautiful and unique beaches. Praia de Porto de Mós is a stretch of sand sheltered by low cliffs and is only an hour’s walk along the cliff road to the east. It is a beautiful beach and due to its location is often quiet and secluded. A few kilometers further east you will find another spectacular beach. The Praia do Carnavial is another little known beach where you can swim and bask in the brilliant sun.
Praia Donna Anna is a picture postcard beach that is situated beyond the Ponta da Piedade (Mercy Point). It is the perfect beach to visit when the wind picks up as the high cliffs provide shelter. This and the neighboring picture postcard beaches and coves are surrounded by headlands, caves and rocks out in the sea. To the east of Lagos there is a huge beach stretching half way around the bay of Lagos. Meia Praia has plenty of sand dunes and at low tide the water is shallow enough to stand a considerable distance from the shoreline.
To the west of Praia da Luz are many more beautiful and unspoiled beaches lying within the protected natural reserve of Costa Vicentina. Each has its own unique ambiance and characteristics. Beyond Sagres on the west coast of the Algarve the landscape is rugged and the beaches amoung the most spectacular in Europe. Large Atlantic rollers meet the land and many of the beaches can only be accessed on rough dirt roads. Great care is needed when swimming in this area especially with children and when the tide is high as there are extremely strong currents that can be very dangerous. This is a different Algarve where the beauty and serenity of the landscape and the sound of the wild ocean lashing at the rocks transport us far away from the troubles of modern life. When the tide is low it is usually safe to bathe as the waves collapse on themselves over and over pushing you back to the land with the distant breaker unreachable for anyone but professional surfers.
Martin Thompson is a regular visitor to Praia da Luz where he has spent many sunny days since his childhood in his families villa in Portugal. A professional travel writer who loves the western Algarve he has developed an online guide to Praia da Luz complete with discussion forums, stunning photographs, and local classified ad listings. Visit the helpful traveluzion guide now and sign up for your free travel ezine and ebooks.
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