Beach of light
Although officially the town is just called Luz, its full title Praia Da Luz means ‘Beach of Light’, so it’s no wonder it has an exceptional strip of golden sand. The beach has held the Blue Flag standard since 2005 due to its cleanliness and facilities such as having lifeguards on duty during summer months.
Head back from the beach promenade and you might be surprised to find the remains of Roman baths from the 3rd to 5th century AD. Slightly hidden away, they’re accessed through a doorway in the wall that opens daily from 10am to 5pm and leads up some steps.
Time to dine
Restaurants in Praia Da Luz cover all of the Portuguese and Mediterranean delights you’d expect as well as Italian, Chinese, burgers and pub grub. There are also a select amount of beach bars and cocktail joints vying for your attention for evening drinks, but nights stay pretty calm here.
As Praia Da Luz has a fairly large number of British ex-pat residents, lots of places cater for British tastes. Those enjoying an All Inclusive holiday to Portugal during the off-season are sure to find something that suits them in the hotel dining room, while many of the restaurants and other amenities also stay open throughout the year.
Local to Lagos
It’s really quick and easy to get to neighbouring Lagos to make the most of its shopping, beaches, nightlife and attractions. You can catch a bus from Praia Da Luz town square, but if you’re staying for the nightlife you’ll need to get a taxi back as the bus service finishes quite early.
Days in Lagos can be spent wandering round the large, established marina, which is still looked over by a 17th-century fort. You can make the most of the variety of beaches and visit Lagos Zoo for a few hours. Focused mainly on small animals such as monkeys, it’s not too big so little legs can walk round easily and the pets’ corner is particularly popular with children.
Praia Da Luz sits on the edge of the southern point of a huge natural park. Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa encompasses 150 kilometres of stunning coastal cliff-scape and green interior ripe for hiking or relaxing in.
Even without venturing as far as the park, a short walk to the west from town will provide spectacular scenery as there are some rocky outcrops where people fish and children can play in the rock pools. Coach excursions to take you further are easily booked in town.
As well as an abundance of watersports, in Praia Da Luz you can also take part in walking or cycling tours, or go out on a quad bike. You can even enjoy some Moto Cross in nearby Alvor. If you head west towards Sagres, there’s an eco-friendly Blo’ Karting track where you can land sail – like windsurfing but on a wheeled kart. The coast around Sagres is also excellent for surfing.
For those handy with a nine iron, Boavista and Palmares golf courses are both within a 10-minute drive. But if you’re set on getting wet at a waterpark then the closest one is 25-kilometres east in Lagoa. Slide and Splash has everything from black holes to rubber dinghy rapids and an Olympic size swimming pool.
From Praia Da Luz’s watersports centre you can hop on an hour-long glass-bottom boat trip around the interesting limestone rock formations that are dotted along the coast towards Lagos. The guides will tell you which ones are known as the love grotto, cathedral, elephant and ghost.