Luz, also known as Praia da Luz (pronounced “loozsh”) is still a typically Portuguese village in its appearance, with narrow cobbled streets but today it is devoted almost exclusively to tourism and long-term residents.
A promenade overlooks the sandy bay, this good-size golden crescent is backed by cliffs, the towering ‘Rocha Negra’, at one end, while at the other are large rocky slabs, perfect for sand-free sunbathing. The calm waters of the bay are extremely popular for water sports lovers and equipment can be rented on the beach. Family-friendly tourism is the name of the game here and Affinity Villas customers return to our villa rentals in Luz year after year. Luz is quiet and peaceful and has a welcoming atmosphere with a surprisingly wide selection of bars, cafes and restaurants
Praia da Luz was originally a fishing village of great importance, especially between the 13th and 16th-centuries. Situated at the coast of the western windward, it is sheltered from the force of the Atlantic Ocean by the dark coloured rock formation, called ‘Rocha Negra’, which derives from a volcanic vein of the Monchique mountains that extended to the sea.
During the First World War, four ships sunk on 24th April 1917 on the Algarvian coast, off Praia da Luz, by the German submarine SM U-35. The huge Danish steamboat Wilhelm Krag was one of them and today represents a diver’s paradise. Hence the name of the diving spot ‘Vapor da Luz’ (Steamboat of Luz) It is also rich in marine fauna as the wreckage serves as shelter for several species and, according to experts, it is one of the best shipwrecks in the Algarve. The other three ships (Nordsoen-Denmark, Torvore-Norway and Bienaimé Prof. Luigi-France) are all located at the coast of the western windward.
A leisurely stroll along the paved promenade flanked by large palm trees and following the seafront, offers sunny terraces and lots of entertainment during the summer. It will eventually bring you to the 16th-century ‘Igreja da Luz de Lagos’-Church of Light) as the route merges with the walls of the originally built fortress which served to protect the church from North African pirate attacks. Having been restored several times after heavy plundering, then after a Tsunami which followed the big earthquake of 1755 and after yet another earthquake of 1969, the church has maintained its popularity as a place of worship and is certainly worth a visit.
At only 10mins drive away from Luz, you will find the Lagos Zoo, simply perfect to spend a different day, filled with fun!
Wanting to combine a dive into the ocean with visits to interesting points, then take a day to visit the amazing beaches of the West Coast which are favourite amongst surfers. Let yourself be amazed by the beauty of the stark coastline, visit the fortress and the Ponta de Sagres (Promontorium Sacrum in Roman times), situated at the extreme southwesternmost point of continental Europe, and the famous lighthouse at Cabo de São Vicente, otherwise known as ‘Land’s End’. Towards Vila do Bispo, there is a little chapel, ‘Capela de Nossa Senhora de Guadelupe’ and with a bit of luck it will be open to visitors. Considered one of the most relevant historical monuments in the region, due to its architecture in the Gothic and late Gothic styles, it was built in the 13th-century by the Knights Templar and it is said that Henry the Navigator (governor of the order of Christ, successor of the Knights Templar) has prayed in this chapel between 1450-1460.
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A great selection of water sports is to be found at the beach of Luz. Fun for everyone with inflatables, kayak tours, SUP, jet skiing and much more!
Surfers Paradise is definitely at the West Coast (Castelejo, Amado, Carrapateira/Bordeira, Monte Clérigo, Odeceixe to name a few), all are easy to reach by car or you can book an excursion which includes equipment and transportation.
If scuba diving is your passion then you do not need to go far as there is much to discover, such as ship wreckages and marine fauna. For more detailed info, click here.
Between Luz and Lagos are the renowned rock formations, coves and grottoes of Ponta da Piedade. There is a wide choice of boat trips available, from Luz or from Lagos. Dolphin watching or a boat tour exploring Sagres are other delightful options. Definitely a must-do!
Apart from the shops in the centre, Luz also has a number of well stocked supermarkets, ‘Baptista’ certainly being the favourite amongst the locals and residents as their café with terrace is a busy meeting point.
If you are looking for history, tradition and a bit of local colour, then it is only a few minutes’ drive from Luz to the lively historic town of Lagos where you’ll will also find good shopping, nice restaurants and a bustling nightlife. There is so much to see as Lagos is historically linked to the Portuguese Discoveries of the 15th and 16th Centuries. Lagos has a long promenade alongside a canal which leads into the busy Marina with its choice of restaurants and cafés.
To the other side of Luz, along the coast, there are the lovely villages of Burgau and Salema and further on are Sagres and Cabo de São Vicente. Here, just absorb the immensity of the Atlantic Ocean culminating with the impressive and endless cliffs, so very different from the southern part of the Algarvian coast.