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PRAIA DA LUZ ("Beach of Light")
Originally an old fisherman's village and still retains a lot of its old world charm. Protected by Rocha Negra ("black rock") cliff (a product of the volcanoes of Monchique some 150 million years ago) to the east, and an old fort (16th century) to the west (now a smart restaurant). The large sandy beach (blue flag rated) is overlooked by some of the bars and restaurants of the village itself. A lovely patterned cobbled promenade (calcada), the Av. dos Pescadores, runs from just below the church along the seafront to the cluster of beach bars. The promenade is full of craft stalls during high season and also has a few bars, cafes and restaurants.

History: Luz and the Algarve in general has a history of occupation, from the Carthaginians and the Romans. There are some Roman ruins (fish salting vats) recently excavated and preserved, look for the small entrance in the wall of the promenade (by the entrances to the O'Poco restaurant and Carlos Bar). Then came the Moors, The Crusaders in the 13th century, a brief spell of Portuguese kings, then conquered by Spain. The fort was later built amongst many others on the coast to defend against pirates.

Facilities: There are good water sports facilities - scuba diving, snorkelling, windsurfing and sailing school, paddleboats and some boat trips. It is a safe beach ideal for children (blue flagged), with lifeguards on duty during the summer months. Also there is excellent fishing to be had from the extensive rock formations to the west of the beach. As it is nestled in a bay, the town itself is compact and has all the basic necessities close to hand. There are plenty of pubs and restaurants to be found and cater for all tastes, and a fair few are open all year round. There are plenty of things to do in Luz and the surrounding neighbourhood, not to mention the wonderful golf courses.

Layout: There a basically four main roads in Luz, the Rua (Primeiro) 1 de Maio (Rua de Espiche) running north to south from the E.N.125 Sagres / Lagos road to main square and the church, which is effectively the town centre. The Rua de (Vinte e Cinco) 25 Abril running West from the church up the hill to the new developments and the road to Burgau, and the Rua Direita running East from the church (the main street) which is the 'old' road out of town. The Av. dos Pescadores runs past the church and the fort for a short distance and leads onto the 'newish' promenade running from just below the church, along the sea front to the main beach area. There are extensive villa and apartment developments in progress to the west of the town at the top of the hill on the Rua 25 de Avril, but sufficiently far enough away not to be too intrusive and as of the end of 2007 the landscape has sufficiently matured to no longer be an eyesore.

Nearby: Lagos, a larger historic town is just 10 minutes east  of Luz. It has plenty of shopping, a pretty good night life, and a large established marina.  Burgau, 10 minutes drive west of Luz, is another old fishing village, overlooking a small bay and sandy beach, with a good beach bar. Relatively unspoilt by tourism (protected by a conservation order to retain its character). It has some good restaurants and bars. Built on a hillside, Burgau's old fishermen's houses line cobbled streets leading to the bay, a nice sandy beach and one of the few working fishing fleets left.

Conservation: The Algarve has two major nature reserves covering most of the area. The Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, extending from Faro to the Guadiana and Spanish border, and the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e da Costa Vicentina, which begins in the corner of the Alentejo above the Algarve, but extends down its Atlantic coast and turns around the Cabo de São Vicente to Sagres then runs back east towards Lagos.

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Last Update: 29/01/2012 - About Praia da Luz, Algarve, Portugal - © 2004 - 2012