Praia da Luz – the complete guide
Praia da Luz is a popular holiday destination, which is located 6 kilometres west of Lagos. The name Praia da Luz refers to both the beach and its nearby village. Praia da Luz is also known as Luz de Lagos or Vila da Luz. Literally, Praia da Luz means the beach of light. Although Luz can be pretty lively during the summer, it is less crowded than some of the other hotspots of the Algarve. The beach is popular among families and tourists.
Wondering why you should visit Praia da Luz? Then let the short video below convince you.
The beach of Praia da Luz has fine sand, which has a yellow colour. It is very nice to walk on it. The sea is calm and shallow and the water is clean. It gets deeper only slowly, which makes this beach perfect for families with small children.
The beach is quite popular during the busy summer months. You will see many families and tourists from all around the world, but especially from the UK. If you prefer more privacy however, you can go to Prainha or walk towards the black rock. The more you walk to the big black rock on the eastern side of the beach, the quieter it will become.
On the western side of the beach (the right side when looking at the sea) you can find a rocky area and a cove with a separate small but lovely beach. This beach is called Prainha (translated as small beach). Prainha is much more quiet than Praia da Luz. Behind Prainha you can find the fort of Luz.
Swimming in the water of Prainha is very nice, since the water is calm and transparent. You can find rock pools here as well. However, when swimming here, watch out for the rocks in the sea.
Behind the beach you can find a nice promenade. Along this boulevard you can find plenty of bars, shops and restaurants. Sometimes you can also find small stands here, where you can buy handicrafts or jewellery.
Black rock and cliff views
On the eastern side of the beach there is a big rock, which is referred to as rocha negra, or the black rock. This is the most unique feature of Praia da Luz. The black rock was formed about 150 million years ago, by lava from volcanoes near Monchique. Nowadays there are no active volcanoes anymore in the Algarve.
You can hike up the black rock, but beware that can be quite challenging. Make sure to wear good walking shoes and bring plenty of water. When you finally reached the top, you have a great view over Praia da Luz and the Atlantic Ocean.
The sunset at Praia da Luz is really beautiful. Don’t miss it. The best place to see the sunset is from either the beach or from the top of the black rock.
There are several water sports available on-site, which are offered by Beach Hut Watersports. On Praia da Luz you can find:
- Jet skiing
- Stand-up paddle boarding
- Water skiing
Praia da Luz is a nice place to have a beach walk after lunch. Although the beach is not very big, it still makes for a nice walk.
From Praia da Luz there are also walking trails to Praia de Porto de Mós and towards Sagres. These are great walks up along the cliffs. When walking here, you will enjoy the beautiful scenery around this area.
Luz used to be a small fishing village, but has focused on tourism since the second half of the 20th century. The village currently has a population of around 3500 people. It is a relatively calm town, with a relaxed atmosphere. If you are looking for hardcore party nightlife, you won’t find it here. Then it is better to go to Albufeira or Portimão. However, the village of Luz has everything you need for a great holiday in the Algarve.
When you are visiting Praia da Luz, make sure to check out the following points of interest in the village.
Make sure to check out the local church, called the Church of Nossa Senhora da Luz. This church was built in 1521, but was heavily damaged during the earthquake of 1755. It has been restored in 1874.
There is a small fort in the town of Luz, which dates back to the 17th century. Hundreds of years ago, this fort was used to defend the town against attacks from pirates. Nowadays this fort has been turned into a restaurant. The restaurant also has a lovely garden outside, with great views overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. You can reach it directly from the promenade.
There are actually some Roman ruins just behind the promenade. You can find them by going through a door in the wall next to the boulevard. The ruins date from the third to fifth century.
If you like to play golf, there is a golf course near Praia da Luz, called Boavista. This 18 hole, par 71 course has some interesting holes. The golf course provides nice views over the Atlantic Ocean and is surrounded by pine, fig, palm and olive trees.
Other points of interest nearby
When you are visiting Praia da Luz, make sure to visit the towns of Sagres and Lagos as well. And if you are visiting with small children, make sure to visit the Lagos zoo, which is only a 10 minute drive from Praia da Luz. Kids usually love the zoo.
How to get there
The easiest way to move around in the Algarve is by car. If you don’t have one, make sure to rent a car. When you come from Lagos, follow the EN125 in the direction of Sagres. You will see signs displaying Praia da Luz and then follow the directions to the beach. There is a paid parking lot, about 300 metres from the beach. Otherwise, you can park your car for free on the side of the road, but you will have to walk a bit further to get to the beach. Another option is to come by public transport. From Lagos, there is a bus going to Praia da Luz.
There are many good restaurants in the area of Luz. Beware that during the summer, most restaurants fill up quite quickly, which means that you should reserve a table beforehand. Our favourite ones are:
- A Fabrica. This Portuguese restaurant has good service, great food and an even better location. They are located right near the beach of Praia da Luz, and are definitely worth a visit.
- Saffron. This restaurant serves tasty Indian food for a reasonable price. You can tell them how spicy you want your food and lovers of very spicy food won’t be disappointed.
- Restaurant Alloro. This restaurant serves Italian food and delicious pizza. The staff is very friendly and the restaurant has a great atmosphere. Great wine as well.
There are several good hotels in the area of Luz. Below you can find our favourite ones:
- Hotel Belavista Da Luz. This four star hotel offers spacious rooms with a private balcony. There are two outdoor swimming pools, a gym and even a tennis court. In addition, there are several wellness facilities on-site. Located 600 metres from the beach.
- Boavista Golf & Spa Resort. This highly rated four star resort offers private luxury villas with a peaceful garden view. The villa has nice rooms and a fully equipped kitchen. There are plenty of wellness facilities available as well, including a sauna and a gym. There is also a golf course, which is part of the hotel.
- Luiza Dream. This guest house offers a good value for money. The rooms are clean and comfortable, and the owner Luiza makes you feel very welcome. Located 900 metres from the beach.
After the busy summer season of last year, we recommend to book your hotel now, as it will probably sell out. Below you can find a map with the location of hotels in Lagos. By changing the date of your holiday, the map will show you the current prices.
While Praia da Luz is a great holiday destination, there are many more things to see in the Algarve. The best way to discover the region is to go on an excursion. For example, you could visit the caves of Benagil or go dolphin watching. Below you can find our favourite excursions in the area.
Praia da Luz is infamous for being the place where Madeleine McCann disappeared in 2007. She stayed in the Luz Ocean Club. However, in contrast to what you often hear on social media, Praia da Luz is one of the safest places in the Algarve. And Portugal is one of the safest places in Europe. There is no reason to avoid Praia da Luz.
Praia da Luz – facilities
There are plenty of facilities in Praia da Luz. There are several supermarkets in town, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars in the area. In the summer, there are lifeguards overlooking the beach (not on Prainha). There is a parking area near the beach. Everything you need for a great holiday in the Algarve.
Facilities in Praia da Luz:
- Restaurant: yes
- Bar/club: yes
- Toilet: yes
- Shower: yes
- Water sports: yes
- Sunbeds: yes
- Parking: yes
- Lifeguards: yes
- Blue flag beach: yes