Praia da Luz
One of the Algarve's most charming seaside resorts.
Praia da Luz is a quaint village lying 6 kms to the west of Lagos. Once a small fishing village, these days there is little evidence of that activity. Instead you have small white-washed houses clustered along the cobbled streets leading down to the beach, and luxurious apartments and villas spread along the gently rising hills.
The beachfront at Praia da Luz has a lovely pedestrian walkway and the beach itself is a crescent of fine white sand and holder of a Blue Flag. At the eastern tip of the beach there is a black rock cliff – the pathways to the summit are very popular with more energetic holiday makers. At the western tip of the beach you can find plenty of rock pools at low tide. There are plenty of water sports available during the summer months.
There are Roman vestiges to be found at Praia da Luz and the remains of a fortress dating from the 17th century, today home to a restaurant. The village church, in the central square, is a simple but pleasant building. The original structure was destroyed in the massive earthquake of 1755 and later rebuilt, financed by local contributions. There is a lovely viewing point near the church, overlooking the ocean and coast, that gives perfect views of the fabulous sunsets. It's also a favourite spot for wedding photos, as Praia da Luz is a popular wedding location in the Algarve.
Praia da Luz is a very popular family destination. There are plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from but the pace of life is generally slower than in some of the Algarve’s larger resorts. The narrow winding streets, the palm trees and bougainvillea, the wonderful coastal views and the murmur of the ocean work their charm on visitors and residents alike.
The Paul McCartney Connection
The Algarve has long been the destination of choice among celebrities for an under the radar getaway. Back in 1968, Paul McCartney spent time in Praia da Luz with Linda and Heather, staying right by the beach at a house rented by his friend Hunter Davies. It is said that Paul asked Linda to marry him during their stay and that it was in Praia da Luz that he found out he was to be a father for the first time.
See some amazing photos of Paul McCartney's stay in Praia da Luz . The McCartney connection isn't just to Praia da Luz. On the same visit, Paul stopped off at the Penina Hotel, near Portimão (he was on his way to a nightclub in Carvoeiro) to exchange pounds for escudos and was drawn into the bar where a local band where playing. An impromptu concert followed much to the hotel guests' delight.
Paul McCartney had been to Portugal before, in 1965. He had flown into Lisbon (Faro airport wasn't yet open) and travelled by car from there, across the Aletenjo and onto Albufeira, then a small fishing village, to stay with Bruce Welch (guitarist with The Shadows). The story is that during the journey Paul put some lyrics together and as soon as he arrived in Albufeira, asked for a guitar so he could complete the composition. And so "Yesterday", one of the Beatles most loved songs, came to be.