The views were breathtaking. I felt like I was standing on the edge of the world. Looking out to where the sea meets the sky, the sun making the ocean look like it was littered with a thousand sparkling diamonds. Breathing in the salty breeze, I felt so happy. Taking my time to absorb it all. This beauty of nature before me. Turning to continue with our walk, I suddenly felt like I had been stabbed in the foot. A searing, white hot pain shot through my toe and I flung my foot up, sending my flip flop sailing through the air. Looking down, I saw the culprit of my pain. A giant centipede, slithering off with his hundreds of legs, mocking me as I looked at the blood seeping out from the throbbing toe. The little devil had bit me. Taken a bite out of my toe for having the cheek to trespass on his land. The sky was forgotten. The diamond dusted sea was forgotten. The warm salty breeze – forgotten. All I could think was Well done Kerry. Probably not one of your best ideas. Doing a 5km walk along the dense, foliage filled headland…….in flip flops…………Winning. At. Life
So that is a true story. I really did get bitten by the giant bug. No lasting damage, but I feel I know the wildlife intimately now. Read on. Let me tell you the other things there are to do on a short break in Luz…..
Whenever I am doing a short break. I like to do some research before hand to work out roughly what I want to fit in to my time. We were in Praia Da Luz for just 5 days, and having never been to The Algarve before, I wanted to see as much as possible. I have told you about the area that we stayed in, in my last post, The Lowdown on a Short Break in Luz, so you can see some costs, where we stayed, restaurants and practical information in that one. In this post I wanted to cover more of the things that you could do if you were to visit here. Enjoy!
Things to do on a short break in Luz
Go to Lagos on the Bus
The beautiful and history filled town of Lagos, is just a 10 minute bus ride from Luz, and you can get the bus very easily from the bus stops in the resort. I love going on the bus when Im abroad. I love how you see the sights more, and also see the locals going about their daily lives. The bus fare will cost you about €3 return, so its as cheap as chips. We had a full day in Lagos, as there was things that we really wanted to see there. It is worthy of a full day trip, and I am going to cover Lagos in another post as again, there is way too much to go through in just one post! The bus takes you right into the heart of Lagos, right near the marina. You can then choose to wander towards the old town, cross the bridge over to the marina promenade, or stay in the newer parts of town to do some shopping etc. Lagos is gorgeous and we really enjoyed our day there.
Coastal and Cliff Walks
As my tongue in cheek intro to this post would indicate, we did decide to do one of the cliff walks that you can do from Luz. It wasn’t something that we set out to do on this particular day, but we decided to go for a walk, and just ended up walking and walking! This was the reason why we were resembling typical British tourists! Picture it, we were dressed in summer dresses, flip flops, no water on us, no sun cream, and even had our handbags dangled over our shoulder. People that we met en route I just KNOW were giving us curious side eyes. Looking at us in part humour, part disbelief, that we were attempting this walk dressed like lunch dates. The “walkers” we passed were in hiking boots, cargo pants/shorts, backpacks on and sun hats. Yep. We were those idiot tourists……
So, if you do take some sensible shoes with you, one of these walks are a must. They are spectacular and beautiful to do. We did the Luz to Burgau walk, which would take the average walker about a hour and a half. It takes you right along the cliff path, and you are treated to the most beautiful views the entire walk. Your walk will take you past some spectacular villa’s as well, which will give you serious location envy. The headland, bays and sea are all to your left, and at points, you do feel like the path is a little near the edge, but not scarily so. I am terrified of heights and I managed it no problem. The tiny village of Burgau is just gorgeous. So laid back and picturesque, and traditionally Portuguese. We loved it. I did have to stop in the first bar we came across in the village to clean my bitten foot up though……….
You have a few other walks you can do. Another of the most popular is the walk into Lagos, via Porto Do Mos beach, and that is about 8km. Its a gorgeous walk, in the opposite direction to Burgau, but you would definitely not be advised to do that one in flip flops!
During my research prior to leaving for Luz, I saw that you could do a boat trip from the beach, to see the spectacular Ponta Da Piedade grottos. I was so excited about this. The grotto’s are rock formations, carved by the wind and the sea, that have formed beautiful, colourful caves in the ocean. You can only get into them in a small, fishing boat type boat, as in some areas the caves are pretty low. Unfortunately for us, Mother Nature had other ideas and the imminent arrival of Storm Christine to Portugal’s mainland, meant that the sea was too choppy for the small boats to get into the caves. We tried every day that we were there, but to no avail. I was disappointed, but you cant argue with Mother Nature, so we just had to deal with it. I would recommend a million percent doing this trip if you visit Luz. It is about a 3 hour trip.
Other boat trips that are worth looking at are the Dolphin watching trip, and the Sagres coastal tour. Both are very chilled out, relaxed trips that let you see more of the gorgeous Western Algarve coastline. Both trips are just a few hours, so worth setting the time by for.
On the main beach in Luz, you have Beach Hut Watersport’s, that offer many boat trips. If you fancy something a bit more adrenaline filled, you can also do water skiing, wake boarding, jet skiing or windsurfing. If you do decide to go into Lagos, you will see dozens of companies along the marina, all offering many variations of boat trips. You will be spoilt for choice!
Wander around Luz
Luz is very compact, but it has lots of little hidden nooks and crannies. The roads are mostly cobbled streets, lots of Portuguese tiles, and is a little hilly. Nothing too challenging, but the roads do have dips and sweeps in them. We came across the most gorgeous little chapel in Luz, right up by the fortress restaurant I told you about in my last post. The church, built in the 1500’s is called Church of Nossa Senhora Da Luz and is simple in its white and yellow exterior, pictured above. Inside, the church is just beautiful with gold adorned alter and stained windows depicting Our Lady of Light. The Church was hit by an earthquake int he 1700’s and restored. It was this church that gave Luz its name. I have a real thing for old churches, chapels, well buildings in general, and this was beautiful. The church is always open, so you can go in and sit if you would like to.
You also of course have the beautiful beach in Luz. The main beach is soft, golden sand, shielded by the colourful headland and lined with a few laid back cafes. We were her in October, and the beach was very quiet, despite the warm weather. Sitting there late afternoon we felt like we had the beach to ourself! The sea can be a little choppy, so you should be cautious if swimming, but there are lifeguards on duty for reassurance to. I went in the sea, (I love swimming in the sea) and it was gorgeous. It is the Atlantic ocean, so a little cold, but beautiful.
There is another, smaller beach in Luz, Prainha Da Luz is a little bay, tucked away by the fortress restaurant that is less popular, so much quieter. It has the headland reaching down onto the beach itself, so many people pitch up on the rocks, soaking up the sun. Its a great little spot if you like peace and quiet.
Hire a Bike
There is so much to see around Luz, in a relatively short distance, so hiring a bike would be a great. The more west you travel, the more traditional and untouched the villages you come across are. This area was once all fishing villages, and although tourism has become a focus since the tuna fish changed their migration routes, they are still very unspoilt. You can hire a bike in Luz relatively cheaply, and its a beautiful way to explore.
Have a day in Silves
Silves was once the capital of The Algarve, and it is full of history and authentic Portugal. From huge city walls, gothic cathedrals and its red brick castle, to the beautiful scenery of the rolling Algarve countryside it is set in. Silves is a little tricky to get to via public transport, but it is do-able. It requires you to get a bus into Lagos, then out from there. You could also get an Uber if you are feeling flush. Uber operates a pretty good service in Luz, and so the hour journey could be made in comfort if you wanted to pay out, or there were a few of you going. Sadly, because we were trying to get on the boat trip, we didnt get to Silves but if I return to The Algarve, which I am planning to do, I will certainly schedule this trip in.
So, as you can see, there is plenty to do in Luz on a short break. The area is a real pleasure to wander around, and I really did feel like I got a taste of Portugal, (and the giant centipede got a taste of me)! I just found the entire area to be laid back, relaxed and a real slow pace of life. Perfect for a chilled out short break. I will 100% go back some day. I am determined to see those blooming caves!
Are you sightsee people on holiday or do you just like to relax? Are you one to plan out your trip before you go or just see where you end up? Do you use public transport when away or prefer a bit of luxury travel? Id love to hear how you approach a short or city break. Let me know xx