It’s that time of year when us Brits jet off in search of warmer climates because ours is so bloody poor (I’m looking out my window right now and the sky is covered in cloud… IT’S JULY!). I’ve recently returned from a week in Portugal with my boyfriend and his family and I miss it so much already!
We escaped to Praia da Luz, officially known as Luz, which is a lovely seaside town in the Algarve. It’s not a massive place and there’s not a lot to do there in terms of attractions but for me, it was perfect. After a trying few months, I just needed a holiday where I could escape from reality and completely switch off… whilst finally getting a tan! We stayed in Villa Mimosa, a beautiful villa which was just a walk away from the beach. It was lovely and spacious, with big bedrooms, air conditioning, wi-fi and a stunning pool. The sun loungers were so comfy that I became so lazy – I found it really hard to actually get up and move myself into the shade! The accommodation had an absolutely stunning view of the coast which was the perfect backdrop for eating your breakfast in the morning. The view was even better if you went up to the rooftop terrace.
Honestly, we spent most days in the villa just relaxing and enjoying the sun as it had everything we needed. It was the perfect location for me to do plenty of reading, listen to music and swim. We couldn’t resist buying our inflatable lobster, Lobby, for the pool! Ollie and I went out for an afternoon stroll down to the beach most days, mainly to go and get ice cream. If you ever visit, you HAVE to go to the ice cream stand which is located opposite the church. They have the most amazing flavours and they are really generous with their scoops! I highly recommend the Peanut Butter and the Kinder Bueno flavours!
The town has everything you need with a bank, supermarkets, cafes, restaurants, bars, shops and hotels all within walking distance of each other making Praia da Luz the perfect place for a family holiday. The beach is beautiful, very clean and the water crystal clear. You can spend the day down there and sun beds and umbrellas are all available to hire.
On a slightly cloudier day, we decided to walk from Praia da Luz to neighboring town Burgau. I would highly recommend doing this if you get a cool day or simply want to do a bit of exercise. Head towards the coast and just turn right and walk along the clifftops. The views are beautiful, particular once you get higher and Burgau itself is charming. Its full of quiet, colourful streets that you can take a leisurely stroll down.
We ate out three times whilst we were in Praia da Luz. The first restaurant we visited was Chaplins, located just behind the church at the top of a short hill. It was absolutely boiling in there which was the only downside, we were all sweating! The food however was great. Quite simple and very British but really tasty and perfect for when you are hungry and you just want to eat. I went for scampi and chips and I’m not kidding, the chips were the best I’ve ever had which surprised me! They were salty and doused in vinegar which is just how I like them. They reminded me of proper chip shop chips! The lady who was serving was so lovely as well. She was British and I think owned the restaurant with her Portuguese husband. She was amazing, running around serving everyone really quickly in the sweltering heat!
My favourite restaurant and the one that I highly recommend going to if you ever visit was A Fábrica located at the other end of the promenade to the church, up a short incline on your left. The menu features a range of dishes including steak, sea bass and of course, sardines which Portugal is popular for. To start, I had sardine pate which was served with small slices of toast and a tomato salsa. It was absolutely delicious. The pate was so creamy and the tomato salsa added a nice little kick to the taste. For main, I went for the Spring Risotto which was served with a beautifully fresh piece of salmon. This was again amazing. I love risotto but I can find it to be quite hit or miss when I order it in restaurants but this one wasn’t too heavy, nice fresh flavours and the salmon was cooked to perfection. It just flaked off nicely when I cut into it (this is making me hungry now!). How could I not have something called ‘Chocolate Overload’ for pudding? A slice of spongy chocolate cake served with honey comb and blobs of Nutella. This was every chocoholics dream and I am ashamed to say that I couldn’t finish it! I was so full that I just had to admit defeat but it was gorgeous. The atmosphere was really nice in here too. Unlike Chaplins, it had air conditioning making it a lot more comfortable to dine in and the staff were really friendly and welcoming. Make sure you book before hand as they are always full due to their popularity.
On our last night in Praia da Luz, we ate at Fortaleza Da Luz a restaurant in a perfect location, right on the seafront. You could just stare out to sea whilst eating which was so relaxing. They have a nice garden area where you can also sit but beware that this is first come first served. I felt that the food let this place down though. The menu looked really yummy but the actual food just lacked flavour. My main of creamy prawn linguine could have been amazing but instead it was bland and I couldn’t finish it. The crème brulee for desert wasn’t the best, it was quite lumpy and again, lacked flavour. Great location but poor food.
My time in Praia da Luz was so relaxing and I really did hate having to come back to England and back to reality. It felt odd actually having to sit up at my computer in the office, I felt like I needed to still be lying down on a sun lounger! The holiday was also the perfect opportunity for me to get to know Ollie’s family a bit better and for them to get to know me! Praia da Luz is a great place for a summer holiday if you are just seeking the sun and want to visit a place that’s easy going and completely relaxed.