A review of Praia da Luz (August 2023)

A brief recap: Since arriving at Ocean Villas Luz in August 2020, writer David Lugg has been experiencing all aspects of Luz Life. This is his August 2023 review:

Like any proud nation, Portugal is a country that is rich in tradition. Many traditions are historically intertwined with religion such as Semana Santa (Holy Week) or the Sanctuary of our Lady of Fatima, a world-famous pilgrimage site. Some have long-standing ties with education such as the Queima das Fitas where students burn coloured ribbons to symbolise the end of their studies. But a large number of Portuguese traditions are closely linked with the core values of its people – food and wine.

What better way to celebrate such core values than a festival. National highlights include the Festa de Chocolate in Óbidos, the Festa da Castanha (chestnuts) in Vinhais and the Essência do Vinho (wine) in Porto. The festivals are usually accompanied with local music and games for children with a wide range of simple, but fun entertainment. Their importance is not to be underestimated as they represent far more than just a reason to eat and be merry – they are symbols of togetherness for a town or region. A chance to be proud and a reminder to celebrate the good things in life.

The Algarve also has its fair share of traditions where food and wine are key aspects of life. If visiting the region between March and November, you are never too far away from a reason to let your hair down and celebrate life with the locals. When planning your next trip to Ocean Villas Luz, you may wish to coincide your holiday one of these great Algarvian events.

First up is the sardine festival in Portimão. Held in early August, the festival provides a nostalgic insight into what was once a thriving fishing town. Nowadays, its focus is more on mass market tourism, but for one week every year the city is alive with the hubbub of stalls offering traditional foods, crafts and, not forgetting, its world-renowned sardines. It is worth a visit even only for the wonderful smell of grilled fish that permeates the air. This is one of the best festivals of the Algarve.

If you head up to the hills of Monchique in March, you will find a great little event celebrating the delicious meats of the Algarve. The Feira dos Enchidos Tradicionais is the perfect setting for lovers of cold cuts and sausages, undoubtedly some of the region’s best food. Monchique is also host to some of the best restaurants in the Algarve, many of which offer commanding views down towards to the expansive coastline.

Seafood lovers should definitely pay a visit to the Festival do Marisco in Olhão. Held in August, this is considered to be one of the finest seafood events of the country. If wine is your tipple, then the Lagoa Wine Show in June should be your focus. Looking for something a bit different? Then why not try the Feira da Batata Doce (sweet potato fair) at Aljezur in November, or perhaps the Festival do Caracol (snail) at Porches in June.

Away from the region’s culinary pleasures, there are scores of fairs and festivals to satisfy all tastes. The city of Portimão plays host to three huge summer music festivals, highlighting the best of hip-hop, dance and African music, the latter of which attracted over 40,000 people.

And finally, if you’re looking for a great Algarvian tradition, then look no further than here in Praia da Luz. On the 29th August each year, the town hosts the Festa do Banho 29. According to local folklore, bathing on the 29th August scares away the demons and is worth 29 baths. At midnight everyone rushes to the sea to the soundtrack of live music and general revelry. Well, that’s me sorted for 29 days. My next shower will be on September 27th. Wishing you all a happy (and hopefully not smelly) month.

More news next month.

David Lugg

#oceanvillasluz #davidluggwriter

All photo images owned by David Lugg

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