A review of Praia da Luz (May 2023)

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

Having worked in the travel industry for over twenty years, I have been fortunate to visit some of Europe’s most spectacular coastlines. Some of my favourite stretches include the pristine beaches of south west Albania, the pellucid waters of Puglia and the dramatic south coast of Iceland. At first, the destinations might seem unrelated, but there is a similar theme that connects them all – they are unspoilt and natural. What’s more, they are comparable to life here in the western Algarve.

Take Albania as an example. Much of the country is undeveloped and undiluted by infrastructure. The people are friendly and the scenery is sensational. Driving standards are ‘interesting’ and road signs aren’t particularly commonplace.  A 4-hour drive south of the capital (Tirana) will bring you to the region of Vlorë, home to unsullied beaches and simple village life. The pace flickers between slow and stop. Does it remind you of anywhere? For me, it perfectly echoes the western Algarve beaches of Zavial, Ingrina and Monte Clérigo.

The unspoilt Cabanas Velhas

Puglia offers similar comparisons. Located in the heel of Italy, the region produces high quantities of grapes, almonds and olives. It has long been a destination for people to step away from the busy cities to the north. Yet, the overriding image that lives long in my memory is of the whitewashed towns and villages, set against the astonishing backdrop of the aquamarine Adriatic Sea. And where might you find a comparison to the western Algarve? How about our beloved Praia da Luz or the neighbouring towns of Lagos or Burgau.

Even Iceland, a volcanic island lying four hours by plane to the north of Lisbon, has its similarities. The national parks are breathtaking in their diversity and the beaches have mystical qualities, especially on the south coast where white rollers crash against the dark, formidable cliffs. A visit to the country leaves you with the urge to write poetry or take multiple photos with a black and white film. But where in the western Algarve does this resemble? It has to be the west coast beaches of Castelejo or Arrifana where powerful waves smash into the shoreline, creating a misty, anagogic setting. A walk here in the winter months will leave you both reflective and inspired.

The view from Ocean Villas Luz

We live in a time where we are drowning in political spin and fake news so the urge for authenticity is stronger than ever – especially when it comes to holidays. People want local food, local wine, history, language, local culture. In our busy lives, we don’t always have the time to do our holiday research, but this is where the Algarve comes into its own. There are a large number of flights from a wide range of international airports. The western Algarve is just an hour’s drive from Faro airport where you have everything on your authentic doorstep.

I have no doubt that there is still a demand for the all-inclusive beach resort, but it is clear that people are beginning to turn their backs on these concrete monoliths. I can see the joy on people’s faces when they arrive at Ocean Villas Luz and I can feel the sincerity when they tell me they wish to return next year.

Springtime at the Ocean Villas pool

If any semblance of positivity came from the recent pandemic, it was a reminder of our mortality and to make the most of life. Do away with the ordinary and embrace the extraordinary. If you haven’t booked your summer holiday yet, then why not visit the extraordinary western Algarve. Her sirenic nature will draw you in and refuse to let you go. It is unspoilt, it is natural and there’s not a dash of fake news to be found.

More news next month.

David Lugg
#oceanvillasluz #davidluggwriter
(All photo images owned by David Lugg)

Previous blogs can be viewed HERE

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