Paradise with approximately 360 days of sun is an alluring destination for many excursionists, especially in the sizzling summer months. Beaches and restaurants in Luz and Lagos can become a little over crowded for those who are looking for more calm and tranquil escape.
Explore the wild Western Algarve by heading west out of Luz onto the coastal road, where you'll find a more leisurely way of life, and a few more Instagram worthy beaches.
As you leave Luz bay behind, you are met with the Algarve’s vast and open countryside, featuring rustic farmhouses with trees growing through the roofs, juxtuposed against newly built white-washed casas. In the distance the modern inland wind turbine farms can be seen. Past the rural suburbs, is the picturesque former fishing village of Burgau. Follow the narrow, winding calçada side streets down the hill to the fine golden beach framed by cliffs and little beach bar, there is a selection of local restaurants to enjoy when the sun gets too much.
If you fancy a more active and scenic route, follow the cliff top hike trail from Luz to Burgau, which offers unforgettable views as you descend into village. After your rambles, the blue shimmering sea may be calling you for a dip, or perhaps head to the beach bar for a well-deserved refreshment before the hike back to Luz.
Once you have explored Burgau, head west again to continue along the road, passing more modern builds until you come to a sign marking Praia das Cabanas Velhas. On your left there will be a dirt track, leading to one of our favourite hidden gems in the Algarve. Once you have parked up, head down to the tranquil bay along a wooden boardwalk, passing more beach bars. Towering on the west cliff stands Forte da Boca do Rio, built in 1632, and to the east of the beach lies a pier used by fisherman with some wooden steps up to a cliff-top trail. The rock faces will have you mesmerized by the yellow, orange and golden layers, complimenting the striking blue tones of the Atlantic Ocean. Praia das Cabanas Velhas really allows you to appreciate the beauty of the Algarve.This charming and spacious beach is the perfect spot if you are looking for somewhere to relax in the sun with a refreshing drink, a gripping book, and with the occasional cooling dip in the sea.
Cabanas beach bar is a welcome retreat for when the sun becomes too much, offering delicious authentic food, refreshing drinks, ice creams to cool down with, parasols and sun loungers to rent, and live music that goes into the early evening.
From Cabanna Velhas to Salema, the coastal road offers the most spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean. As you follow the twisting road, over a very steep hill, you will find the village of Salema. Like many of the surrounding villages, Salema was once a thriving fishing community housing tightly packed white-washed casas with blue trims (to ward evil spirits away) and latticed chimney pots. These still stand today, and with a few colourful wooden boats lining the sandy shore, the peace and tranquillity of the village is really captured.
The days seem to pass slowly and the laid back lifestyle is infectious, particularly for those who seek to escape the overwhelming city life. Near the entrance of the beach, the traditions of the village continue as fisherman unload their catches of octopus, sardines, sea bass and gilt-head bream each morning, before taking it off to market, mending their nets or freshening up their colourful boats.
Praia da Salema is a half-mile long beach of fine golden sand and crystal-clear water, ideal for windsurfing and swimming. Gentle waves wash onto the sloping beach, bringing small seashells to find and collect. Like many beaches you can rent parasols, sun loungers and hammocks. A few bars and restaurants line the square by the main car park and the backstreets from the beach. If you’re looking for an unspoilt corner of the Algarve, Salema is the perfect spot to soak up the sun and relax in bliss.
The coast road between Luz and Salema offers cyclists a challenge, with long flat stretches, winding and rolling parts, and a steep climb into the village of Salema. You can really appreciate the panoramic scenery of the Algarve on two wheels at your on pace with plenty of pit stops along the way.