Praia da Luz is an excellent family resort

Five kilometres west of Lagos, the mass of white chalets and villas that is the resort of LUZ pile up behind a fine, sweeping beach set below towering cliffs.

There’s not much of a centre to Luz, but there’s a palm-lined beachside promenade that leads from the sands to a miradouro beneath the village’s old fort – now a restaurant – and the church.

Along the promenade there are any number of bar-restaurants with advantageous terraces, including O Poço (Tel 282 789 189), which serves moderately priced fish and seafood, including a tasty espadarte de tamboril (monkfish kebab). Fortaleza da Luz (Tel 282 789 926), above the west end of the beach at Rua da Igreja 3, is a pricier choice for Algarvian and international cuisine, served inside the old fort or on a lovely sea-facing terrace.

Belavista da Luz

There’s live music on Thursdays. Best value hotel accommodation is Belavista da Luz (Tel 282 788 655,; 6), around 1km uphill on the road out of town towards Sagres – four-star facilities include tennis, health club, restaurant and pool, but there’s little in the way of character. The rest of Luz’s accommodation consists of apartments and villas, often blockbooked in summer, though you can try the main agency, Luz Bay Club, Rua do Jardim (Tel 282 789 640,; 6), some of whose apartments have balconies and views of the sea. Campers like the Valverde site (Tel 218 789 211), close to the highway but a good 1.5km or so from the seafront, which has a restaurant, bar, supermarket and kids’ playground.

Walkers should take the path to Lagos which starts at the eastern end of the beach. At the Algarve Sports Club, follow the private road uphill and make the steep scramble up to the obelisk on the cliffs, from where a gentle path careers along the tops to Porto do Mós, Ponte das Piedade and Lagos.