When we first started in Praia da Luz (in the early 70s!) it was really just a modest fishing village, but a very scenic and attractive one. Since then there has been development but nothing like in other parts of the Algarve: of course tourism is important but it remains low-rise and has a villagey feel that people keep coming back to. (For that the vibe is relaxing so if it’s nightclubs you want then it probably isn’t the right choice.)
Whereas other parts of the Algarve may revolve around golf or other activities Praia da Luz centres on the beach which is wide sandy and really very nice, with a black cliff at one end. Even in summer it is not as crowded as beaches elsewhere in the Algarve.
Just off the beach is a cobbled area with a choice of cafes and restaurants, and artists will often show their sculptures and paintings here; often amazing sand sculptures that can take several days in the making. The beach has showers, sun beds and parasols, and you can hire water sports equipment or go on thrill rides pulled behind power boats. Luz beach holds the coveted EU Blue Flag for cleanliness.
This area has been inhabited since before the Romans. Remnants of the Roman settlement remain in the village: have a look at the Roman bathhouse just near the beach.
In a compact area at the centre of the village are a wide variety of shops and restaurants, all within easy walking distance of rental villas that are scattered around the village. Because you can walk to shops and restaurants, a car is not strictly necessary as it may be in other parts of the Algarve, but if you have one then you can really take advantage: Slide and Splash at Lagoa is a waterslide park that makes a fun day out for children as is the Zoomarine at Guia (a bit further at about 30 minutes drive). Golf courses are all around, starting at about a 5 minute drive from the centre of the village. Head further west and you come to the west-facing Atlantic coast and beaches such at Praia da Amado where the surf is said to be fantastic
Lagos is the nearest town and about 5-10 minutes away: it is a very attractive and formerly very important port guarded by a 14th Century fort, with a picturesque marina, fish market and main avenue that runs down the length of the the town with many cobbled streets and squares behind it. A boat trip from here to explore the grottoes that lie along the coast is unforgettable. The other side of Lagos is the 4km sandy Meia Praia beach.