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Santa Luzia, Algarve, Portugal
Santa Luzia is a picturesque fishing village, idyllically situated close to Tavira and also the beautiful beaches of Ilha de Tavira. The otherwise sleepy harbour comes alive each morning when the renowned octopus catches are brought ashore and sold in the local market. Tourists who miss this spectacle can also taste this local delicacy at one of the village’s restaurants, which overlook look the colourful fishing fleet.
Santa Luzia is an interesting half day excursion from Tavira for tourists looking to experience a unique, traditional Portuguese way of life. The village is also situated on the Algarve Cycle Path (the Ecovia do Litoral) and can be easily included as part of a bike ride or short hike.
What is there to do in Santa Luzia?
The main attraction is the village itself. Santa Luzia is a traditional Portuguese fishing village, which remains authentic and untouched by the influences of tourism. The colourful fishing boats return early in the morning and this is the best time to visit the fish market, where the last night’s catch is displayed and sold.
The fishing fleet of Santa Luzia
Tourists seeking some time on the beach can also visit the Praia da Terra Estreita, which is easily accessible by ferry. This beach is part of the Ilha de Tavira sandbar, which offers visitors an unspoilt, stunning shoreline. This beach is regarded by some as the best beach in the region and is always quiet, even at the height of the summer season.
The stunning Praia Terra Estreita beach
For those seeking some nature, the village is positioned on the edge of the Ria Formosa Natural Park; a series of protected mudflats and lagoons designed for migratory birdlife. In the summer there are boat tours around this area. However, an interesting free natural phenomenon can be witnessed at low tide when hundreds of crabs in the scramble mud flats.
The harbour front of Santa Luzia
No visit to Santa Luzia is complete without sampling octopus (pronounced Polvo in Portuguese), a delicacy loved by the Portuguese. This dish is extremely difficult to cook but the village has mastered the fine art.
Interesting facts about Santa Luzia
Origin of Santa Luzia: The village was named ‘Saint Lucy’ following the recovery of a holy relic by a local fisherman, which had been lost out at sea during a storm.
The octopus boxed and ready for sale…
Tradition of octopus fishing: Look out for the clay pots lining the boats and docks of the village. These pots have been used traditionally in the fishing of octopus and fishermen still use this method today...clay pots are lowered onto the seabed and the unwitting octopus are tempted to swim in but are unable to escape.
Cycling and hiking to Santa Luzia
Santa Luzia is only 3km southwest of Tavira and can be reached easily along the Algarve Cycle Path, which is perfect for those wishing to explore at a leisurely pace. This route has been purpose-built, following the quiet R151 road, and is perfectly safe for those of all cycling abilities. Bikes can be hired from either Tavira or Santa Luzia.
The route is also suitable for hikers and takes around 40 minutes to walk. More adventurous hikers can also extend the route and continue on to Praia do Barril beach (5 hours). From here it is easily possible to walk the length of the beach to Ilha de Tavira and catch the ferry back to Tavira
The Cemetery of Anchors close to Santa Luzia
Santa Luzia Beach, The Praia Da Terra Estreita
Santa Luzia is situated behind the sandbar of Ilha de Tavira. Extending the length of the sandy island are some of the best beaches in the region. The beach closest to Santa Luzia is called Praia da Terra Estreita, which is accessible only by ferry from the harbour. The frequency of ferry services is seasonal (regular departures take place from May until mid-September) but there are also water taxis for those who miss departures or are visiting in low season. An adult single ferry ride is €1.50 and a return is €2.00.
The beach just a short walk from Terra da Estreita
To the east of Praia da Terra Estreita is the Praia de Tavira; the most developed section of island, while to the west is the Barril beach and the Cemetery of Anchors. Both beaches can be reached on foot from Praia da Terra Estreita and takes around 30 minutes. Praia da Terra Estreita is always much quieter than Tavira or Barril but there are only basic facilities available. It is recommended to head to Praia da Terra Estreita in peak season to escape the crowds of beach goers.
The Terra Estreita beach ferry and the Ria Formosa Natural Park,