Santa Luzia is located about 3 km west of Tavira. Both Tavira and Santa Luzia are part of the main Algarve cycle route.
Santa Luzia is a charming little town, worth a visit because it retains its traditional Portuguese character, despite the growth of mass tourism in Algarve region.
The village was always associated with the sea. About 100 years ago, fishermen began to specialize in fishing octopus, what contributed to the recognition of Santa Luzia as “the capital of the octopus“.
From a long time, octopuses have been caught using the classic methods, by using cages or clay pots to lure the octopus in. Thrown into the sea bottom, in the shallower waters, pots are traps for octopuses, which are willing to come in but they are not able to come out from them. Such kind of clay pots can still be seen on fisherboats and on the waterfront of the village.
In the central square of the village there is a church with a beautiful white dome. Walk through the narrow streets gives such a sensation of the charming calmness of this place that sometimes you do not need anything more.
On the promenade, along the lagoon, there is a big choice of typical local restaurants serving simple but very delicious cuisine for lunch or dinner. Numerous cafes offer fantastic coffee and excellent Portuguese wines. There are several small shops where you can stock up on the essential products for your daily needs.
The visit to Santa Luzia should not be finished until you taste the octopus, the beloved Portuguese delicacies. Octopus dishes are laborious and demanding in preparing, but local restaurants have mastered this culinary art and are well known and very popular throughout the region.
The village is located in the Ria Formosa Park, which is an area for life and hiking for many species of birds. In summer, you can take a boat trip for bird watching. You can also see hundreds of crabs during walks, at low tide, near the port or along the lagoon.
A lots of of nice coloured fisherboats are anchored in the romantic lagoon of the Ria Formosa. The lagoon is flowing like a river between the mainland and the offshore islands. It is a paradise for human beings, flora and fauna.
On the south of Santa Luzia there is Praia da Terra Estreita beach, which can be reached from the promenade by ferry boat in summer season or by water taxi. On the east of Terra Estreita beach there is Tavira Beach, the most developed part of the sandy island.
1 km to the west there is the atlantic, beautiful and sandy beach of Praia do Barril. Walking along the pedestrian promenade, you reach Pedras d’el Rei, and then using the floating bridge you cross the lagoon of Ria Formosa Park, where you can also enjoy the tiny train to go directly to the beach.
On the sand dunes of Praia do Barril there are enormous amounts of giant anchors, which remind us that 90 years ago they were fishing tuna in these areas.