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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
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. The Praia da Terra Estreita beach
is regarded by some as the best beach in the region and is always
quiet, even at the height of the summer season.
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. During the
summer there are boat tours and bird watching tours around this
As a holiday destination Santa Luzia is
ideal for tourists looking to experience a unique, traditional
Portuguese way of life in a very calm and peaceful setting. Santa
Luzia is far removed from the crowds of tourists who visit the
central Algarve but is still within walking distance (40minutes) of
Tavira a major resort town.
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.
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.
No visit to Santa Luzia is complete
without sampling octopus (Polvo in Portuguese), a delicacy adored
by the Portuguese. This dish is extremely difficult to cook but the
village has mastered the fine art and is a speciality of the
restaurants that line the harbour.
The fishing fleet of Santa Luzia use
traditional and sustainable methods of fishing for the octopus
which have barely altered in generations. The fishing technique
uses clay pots that are lowered onto the seabed and the unwitting
octopus are tempted to swim in but are unable to escape. During the
day these clay pots can be seen drying along the harbour front or
piled up on the fishing boats.
The otherwise sleepy harbour comes alive
each morning when the 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.