Home to pristine beaches and remote towns, Vila do Bispo is the jewel of
the Western Algarve. The coastline of Vila do Bispo is part of the
Costa Vicentina Natural Park, one of the largest protected areas in
Portugal, stretching 100 km along the coast from the Algarve all the way
to Alentejo. Sagres is the most famous town in this council, but there
are other villages worth visiting, including Luz, Burgau and Salema.
Our itinerary below will show you the best things to do in Vila do Bispo so you don’t miss a thing.
Once a small fishing village, Praia da Luz has since grown into a
popular resort town. It is located on a sandy bay sheltered from the
Atlantic ocean by the Rocha Negra, a black rock formation formed around
150 million years ago. The beach here offers calm and shallow waters,
making it an ideal spot for families with small children. On the western
end of the beach is a little cove with a small beach called Prainha,
which is usually quieter.
After lounging by the beach, take a stroll
along the promenade lined with bars and restaurants and look out for the
Roman bath remains. Then visit the town’s monuments like the
16th-century Church of Nossa Senhora da Luz and the 17th-century fort
that once protected Luz against pirate attacks. Now, it houses a
restaurant and some lovely gardens.
A few miles west from Luz is Burgau, a tiny village with
little more than 400 residents. As you approach the village, you’ll be
greeted with a picturesque landscape of whitewashed houses and narrow
Praia de Burgau is the most important attraction in
Burgau. This small beach is surrounded by high cliffs and disappears
almost completely when the tide is high, so it’s worth checking the tide
tables before you go. The beach has been awarded a Blue Flag and is
among the top 10 beaches in the Algarve. Have coffee at one of the
seafront cafés and then head to the Almádena Fort, a great spot to
admire the coast of Vila do Bispo.
The next stop is the
village of Salema. Similar to Burgau, Salema is dotted with white
cottages and seafood restaurants offering a variety of fresh fish.
Settle down for lunch at one of these before hitting the beach. Praia da
Salema remains one of the Algarve’s best-kept secrets, with its soft
sand and crystal-clear waters. There are dinosaur footprints engraved on
the rocks of the beach. You can spot them on a flat yellow rock near
the wooden stairway that leads to the town.
the beach, get back to the car and drive to Raposeira to visit the
Menir do Padrão, one of the many standing stones located in Vila do
Bispo. The menhir is around 2 metres tall and was built between the 4th
and the 3rd Millennium B.C.
head to the centre of Vila do Bispo, where you’ll find the town’s
church. Built during the late 16th century, it is one of the only
attractions around here. As soon as you go in, you’ll be blown away by
its interior. Wherever you look, there is something worth admiring: the
side walls covered by blue and white tiles, the hand painted ceiling
above and the gilded altar at the rear of the church.
Sagres: Located on the west edge of the Algarve, Sagres is one of the main villages within the Vila do Bispo municipality. Its beaches are especially popular among surfers. Beyond this, the main attractions are a 15th century fortress and the Cape Saint Vincent, the most southwesterly point in continental Europe.
Lagos: Just a 30-minute drive east of Vila do Bispo is the picturesque town of Lagos. It’s worth wandering through its cobbled streets and exploring its paradisiacal beaches like Praia Dona Ana or Praia do Camilo. Be sure to join a boat tour to spot dolphins or capture the surrounding caves and rock formations.
Portimão: Take a day trip to Portimão to experience its vibrant bars and restaurants. This popular resort town is home to a long sandy beach called Praia da Rocha, where you’ll find many hotels. For a slightly quieter vibe, head to Praia de Alvor, a few miles west.
Aljezur: Take a scenic ride along the west coast towards Aljezur. This small town sits amid the hills of the Costa Vicentina Natural Park. It is home to wild beaches and the remarkable coastal trails of Rota Vicentina.
The area of Vila do Bispo is ideal for a family road trip. Kids will
enjoy exploring the small villages en route, and swimming in the local
beaches. If you head towards Sagres, you’ll find many surf schools which
have surf lessons for children.
The restaurants in Vila do Bispo offer a variety of fresh fish
throughout the year, and during the hunting season, between October and
December, you can also find dishes like wild boar, partridge and hare
featured on the menu. Below are some of the best places to eat in Vila
Ribeira do Poço: Ribeira do Poço has been serving homemade meals since
2002. From monkfish rice to stuffed squid and grilled codfish, there are
plenty of dishes to choose from. This is also a great spot to sample
goose barnacles, a local speciality.
Sítio da Pedralva: There are two restaurants within this restored
village: Pizza Pazza and Restaurante da Pedralva. Pizza Pazza serves
delicious wood-fired pizzas, while Restaurante da Pedralva offers more
traditional Portuguese dishes.
Água na Boca: Set in the heart of Salema, this place offers a mix of
meat and seafood dishes. Families can also take advantage of the
children’s menu. Highlights include the goat cheese starter and the
Martinhal Sagres: This luxurious hotel is set on the edge of Praia do
Martinhal in Sagres, so you’ll have the ocean right at your doorstep. It
offers a mix of rooms, apartments and villas, some of which with
private pools. There are several restaurants on-site, a spa and rental
Hotel Belavista Da Luz: This four-star accommodation offers spacious
rooms and private balconies, just 600 metres from the beach. It has two
pools, a gym, a tennis court, and many spa/wellness facilities on-site
to ensure you have a truly relaxing stay.
NAU Salema Beach Village: This family-friendly resort located in the village
of Salema offers apartments with fully-equipped kitchens, making it
ideal for longer stays. Guests also have access to an outdoor pool, a
kids' playground, rental bikes and padel courts.
Moinho Calmo: Near the centre of Vila do Bispo is this charming property set around an old windmill. The rooms are split into different buildings and offer space for one to four people. For the ultimate experience, book the windmill room and enjoy your stay inside this renovated century-old building. The staff can also organise experiences such as yoga lessons, holistic therapies and surf classes.
Just outside of Luz you’ll find the Boavista Golf Resort. Opened in
2002, it did not take long for this 18 hole, par 71 course to become one
of the top courses in the Western Algarve. This championship course has
all the facilities you would need, and if you don’t want to stay in
Praia da Luz, you can stay at the golf resort itself. The resort has
incredible villas and apartments for rent, a spa, and an outdoor
swimming pool. To book an apartment or a villa at Boavista, contact us,
and we’ll make sure you find the right space for your vacation needs.
The best time to visit Vila do Bispo is during the summer season, from
June to September, when the weather is warm, and the sea is perfect for
swimming and water sports. However, keep in mind that this is also the
busiest time of the year, and prices for accommodation and activities
may be higher. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, you can visit in early
spring or fall when the weather is still pleasant and there are fewer