Holidays to Praia do Vau take you to a quiet retreat with a first-class sandy beach and little else to spoil the tranquillity. There are livelier towns nearby, and the rest of the Algarve's in easy reach, too.
A relaxation destination
Praia do Vau is a small, laidback town that's tucked into a bay on the west side of the Algarve. The place is all about chilling out – even local celebrities come here for some R&R – so you’ll find a top-drawer beach and just a handful of shops and restaurants. And there are two neighbours, Alvor and Praia da Rocha, to supply extra eating places and bars.
On the beach
Praia do Vau’s prime appeal is the beach, a wide crescent of powdery sand that slopes gently into shallow waters. The sea's calm enough to swim or paddle in, but don’t expect tropical temperatures – this is still the Atlantic. Loungers and parasols are available to hire, and there are a few restaurants where you can get snacks and drinks.
The cliffs along Praia do Vau are a striking sight, and they've become prime walking territory. A stroll to the west leads you to Praia do Alvor, where you can take in sweeping views of the rocky arches and grottoes that jut out into the sea. Or, wait for low tide and wander across the beach to Praia da Rocha – there are rock pools and little coves to discover along the 20-minute walk.
Days out in Lagos
About 45 minutes’ drive brings you to Lagos. Among the old town’s pretty, shop-lined streets there’s an unexpected find – the church of Saint Anthony, which is famous round here for its decorative gold leaf. Down at the harbour, you’ll find a fort which now houses a maritime museum. And about three kilometres south, you’ve got Ponta da Piedade, a series of grottoes and arches sculpted out of the rocks.
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