Algarve a popular holiday destination

PORTUGAL’S Algarve is massively popular with Irish holidaymakers, though visitor numbers to Praia da Luz are small by comparison to those enjoyed by big resorts like Vilamoura and Quinta Do Lago.

Praia da Luz (meaning Light Beach) is served by few Irish tour operators but it started to become a tourist destination over the last 10 years.

Jack Sheill, of Cork holiday firm Dawson Travel, said Irish holidaymakers in that area of the Algarve tended to stay in the neighbouring resort of Lagos, around six miles away.

“Praia da Luz is a small resort compared to some of the resorts on the Algarve and would not be that popular or well known.

“People tend to go to the eastern side of the Algarve.”

According to CSO figures Portugal was the fifth most popular European destination for Irish holidaymakers last year. In 2006, around 282,000 tourists headed to Portugal compared to 234,000 the year before and 200,000 in 2004.

Among those who have made Portugal their home is Dublin-born Eddie Daly, who has run a pub in the Algarve for eight years.

Speaking about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, he said: “It seems very odd to me. This is not really a mad place,” he said. “It is a very good location for kids.”

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