Algarve Housing rents villas in the Algarve, and also near Olhoa, time to tell you more about this un-spoilt, un known place in the East of the Algarve.
Pronounced “oll-yow”, Olhão is the Algarve’s largest fishing port. A rare gem, its centre is crumbling, charming, faded, and stuffed full of appealingly batty characters. The occasional tourist wanders about, wondering quite why they’re here. Olhão is a top place for a relaxing. The jewel in its crown isn’t actually in town, but a lovely ferry ride away….
Ria Formosa is an estuarine national park, with Olhão at its mouth and the wild Atlantic beyond. Around 80% of Portugal’s clams are fished here, around its four low islands. Farol and Armona are where Lisbon folk maintain their holiday homes; Deserta is a sandy empty place for the Robinson Crusoe in you; Culatra is where the fishermen live, and they are delighted for you to be as active as you wish, as long as that includes watching the waves, counting your toes, playing dominoes, drinking cold drinks, and eating delicious fish….. and enjoying the white sandy, long stretched beaches….
There are two market buildings side by side along the water front, which are a ‘must visit’ for the huge variety of extremely fresh fish and sea food straight from the port and the vast array of locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables. Olhão is well known for it’s fish market, in particular and if you haven’t got anywhere to cook some yourself, then try one of the numerous local cafes along the roadside nearby – you won’t be disappointed!
The market halls are surrounded by pavement cafes and it’s a great place to sit and enjoy the view of the boats moored along the water front in the marina and the sand spit beach of the islands Armona and Culatra. Walk along the water front and through the gardens, sit outside a jazz cafe watching the boats, people cycling around and local people going about their day.
Walk into the historic heart of Olhão and the easiest road to follow is directly across from the gap between the market halls. Here, many of the buildings are the elegant merchant’s homes with wrought iron balconies, carved stonework and tile decorations and are such a contrast to the busy port area of Olhão. At the centre of the town at the end of Avenida da República, in the Praça da Restauração, is the church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário, built in 1698 with contributions from the fishermen when it was the first stone building in Olhão. It’s a very graceful building with a baroque facade and somehow quite a surprise!
In the surrounding narrow, cobbled streets are a wide variety of inviting shops and pavement cafes that tempt you to linger! Well, after the sightseeing you need a break! This historic area of the town is really rather picturesque and gives a totally different view of Olhão from the port and the fishermen’s quarter.
Olhão itself doesn’t have a beach as it is on the Ria Formosa lagoon system but the ferries for the Islands (Culatra, Armona, and Farol) run from the quayside near the gardens at the eastern end of the market halls. There are regular services throughout the year, although fewer in number during the winter.
Olhao is a place not to be missed, something different and worth a visit. Algarve Housing rent a very nice country side villa close to Olhoa, Quinta Rustica
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