Olhão is located only 10 km from Faro, the capital of Algarve. Its central location is a perfect starting point to visit the rest of the region.
It is a small city by the sea, that can offer a great time for those who visit it. Its people were always connected to sea activities like fishing, shellfish nurseries and canned fish factories. Times have changed, and today these are not the primary activities anymore. Nevertheless, the city preserves a very characteristic atmosphere and it is still not changed by tourism pressure.
Find 6 reasons why Olhão should be on your travel radar!
1. Fish and fruit Markets
Olhão markets have an unique architecture and a rich variety of local products. It is divided in two similar buildings, one with fresh fish and shellfish, and the other with fruits, vegetables, meats, cheese and a variety of local delicacies. The markets are only open in the morning and on Saturdays there is also a street market with more small local producers and farmers.
2. Quinta de Marim – Ria Formosa Natural Park
Olhão is known as the capital of Ria Formosa Natural Park. Just 5 minutes by car from the city centre, you can visit the pedestrian trail of Quinta de Marim. This trail offers views of the marshes, birdshelters, an educational centre, an interpretative centre of the wildlife rescue centre (the animals cannot be visit), a watermill and a picnic area.
3. Great cuisine
The traditional cuisine is mostly with fish and seafood. You must try some fresh fish on the grill (what about some sardines?) topped with butter sauce with garlic and parsley and with the traditional “transmontana” salad on the side. If you are more into seafood try on the bivalves recently catch at the Ria Formosa Natural Park nurseries. And leave some appetite for dessert, you can choose from different delicacies made with almond, fig or carob. The best of all: on local restaurants and taverns you can eat a delicious complete meal for less than 15€.
4. Urban Art
All around town you can see old buildings or walls painted with beautiful art. While some of them are just decorative others are representative of the city history.
5. Unique architecture
By walking the old neighbourhoods you will notice some characteristics: the doors, white houses, tile walls, the chimneys… So many details that are typical of the city! But there is one that is only perceptible from above: the cube-shaped houses!
6. Barrier islands
Barrier islands have the important function of protecting the channels and marsh areas. No matter if is summer or winter, the islands are worth the visit, because of their beautiful beaches, tiny villages (like Culatra) and good restaurants. You can visit by ferry, taxi-boat or guided boat tour.
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