The Complete Guide to Olhão

10 March 2023
The Complete Guide to Olhão

The Complete Guide to Olhão

Olhão is a traditional fishing town in the east Algarve,Olhão is a great town to explore and is perfect for a day trip to experience some of the real Algarve. It’s also a great point to explore the Ria Formosa, and with good transport links to the wider region and some of the more traditional beauty spots. The commercial centre has a warm atmosphere spread across several lively streets. The biggest fishing port and fish market? Well that results in fresh fish daily and some of the best fish restaurants in the Algarve!


Was Olhão Municipal Market designed by Gustave Eiffel?

Interestingly, you will hear lots of people claim Gustave Eiffel designed the Olhão Market buildings. Yes, the very same Gustave Eiffel behind the Eiffel tower, and in Portugal the Ponte Maria Pia in Porto. Multiple blogs, Instagram posts, local hotel websites, and even Wikipedia continue to list Olhão Mercado as one of his works. However, this is simply not true. The official listing on the Portuguese register of Patrimonio Cultural does not list him as the architect or designer.

Caíque Bom Sucesso

Behind the municipal market on a small pier you’ll find a replica of a boat called the Caíque Bom Sucesso. This type of boat is called a caíque and the name translates to Good Luck in Portuguese. The story of this boat? The original, a small vessel at 20m long and 5m wide would make the treacherous journey across the Atlantic from Olhão all the way to Brazil in 1808. It’s a particular point of pride and a major event in the town’s history. The background of this story is the French occupation of Portugal in the early 19th century. At the beginning of June 1808, a small uprising in Olhão, would envelope the whole of the Algarve. By mid-June, following a series of small land battles and naval engagements by the simple fisherman and farmers from Olhão had united the major towns of Faro and Tavira.

Praia da Culatra

Culatra Island or Ilha da Culatra, is one of the sandbar islands that is located just south of Olhão. The island is still part of the Ria Formosa natural park and is one of the barrier islands that shelters the lagoon waters. It’s a 20-minute ferry ride to reach Ilha da Culatra from Olhão. On the south side of the island is the long stretch of golden sand that makes up Praia da Culatra or just Culatra beach. Opposite, on the northern side you’ll find the lagoons, pools and seagrass meadows that are a habitat for local wildlife. As well as the village and its facilities, Praia da Culatra is also served by a beach bar that offers all the usual beach facilities for a day at the beach.


Praia da Armona

To the east of Ilha da Culatra is the second sandbar island in the vicinity of Olhão, Ilha da Armona, or Armona Island. It’s another short ferry ride this time to the east of Olhão. The ferry dock leads directly into the small streets of Ilha da Armona where you’ll find several, bars, cafés and small shops. Here you can find refreshments and your typical beach gear before going to the beach. Technically, there are two official beaches on Ilha da Armona, Praia da Armona Ria and Praia da Armona Mar. Praia da Armona Ria faces the Ria Formosa and is right next to the ferry dock. Praia da Armona Mar is perhaps the most stunning beach and faces the ocean. It’s a long stretch of white sand that stretches for several km. In fact this stretch of beach becomes Praia da Fuseta at the other end of the island



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