Algarve Luxury Villa Holidays
Algarve Luxury Villa Holidays

View over Tavira


Olhão first became significant in the 17th century as a fishing town and in the late 19th century was the first town in the Algarve to open tuna and sardine canning factories. It only, in fact, achieved the status of a town in 1808 when a group of local fishermen braved the Atlantic in a small fishing boat to pass on the news to the exiled King that the invading French armies had been repelled and it was now safe to return. In gratitude for their efforts the King granted town status to Olhão.

The architecture of Olhão is decidedly Moorish in style and quite different to that of Tavira. The whitewashed houses are very square (comparisons with sugar cubes have been made) with rooftop terraces, apparently once used for drying fish and figs. Take a walk round the cobbled back streets where all the shops and some very good value restaurants are. There are some beautiful old buildings and there’s plenty of atmosphere. It’s also not overrun with tourists as it’s still very much a working fishing town.

Along the waterfront is a long red building housing the bustling fish and fruit and veg market. The cobbled waterfront area is the site of the many fiestas throughout the year, the most important of which is probably the seafood festival in the summer.

If you fancy a day on the beach, catch one of several water taxis from the pier to one of the small islands. The ilhas of Culatra, Armona, and Farol offer quiet sandy beaches away from the hustle and bustle of the town.

Return to the Location Page




Station Cottage, Trent Lane, Weston-on-Trent, Derby DE72 2BT
Contact: Norman or Tanya Clare, tel: 01332 705552,
All images are copyright Tanya Clare and may not be used or reproduced without permission.
a minim website