The town of Olhão is located just 8km from Faro. If you rent a car in Faro Airport it is very easy to drive to Olhão, just take the A22 out of Faro in an easterly direction, the A22 is well sign posted for Olhão,
Alternatively you can take the train from Faro for just around €1.20 or the bus for just €3, a taxi is of course a little more expensive costing approx €24.
Olhão is actually the biggest fishing port in the Algarve and became a town of note in the 19th century, until this time it was just a small fishing village with a handful of people living in huts made from wood, straw & reeds. The fortress of São Lourenço was built around 1679 to protect the village from pirates.
While parts of Olhão are dedicated to industry and warehouses, there is also a lovely long paved promenade running along the waterfront which is ideal for a nice long walk and you can stop and rest in the cool shade of the gardens.
While Olhão is not really considered a tourist resort as it has no beach, (it is on the Ria Formosa lagoon system) it is a really nice place to visit and for shopping. There are several big supermarkets in the town from Spar to Modelo and Lidl to Aldi to mention just a few. There is also the recently opened Ria Shopping Centre with three floors of shops, restaurants, cinema, supermarket and children’s play area.
Olhão has two market buildings, one dedicated to the selling of fish and sea food delivered straight from the port. Olhão is famous for it’s fresh fish & sea food and is host to the annual seafood festival which takes place every summer in August. There are many little restaurants and cafes serving a wonderful selection of fresh fish and sea food it hardly seems worthwhile to have to cook it yourself!!
The other market building is where you can find an amazing selection of fresh fruit and vegetables.
There are two churches in Olhão which are worth visiting. The first is the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary which was built with the help of the fishermen of Olhão and was the first stone building in Olhão. It was built in 1698 and has a baroque façade. The other church, the original church of the fishing village, is the Chapel of Our Lady of Soledade. This church dates from the 17th century.
It is just delightful to sit along the marina of Olhão and have a coffee or a drink and watch the world go by.