While staying in Olhão you’ll most likely want to visit the nearby islands of Ria Formosa Natural Park, which is accessible by ferry from this harbor.
Life in Olhão centers on the city’s harbor and marina area. Watch as fishing boats pull into dock and unload their catches, many of which will be bound for nearby restaurants. Or, take a boat trip to the fabulous beach-lined barrier islands of Ria Formosa Natural Park.
Olhão is the biggest fishing port on the Algarve and as such, its harbor is a pretty busy place. Find a spot on the waterfront from which to observe the action. Depending on the time of the day, you might see local fishers pulling into port and unloading their nets, or tourists embarking upon or returning from daytrips to the nearby islands of Ria Formosa.
Take a leisurely stroll around the harbor and waterfront promenade and admire the views out across the lagoon. Look for the city’s municipal markets, which are housed in two red-bricked buildings not far from the harbor. Vendors here sell fresh produce as well as fish that has come straight from the harbor itself. The market takes place from early morning until around lunchtime, Monday through to Saturday. Several cafés and restaurants just outside the market serve seafood dishes and promise views of the waterfront.
If you need somewhere to stop and rest your legs, head for the Jardim Pescador Olhanense. This palm-bordered waterfront park is a peaceful spot with several grassy patches where you can lay down and relax.
From the harbor, take a boat trip out to one of the nearby islands. The closest island is Ilha da Armona, a sun-drenched paradise with several stunning golden-sand stretches. Car-free Ilha da Culatra is known for its unspoiled beaches and clear waters ideal for snorkeling.
Alternatively, take a bout tour around the lagoons of Ria Formosa park and try to spot wading bird species such as storks, herons and oystercatchers. Guides will also be able to explain what life is like for the small communities who make their homes within the park.
Olhão Harbour is about a 15-minute walk from Olhão train station. Trains connect Olhão to Faro and Lisbon.