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Olhão - Famous Fishing Destination

by Almonds & Oranges          

Olhao fish merchant

Did you know?

In the late fourteenth century Olhão was a very small fishing community. It literally comprised a handful of people living in wooden huts on the beach. But, by the late sixteen hundreds it had grown significantly, so much so that it needed to defend itself from pirate invasion.

The people of Olhão built the fortress of São Lorenço to protect the entrance to the harbour and the growing city that it now supported. The fort was sadly destroyed during a major storm in 1824. You can visit the archaeological remains, but only at low tide, as they are submersed between two islands.

A good time to buy property in Olhão?

As you arrive in Olhão it’s hard to believe that it was once such a small hamlet. Today it's a traditional Portuguese city that oozes character and is the largest working fishing port in the Algarve. Located just east of Faro Airport, its increasing popularity is highlighted by the modern five star hotel and spa overlooking the Ria Formosa, the Marina Village, Ria Shopping and the recent development of new apartments.

Property prices in Olhão tend to be lower than those of properties just west of Faro and there are many opportunities to bag a bargain in or around the city.

A good choice of property in Olhão

From multi-million euro country estates with panoramic sea views, to traditional Moorish-style houses and chic new apartments close to the city centre, the choice of property is vast. If you're seeking a development opportunity, check out the plots of land for sale in Olhão. Some are offered with current building licences too.

A snapshot of Olhão

   30 minutes’ drive from Faro Airport

   a thriving port with a promising future

   lower-priced properties and many investment opportunities

   situated on the banks of the tranquil Ria Formosa with sandy beaches a short ferry ride away

   a wealth of local amenities including local shops, supermarkets, traditional markets, banks, a major shopping centre, pharmacies and a health centre

   great choice of traditional cafes and modern restaurants

   a short drive to some of the Algarve’s best golf courses

   great location for all types of water sports

   plenty of entertainment for the kids including a municipal swimming pool, a cinema showing the latest films in English and an indoor karting centre

Shopping and eating out

The two market buildings which sit side by side along the water front offer a huge variety of freshly caught fish and seafood straight from the port, and a colourful range of locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables. In and around the city there are a number of well-stocked supermarkets popular with locals and ex-pats, including Pingo Doce, Lidl, Intermarché and Modelo-Continente.

The historic area of Olhão is very picturesque and the surrounding narrow, cobbled pedestrian streets are lined with a wide variety of charming shops and pavement cafes. Ria Shopping, on the western edge of the city, is a modern mall with three shopping levels featuring designer shops, a food hall, restaurants and a cinema.

Olhao villa

Eating out in Olhão is a chance to sample traditional well-cooked food. There are many small roadside cafes catering for the local working population, with delicious fresh fish dishes being the order of the day. At the opposite end of the spectrum, there is a choice of restaurants serving international dishes including Asian, Italian, Brazilian and Chinese, as well as a McDonalds. The waterfront restaurants offer an excellent selection of cuisine too with the added bonus of a wonderful river view.


You don’t need to look far in the Algarve to find a good golf course. The exclusive Pinheiros Altos and San Lorenzo courses are the nearest to Olhão, but if membership fees are a little too exclusive for your budget, you may prefer to book a round at one of the three championship courses to the west of Faro in Quinta do Lago, or spend a weekend at the Colina Verde resort just east of Olhão.

The clear waters around the ilhas (islands) off Olhão are home to many species of fish and are excellent for snorkelling and diving. Prefer to keep your head above water? There are regular ferries to and from the ilhas and several companies running a variety of boat trips around the ilhas and along the Ria Formosa.

Discover the bygone days of Olhão. Stroll around its ancient streets to experience its history first hand, or visit Olhão City Museum, just behind the church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário, itself a testament to the city’s past. Built in 1698 with contributions from the fishermen, it was the first stone building in Olhão.

Where do I start searching for property in Olhão?

Why not start right here at Meravista? Aided by our map-based search and detailed descriptions you can easily browse through a wide range of properties for sale in Olhão.

Article provided by Meravista.com

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