The city of Olhão is a great surprise. As the Algarve's largest port and a fishing town filled with entertainment, Olhão is also home to some of the most enchanting landscapes of the region and some of Europe's best beaches.
The town itself is a mix of sights and sounds that show a life centered in the sea. Fishing has always been the main livelihood of the population and its importance is felt at all levels, from the port which is full of activity when the boats return from the sea, to the incredible diversity of fish and exposed seafood in stalls at the Marketplace. The fishermen of Olhão are mythical figures and widely recognized for their expertise both in fishing and cooking! Plenty of seafood in the area, coupled with the local talent, turns into absolutely delicious dishes, which earned Olhão the reputation of the gastronomic capital of the Algarve. The city's fish restaurants serve delicious local specialties, and in mid-August is held the Seafood Festival, an outdoor party that lasts six days, with lots of food, drinks, music, dance and of course ... much seafood .
A short boat ride takes you to the natural treasures of Olhão: the magnificent reserve of the Ria Formosa and the long pristine beaches of the islands of Culatra and Armona.
Olhão is at the heart of the Natural Reserve of Ria Formosa, an intricate network of lagoons, canals, separated salt and sand from the Atlantic by a set of islands stretching from Faro to the village of Cacela Velha near Tavira. flora sanctuary and wildlife, fertile marshes of the estuary are the breeding territory of several species of birds, fish and crustaceans. The boats leave from the port and the marina de Olhão offer tours myriad of channels and salt marshes. On the other hand, the Environmental Education Center organizes Marim pathways that allow to know the fauna and flora, as well as visits to the breeding center of the Portuguese Water Dog and rigorous explanations of the salt extraction process.
Such is the beauty of the Ria Formosa that nothing prepares visitors for what is beyond the islands of Culatra and Armona. When it arrives at the jetty yoke, gangways follow the areas of fishermen and take visitors by dunes, lagoons and beaches so extensive that disappear on the horizon. Gone are the jet skis, the rows of umbrellas and the cries of the ice cream vendors. Here are just long, deserted dunes and sparkling sea, shaken only by seagulls rest there. The neighboring island of Armona is equally beautiful. There is a fishing village around the beach on the western tip and a campsite with conditions for water sports. But if you walk eastward toward the Fuseta, you will be surprised by a seemingly endless beach where you can enjoy unforgettable moments of peace and tranquility.