Olhao is a salty, soulful (and sometimes smelly!) working fishing town on the Eastern Algarve. Olhao is not quite 15 minutes by cab from Faro international airport.
Olhao is thriving markets, a cobbled Arab medina, friendly barrios and a sauntering seafront where thousands of swifts greet each sunrise and dusky pink sunset. As the tides slide out, the seabed reveals herself as miles of gardens where a thousand generations of Olhanenses have dug for juicy clams.
As you ride the slow ferry to the island village of Culatra there’s time to breathe the briny air, then to stroll the boardwalk over lonely dunes to share her wild, white sandy beach with oystercatchers and cockle-draggers.
As the pristine sweet waters of the Rio Formosa National Park mix with Atlantic waves you can be perfectly alone.
A sprinkling of bars that will serve you a jarro of wine, a long caiprinha or just a freshly presse orange juice. Aromas of salted sardines grilling gently over charcoal fill Olhao’s evening air. Plates of just-dug clams swimming in garlicky olive oil are yours for the asking.
For a few euros, super-fresh fish from Olhao’s abundant seas are your for the asking, too. They arrive with juicy salads and potatoes that taste like potatoes ought.
The Eastern Algarve has a kind climate, where fruits, vegetables, animals and people live happy lives.
Olhão enjoys around 300 days of sunshine each year. It does rain sometimes, but rarely for too long.
Winters are mild, and the houses have enough heating throughout.
Spring is long, as is summer, when a shady corner or a splash in the beach become very welcome.
Autumn is often glorious: the year before last we were still swimming off Culatra on November 15th.