What to do in Olhão



A wetland of international importance, the Ria Formosa is a labyrinth of channels, islands, marshes and sandbanks.

This diversity of ecosystems attracts a varied fauna that includes numerous species of birds such as the sultana chicken, symbol of the Natural Park. If you want to admire this bird with its showy plumage and find out everything about the protected area, start your visit at the Centro de Educação Ambiental de Marim, which will show you the most suitable trails and observatories where you can hide to enjoy the day-to-day life. day of the various species. The Park also organizes trips on a traditional boat formerly used for tuna fishing.

In addition to fishing, extracting salt and collecting molluscs and bivalves are the traditional activities of the people of the Ria who, with wisdom and art, have created delicious gastronomic specialties, such as fish soup or razor clam rice, which you can enjoy in peace. at seaside restaurants.


Those who love sun and sea will find true paradises on the islands of Ria Formosa. From west to east, the islands of Farol, Culatra, Armona and Fuseta follow each other, with extensive sandy beaches that are not very popular.


Praia do Farol is located on Ilha da Culatra, in the municipality of Faro and owes its name to the fact that the lighthouse of Cabo de St.ª. Maria.

Access to Ilha do Farol is only by boat. There are connections from Olhão throughout the year.

During this transport, of approximately 40 minutes, you can appreciate the beauty of the Ria Formosa as well as the diverse fauna that inhabits this protected area.

Despite its urban and tourist occupation, this beach has an extensive beach that, to the east, gradually becomes calmer.


Praia da Culatra is located on the island with the same name. Culatra still preserves its roots as a fishing village and has a population of approximately 750 inhabitants.

Access to Culatra is only by boat. There are connections from Olhão throughout the year.

Culatra is an island of people dedicated to the sea. When we disembarked at Culatra, we realized that we were in a fishermen's place. The village is endowed with various infrastructures and services.

Access to Praia da Culatra is via a wooden walkway recently built in accordance with the standards of the Ria Formosa National Park. On this beach, the sand is wide and extends as far as the eye can see, both to the west and to the east.

Here you can observe the rich flora of the dune fields and numerous species of birds that live in these calm places, where the waters are warm and calm.

After a two-hour walk eastwards, you arrive at Barra Grande, where you can enjoy the inviting natural sandy pools and an ever-changing landscape.


The beach is located at the western end of Ilha da Armona, close to Barra do Lavajo, and once again you have to cross the labyrinths of sand and mud of the Ria Formosa to reach it. The village that was established here is essentially a summer resort and it is possible to count on local support to carry out various nautical activities. The sandy barrier is robust and the seafront can be reached after crossing the village and the dunes, over a distance of about 1.5 km. The landscape opens up next to the sea, the beach is as far as the eye can see and extends to the east, providing moments of tranquility to those who like to go hiking. The sandbanks next to the bar delimit delicious natural pools. Here, too, you can observe the rich and aromatic flora of the dune fields, as well as enjoy the warm east winds and appreciate the invariably fiery tones of the sunset.


The beach is located at the extreme east of Ilha da Armona, in front of Fuseta, a fishing village but already on dry land. Here the Ria Formosa debuts, the boat meanders through the same channels flanked by mud and marsh banks, but the journey is shorter. The sea storms of 2010 significantly altered the configuration of this sand tongue, with the small summer houses that once existed disappearing. The stretch of beach between the new bar and the place where the old bar was located was designated as Praia da Barra Nova, now constituting a deserted and untouched beach, with very inviting natural pools at low tide.


The Municipal Markets of Olhão, one of the ex-libris of the city of Olhão, began to be built in 1912, being inaugurated four years later. For almost a century, they have been one of the picture postcards of Olhão and a must-visit place for tourists and residents alike.

Its construction consisted of consolidating the buildings through a process known as pile-drivers, with each building supported by 88 piles, connected to each other through brick masonry arches. It is a place to visit, for these and other reasons.

A model example of iron and glass architecture, the building, with an enormous urban impact, in exposed brick and a metallic structure, was built to provide the city of Olhão with functional markets, which it did. Every day, hundreds of people visit the Markets, in search of the best fish, fruits and vegetables.

Longitudinal in plan, the Markets are made up of two rectangular spaces with rounded corners, corresponding to the Vegetable Market and the Fish Market, both delimited by four circular glazed turrets. Undergoing rehabilitation works at the end of the 20th century, they maintain their exterior appearance, reopening to the public in 1998. One of the most recent innovations is its interior, lined with tiles painted by Costa Pinheiro.


The Museum is housed in the former Casa do Compromisso Marítimo, an architectural landmark of great importance for the city dating from the end of the 18th century and entirely built “(…) at the expense of the sailors of the Noble Casa do Corpo Santo from this place in Olhão”, in order to house this confraternity created to support the men of the sea.

The confraternity had, on the ground floor, an apothecary (pharmacy) and a butchery to serve seafarers. On the main floor was located the Sala dos Despachos, which features a painting on the wooden ceiling of the roof where the coat of arms of the Portuguese royal arms stands out.

After extensive renovation work on the property, the Museum of the City of Olhão was inaugurated in 2001, a name it retained until 2014, when it was renamed the Municipal Museum of Olhão.

The Museum assumes itself as a mediating pole of the Olhanense Culture, preserving, interpreting, promoting and disseminating the heritage testimonies of the municipality.

The collection in its custody is extensive and diverse, including collections such as: maritime heritage, archeology, numismatics, canning industry, plastic and decorative arts, photography, metrology, cinema, Agro Maritime work, naval models, weapons, masonry and pharmacy.


Site with a special, authentic and unique personality. Place where the rich merchants of the city once built their houses in the 19th century, boasting balustrades, beautiful wrought iron balconies. Paved with Portuguese pavement, labyrinthine alleys full of small cafes and shops, with houses piled up like cubes, made with the typical roof terraces and viewpoints that are part of its identity. Lose yourself in these streets full of stories and where so many poems have given rise.


Opulent villa from the Roman Empire that continued to be occupied during Late Antiquity and the early days of Islam.

It is still possible to perceive the architectural appearance that the villa had at the beginning of the 4th century, with the luxurious manor house, spas, olive oil and wine presses and agricultural facilities, revealing the lifestyle of a family of high social and political status. This set includes a temple from the beginning of the 4th century, Christianized in the 6th century and used as a cemetery in the Islamic period until the 10th century, which remains preserved until the vaults were removed and where a set of mosaics from the podium wall covering stands out.

Important archaeological finds were made in the ruins: predominantly marine-themed mosaics, marble and various ceramics, painted stucco and sculptures that decorated the interiors and gardens.


Despite its construction dating back to the 1940s, the Palace of Estoi was completed only in 1909, by José Francisco da Silva, the Viscount of Estoi.

The project, authored by architect Domingos da Silva Meira, is markedly eclectic, mixing neoclassical and neo rococo styles.

This is an architectural complex of great beauty, in which the palace stands out, with an imposing façade preceded by a double staircase and the interior decorated with tile panels, stained glass and plaster work.

Equally interesting are the French-style gardens, in which we find fruit trees, palm trees, fountains and some sculptures.

Recently restored, the palace serves as a charming inn.