Olhão Travel Guide

Plan your trip to Olhão, Portugal with this comprehensive travel guide featuring the best places to visit, things to do, food and drink scene, and local culture.

Introduction to Olhão

Nestled in the heart of Algarve, Portugal, Olhão is a captivating coastal town that has been a major fishing port for centuries. This charming town is known for its laid-back ambiance, preserved historic architecture, and delicious seafood cuisine.

Olhão is more than just a fishing village, as it offers a diverse range of cultural and natural attractions that make it an ideal destination for discerning travelers who enjoy immersing themselves in the local culture. This comprehensive guide aims to help you plan your perfect vacation to Olhão by highlighting its top attractions, activities, food and drink scene, and more.

List of Places to Visit in Olhão

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Olhão is steeped in history as it has been a thriving trading hub since the 17th century. Take a stroll through the old town to appreciate its well-preserved architecture, including the church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário, which was built in the 17th century, and the Igreja Matriz, a magnificent church built in the 17th century.

The Natural Park of Ria Formosa is a UNESCO-recognized biosphere reserve which is home to over 270 bird species, charming fishing villages, and stunning beaches.

Natural Attractions of Olhão: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Nature lovers will enjoy Olhão’s blissful beaches. Praia da Fuseta is the most famous beach in the area, boasting calm waters, white sand, and family-friendly facilities, including equipment rental and snack bars. For a more secluded experience, take a short boat ride to the islands of Culatra, Farol, or Armona, all of which offer stunning views, crystal-clear waters while retaining an unspoiled, untouched wilderness.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Olhão

The Ria Formosa Natural Park offers several hiking trails and bike paths that will take you on a tour through wetlands and salt pans.

Best Things to Do in Olhão: Activities and Tours

Olhão offers a wealth of activities and tours for visitors. Take the family on a boat trip through Ria Formosa, rent kayaks or paddleboards, indulge in sunset sailing, visit a traditional fish market, and much more. For a uniquely Portuguese experience, indulge in a bike wine tour of the local vineyards.

Week-Long Itinerary for Olhão

A week in Olhão can be easily filled with activities. On day one, tour Ria Formosa National Park. On day two, take a historical houses tour. Day three, relax at the beach, and day four, visit some of the local wineries. Day five, tour the nearby villages of Moncarapacho and Estoi. Day six, discover the Andalusian flair of Tavira. On the last day of the trip, head out and enjoy everything the countryside has to offer.

Food and Drink Scene of Olhão

Must-Try Dishes

Olhão is known for its fresh seafood, which is a staple of the local cuisine. Popular dishes include Cataplana de Peixe, a seafood stew with fish, prawns, and clams with onion, peppers, and tomatoes. Arroz de Marisco is another seafood dish, consisting of rice combined with a selection of shellfish.

Local Beverages

Port wine and ginjinha are both excellent options for a nightcap. Ginjinha is made from sour cherries and has an alcohol content of between 18% to 20%. You can taste these lovely beverages at most cafes or bars in Olhão.

## Where to Stay in Olhão: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Whether you’re traveling on a budget or indulging in a luxurious break, Olhão has a range of accommodation options to choose from. From 5-star hotels to budget-friendly hostels, the lodging choices are many.

What to Buy in Olhão: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

The local markets, shops, and boutiques in Olhão offer traditional handcrafts, designer pieces, and local delicacies that are perfect for taking home as mementos of your vacation. Popular buys include handmade baskets, fresh fish, lacework, and Ceramics.

Local Culture and Customs of Olhão

Olhão has a close-knit community that values the traditional arts. As a town heavily reliant on fishing, the locals have a great love for the sea and provide several festivals in fishing, music, and gastronomy.

Best Time to Visit Olhão

The best time to visit Olhão is between late spring and early autumn when the weather is warm and sunny, and temperatures average around 20-25°C (68-77°F).

Do’s and Don’ts of Olhão


Respect local customs and traditions, be polite, and try to speak a few Portuguese words.

Enjoy the seafood, and try out the traditional dishes of the region.


Don’t forget to put on sunscreen when going on a hike or a beach day.

Don’t leave litter along walking paths or natural parks.

Safety and Health

Safety in Olhão

Olhão is known as a safe town with low crime rates. As usual precautions, it’s always advisable to keep your travel documents and valuables in a safe place when out and about.

Health in Olhão

Be sure to bring sunscreen or other forms of sun protection to prevent sunburn while enjoying the outdoors.

Getting to Olhão: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Olhão

Faro Airport is the nearest airport to Olhão, which is approximately 15 miles from the town.

Bus Stations Near Olhão

Olhão Bus Station is the main bus station which is efficiently-connected with other towns of the country.

Other Options

Rent-a-car or a taxi would be the choices to choose to go from the airport to Olhão.

How to Get Around in Olhão

The town center is easily explored on foot; however, renting a bike or a car can provide extra flexibility in accessing Ria Formosa Natural Park.

Where to Go Next from Olhão: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

There are several nearby destinations from Olhão perfect for day trips. The city of Faro is just a 20-minute drive away and provides visitors with a plethora of attractions, including cathedrals, churches, and museums. Another nearby city is Tavira, a historical port town that is home to several magnificent churches, cobbled streets, and fantastic street art installations.


Olhão is a beautiful destination that has something to offer everyone. With a wealth of natural, cultural attractions, and delicious food experiences, there is never a dull moment in Olhão. So pack your bags and book your flight, your journey to Olhão awaits!