Olhao Tourist Attractions
Relatively unaffected by tourism, Olhao (altitude: sea level) is the second largest town on the Algarve, a few miles east of its chief town, Faro. The town's main industry is its sardine and tuna fisheries, the catches being processed straightaway in the local cannery. The port has the second largest turnover in the Faro district (after Portimao).TownscapeThe townscape and atmosphere of Olhao are different from those found in all other towns in the Algarve. It is often described as the most North African of Algarve towns, and it certainly has a very Moorish air about it. This is mainly because of its characteristic white flat roofed houses. The fishing quarter in particular consists of labyrinths of two or three story square houses of this kind; they are all similar but no two are exactly the same. They are all topped with terraces (açoteias), on which is a small lookout used, so it is said, by the wives of fishermen to watch for their menfolk sailing home.The North African influence on the architecture is mainly the result of trade links between Olhao and towns on the coast of North Africa. This style of building was, however, also adopted here as being particulary suited to the climatic conditions. Large areas of the town were built in the 19th C., with new buildings being found further inland on the N 125. Olhao has no particularly outstanding sights, but the harbor has plenty of atmosphere. Those wishing to see buildings would do well to follow the Avenida da República towards the sea. It passes by the parish church erected by fishermen in 1681-89 (fine view from the tower); opposite is the chapel of Nossa Senhora where the wives prayed for the safe return of their menfolk. The pedestrian zone leads to the two covered fish markets and the promenade.
Parque Natural da Ria Formosa - Quinta de Marim
Places of interest around Olhao include the Quinta de Marim, 1km/1,200yd east of Olhao harbor, near the camp site. The Quinta de Marim Environmental and Nature Conservation Center forms part of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa.In a small information kiosk visitors can obtain details of the Ria Formosa lagoon region, its flora and fauna and also general information on matters concerning the environment and nature conservation.There are temporary exhibitions, an auditorium and library and a pleasant cafeteria. When walking around the area visitors can inspect various agricultural and fishing techniques which are rarely seen elsewhere, including, for instance, an old tuna fishing boat (barca de atum). The tidal mill (moinho de maré) is especially interesting; it is the last mill of its kind to be used since the Middle Ages. In the east of the area the remains of Roman salination plants have been unearthed.
Serra de Monte Figo
The Serra de Monte Figo, which reaches a height of 410m/1,346ft by Sao Miguel, lies beyond the town of Moncarapacho, 8km/5mi northeast of Olhao. A very narrow little road leads up the mountain; when visibilty is good there is a fine view of the coastal strip from the top.
Map of Olhao Attractions