District of Faro

Olhão, Algarve

Olhão, Algarve - Olhão, city (28,000 inhab.) and municipality with 45,400 inhabitants (1), district of Faro, in Algarve, is one of the sixteen counties (municipalities) in this southern region of Portugal.

Ria Formosa, the greatest natural heritage
The coast of the municipality (municipality) of Olhão is located in the heart of the Ria Formosa, the richest ecosystem in the District of Faro (Algarve). A paradise for lovers from nature.

Olhão, Capital da Ria Formosa, Olhão, Algarve © RTA / Images of Portugal
Olhão, Capital of Ria Formosa, Olhão, Algarve © RTA / Images of Portugal

Ria Formosa

The main attraction of Olhão: "The Ria Formosa with calm waters, a paradise for connoisseurs from nature. In the background, the white dotted houses. Attractions of Olhão and its county, holiday space made of sun, life and multiple charms" [Visit Algarve].

Find out more: The Ria Formosa in Olhão

Olhão Beaches

The main beaches in Olhão are:

Praia da Fuseta

Praia da Armona

Praia da Culatra

See also: Olhão Beaches

Land of Gastronomy

Olhão, land of fishermen, is also a land of good food. Here, traditional Algarve cuisine impera, with its favorite ingredients: fish and seafood.

Meat, poultry and game also occupy a prominent place with specialties appreciated by locals. and its numerous visitors.

Praias de Olhão, Algarve © / Visit Portugal, ilustração
Olhão Beaches, Algarve © / Visit Portugal, illustration

What to see in Olhão

In addition to its varied historical and religious heritage, discover the three islands of the place (Ilha da Culatra, do Farol and Ilha Armona) on a boat trip allows you to get to know the natural beauties of Olhão better.

Find out more: What to see in Olhão

Vista de Olhão, Algarve © RTA / Images of Portugal
View of Olhão, Algarve © RTA / Images of Portugal

What to do in Olhão

In addition to diving or walking on the sands of its beaches, boat trips are among the activities most appreciated by visitors to Olhão.

Find out more: What to do in Olhão

Where to stay in Olhão

Tourism plays an important role in the local economy, alongside fishing. In Olhão the visitors can choose their preferred option in terms of accommodation: comfortable hotels, houses and apartments for rent by season or accommodation with the inhabitants. It is always advisable prepare in advance to have better options.

Find out more: Where to stay in Olhão

Terra de Boa mesa, Olhão, Distrito de Faro, Algarve © RTA / Images of Portugal
Land of Boa Mesa, Olhão, District of Faro, Algarve © RTA / Images of Portugal

Where to eat in Olhão

There are several restaurants, bars and cafes where you can taste the delicious dishes of local cuisine. See our suggestions and enjoy your stay in Olhão to taste the cuisine Algarve, Mediterranean or, if you prefer, international.

Find out more: Where to eat in Olhão

Area and Population

With 131 km⊃ surface area, the municipality of Olhão currently has a population of 44,626 inhabitants (INE, 2021).

In 2011, the municipality of Olhão had a population of 45,396 inhabitants, recording a drop in resident population of the order of 1.7%. (INE, 2021).


The municipality (municipality) of Olhão is bordered to the north by São Brás de Alportel, to the north and east with Tavira, to the west with Faro and to the southeast it has a coastline on the Atlantic.

Mapas de Olhão, Olhão, Distrito de Faro, Algarve © Google
Maps of Olhão, Olhão, Faro District, Algarve © Google

A bit of history

"The abundance of fish attracted fishermen to the place where the city stands today from Olhão. Living in humble huts built with wood, reeds and straw, using the ancestral art of xávega, in which the bag-shaped net is dragged towards land, there were only a few dozen inhabitants in 1378, the date of first document referring to Olhão.

For centuries, the only buildings on the beach were huts. The population was growing and, in 1679, its importance justified the construction of the fortress of São Lourenço to defend against attacks by North African pirates. comes the first stone building - the Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário - in 1698. In 1715 opened to the public and the first masonry housing is authorized, through a permit of Queen D. Maria Ana of Austria" [Olhão Turismo, CM de Olhão].

"The 19th century was decisive for the expansion of Olhão. It was elevated to town status in 1808, as thanksgiving from King D. João VI (1767-1826) for his fight against the troops Napoleonic wars and the heroic voyage of the caique Bom Sucesso, which brought the good news to court, refugee in Brazil due to the invasion of Portugal by the armies of General Soult. The commercial activity carried out by seafarers from Olhão extends to to the Mediterranean. And finally, the fish canning industry appears. Olhão, today, is an active and dynamic city that continues to have fishing as one of its mainstays of its economy" [Idem].

Holiday Destination

Beautiful beaches, rich heritage, markets, parties, festivals and outdoor activities all year round make Olhão one of the best destinations in the Algarve.

Vista de Olhão, Algarve © RTA / Images of Portugal
View of Olhão, Algarve © RTA / Images of Portugal

The Great Fountain

The name Olhão comes from the existence in that place of a large waterhole.

Olhão attractions

The main attractions of Olhão are:

Sports in Olhão

With a varied natural heritage, Olhão is a paradise for water sports. Others sports, however, also attract many fans in the municipality.

"The practitioners of sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and power boating have in the vast Ria Formosa hydrographic basin the ideal conditions for your sports. The clear waters, with visibility up to 15 meters, and the abundance of fish attract divers to Culatra beach. The two channels of access to the Ria allow, on the other hand, that the yachts find shelter in the its various berths.

The coast of Olhão is, for this reason, one of the centers of water sports do Algarve" [Tourism in Olhão, CM de Olhão].

Find out more: Sports in Olhão

Parishes of Olhão

There are four parishes in the municipality:

+ Information about Olhão

• Olhão Town Hall
• Address: Largo Sebastião Martins Mestre. 8700-349, Olhão
• Telephone: +351 289 700 100
• Official Link: CM Olhão
• Contact by email: geral@cm-olhao.pt
• Social networks: www.facebook.com/cmolhao/ , Instagram: @
• Opening hours:
  9 am to 4 pm (does not close for lunch), Monday to Friday

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