Olhao is a major port and is the largest fishing port in the Algarve. It is full of character with Moorish-style houses and quaint old interesting buildings. There is a long, very pleasant, paved promenade with gardens to provide a welcome escape from the heat of the sun. If you are driving to Olhao there is plenty of parking along this water front road.
The town of Olhão is essentially and historically linked to the local fishing industry and only grew into existence in the 17th Century. During the French occupation of the Algarve, during the Peninsular Wars, Olhão was notable for one of the few public uprisings against the occupiers, occurring on 16 June 1808. This revolt culimnated in the expulsion of the French from Olhão and, as a result, from the rest of the Algarve. It was during this period, that a month later, a small group of 17 men embarked to Brazil on a caique (a small sailing vessel) named Bom Sucesso, in the hope of promoting the Algarvean success to the Portuguese Court. The crew brought an ex-official statement describing the audacious attitude of the Olhanese revolt. Their purpose was to announce to the exiled King of Portugal, Dom João IV, that the French invading armies had been defeated and had returned to France leaving Portugal free for the King to return. A replica of the boat is moored at Olhão's waterfront.
Olhao has something for everyone! Park your car for a while and walk around in the Olhao centre or checkout the market halls on the waterfront. You will find bars, cafes, plenty of local restaurants serving fresh fish and many more. Olhao is famous for its fish and fish industry, but its architecture and Museum is well worth looking out for.
Behind the parish church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário, from the 17th century, the Chapel of Senhor dos Aflitos at the rear of the Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário in the parish of Olhão, this is where the wives of fishermen gather to pray for their safety when the weather is stormy.
Olhão has two market buildings, one dedicated to the selling of fish and sea food delivered straight from the port. Olhão is famous for it's fresh fish & sea food and is host to the annual seafood festival which takes place every summer in August. There are many little restaurants and cafes serving a wonderful selection of fresh fish and sea food it hardly seems worthwhile to have to cook it yourself. The other market building is where you can find a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables. The waterfront in Olhão has restaurants and bars in which to relax and enjoy a refreshing drink when the sun is bearing down, or sit to enjoy the sunset, with the sun dipping into the sea. - The perfect finish to a day well-spent.
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