Unveil the labyrinth of Olhão and wander through the Ria Formosa Natural Park, with its palette of blues and rich wildlife
Olhão, with its houses with roof terraces, and minarets, is a patchwork of white cubes which earned it the epithet of the “cubist” city. This is a place which should not be visited in a hurry, to give you time to walk through the alleys and the labyrinth of lanes and little streets discovering interesting corners. The visit to the city of the sea should end on the waterfront avenue near the Ria Formosa, an area that is refreshed by gardens and restaurant and café terraces, with one of the highlights being the colourful atmosphere of the Municipal Market, which fulfils its traditional function by day and then is the setting for lively nightlife in the evening. It is a display of colours, smells and tastes, a delight for the senses.
From the tower of the Main Church, there is an impressive panorama over the traditional houses of Olhão: cubes piled on top of each other, terraces for the drying of fish, look-out points for watching the sea. In other streets and avenues, there are grand façades clad in tiles, with verandas and wrought-iron work.
Now it is time to discover the Ria Formosa Natural Park. We set off down a track from where we can see migratory birds, and plants growing in dry or marshy soil. The famous water-dogs, an indigenous species which was endangered and whose survival is guaranteed by the park, are another of the attractions.
A tidal mill murmurs as the tide comes in or goes out. The Chalet of the painter João Lúcio, surrounded by a mysterious pine forest, displays an esoteric architectural style and one that is full of symbolism. The Ria Formosa Natural Park covers an area of some 17,000 hectares, and it provides an opportunity to discover the wonderful world of the fauna and flora of this part of the Algarve coast.
Find secret places and special moments off the beaten path and discover the Algarve others do not know about!