Olhão Secrets | Best Guide to the Marina, Backstreets & More

Olhão Secrets | Best Guide to the Marina, Backstreets & More

As we embark on this journey through Olhão’s hidden gems, we’ll unveil the secrets that make this coastal town truly enchanting. Stroll along the bustling marina, where colorful fishing boats bob gently in the clear waters, providing a captivating backdrop for your exploration.

Discover the heart and soul of Olhão in its cozy local bars, where the friendly atmosphere and delectable drinks create lasting memories. And when it comes to dining, prepare your taste buds for a culinary adventure as we delve into the diverse and vibrant restaurant scene, offering a taste of both traditional Portuguese cuisine and international flavors.

So, let’s delve deeper into Olhão’s treasures and find out why it might just be the perfect destination for your next Algarve escape.

Exploring the Beautiful Town and Marina of Olhão Algarve

Olhão Marina was once a sleepy little fishing village, untouched by the bustle of modern life. Fast forward 10 years, and it has transformed into one of the most vibrant and modernized areas of the Algarve region. This modernity includes new establishments, structures, and a beautifully done-up promenade that was just completed this year.

Experience The New Marina

The marina has seen quite a few additions in recent years. The new Marina, home to popular restaurants, bars and shopping facilities has become one of the main attractions for tourists looking to enjoy panoramic views and lively atmosphere.

Outdoor Gym and Children Play Areas

For fitness enthusiasts, Olhão Marina has well-equipped outdoor gyms perfect for a refreshing workout with stunning views. For the little ones, there’s an expansive play area promising hours of fun. We can confidently say that Olhão is a destination that caters to all age groups and interests.

The Fresh Farmers and Fish Market

Every Saturday morning the town comes alive with the bustling farmers’ market. It’s a treat to the eyes and taste buds with locally grown, organic produce sold by the very farmers who grow them. It’s the perfect opportunity to experience Olhão’s local flavors firsthand.

Boat Trips Along the Ria Formosa

From Olhão Marina, regular boat trips along the Ria Formosa are available to the scenic Armona Island, Culatra island and Farol. These barrier islands are home to beautiful beaches and white sandy shores perfect beach lovers. Cruising through the crystal clear waters, you can enjoy the beauty of the Algarve coast and the islands from a unique perspective.

One of the key attractions of the Olhão Marina is the Dolphin watch tours. Several boat tour companies run these thrilling excursions, competing to offer you the best experience. If you’re lucky, you may even spot whales frolicking in the water – it’s a sight that is truly unforgettable.

Admiring the Backstreets and Popular Landmarks

When exploring Olhao’s backstreets, you’ll be charmed by the picturesque scenes of whitewashed houses and stone buildings that define this cubist city. The historic center boasts a wide range of hotels for travelers looking to immerse themselves in the local culture. As you wander through the cobbled alleys, you’ll notice the unique architecture with terraced roofs that lend a distinct character to Olhao.

Local Shops and Cafes

Olhao’s backstreets are dotted with local shops and cafes that offer a taste of authentic Portuguese life. These quaint establishments provide an opportunity to interact with friendly locals, savor traditional cuisine, and shop for unique souvenirs. Don’t forget to try the local seafood, a true highlight of the region.

Visit Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora Church

Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora Church is a historical gem dating back to the 17th century. Its intricate architecture and rich history make it a must-visit landmark in Olhão. Whether you’re interested in religious heritage or simply appreciate beautiful architecture, a visit to this church is a rewarding experience.

Take a Walk Down the Avenida

Strolling along the Avenida in Olhão provides a glimpse into daily life in this vibrant city. You’ll find the train station nearby, making it a convenient spot for travelers relying on public transport. The Avenida is also lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants, offering opportunities for relaxation and people-watching while you wait for your train or simply enjoy the atmosphere.

Sporting Clube Olhanense

For sports enthusiasts, a visit to Sporting Clube Olhanense is a must. This local sports club has a rich history and is an integral part of the community. Check out their events and matches to immerse yourself in the local sporting culture and support the home team.

Best Local Bars and Restaurants

The marina is a foodie’s haven. With a plethora of bars and restaurants, there’s something for everyone. From the newfound French restaurant to regular Chinese eateries, seafood joints, and a tasty tapas bar, variety is not something the marina lacks.

The Infamous Bamboo Restaurant

The Bamboo Restaurant is a renowned chain restaurant with one of its delightful seafood outlets located right here in Olhao Marina. With stunning views of the marina, dining at Bamboo is both a gastronomic and visual delight.

La Panorama – Our Favorite Bar

One establishment that never fails to delight us is the La Panorama bar. Run by a French couple, it’s a place known for its delightful array of tapas and wonderful atmosphere. Experiencing the local community or enjoying a timeout with friends, La Panorama is ideal for both.

Catitas Bar

Nestled on the charming streets of Olhao, Catitas Bar is a true local treasure. This cozy bar offers a warm and inviting atmosphere, perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring the city. Known for its friendly staff and signature cocktails, Catitas Bar is where you can savor the taste of Olhao while enjoying live music and the company of fellow travelers. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing afternoon or a lively evening out, Catitas Bar welcomes you with open arms.


GNO Bar, located along the seafront, is where culinary creativity meets modern sophistication. With an eclectic menu that fuses local ingredients with global influences, GNO Bar offers a gastronomic adventure like no other. Whether you’re lounging in the chic bar area with signature cocktails or indulging in the diverse and exquisite dishes in the dining space, GNO Bar promises an evening of relaxation, socializing, and culinary exploration.

Via Volta – All You Can Eat Fish Restaurant

Via Volta stands as a seafood lover’s paradise in Olhao. This unique restaurant offers an “All You Can Eat” seafood experience, where you can savor the freshest catch of the day in a casual and friendly setting. With a focus on sustainability and variety, Via Volta’s menu boasts a bounty of ocean delights, from grilled fish to seafood platters. Whether you’re a seafood connoisseur or new to the world of marine flavors, Via Volta invites you to indulge in a seafood feast like no other.

Festivals in Olhao

Olhao is a town that knows how to celebrate life, and its festivals are a testament to its vibrant spirit. Here are some of the most exciting festivals you can experience in Olhao:

Festival do Marisco (Seafood Festival)

Every August, Olhao comes alive with the tantalizing aroma of freshly prepared seafood during the Festival do Marisco. This renowned seafood festival celebrates the town’s maritime heritage and offers visitors the chance to savor an exquisite variety of seafood dishes, from grilled fish to shellfish specialties. With live music, entertainment, and a bustling atmosphere, it’s a must-visit event for food enthusiasts and those looking to immerse themselves in Olhao’s culture.

Pirate Festival 

Ahoy, matey! Olhao’s Pirate Festival is a swashbuckling adventure that takes place annually. Join the fun as the town transforms into a haven for pirates and buccaneers of all ages. With pirate-themed parades, treasure hunts, and activities for the whole family, this festival promises a memorable and playful experience that captures the imagination of young and old alike.

Ilha Da Armona Festival

Ilha da Armona Festival is a celebration of the natural beauty and serene landscapes of the nearby Armona Island. This festival typically includes music performances, beachside gatherings, and opportunities to explore the island’s stunning beaches and natural surroundings. It’s a perfect escape for those seeking a tranquil and scenic festival experience.

Accommodation Options

In Olhao, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation options. Between staying in the luxury of the Marina Hotel, renting one of the plush apartments or a traditional town house with panoramic views of the village the decision rests with your preference and budget.

Real Marina Hotel and Spa

The Real Marina Hotel is one of Olhão’s most luxurious establishments, offering five-star amenities and setups. Beautifully situated by the water’s edge, the hotel offers stunning views and a phenomenal rooftop swimming pool. It may seem pricey at first, but they offer some incredibly affordable deals during off-peak seasons.

The Amazing Boutique Guest House

This luxurious 3-bedroom townhouse is a haven of tranquility and comfort, offering high-spec furniture and an irresistible blend of traditional charm and modern amenities. At Boutique House, every detail is crafted to ensure an unparalleled stay. Cool off in the private plunge pool, bask in the sun on the roof terrace, or retreat inside to enjoy the elegantly appointed interiors.

The Classical Hotel Cidade de Olhão

This classic contemporary hotel is a 1950s architectural gem. Situated in the heart of Olhão, the hotel takes its name from this charming and centrally located spot in the Algarve region. The hotel enjoys proximity to numerous points of interest, including the Barreta and Levante neighborhoods, the bustling markets, and the picturesque riverside area, all just a leisurely 10-minute stroll away.

Private Escapes at the Luxury Villa Sereia 

At Villa Sereia, your comfort and relaxation are top priorities. Whether you’re looking to unwind by the pool, explore the Algarve’s natural beauty, or soak up the local culture, the villa provides the perfect base for your unforgettable vacation experience. Located on the outskirts of Olhão near the quiet Village of Pechao the villa is perfect for families, groups and couples.

Final Takeaways on Olhao

Olhão, a charming coastal town in the Algarve region of Portugal, has long been a well-kept secret among travelers seeking an authentic Portuguese experience. With its preserved historical center, bustling marina, and vibrant local culture, Olhao offers a delightful blend of old-world charm and modern conveniences.

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