A great day combination while in the Algarve
Visiting Olhão and Praia da Fuzeta might be some of the most recurring programs I’ve done in the Algarve. And that’s because Olhão and Fuzeta are the traditional Algarve and have some of the best and most beautiful beaches in Portugal. Such a combination between Olhão and Fuzeta makes it easy for us to come back each year. I particularly like the still traditional environment of the village of Olhão, with a wonderful atmosphere. In addition, the beaches of Fuzeta and Olhão are some of my favorite corners on the Ria Formosa and one of my favorite places in the Algarve.
by Filipe Pereira
Portuguese Local Guide
Since an early age, Algarve has been a mandatory stop for me at least twice per year.
Get to know this region through insider tips, and discover it like a local!
HOW TO GET TO OLHÃO
Olhão is about 2h30 from Lisbon, by A2 and N125, and 5h30 from Porto, by A1, A2, and N125. Getting to Olhão is easy and fast as most of the route is always done by motorway. The best way to get to Olhão is by car, however, you can also travel by train to Faro, then on a regional train between Faro and Vila Real de Santo António and leave at Olhão station.
HOW TO GET TO FUZETA FROM OLHÃO
After arriving in Olhão just follow the EN125 for about 10 minutes and arrive at Fuzeta. There it is easy to park the car because there is plenty of parking. Then, depending on where you want to go, you have to take the public or private boat depending on the islands and locations on the islands you want to go to.
WHEN TO VISIT OLHÃO
Visiting Olhão and Praia da Fuzeta is good at any time of the year, however, from April to October will be the best options.
Summer in Olhão is an excellent option for holidays but remember that you will have to share the space with more people. In winter, visiting Olhão and Praia da Fuzeta is an excellent option to spend New Year’s Eve in the Algarve with friends (and you can still take the first dive of the year) or enjoy an end long week in Olhão.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO WHEN VISITING OLHÃO
1. Visit Olhão
Olhão is a super interesting city, full of charisma, life and teeming with activities. Olhão has a very interesting cultural panorama on the streets, with concerts in bars and terraces and a very cheerful and young atmosphere. Olhão is a city where it is worth sleeping and enjoying the restaurants and bars, as well as enjoying the way of life of its people in the old and traditional part of the city of Olhão.
2. Drinking a gin at sunset in the Olhão markets
There is nothing better than drinking a gin in a bar at the end of the day (and sunset) in the city of Olhão, especially in the market area of the city of Olhão. Gather friends, strangers and just go alone. The fall of the day, the light, the coming of the night … everything is wonderful in Olhão!
3. Explore street art in Olhão
The city of Olhão is full of places magnificently painted by graffiti and plastic artists. Dare to walk through the city of Olhão on foot to discover. The area of the port of Olhão is especially fertile in these magnificent works.
We couldn’t talk about Olhão without sharing with you one of the restaurants we like most in the Algarve and Olhão, the 7th. Do not miss the magnificent octopus and tapas as it is an excellent choice for lunch or dinner in Olhão overlooking the Ria Formosa.
4. Visiting the fresh markets in Olhão early in the morning
It is worth getting up early to visit the markets in Olhão, recently recovered and with a new air. Olhão has two markets, one for fruits, vegetables and local products, such as spices, regional sweets or sausages and another, the fish market. The fish market in Olhão, they say, is more lively on Tuesdays and Saturdays, so if you are in the city of Olhão these days do not make it easy.
5. Travel the route of the legends of Olhão
The city of Olhão decided to put its legends on the streets and tell them to anyone visiting the city. There are five legends and five statues in Olhão that allow you to follow an urban trail through the old part of the city of Olhão. This trail in Olhão takes about 30 to 40 minutes to travel and is an excellent way to explore the urban part of Olhão.
6. Visit the Ria Formosa Natural Park when visiting Olhão
Visiting the Ria Formosa Natural Park in Olhão can be an extraordinary way to discover the island’s biodiversity and its Geography. It is possible to walk the park or by bicycle and it is a beautiful family program for an afternoon or morning in the region of Olhão.
7. Take the trail from the island of Culatra to the tip of the Lighthouse
The trail between the island of Culatra and the tip of the Lighthouse in Olhão is a route that crosses the dune cord of the island of Culatra and allows to make beach in the part of the sea or the estuary, the part of the sea here being much higher. The trail is truly wonderful and then goes along the beach to the Lighthouse. to make this trail you have to cross by boat from Olhão to Culatra first.
8. Have fresh fish in the village of Culatra
When visiting the island of Culatra in Olhão you cannot miss the opportunity to eat fresh grilled fish, served in one of the simple and traditional restaurants on the island. You will not regret it because they say it is the best grilled fish in the Algarve and Olhão!
9. Bathing on the beach on the island of Culatra
The island of Culatra, even at the height of summer, is an ideal place to go beach in Olhão, as it is large and with a very large beach. Just walk a little, especially to the East, towards the eastern tip of Culatra, to have the beach in Olhão almost alone for you.
10. Climb the Lighthouse “island” to see the upper estuary
The tip of the Lighthouse has the best observatory in the Ria Formosa. It is the lighthouse that gives its name to the tip of the island, which can be raised whenever navy officers allow it. We tried to climb but due to the Covid-19 situation we were not allowed. We were unable to understand how the visits work because the “marine crowd” that was there was not very friendly to share this information.
11. Have a drink at the beach of the “island” of the Lighthouse when visiting Olhão
The tip of the Lighthouse is a magnificent place to go bathing and enjoy a morning or afternoon on the beach. But, after going to baths, sea and sun, you have to drink a refreshing drink on a terrace in front of the sea and here, there is even more style. Enjoy!
12. Bathing on the sea beach of Armona Island
The island of Armona is a delight for beach lovers in Olhão. With a very extensive sea beach, it invites prolonged dives and large sea baths. It is worth taking the boat in Olhão to go there for a good swim.
13. Bathe on the beach of the Armona Island estuary when visiting Olhão
The island of Culatra has a sea beach and a river beach there in Olhão. The beach at Ria Formosa is small but on windy days it is sheltered and ideal
for enjoying the beach in Olhão.
14. Explore the island of Armona on foot and discover lakes and water lines in the Formosa estuary
The island of Armona is one of the best islands in the Formosa estuary to discover on foot from Olhão. There are no marked trails but there are several paths that lead to lagoons, saltwater channels in the middle of the barrier island, routes through the dunes and the beach. It is a beautiful place to stroll and discover the area of Olhão on foot.
15. Visit Ria Formosa on a boat tour in Fuzeta
An excellent option to visit the Ria Formosa is to take the boat trip
, for one hour, through the Fuzeta area. Unfortunately, the company we used “Passeios – Ria Formosa” was a disappointment. The hour trip was only 45 minutes and we did not go to some of the places that were included in the itinerary, namely Praia do Homem Nu, which included a 15-minute stop for a swim. So, look for alternatives to this tour that is very beautiful and should be one of the highlights to visit the Algarve and Olhão.
18. Getting to know Praia da Fuzeta
From Olhão to Fuzeta it is just over 10 minutes by car and it is really worth exploring the Ria Formosa in this region of Olhão. In Fuzeta you can buy a boat ticket and cross to the beach of Fuzeta
but you can do more than that. You can also go to Barra! See the next point!
19. Feeling like on a tropical beach on Barra da Fuzeta beach
In Fuzeta you can take a taxi boat (3.5 € / person) to the deserted islands off Fuzeta, namely Barra Nova
and Barra Velha
. Do not miss this experience when visiting Fuzeta beach as you will feel like you are in a real tropical country. And, if it is in May or June you will have the space to yourself! It is a mandatory tour when visiting Olhão and Praia da Fuzeta.
20. Do nudism in Praia do Homem Nu (!?)
Praia do Homem Nu is one of the least popular in the Fuzeta area because transport there by boat is more expensive. As such, most of its regulars end up feeling comfortable nudist in the Olhão area.
21. Know the history of Torre de Aires when visiting Olhão and Praia da Fuzeta
The village of Torre de Aires, in Tavira, has a series of Islamic defense structures to protect the Algarve coast. There are several interesting places to visit, but the best is the alignment of watchtowers along the marginal road parallel to the Ria Formosa and close to Olhão. It is worth a visit when visiting Olhão.
22. Eat seafood at Marisqueira Fialho, in Torres de Aires
If you are looking to eat seafood and bivalves from Ria Formosa, Marisqueira Fialho is a good option near Olhão. It is a simple, traditional place with popular service and fair prices. We eat cueirão and a magnificent spike of monkfish and prawns but they say that the cueirão rice is to cry for more!