Holidays to Olhao let you escape the tourist trail. Its sleepy streets play host to lovely scenery, including ancient Moorish architecture, Catholic cathedrals and a pretty fishing port. Down by the waterfront there’s a promenade made for strolling, and beautiful public gardens where you can escape the heat of the sun. You’ll also spot a couple of 17th-century chapels, where fishermen once prayed for safety from the dangers of the sea. Olhao’s fishing industry is still thriving, and the resort is very much characterised by its bobbing fishing boats and fascinating fish market – the Algarve’s largest.
Olhao is at the eastern end of the lush Ria Formosa Nature Reserve. This area of marshland and lagoons stretches for some 40 miles, and is crammed with wildlife, particularly shellfish and rare birds. If you’ve still got some energy left after exploring Ria Formosa, pick one of the trails leading up the Serra de Monte Figo mountain. There are no beaches in Olhao itself, but you can catch a ferry to the sands of one of the islets lying just off the coast.