Olhos de Agua, Algarve, Portugal
Olhos de Agua is a delightful Portuguese fishing town that is situated in the heart of the Algarve. This little town is centred around a sandy cove, where fishing boats are still pulled onto the golden sands and old fishermen tend their nets in huts that line the shore. Olhos de Agua has not fully escaped the boom of tourism; encircling the town are numerous giant tourist developments, but central Olhos de Agua still manages to retain its personable and welcoming charm. This atmosphere and low-key ambience is why so many tourists return yearly, and makes the town great for families.
For a holiday Olhos de Agua offers outstanding beaches, has a wide variety of restaurants and bars, and basks under the glorious climate of the Algarve. The town is the ideal destination for visitors wanting a calm and relaxed holiday, but still wish to be close to the buzz of a large resort town (Albufeira is just 4km away). If wonderful weather, a relaxed ambience and great value are key aspects for your holiday, then Olhos de Agua could be the destination for you.
Olhos de Agua is a traditional fishing village
Highlights of Olhos de Agua
Olhos de Agua is just the right distance from Albufeira
One of the main appeals of Olhos de Agua is having easy access to all of the facilities and services of a buzzing and hectic resort town (Albufeira), without actually being in it. It is difficult to imagine that the peaceful ambience of Olhos de Agua is less than 4km from the riotous and hedonistic bars and clubs of The Strip in Albufeira, which is favourite for Stag and Hen do’s. Along with great nightlife Albufeira also has extensive shopping, with multiple supermarkets and the largest shopping centre in the Algarve. A holiday to Olhos de Agua can be calm or exciting as you make it.
The beautiful Praia da Falésia beach, just a short walk from Olhos de Agua
Who should visit?
Olhos de Agua is better suited for visitors who wish a relaxed holiday, with a focus on the beach, long meals and evenings spent socialising with like-minded people. This typically covers young families or more mature visitor. If this is the style of holiday you are seeking stop reading this article and book your holiday now, as you will fall in love with Olhos de Agua.
Olhos de Agua can make a good base for a golfing holiday as close by are the numerous golf courses of Vilamoura, and Olhos de Agua does not have the pretentious or show off nature of Vilamoura. The region is popular for self-catering rentals or holiday apartments and within the surrounding region there are numerous good choices.
The fishermen’s huts that line the beach
Olhos de Agua is not so ideal for teenagers/twentysomethings or cultural trips. Teenagers and twentysomethings, who seek excitement, entertainment and late nights will prefer to be based in Albufeira (or Praia da Rocha). Tourists who seek an immersed in Portuguese culture and heritage will discover there are much better destinations, such as charming Tavira or historic Lagos.
Olhos de Agua for families
Olhos de Agua is a great destination for families with young children as it is a very calm destination but provides all of the services found back at home. Children will be welcomed in all cafes and restaurant while the Portuguese as a nation believe in the importance of the family and are very supportive and accommodating. Olhos de Agua is close to all of the major waterpark/themeparks of the Algarve and the beaches are amazing, so it could be a good holiday destination if you wish to be away from the craziness of Albufeira.
Fishing boats are still pulled up onto the beach.....
Olhos de Agua for 2018
The entire Algarve is experiencing a resurgence within the tourism industry; new business are opening, hotels are being refurbished and there is massive investment throughout the region. Olhos de Agua is one of the more calm and relaxed resort towns but it is still expecting a sell-out summer season for 2018. If you are seriously considering a holiday to Olhos de Agua or the Algarve, book your flights and accommodation as soon as possible as prices will rise first, and then sell out. For a guide to the best hotels in Olhos de Agua please click here.
Alternatives to Olhos de Agua
Here our suggestions for resort towns which are similar to Olhos de Agua (a medium sized town, which main focus is tourism and is close to a great beach). Our recommendations are:
In the Algarve – Alvor, Carvoeiro, Praia da Luz and Monte Gordo
Around the rest of Portugal – Sesimbra, Cascais, Nazaré, Ericeira, Espinho
Yet to be fully discovered by foreign tourists - Vila Nova de Milfontes, Costa Nova (Aveiro) and Vila do Conde, Vila Praia de Âncora
(links to destination guide and open a new tabs)
Weather and when to visit Olhos de Agua
The peak season is from June through to September and is generally much longer than other towns due to older nature of most visitors. The Algarve is an extremely popular summer destination and the entire region will be completely sold out for the summer. The spring and autumn seasons are our favourite time of year to visit, as the region is slightly less crowded and the weather is still fantastic ideal for exploring the Algarve.
The average weather conditions of Olhos de Agua
The weather is good enough for spending time of the beach between May through to the end of October and the town is fully open up at Easter. Winters in the Algarve have unpredictable weather, with an equal number of bright sunny days as cooler grey or even wet days. The off season will feel very quiet, but as the bars and cafes close down, the concentration of expats and off season tourists will be centred in the few bars that remain open, so that there is still quite a pleasant ambience.
Does Olhos de Agua have great beaches?
The main beach of Olhos de Agua is as quaint and traditional as possible in the Algarve; onto the soft golden sands fishing boats are pulled out of the sea and the beach is overlooked by a series of fishing huts still used by the old fishermen. The beach it’s self is surrounded by the characteristic red sandstone cliffs, and though not overly large is a pretty as the Algarve has to offer.
The main beach of Olhos de Agua
There are a series of small cove beaches that surround Olhos de Agua before the coastline opens up to the beautiful Praia da Falésia, one of the finest beaches of the Algarve. This vast beach extends for 5km to the stylish resort town of Vilamoura and has surprisingly little tourist development being backed with pine groves and golf courses.
There have been a number of sham residential letting websites, which have appeared on the internet, with bogus or copied listings (often of real apartments). These websites look professional (guarantees, refund polices etc) and often the comparative prices are significantly cheaper. Only ever book an apartment through a trusted website (booking.com, homeaway.co.uk etc) and never pay for accommodation by bank transfer. For more details please see the TripAdvisor forum post:
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Note: This type of scam is not just limited to the Algarve but is found in all major tourist destinations. The Algarve is just ripe for it, as demand for accommodation outstrips supply.
Airport and travel from the Airport
The main international airport of the Algarve is Faro airport, which is located 35km to the west of Olhos de Agua. Faro has direct flights to the majority of Europe and all of the low-cost airlines fly into Faro, which means there are inexpensive flights if booked far enough in advance.
There is almost no public transport from Faro airport to Olhos de Agua and it is advisable to pre-book a private transfer before arriving in Portugal or queue for a shared transfer in the airport. The best private transfer company used routinely by all people who live in the Algarve is Yellow Fish transfers and a cost of a transfer is €30 Euro and a link to their website can be found here.
Restaurants, cafes and bars in Olhos de Agua
Olhos de Agua has a great selection of restaurants which cater for all styles and tastes, and range from traditional Portuguese through to international cuisines.