Olhos de Agua, Algarve, Portugal
Olhos de Agua is a delightful Portuguese fishing town that is situated in the heart of the beautiful Algarve. This peaceful town is centred around a sandy cove, where fishing boats are moored on the golden sands and old fishermen tend their nets in huts that line the shore.
Olhos de Agua has not entirely escaped the boom of tourism and encircling the town are numerous mega-hotel complexes but central Olhos de Agua still manages to retain its personable and welcoming charm. The atmosphere and low-key ambience is why so many tourists return yearly and makes the town fantastic for families or those wishing a relaxing beach-based holiday.
For a holiday, Olhos de Agua offers outstanding beaches, and a wide variety of restaurants and bars, while basking under the glorious climate of the Algarve. Olhos de Agua is the ideal destination if you are seeking a calm and relaxed holiday but still wish to be close to the buzz of large resort towns; Albufeira is only 4km away and Vilamoura is 14km to the east.
This article will provide a tourist introduction to this likeable holiday destination.
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 the facilities and services of a buzzing and hectic resort town (Albufeira), without actually residing 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 Albufeira’s “The Strip”, which is favourite for Stag and Hen dos. Along with great nightlife, Albufeira also has extensive shopping, a pretty historic centre and a large marina, from where many of the boat tours depart .
In an easterly direction is Vilamoura, with its exclusive marina, golfing resorts and glorious beaches. Vilamoura is chic and stylish and tends to cater for the more refined tourist, along with the super-rich who moor their yachts in the marina.
Olhos de Agua is calm and low-key but the surrounding region certainly is not, a holiday to Olhos can be as peaceful or exciting as you wish to make it.
Related articles: Albufeira guide – Vilamoura guide
Who should visit?
Olhos de Agua is better suited for visitors who wish a stress-free holiday, with a focus on the beach, long meals and evenings spent socialising with like-minded people. This typically covers young families or the 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 it is close to the golf courses of Vilamoura, but it does not have the pretentious or flashy nature of Vilamoura.
Olhos de Agua is not suitable if you want a party or drink-focused holiday or if you are seeking a cultural holiday that discovers authentic Portugal. For excessive excitement, entertainment and crazy nights, Albufeira, Praia da Rocha or Lagos are better choices . To immerse yourself in Portuguese culture and heritage consider charming Tavira or historic Lagos.
Related articles: Praia da Rocha guide – Lagos guide – Tavira guide
The fishermen’s huts that line the beach
The varied styles of accommodation…..
Surrounding Olhos are numerous tourist developments, and these offer a wide selection of private rental homes and holiday apartments, ideal for self-catering visitors and families.
Olhos de Agua is in the centre of package-tourist-Algarve, and within the vicinity of the town are the mega-hotel complex owned and managed by the major holiday companies. These vast hotels offer outstanding tourist facilities (pools, kids clubs, all-inclusive), but we always recommend checking reviews before making reservations.
Olhos de Agua for families
Olhos de Agua is an outstanding destination for families with young or school-age children. The town is very calm (unlike Albufeira) and the beach is clean and safe. Children will be welcomed in all cafes and restaurant, as the Portuguese, as a nation, believe in the importance of the family and are very supportive and accommodating.
For older children, Olhos de Agua is close to the major water and theme parks of the Algarve, but they will not be exposed to the drink-fuelled silliness of the larger towns. Teenagers may prefer to be in Albufeira, Praia da Rocha or Lagos, to experience the buzzing holiday atmosphere.
The dolphins of Zoomarine
Olhos de Agua for 2020
Due to widespread public health concerns around the spread of the COVID-19 virus, worldwide tourism has stalled even in the summer hotspots, such as the Algarve.
However, as infection rates start to subside in the warm weather, industry experts expect 2020 tourism to rebound with an unprecedented rush to book much-needed summer and autumn escapes.
For the savvy visitor now is the ideal time to book hotels or accommodation before this summer rush. Currently there are unbelievable deals as large hotels chains desperately seek bookings and independents worry about cash flow. Most hotels have clued up to the idea of free cancelations, and this means there is no risk to you as the customer, especially if it is combined with paying the hotel on check out.
In order not to miss out on a bargain summer escape, check out the latest deals and best hotels in this region on the map below:
Does Olhos de Agua have great beaches?
The Praia dos Olhos de Água beach is as quaint and traditional as is possible in the Algarve. Fishing boats are moored on the soft golden sands and the beach is overlooked by a series of fishing huts still used by the old fishermen. The beach is surrounded by the regions characteristic red sandstone cliffs, while the waters are calm and safe for swimming.
Within walking distance of Olhos de Agua is the Praia da Falésia, one of the finest beaches of the Algarve. This vast beach, backed with pine groves and golf courses, extends for 5km to the stylish resort town of Vilamoura and has surprisingly little tourist development.
Weather and when to visit Olhos de Agua
The peak season is from June through to September and is much longer than other towns in the Algarve. This is due to the town being popular with retirees and families with very young children.
The Algarve is an extremely popular summer destination and the entire region will be completely sold out during the summer. The spring and autumn seasons are our favourite time of year to visit, as the region is less crowded, and the weather is still fantastic. This is also an ideal time of year for a touring holiday or activity-based trip.
The average weather conditions of Olhos de Agua
The weather is suitable for spending time on the beach between May through to the end of October. Winters in the Algarve are unpredictable; there are an equal number of bright sunny days as cooler grey or even wet days. The closed season (October- March) will feel very quiet but as the bars and cafes close down, the concentration of ex-pats and off-season tourists will be centred around the few bars that remain open. Olhos de Agua fully opens for the Easter holiday.
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 covering Europe and all 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 get a shared transfer from the airport. The best private transfer company used routinely by all people who live in the Algarve is Yellow Fish, and the cost of a transfer is €30, a link to their website can be found here.
Alternatives to Olhos de Agua
Olhos de Agua is a fantastic holiday destination but Portugal has many similar towns which you may not have considered (or even heard of!). Here are our suggestions for alternatives to Olhos de Agua (a medium-sized tourist town, which is close to a beautiful beach), our recommendations are:
In the Algarve – Alvor, Carvoeiro, Praia da Luz and Monte Gordo
Around the rest of Portugal – Sesimbra, Cascais, Nazaré, Ericeira,and Espinho
Yet to be fully discovered by foreign tourists - Vila Nova de Milfontes, Costa Nova (Aveiro) and Vila do Conde and São Martinho do Porto.
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There have been a number of sham residential letting websites that have appeared on the internet, with bogus or copied listings (often of real apartments). These websites look professional (with guarantees and refund policies) and the 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.