It is said that Olhão, have derived from the Arabic word "AL-HAIN ', which means spring source, and suffering the phonetic and phonological changes, naturally have led to the emergence of the term' Alham", then "OLHAM" and finally OLHÃO . In the popular version and according to old testimonies, Olhão is the augmentative of the common noun "eye", originating from a large "Water Eye" (source, spring or well high flow), since in the area there were abundant water eyes, that originated the construction of the first "huts" made of cane and thatch.
The earliest written reference is a document of King Fernando dated from April 2nd of 1378. In the early XVII century there is news of the first stone building and lime: the chapel of Nª Senhora do Rosário, after the construction of the Mother Church was renamed Our Lady of Solitude. The Mother Church opened for worship in 1715, having been built "at the expense of the sea men". This year the Queen Mary Anne of Austria, wife of D. Pedro V, issue a permit authorizing the raise of "a villa for my address and housing", followed by many others and over XVIII century takes place the urban population and Olhão development.
In June 16th, 1808, maritime people of Olhão spearheading the fight against the presence of French troops, leading to their expulsion from the Algarve. On 16th of July of that year, left for Brazil, the caique Bom Sucesso, with 17 crew on board, to warn the Prince Regent D. João, which grants the former place of Olhão the title of the Restoration Village of Olhão.
Around 1881 comes the first factory of canned fish and soon Olhão has become one of the largest industrial centers of the Algarve. Increased up fishing frames, nurseries, shipbuilding and port traffic.
Over XX century its growth remains attached to fishing and canning industry, being elevated to city status in 1985: the Restoration City of Olhão.
Speaking of Olhão is talking about seafood, here is what marks the biggest national festival related to the topic, one of the great gastronomic events in the country, the Seafood Festival. It takes place during the month of August and is where you can taste the best seafood and shellfish, as well as casseroles, prawns, lobsters, oysters, seafood rice, etc., all accompanied by live music with national and international artists.
The fish also has special attention for its freshness, from the Ria and the sea, associated later to the extensive range of fishermen recipes are transformed into unforgettable dishes, some of the specialties of the area's restaurants. The list is long, and includes everything from stew lenge to cuttlefish with broad beans, hake and turbot cooked to muffled squid, cockles and razor clams stew of rice to xarém with cockles. In the interior region, the kitchen speaks field of agriculture: rice and beans and nuts, beans with pasta and peas with eggs, prepared with bacon, chorizo and pork.
Traditional candies and cake should not be forgotten. The folar of Olhão is perhaps the most famous and sought after, but be sure to taste the traditional regional cakes based on almonds or figs or the delicious "trout".
The Tales Path
The Tales Path is a pedestrian path that connects five of the main squares of the historical area of Olhão. They were intervened and improved, making them more functional and pleasant. It was intended thus enhancing the historical and urban heritage of the city, while each square will be linked to an original myth of Olhão, perpetuating the collective memory of our people. The Tales Path is a cultural, tourist and historical suggestion, to all that want to visit and learn more about our culture.
WHAT TO DO - Guides and Itineraries
Download the Tourist Guide of Olhão and see the numerous activities and places of interest in the city. Click here.
Algarve Cooking Guide - Learn the recipes that delight food lovers from all around the world.
Algarve Nature Guide - The natural treasures (still) hidden in the Algarve.
Tours and Trails - From the east to the west, nothing was forgotten.
Beach Guide - The Algarve's myriad beaches.
Cultural Heritage - Holidays in the Algarve are about heritage and culture too.
Bird Watching - With more than 300 species throughout the year, the Algarve is perfect for this practice.
Walking Trails Guide - On foot, nothing is lost and everything is conquered.
Cork Route - Much more than a tour, it's a whole story.
Wine Guide - The Algarve wine-growing region.
Algarve, who are you? - The best way for children to learn more about this beautiful place.