Verified Review icon check navigate-up navigate-left navigate-right expand mail svg-lightning svg-24hr svg-house svg-sleeps svg-bedrooms svg-bathrooms svg-stay svg-toilet calendar svg-report-flag pet-dog svg-multiunit Default Owner Icon heart-filled
Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-829-7076
Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-829-7076

Central Olhao. Fine Views Over Town and Offshore Islands

Bedrooms 2
Space 1,130 sq. ft.
Property type apartment
Minimum Stay 4 - 6 nights


About the property

Two Bedrooms, Lounge to Verandah With Town and Seas Views. Free Wi-fi

Very nicely furnished two bedroom apartment on 5th floor of an 8 storey apartment block two lifts and a rooftop communal terrace giving panoramic views to the Sea and the hills behind Olhao.We have air condition, satellite TV and free wi-fi. A good sized kitchen with fridge, electric cooker, and microwave. One fully equipped bathroom with bath and shower. The apartment is totally convenient for everything Olhao has to offer. Train and bus stations are just five minutes walk away, while the fish market and jetty for the boats to the islands are ten minutes away by foot. Cafes and restaurants are all nearby. We have one double bed and two single beds, plus a very comfortable blue leather suite in the lounge. There are verandahs with views to the front and rear of the apartment.

This is an article published in the Guardian Newspaper in May 2009 by Kevin Gould and is still very much reflecting what this part of the Algarve is all about:

The article has been slightly shortened because of space constraints

At Faro airport there's a scrum of resort reps ready to meet and greet new arrivals. In an hour or so they'll be hitting their charges with the usual options: Do you want to play golf? Go go-karting? Cycle through mountains? Be dragged around important museums and art galleries?

No, not me thanks. I want to relax and do sweet nothing. In fact, I want a place where the locals have elevated doing not much to an art form. So, instead of turning left to the all-in, attraction-rich resorts, I catch a taxi for the 15 minutes to Olhão.

Pronounced "oll-yow", Olhão is the Algarve's largest fishing port. A rare gem, its centre is crumbling, charming, faded, and stuffed full of appealingly batty characters. The occasional tourist wanders about, wondering quite why they're here. I'm intent on being inert, but rouse myself sufficiently to discover that the jewel in its crown isn't actually in town, but a lovely ferry ride away.

Ria Formosa is an estuarine national park, with Olhão at its mouth and the wild Atlantic beyond. Around 80% of Portugal's clams are fished here, around its four low islands. Farol and Armona are where Lisbon folk maintain their holiday homes; Deserta is a sandy empty place for the Robinson Crusoe in you; Culatra is where the fishermen live, and they are delighted for you to be as active as you wish, as long as that includes watching the waves, counting your toes, playing dominoes, drinking cold drinks, and eating delicious fish.

There are four sailings a day to Culatra, and a return trip on the Rio Bello costs the price of a beer in an Algarve resort. Battalions of tartan shopping trollies bursting with green vegetables and juicy fruits from Olhão's markets are lashed to Rio Bello's blue-washed funnel, and we're off. The ferries are operated by men of a certain age who leap hither and thither, offering twinkly chivalrous winks to the ladies aboard. Though Culatra's only a mile or so offshore, we sail the long way over to avoid sandbanks and shrimp nets. The air smells clean and salty, families natter about everything and nothing, lapdogs snap, an earnest student sketches another earnest student, young lovers gently snog and strangers strike up friendships.

Culatra feels like the start of a love affair right from the moment we nudge alongside its long slender jetty. I amble along the sandy concrete path towards Café Janoca, past the stout whitewashed chapel and the rusty anchor outside it. A table of fishermen plays noisy dominoes next to a family of quiet pale newly-arrived townies; when I pass again four hours later, the family are still there, only now playing dominoes with the fishermen and laughing

Save a few tractors for dragging boats up the beach, there are no motor vehicles on Culatra. There are no roads either, so I walk the sandy path into the settlement's cluster of low-built houses and cottages. About 700 people live here year round. Their homes are huddled close to each other and at first sight, appear unremarkable. Up close, I see that the Culatrans coax exquisite gardens out of the sand with wildflowers, succulents, shell patterns and mad blushes of bougainvillea. Old fishing nets and briny ropes enclose the gardens, and lines of washing flap in the Atlantic breeze.

The boardwalk deposits me on a beach so long that its edges are lost in heat haze shimmer. The beach is wide, clean and empty: it is May Day holiday weekend, and there are 11 people on it, including me, and I'm the only one not lying flat on my back. Instead, I get a healthy blast of ocean ozone, a rush of blood to the head and lope off to the left, deciding vaguely to circumnavigate the island.

The sun shouts down from a sapphire sky clotted with three tiny cottony clouds. The sand scintillates in the bright island light and, coolly tonic on my hot feet, the Atlantic sparkles like chainmail. There are well-fed seagulls wheeling above and wagtails dipping their beaks where the rippled water recedes. There are no nasty oil-marks on the beach, nor weedy sewage outfalls. There are no Fantas or Magnums on ice, no sellers of souvenirs, no racks of postcards, no loutish boomboxes, no plastic rubbish, no deckchairs for rent, no jet-skis to annoy me, no windsurfing lessons not to take. For ages there is nobody but me, alone with my thoughts, which have slowed down with the rhythm of the sea.

I'm joined at a distance by four fishermen. They are waist deep in the water, harnessed by yellow straps to box nets that they wiggle backwards through the sandy shallows in search of cockles. A sailboat tacks over the horizon and, after an hour or so of fast walking, I'm at one end of the beach. Every now and again, a jet glides high overhead with its pink cargo of resort-bound action seekers. The way back around the other side of the island to the settlement is even emptier, save for a dozen clam diggers in the distance, bent like question marks over the sand.

Instead, and having missed the ferry, I join some other dreamers to share a speedboat water taxi back to the mainland. We pay €5 each and fall into the 7 Estrellas bar (Travesa Alexandre Herculano, opposite the meat market), where small tumblers of excellent wine from the cask are 30 cents a throw. We're joined by one of the town barbers, who paints beautiful watercolours between punters. A shirtless man walks past, braying like a donkey. "You think he's crazy?" asks our barber/painter: "His brother the mayor is madder."

Olhão is home to many a nutty enthusiast. Some come from outside, drawn by the abandoned, gloriously tile-fronted, 19th-century townhouses which are yours for a song. Some come from here and spend their days eating snails and clams, and talking hilarious philosophical rot for each other's gentle entertainment. The mayor has established a zoo on the prettily gardened seafront. And stocked it entirely with terrapins.

The most stylish Olhãonense are architects Filipe Monteiro and Eleonore Lefebure. Filipe and Eleonore take me for a meander through the old medina barrio, where alleys double-back on each other, where the sun-and time-faded walls could have been painted by Mark Rothko, where the smell of sardines grilling outside is narcotic, where the air resounds to endless "bom dias" and church bells.

Leaving Olhão and Culatra was the most difficult thing I did in all my days there. Getting the best out of the town and its island heaven requires dedication only to the art of idling. People-watching, navel-gazing, and gentle meandering are all that are really required of you, and doing so little actually allows you to find yourself too. When you visit you'll probably find me back in the 7 Estrellas, discussing the finer points of terrapin keeping, spending lazy days on Culatra's beaches, and my nights on Olhão's tiles.

More Details

Dr Lawrie Mitchell speaks English & French
Member since: 2009
Speaks: english, french, german on request
Response time:
Within a few hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
July 21, 2017

About Dr Lawrie Mitchell speaks English & French

I am a Scottish medical doctor,now in semi-retirement after a long career in Africa..However my wife and myself run a charitable foundation near Calabar , Nigeria. It is now seven years since we came to live in Olhao In this uncertain world with many security problems in many areas, we have no regrets coming to Portugal we have three other rental properties listed with Homeaway. Photoshot shows my wife and myself cutting her birthday cake!

Dr Lawrie Mitchell speaks English & French purchased this apartment in 2014

Why Dr Lawrie Mitchell speaks English & French chose Olhao

As stated above in a turbulent world Portugal is in some ways a haven of relative peace and tranquillity. Of course no place is perfect, but Portugal is definitely one of the best destinations

What makes this apartment unique

New listing -started July 1st 2014- a very centrally located apartment with fine views and a pretty well constant sea breeze coming off the Atlantic ocean. Stepping outside you are immediately in Olhao with the many cafes restaurants and a minute away from the tree lineD Avenida de Republica leading to the ancient church with the protected storks on top.Rail and bus stations are right on hand and the library is but two minutes walk. The auditorium which has regular music and theatrical events is less than ten minutes away. Supermarkets and shopping in general are also right there. Ria Shopping with its many retail outlets, restaurants etc is also less than ten minutes walk HERE YOU ARE IN PORTUGAL,NOT A TOURIST GHETTO!


Olhão Apartment Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • apartment
  • floor 5
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 1130 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Check-in: Flexible / Check-out: Flexible
  • Max. occupancy: 5
  • pets considered
  • children welcome
  • non smoking only
Location Type:
  • Beach
  • Downtown
  • Near The Ocean
  • Town
  • Waterfront
  • Family
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Business Center
  • Elevator ...
  • Fireplace ...
  • Fitness Room / Equipment ...
  • Garage ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided ...
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Printer
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Tumble Dryer ...
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Wood Stove ...
  • Free Wifi
  • Coffee Maker
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Garbage Disposal
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Child's Highchair
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 4 people
  • 1 Bathroom
  • Bathroom 1 - toilet , combination tub/shower , shower , bidet , Full bathroom with cabinets and large illuminated mirror
  • One bathroom with full size bath with shower, toilet and bidet
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 5
  • Two good sized bedrooms, one with double bed and the other with two single beds. Both have full size built in wardrobes with full length mirrors
  • Books ...
  • DVD Player ...
  • Game Room ...
  • Games ...
  • Music Library ...
  • Pool Table ...
  • Satellite / Cable ...
  • Stereo ...
  • Television ...
  • Toys ...
  • Video Games ...
  • Video Library ...
  • Balcony ...
  • Beach Umbrellas
  • Boat ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Golf ...
  • Kayak / Canoe ...
  • Lawn / Garden ...
  • Outdoor Grill
  • Porch / Veranda ...
  • Ski & Snowboard ...
  • Tennis ...
  • Water Sports Gear ...
  • Groups
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • Singles
  • limited accessibility
Pool / Spa:
  • Communal Pool ...
  • Hot Tub ...
  • Sauna ...
  • churches
  • cinemas
  • festivals
  • library
  • live theater
  • marina
  • playground
  • restaurants
Leisure Activities:
  • beachcombing
  • bird watching
  • eco tourism
  • horseback riding
  • photography
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • fitness center
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • laundromat
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • deepsea fishing
  • equestrian events
  • fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • pier fishing
  • sailing
  • swimming
Self catering. Apartment cleaned and fully checked before your arrival. You will appreciate the central location of the apartment and the almost prevailing breeze off the Atlantic. We live here and are available for anything you may need during your stay with us


Excellent! 4.5/5 -
(16 traveler reviews)

56% Complete
37% Complete
6% Complete
0% Complete
0% Complete
Central Olhao. Fine Views Over Town and Offshore Islands
average rating of 4.5 based on 16 reviews

Highly recommended

  • 5 of 5

This was our third stay in the apartment and we hope to repeat the stay in the future. It is comfortable and convenient. Lawrie is an attentive owner who goes out of his way to quickly follow up on any suggestions or needs. Highly recommended.

  • Submitted: Mar 12, 2017
  • Stayed: Feb 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Hello Rod and Marie We are pleased you enjoyed your latest stay with us and hope to see you next year Regards Lawrie
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0

Excellent location. Ideal for Jumbo supermarket and Olhao Town. Apartment is very well equipped.

  • 4 of 5

Had five days in apartment. We were met by owner at the local train station ,which is only five minutes walk from his apartment. Lots of walking and bird watching near to apartment. As this apartment is in a local block,it could be noisy at times,though it's nice to be in the real Portugal. ,Nice comfortable double bed, and the bath was a proper treat after a hard day's walking. We will be back! This is one of the better apartments we have booked in 26 years of self catering holidays.

  • Submitted: Oct 25, 2016
  • Stayed: Oct 2016
  • Source: HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0

Central location.

  • 3 of 5

The apt was as advertised,short walk to main restaurants ,lots of cafe/snack bars.nice town,fine for those who want a base from which to explore,or just relax.Supermarkets and eating out very cheap.Not many tourist so you pay the same price as the locals.Lawrie was a great host and very helpful.

  • Submitted: Sep 26, 2016
  • Stayed: Sep 2016
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Hello James Your nice review appreciated and perhaps you will visit again Regards Lawrie
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0


  • 5 of 5

The appartement is just as described on the site, even better! All facilities are there, it's clean and comfortable. The location of the appartement is very central in a beautiful, quiet and peaceful

fishermentown. The owner gives all the time and a lot of service, we felt very welcome all the time.

We're really recommend this appartment to anyone, and we'll surely come back here!

We visites the festival of mariscos, the second week of August, it was an amazing and very good festival with excellent good and music. Good ambiance! Nearby the appartment are so many snack-bars with menu's and good food. So cheap is everything! The niveau of life and living is pure and good.

We look back at an excellent stay at this property!

  • Submitted: Aug 18, 2015
  • Stayed: Jul 2015
  • Source: HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0

Fabulous appartment

  • 5 of 5

This is a fabulous apartment, just a five to ten minute walk (depending on how leisurely you stroll) to the marina and all the lovely things that Olhao has to offer. The apartment is exactly as advertised - very clean and pleasant and all functioning mod cons. It wasn't overly hot whilst we were there but when it does get hotter, the apartment will provide a haven from any humidity as it is very, very airy with a lovely terrace looking onto the Avenida which is a pleasant view.

Dr. Mitchell contacted us prior to our arrival and asked if we needed a taxi from the airport. As it was our first time in Olhao and we were going to be arriving late, we asked if he could arrange it for us. The cab owner was waiting for us at the airport which took all the angst out of finding our way to the apartment at 10:30 at night. Dr. Mitchell met us when we arrived on and showed us around the apartment. As it was fairly late (our plane had been delayed), he came back the following day with maps and tips on the city and answered all our questions. Olhao is a truly wonderful place, very easy going, friendly and safe. We intend to go back in the future and would definitely want to stay at this apartment again.

  • Submitted: Jun 15, 2015
  • Stayed: Jun 2015
  • Source: HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
1 0

Highly Recommended

  • 5 of 5

We stayed in the apartment for two weeks, and it was exactly as described on the website. Light and airy with all the appliances and furnishings necessary for a comfortable stay.

We were met by Dr. Mitchell on arrival at the door and he gave us a useful introduction to the apartment, the neighbourhood and the town.

The apartment building is on one of the principal avenues of the town, convenient to shops, cafes, railway station and the large "Jumbo" supermarket in the Ria Shopping Centre (free indoor parking) for all your grocery needs.

Just a few minutes walk from the older part of town, and 10 minutes walk to the waterfront with it's fish, produce and sundries markets, restaurants, and good variety of shops. Visitors come by train from other towns on the coast especially for the Saturday market.

The apartment has off-street, and apparently public, parking for your car at the rear, which is often busy with local shoppers during the middle of the day, but always had available space when we returned from day outings between 4pm and 6pm.

To our mind Olhao is ideal for people who are looking for a more genuine "Portuguese" experience, rather than an over-developed tourist oriented resort town. People were about their normal business, but were friendly and considerate. In restaurants we heard the servers discussing the menu in English, French and Italian.

If you like seafood and wine then there is an amazing choice at very reasonable prices. About 80% of menus are fish and other seafood, with a smaller choice of meat dishes.

You can take a cheap ferry to the curious island village of Culhatra, with restaurants and lovely beaches on the Atlantic. Well worth the trip.

This was our first short, exploratory visit to Portugal, but we certainly intend to return to the apartment and Olhao in the future.

  • Submitted: Mar 6, 2015
  • Stayed: Feb 2015
  • Source: HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
3 0


Nearest Airport
12 Kilometres
Nearest Barpub
50 Metres
Many cafes
Nearest Ferry
250 Kilometres
Nearest Golf
20 Kilometres
Quinta da Lago
Nearest Train
200 Metres
Olhao Station
Nearest Motorway
300 Metres
Nearest Restaurant
220 Metres
Nearest Ski
200 Kilometres
Sierra Nevada
Nearest Beach
3 Kilometres
Offshore Islands
Car: not necessary

ONLY AVAILABLE DATES ARE SEPTEMBER 3RD TO SEPTEMBER 20TH UPDATE--WE HAVE NOW INSTALLED AN ANDROID MBOX YOU CAN NOW RECEIVE A VERY LARGE RANGE OF INTERNATIONAL TV AND RADIO CHANNELS NOW ONLY AVAILABLE DATES NOW FROM DECEMBER 8TH TO 18TH DECEMBER Long stay VERY welcome Olhao is the mainly non touristy town in coastal Algarve. Well known for the famous fish market and moorish layout of the old quarter. Multiple reasonably priced restaurants and a paradise for fish lovers. Not to mention the very excellent and low priced wines. Try restaurants with 'menu completo' for 6 to 10 Euro-main dish, dessert, coffee and copious wines all inclusive.The general relaxed ambience in Olhao makes it easy for visitors to enjoy their stay. In this unstable world of today, this area offers security not found in many places. The benign climate is about the best in continental Europe, with winters being rather like the Scottish summer!. The frequent ferries will take you to the islands of Armona, Culatra and Farol, where you have some of the finest beaches in Western Europe. The islands offer a haven of tranquillity since there are NO CARS! Each island has a different character, with Culatra being a typical ancient fishing settlement. Each island is great for seafood, of course.The nearest beach accessible by land is Fuzeta-12 kms towards Tavira.Fuzeta is geat for a sundowner with the Atlantic breeze and wonderful ever changing sky colours as the sun sets All along the coast to Spain there are wonderful beaches. Ayamonte in Spain is only 45 kms from Olhao. Go by road, rail or bus. For nature lovers and bird watchers, the Ria Formosa Natural Park is on your doorstep here. Inland Algarve also is well worth visiting-Estoi, with its ancient palace, now a Pousada, Sao Bras up in the hills is an attractive town Regulacar boot sales and gypsy markets are always interesting


Rates & Availability

Olhão Apartment Rental Rates

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly * Event
Jul 1 2017 - Sep 15 2017
6 night minimum stay
Sep 16 2017 - Nov 16 2017
4 night minimum stay
My Standard Rate
4 night minimum stay

Additional information about rental rates

cleaning $32.56

Not 100% wheelchair accessible due to five steps inside the lobby leading to the lifts

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund if canceled at least 14 days before arrival date.
  • 100% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
Contact Owner

You might like these similar properties