The history of Olhão is linked to the local fishing industry since the 17th Century when the town grew into existence. Already in 1882 the first canning factory for sardines and tuna was founded there, and similar factories spread along the Algarve coast.
The status of a town was granted to Olhão in 1808 when 17 fishermen crossed the Atlantic Ocean without charts to announce to the exiled king of Portugal that the French invading armies had been defeated.
The architecture of the older quarter of Olhão shows a Moorish flavour. Every morning the fish market at the waterfront offers an impressive variety of fresh fish and seafood in a lively and noisy atmosphere.
A ferry service takes the visitors to the nearby small islands of Ilha da Culatra and Ilha da Armona, where unspoilt sandy beaches invite to a pleasant bath in the Atlantic.