This lovely apartment can sleep four with a double bed in the bedroom and a large sofa bed in lounge. The verandah is very large and the roof terrace gives a great view over the town and to the offshore islands.. Also, we now have a baby cot. We NOW HAVE AN ANDROID MBOX WHICH GIVES ALL BBC/ITV CHANNE PLUS MANY FRENCH GERMAN ETC. Aiir condition in large kitchen leading to the veranda. Equipped with cooker/oven, microwave, fridge/freezer, washing machine/ dishwashing machine. I PERSONALLY MEET OUR GUEST AND AM AVAILABLE FOR ANY PROBLEMS WHICH MAY ARISE
It is situated on a pedestrianised area and very near Ria Shopping with its full supermarket, fashion stores, restaurants, pharmacy and even go-kart racing in the basement of Ria Shopping. Free underground parking in Ria Shopping. . Browse as you have a coffee or a drink-70 metres from the apartment. Internet cafe with full facilities, five minute walk from apartment. Free underground parking in Ria Shopping-70 metres from our apartment
Train station is five minutes walk and the marina for the boats to the offshore islands fifteen minutes walk-as are the fish market and seafood restaurants on the front.
Pets welcome on request
Why not enjoy the mild winter season in the Algarve.? Special rates for longer term. WE NOW REQUEST REVIEWS BUT PREFER THE WORD OF MOUTH RECOMMENDATION
Spain is 45 minutes by car and one hour by train. Some of the best beaches in Europe are within easy distance. either on the offshore islands or along the coast towards Spain. Faro is 10 kilometres away and is the charming , historic capital of the AlgarveThe climate in winter is ideal for those who wish to escape the rigours of a Northern winter, while the summers are hot and mainly dry.
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.