Alongside the Atlantic ocean, the south of the Algarve beats to the rhythm of the tides and of fishing. In order to fully appreciate it, go to Ilha da Culatra, an island that can be reached all year round by boat from Olhão (four departures a day, the crossing takes 30 minutes) and from Faro during the summer season (departure every four hours, the crossing takes 40 minutes).
If departing from Olhão, plan to arrive far enough in advance to have the time to wander around its famous fish market, where the fishermen of Ilha da Culatra come every day to sell the fruits of their labour. Zigzag between the generously laden stalls and look up: the local architecture, of typically Moorish inspiration, is unique and contrasts with the Cubist look of the rest of the town.
Once disembarked on the island of Culatra, you will meet an authentic fishing community. On the village streets, time seems to have stood still. Every detail of everyday life shows that life here revolves entirely around seafood and fish, some of which you will see, here and there, drying in the sun.
After your tour of the hamlet, visit the church and the must-see lighthouse, and plunge into the wild part of the island - the village occupies only a tiny part of this piece of land devoid of cars and criss-crossed with footpaths. You will discover another aspect of the Ria Formosa Natural Park and, alongside the ocean, you can go off in search of quiet beaches, overlooked by tourists even in high season. Do remember, the last boat leaves from Culatra around 8 p.m.!
Olhão fish market
Avenida 5 de Outubro
Tel : +351 289 817 024
Ilha da Culatra