You can’t come to the Algarve without exploring the maritime life at its beating heart. Stop first in Olhão, a major fishing port since the Middle Ages and home to the best fish market in the Algarve: a noisy, atmospheric jumble of goose barnacles and octopus, cuttlefish and sea bream—all housed in an early-20th-century red-brick-covered building, its turrets a familiar landmark in the town. It’s an easy 30-minute drive from the hotel. After you’ve seen what the local fishermen have brought in, try for a catch of your own and head out to Rio Formosa. Turn left out of the fish market and there is a pier from where small boats go regularly over to the Rio Formosa National Park, a natural lagoon rich with marine life and wetland birds. This is where you can learn how to dig for razor clams when the tide is out. The best person to give you an overview is Cristina Nugas, from Portugal No Limits, who can not only teach you the traditional way to find clams (which she started doing as a child with her grandfather many years ago), but can also explain the life of a fisherman in the Algarve.
Explore the bustling fish market by heading to southern Olhão. At the water’s edge, you’ll find Avenida 5 de Outubro. Look for the early-20th-century red brick building that houses the market. Then, explore the nearby Rio Formosa National Park to fish with the pros.
FISH MARKET IN OLHAO: Avenida 5 de Outubro, Olhão
PORTUGAL NO LIMITS: +351-289-360-662; portugalnolimits.com