Into the open sea
It got its name from the freshwater springs sprouting on the shore, locally called olheiros. These springs emerge even from the sea floor outside the tidal zone.
Olhos d’ Água is a fishing village in the municipality of Albufeira. It retains a rich history, dating back to the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans. Back in those days, fishing and fish processing (such as salting and drying) called many people into this place.
Since the beginning of the last century (especially since the second half) many people began to flock to Olhos de Água. First, they came for sea bathing and its claimed positive effects on health. Later, they came in looking for a new tourism concept, with plenty of sunny beaches.
In 2000, the village had 18 registered fishing boats (including 3 coastal boats) and 49 registered seafarers. It was a little more than the current 6 boats and near 15 active fishermen. The nearest fish auction market, Docapesca, is 6 km away, in Albufeira, which is 3 km away from the one in Quarteira. Boats are beached with a winch; there is a boat ramp and support facilities for storing fishing gear.
The most common fishing gears are pots, gill nets, trammel nets and there is also a seine vessel. Multi-purpose fishing mainly catches octopus, sea bream, gilt-head bream, red mullet, black sea bream and two-banded seabream; the seine vessel catches the common pelagic fish of the Algarve coast, such as sardines, mackerel, horse-mackerel and sometimes anchovies, bonito, bluefish and Atlantic mackerel.
Another reason to visit this village is José Pargana, a renowned artist in the art of sculpting rocks stranded by the sea. Working in the old-fashioned way, holding a chisel in his hand, this sculptor shapes limestone rock into beautiful and varied forms, with the sea as a theme.
The main dishes of this fishing community are: grilled fresh fish, squid stew (caldeirada), steamed octopus, octopus salad, octopus egg salad, corn porridge (xarém) with cockles and fried fish, skinned horse mackerel (carapaus alimados) and fried moray eel.
Among traditions and customs, the highlights are: the Sardine Festival, in the second weekend of August; the procession of Nossa Senhora da Orada, on the 14th–15th of August, in Albufeira; the Fisherman’s Day, on the first weekend of September.
Torre da Medronheira, Praia dos Olhos d’Água, Freshwater springs and tidal pools, Fishing activity on the eastern side of the beach.