A pretty beach
Olhos de Agua beach is small, clean and pretty. Rustic sandstone cliffs roll down to the beach, with a historic watchtower on top – Torre da Medronheira. Meaning ‘eyes of water’ in Portuguese, Olhos de Agua has freshwater springs that bubble up through the sand at low tide. Also revealed at low tide are interesting rock formations with arches you can walk under.
Kids will love dipping in the rock pools here and for adults there are snorkelling opportunities in the coves and water-skiing further out. There are loungers on the sand and bars lining the shore to keep you refreshed.
More beaches nearby
If you fancy a change of beach, about 10-minutes’ drive west you’ll find Santa Eulalia. This big, Blue Flag number comes with watersports and a promenade packed with bars and restaurants, while the hotels here make it the ideal location for an All Inclusive holiday to Portugal.
And in the other direction is the huge expanse of sand that is Praia de Falesia. Another Blue Flag winner, it stretches six kilometres all the way to Vilamoura so you’re assured space for solitude.
Restaurants, bars and sardines
Olhos de Agua’s steep cobbled streets house dozens of different restaurants, from Portuguese to Italian and Indian so you’ll have plenty of choice throughout your stay. And if you like fish, you might want to plan your visit to coincide with the town’s sardine festival in August – a prime time for catching the best sardines. You can eat barbecued fish on the beach with a soundtrack of Portuguese bands and fireworks after dark.
Nightlife in Olhos de Agua is varied but far from rowdy. You might find your new drinking hole at Friends Bar for watching football on the TVs and reasonably-prices drinks served with a smile. While Dominos Bar concocts cocktails to be sipped al fresco, with the addition of live bands and dancing.
For more options, you can trip to Vilamoura for cocktails at the swanky marina, or check out Albufeira’s wide range of drinking establishments and you can be back to bed in a taxi in no time.
The Algarve is known for its golf courses and Olhos de Agua has one of its own in the form of nine-hole Pine Cliffs Resort Golf Course. It winds through a pine forest set 200 feet above the Atlantic Ocean providing views out to sea, with a signature sixth hole called the Devil’s Cauldron, and is a good course for all levels.
There are several waterparks nearby including Aqualand in Alcantarilha, Slide and Splash in Estombar, and Zoomarine near Guia which doubles as an animal and marine park. As well as slides and a wave pool, Zoomarine has a sandy beach, dolphin and sea lion shows, an aquarium and lots of rides.
The same distance in the other direction – around 20-minutes’ drive – is Aquashow Park in Quarteira. It mixes all the fun of a waterpark with an amusement park so you can ride the lazy river and speedy slides then hop on the mini train to a rollercoaster or the reptile show. They also have mini golf, parrot shows and a wax museum.
Or if you like swinging around in the trees, Luso Aventura Albufeira is a zipline and aerial adventure park on the Santa Eulalia road just outside of Olhos de Agua. There are four different levels based on your height and you can choose to do a lower level if you’re not keen on being up high.
Shopping in nearby Vilamoura is centred around the marina complex, which contains hundreds of shops, from fashion boutiques to local crafts. And for even more choice, head to the Algarve Shopping Mall near Guia. Housing over 200 shops, you’ll be spoilt for choice.