The Algarve is full of little charming towns and villages, with stunning natural beauty and an architecture that reminds us of how the country used to be half-century ago. Olhão is a tradicional one, that you should visit in Algarve.
The famous Cubic white Algarvian houses, with their sunroofs, was influenced by commercial contacts and the emigration of the Olhanenses to Morocco. The landscapes, the historical and archaeological heritage and the people’s experiences are some of the many reasons to visit the county in a relaxed walking tour.
It is through the center of Olhão that we begin our journey, we mark our meeting point in the “Well of the Bombs”. All those who fell in love with Olhão ,wrote that everything started “for one eye of water, around which four wells were born”, this well was the main source of water for consumption public, where they replenished the water carriers that distributed, door to door, in their cars of animal traction.
Before we entered in this amazing labyrinths and alleys, we passed some important points such as the Sociedade Recreativa Olhanense, created in 1958, which was exclusively frequented by high society. By the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, current church of Olhão, where you can visit and climb to the rooftop to see a privileged view of the city. In the back of this church, we find the Chapel of “Senhor dos Aflitos”, where the candles never go out, be it night or day, the people pray there.
While we walk, we can see the typical houses, all white, with windows and doors covered with beautiful frames, we looked for the stories that people confuse with legends and these are mixed with history. And the first that we could find it´s Floripes!
THE FLORIPES LEGEND – THE MOST MYTICAL LEGEND IN OLHÃO
Floripes could be seen, occasionally, in the rooftops of the houses of Olhão. The beautiful and enchanted moorish lady, was tempting the mens, daring them to cross the ” Ria Formosa”, or the ocean, with a lamp lit in their hands. Whatever he achieved, he would own his heart and the kingdom of his missing father. Those who failed, drowned.
There are others Legends that you can find while you walk though these labyrinths, such as:
ARRAÚL – THE ALGARVE LOVER
Arraúl was the beautiful son of the Hercules columns chief guard and Atlantis only survivor.
One day Arraúl was caught by a storm that swept him into the deep sea while a whale swallowed him.
Despite his misfortune, the young man survived and the whale brought him ashore at the prainhas site – The place where Olhão was founded. as it is said.
Arraúl immediately fell in love with the place and decided to protect it by building an enormous sand barrier with soil from S.Miguel and Cabeça´s Hills.
He created the dune cord of the present Ria Formosa, which protects the Continent in this zone of the Algarve.
THE ENCHANTED MOOR
Manuel Caleça, a fisherman, tells us that one day when he was young, he was playing with his friends when, suddenly, an unknown kid came to them and wanted to join the group to play. They quickly realized that the boy didn´t had a great way to play. The stranger boy proposed that two of them should go to another place, which Manuel agreed.
When they arrived at the place, a trapdoor opened mysteriously, leading them to a palace full of riches. Manuel stayed there for some time, ending up later for asking the boy to take him back home.
The young man took him to his parents, but he promised that he would never leave him again, telling him that he would remain invisible at his side, he suffered from a spell, and only Manuel could see him.
Manuel tells that he missed the little enchanted Moor on the day his mother took him to church to confess and commune for the first time.
THE BOY WITH THE BIG EYES
On dark nights, it is said that along the quarter of Barreta, appeared to the fishermen a very robust boy, dressed only in a shirt, with big black eyes.
As he cried a lot and didn’t say nothing the fishermen, feeling sorry about the child, they took him on their lap. But the weight of the child would increase as they walked and eventually the boy would be left crying on the ground. Over the years he appeared a little through out the Barreta quarter. One day, however, the boy stopped appearing. People say, that Moura Floripes when embarked into the lands of North Africa took him with her.
THE MARIM LEGEND
In Marim, there was once a beautiful and luxurious palace, where a wealthy Moor lived with his most beautiful daughter, Alina.
Abdallah, a Moorish troubadour, in love with Alina, sang every night at the window of his beloved’s bedroom. These demonstrations of love were not aproved by Alina’s father, he called him and promises her daughter’s hand, if the young Moor could transport the fountain of the river, thirteen leagues away, to the palace in one night.
The absence of the boy the next night cheered Alina’s father, thinking he’d put them away.It was already dawn when the lute was heard. It was the boy! And next to it, a huge fountain. Moved by anger, the old Moor threw Alina from the window, which falls into the arms of the beloved, into the stream.
Legend says, that they did not die, and that even today they are sighted to stroll the property, singing to the sound of the lute.
While you walk though the labyrinths of this city and you listen all those amazing tales ,this tour also take´s you to the most iconic “tascas” (small typical restaurants) to taste their specialty dishes.
As we are in a land of fisherman, everyday we have fresh fish and seafood, served in this very typical “tascas”.
There are some amazing flavors, that you can not miss in you life!