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One of the Algarve´s
main fishing ports, as well as a canning centre for tuna and sardines, Olhão
(read as "olhaun") has square whitewashed houses with flat roof terraces and
chimneys that are evocative of Moorish architecture.
Behind the parish church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário, from the 17th century, the chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Aflitos ("Our Lady of the Afflicted") is where the wives of fishermen gather to pray for their safety when the weather is stormy.
But the town's main attraction is its market, one of the most animated and picturesque of the Algarve, with an enormous variety of seafood but also local farmers selling such products as fruit, honey and live chickens.
Nearby, the village of Fuzeta is like Olhão on a small scale and is well appreciated by windsurfers.
A few kilometres inland, Moncarapacho is proud of its church of Santo Cristo, with a beautiful doorway and painted arches.
In the region, the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa is considered the most important sanctuary of wildlife in the Algarve.
Its lagoons, marshes, channels and islets are abundant in shellfish such as cockles, clams and oysters and shelter, amongst other species, a variety of birds such as the cattle egret, the white stork, the purple gallinule, the red-crested pochard, etc.
This natural reserve stretches along 60 kilometres (40 miles) and its rich ecosystem is ideal for the development of varied fauna and flora.