Pronounced “oll-yow”, Olhão is an authentic Portugese working town and a major fishing port in the Algarve. Olhão is a town of many facets: fishing boats and warehousing, a pleasant promenade with cool gardens to escape the heat of the sun and abandoned, tile-fronted, 19th-century town houses with iron balconies. In the historical part you can find the church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário, built in 1698 with contributions from the fishermen. There are also two markets along the water front supplying sea food straight from the port and a colourful array of locally grown fruit and vegetables - ideal for a visit with your paint brush and easel.
The painting week is based at Olhão’s Art School, a complex with private terraces, courtyards and a swimming pool located on a top floor terrace. The studio features vaulted ceilings with Roman brick work, offering a spacious environment for artistic creativity.
Art School Courtyard
Algarve Dining Room
Painting trips include an excursion to Culatra, a nearby fishing village, presenting the painter with wonderful wildlife and fishing boats in the laguna and to the architecturally attractive town Tavira, where you can capture local street life or just pick an intimate corner to paint. There is no shortage of inspirational subjects for beginners as well as more advanced painters and subjects range from town views to landscapes and people glanced at from the rim of your coffee cup at one of the local cafes. You will also have the opportunity to go on an excursion by private boat to the peaceful, pedestrian only island of Armona, which is part of Ria Formosa national park. Having to depart at the end of the painting week from Olhão’s quiet streets and welcoming people is always hard, but the thought of coming back another time makes leaving just that little bit easier.
Non-painting partners are very welcome and invited to have a go with pencil or brush, and places are easy to get around by ferries or a speedboat water taxi for extra outings. Prices are very reasonable for mid-week flights and we have taken advantage of this, by running the painting course from Wednesday to Wednesday.
On The Island