Olhão Is A Sleepy Portuguese Fishing Town Full Of Stunning Street Art

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Olhão has become a safe haven for local street artists in the Algarve

We drove through Olhão on a recent road trip in Portugal by chance.

We were heading from Tavira to the capital of the Algarve, Faro, trying to avoid as many toll roads as possible. Which is why we ended up driving through the heart of this small fishing town.

Before that day, I’d never even heard of Olhão.

Driving in the direction we were going in, the first thing you are met with after entering the town is this:

Olhão Street Art
What looks like an old, abandoned church has been taken over by talented street artists
Olhão Graffiti

It was an unexpected surprise, but one I had to stop for and get my camera out (albeit my mobile phone’s camera since I didn’t have any charged batteries left).

Where to find Olhão’s graffiti?

There are plenty of old dilapidated buildings running alongside the main road, just a stones throw away from Olhao’s stunning beaches.

It’s the decaying walls of these buildings local artists have been using as a canvas.

Simply drive through the town and you can’t miss it.

Graffiti on an old abandoned building

Street Art

Why is there so much graffiti and street art in Olhão?

At first, graffiti in the town just didn’t exist. But two artists changed that.

After doing some research about it when we finally got to Faro I found out that Dário Silva, a local Portuguese guy, and Sergio, South-African born, were responsible for turning Olhão into the street art capital of the Algarve, making it famous for something else aside from just it’s beautiful beaches, tastey food and friendly people (as if that wasn’t enough!).

Now graffiti is tolerated and the artists don’t have any trouble with the police.

The pair’s mission is to turn the old and run-down buildings, that are rather an eye-sore, into beautiful creations that people will want to travel to see.

Church tower covered in graffiti

After doing some research, I realised that there are actually a lot of other areas in the town that have become workshops for spray can-wielding creators.

But I didn’t know this at the time so only got to see what was alongside the main road.

Alongside the main road

The Satori Artistic Association’s involvement

Since the pioneering work by Dário and Sergio, Olhão has become known as a place friendly to street artists.

As a result, more people have become involved in the local graffiti scene adding to the collection around the town.

So much so that residents welcome the facelift their neighbourhoods are getting and have started inviting talented street artists from all over the Algarve to join in.

The Satori Artistic Association were commissioned to create a number of murals on the walls of an old neighbourhood in Olhão called Bairro do Levante.

Rua da Fábrica Velha is where the new street art murals can be found if you’re interested in checking them out.

If you get the chance, spend a day in Olhão

There is plenty to see if you are into street art.

And since it’s a fishing town, there are a ton of great restaurants (I’ve since heard) to stop at for lunch and sample that morning’s catch of seafood.

The next time I’m in the area, I won’t just be driving through.

Compared to other more well-know places to see street art, like Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Olhão is a bit of a hidden gem. But it should certainly be on the radar of anyone who’s into amazing street art!

Olhão Street Art Gallery
Old building
Driving through Olhão
Building in Olhão
Bart Simpson Graffiti