If you're a digital nomad or someone with remote working opportunities, then you've probably heard that Lisbon is one of the top remote-working destinations. While Lisbon is a lively, beautiful, and fun city to visit, my partner and I prefer working from quieter locations.
If you're like us and you want to work from a laidback town with rich culture, ocean views, a relaxed feel, and amazing food, then you should consider working remotely from Olhão.
A Little Bit About Olhão
Located on Portugal's Algarve coast, Olhão is the kind of place that seems almost too good to be true. Imagine cobblestone streets that wind through the historic town, freshly caught seafood that practically melts in your mouth, local flea markets every weekend, and tons of cute cafés. It's a place where time slows down, allowing you to savor every moment and truly escape the hustle and bustle of the daily grind.
With its breathtaking waterfront views, vibrant culture, and slow pace of life, Olhão is truly a hidden gem for digital nomads. It has everything you need for a work-life balance that's nothing short of magical.
Getting to Olhão From Lisbon
Before I delve more into Olhão, here's how to get there from Lisbon (since that's probably where you're flying to). You can take a scenic train ride from Lisbon's Oriente Station to Faro, the nearest major city. The journey offers glimpses of Portugal's picturesque countryside and takes around 3 hours. From Faro, Olhão is just a short, 10-minute train ride (or a quick Uber ride) away.
The second option is to fly to Faro Airport (FAO) from Lisbon and then take a bus or Uber to Olhão. This option is much quicker, but costs about three times more and you don't get the scenic views (or the experience of riding the train—which I personally love).
What It's Like to Work From Olhão
Every morning, we woke up to chirping birds and the shining sun (because Olhão is sunny like, every day). Then we'd either make breakfast and eat it out on the balcony or we'd walk to our favorite cafe.
The remote work lifestyle in Olhão is a perfect blend of productivity and relaxation. When we needed a break from work, we took a stroll through the town's cobblestone streets, exploring its historical charm and vibrant local markets. It was like a mini adventure during our lunch break.
Working From Seaside Cafés
If you prefer working from a café rather than from an office, there are plenty of options in Olhão.
Let me set the scene: You've got your laptop open, a cappuccino in hand, and the sound of the ocean as your background music. The café you chose offers the most serene view of the marina. This is where you've set up your "office" for the day, and you couldn't be happier.
Fresh Seafood for Lunch
Olhão is renowned for its seafood. The daily catch is brought in at the Mercado de Olhão, and you literally couldn't find anything fresher. It's the perfect way to refuel for an afternoon of work.
Embracing the Local Culture
This town doesn't just offer stunning views and great seafood; it's a place where culture thrives. Olhão's artistic side is evident in the galleries and installations that adorn its streets.
However, one of the best parts of remote work in Olhão is the unhurried pace of life. Locals are welcoming, and you feel like you're part of the community—if only temporarily. It's a slower, more intentional way of living that's hard to find in the bigger cities.
Things to Do in Olhão
My favorite part of working from Olhão was the weekends, obviously. Every weekend was like a mini vacation, with lots of little adventures! Here are some of the things we got up to.
Ria Formosa National Park
Island-hopping in Ria Formosa Natural Park is a must-do if you're in Olhão. There are many more tours other than the one I linked, including many stalls on the marina that you can walk up to while you're there. Or if tours aren't your thing, there are lots of water taxi services that will drop you off on an island and pick you up later.
Since Olhão is on a marina, it doesn't have any beaches. So, if you want to get your beach fix, you can easily hop over to one of the islands.
Visit the Markets
I mentioned the markets a few times, but the local markets on the marina were some of my favorite parts of Olhão.
There were local vendors selling clothing, hats, bags, sunglasses, cork items, etc. There was also a weekend flea market where we found fresh food, drinks, and even live music.
And if you have a place to cook for yourself, the Mercado Municipal has vendors that sell farm fresh vegetables and fruits, freshly caught seafood, and even homemade baked goods.
It's easy to spend a whole day walking around the marina markets.
Take a Day Trip to Faro
Faro is just a stone's throw away from Olhão and is definitely worth a visit. You can explore the historic heart of the town with its cobbled streets, whitewashed buildings, and charming local markets.
While in Faro, make sure you visit the Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones). It's one of the most unique chapels we've ever seen.
Take a Weekend Trip to Albufeira
Albufeira is the place that you've probably seen photos of when you Googled "Portugal's Algarve Coast." It literally looks like a postcard (and is shown on many).
Albufeira is known as a party town, with a crazy nightlife. We're not partiers ourselves, so we went for the views, kayaking the Benagil Caves, restaurants, markets, and gelato. So. Much. Gelato.
But if the nightlife is your scene, there's literally no better place. Albufeira has clubs and bars that go hard all night long. For this reason, I definitely don't suggest making Albufeira your base to work from. Our room was literally vibrating from the music until 3 am and we had to sleep with earplugs in! But as a fun, lively weekend adventure, I totally recommend it!
Put Olhão on Your Bucket List
If you're a remote worker yearning for a change of scenery, Olhão should definitely be on your radar. With its breathtaking views, delectable seafood, and rich cultural scene, it's a haven for digital nomads.
And even if you're not a remote worker and you're just visiting Portugal, please don't forget about the Algarve coast—or Olhão!
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See you soon!