Olhao, Algarve, Portugal Book from Book from £83 per night

A historic townhouse with a Moroccan riad feel, near the eastern Algarve's stunning island beaches

Hidden down a narrow street between a fishmonger and a buzzy restaurant lies a white door in a stone archway, which opens into one of Marrakech’s most stylish riads... Well, not really, but the internal courtyard - with its hand-painted blue tiles, graceful white columns and grand wooden doors - had us fooled. And as we climbed up spiral stairs to a split-level roof terrace, we were delighted by the views across the town's whitewashed roofs to the Ria Formosa Natural Park, where fishing boats bob on the waves and the bright sunshine is almost dazzling.

Once a weekday home for rural girls working in Olhão's fish-canning industry, the townhouse was saved from ruin by 2 architects, a historian and a teacher, who remodelled it into this airy, peaceful haven (no kids allowed). They carefully preserved and exposed original brickwork, turned former dormitories into 9 romantic bedrooms, and adorned communal spaces with local art and antiques from nearby Fuseta. We loved the sheer style of it all.
Covid update: see our Flexible Booking Policy.


  • Fantastic value, and rates include a great breakfast
  • The rooftop terrace: a perfect spot for a lazy morning, an afternoon dip in the heated pool, or a sundowner
  • Olhão - only 20 mins from Faro airport, yet an authentic fishing town with cobbled streets and simple restaurants serving charcoal-grilled sardines and jarros of wine
  • You’re a taxi-boat ride from some of our favourite Portuguese beaches, in the Ria Formosa
  • Managers Guillaume and Antje are incredibly welcoming


  • Multi level with steep spiral stairs - the rooftop cabins are only suitable for hand luggage
  • No TVs, air con or music docks (though there is WiFi)
  • It can be difficult to park, but you could easily holiday here without a car

Best time to go

This area of Portugal is great year-round, but we’d recommend April-October when warm weather is almost guaranteed. That said, we’ve visited in February and November and experienced sunny, dry days. Temperatures can soar in July and August, but the cool Atlantic acts as a welcome respite.

Our top tips

Take a day trip to Spain. Drive along the coastal road to Vila Real de Santo António and jump on the small ferry, which takes you across the Rio Guadiana. Just 5 minutes later, you’ll find yourself in Ayamonte, a pretty Spanish town filled with tapas restaurants. Just remember that Ayamonte is an hour ahead of Vila Real de Santo António, and most restaurants in Spain shut at 4pm; we’ve been caught out before!

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 9 rooms
  • Breakfast only (restaurants nearby)
  • Ages 15+ only
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym


The 9 rooms and suites fan out around the tranquil courtyard, with its tinkling fountain and colourful bougainvillea. All are chic white spaces, with gold-gilded mirrors and lamps, handwoven rugs, local antiques and mis-matched chairs. Bathrooms have huge walk-in rain showers, with heated marble underfoot. Be aware that only shower gel and handwash are provided so bring toiletries.

We stayed in one of the first-floor Suites, accessed via huge sliding glass doors that allow light to flood in. These were our favourite rooms as they felt very private. The Rooftop Cabins are beautifully designed and romantic; one has a private terrace, the other opens directly onto the communal rooftop. The Double and Large Double rooms felt airy and spacious, and have their bed tucked under an elegant arch.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Honesty bar
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • WiFi


Breakfast is a delight, prepared each morning by Antje and served at a long table in the art-filled breakfast room. Each guest is brought a daily-changing delicacy (we had local cheeses and meats one day; an omelette the next), as well as fresh fruit (papaya, raspberries, kiwi and grapefruit) and Portuguese bread and cakes (including the traditional pastel de nata). If you have any dietary requirements, just let Antje know.

For lunch and dinner, there are some excellent restaurants nearby. Our favourite is family-run O Galo, which serves delectable dishes such as fishcakes with fried sweet potato, as well as a range of tapas - or Chá Chá Chá, a quirky local joint with fresh, locally sourced fare, gluten-free desserts and vegetarian options. For rustic and traditional Portuguese food (grilled fish and meat), try Pitéu along the seafront, deservedly popular with locals.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Restaurants nearby


  • Explore Olhão’s pretty cobbled streets, harbour and smart red-brick market. There's a daily spread of veg, fruit and fish, plus a farmers' market on Saturdays with budgies and bunnies, baked goods and pottery
  • Get a ferry or taxi boat to island beaches. Our favourites are Ilha da Culatra and Ilha Deserta, though all offer stunning stretches of golden sand; the journey takes you through the Ria Formosa’s lagoons. Further afield, and equally lovely, are the beaches of Fuseta, Barrill and Santa Luzia
  • Fuseta's antiques market is a must
  • Day-trip to Tavira and admire its hilltop castle, Roman bridge and wonderful collection of Gothic and Renaissance churches. There are pretty boutiques, too, which we never leave empty-handed!

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Historical sites
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming


This is an adults-only hotel.

Kid Friendly:


Convento is in the centre of Olhão, a small fishing town on the eastern Algarve, 20 minutes from Faro airport.

By Air:
Faro airport is the closest (15km) but you could fly into Seville (in Spain, 200km) or Lisbon (300km) if you don't mind a longer drive. Click on the links below for a list of airlines.

Take a taxi or hire a car from the airport; see our rental recommendations. You'll need to park on the street in Olhão.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through

More on getting to Portugal and getting around


  • Faro 15.0 km FAR
  • Seville 200.0 km SEV


  • Beach 1.0 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 21 independent reviews from i-escape guests


Convento was simply perfect. A beautiful building, blissfully quiet, with lovely rooms and a gorgeous roof terrace on which to sunbathe. Service was friendly and helpful in all the best ways. Breakfasts were delicious. A wonderful place


This beautiful hotel is set in amidst the charming lanes in the neighbourhood of Olhao. Finding the entrance is part of the charm, and once you do you almost never want to leave. You feel like you have been let on to the best secret in the town. The hosts are just as lovely as is the decor. They have managed to create an atmosphere that is both charming and practical at the same time. Breakfast was beautifully presented in the all white dining room.
It's really close to great restaurants. And the rooftop was perfect for relaxing and a quick dip in the pool overlooking the sea. It doesn't get better... except for our room. But I'm not prepared to share such luxuries. I'm going to keep that for myself.
Thank you for a wonderful stay.


Lovely hotel and very welcoming. Roof to pool and sun area is a real oasis. Lots of restaurant choice nearby.


You said this was a 10 out of 10 hotel and you were spot on - we had the most amazing time and due mostly to the beautiful Convento Hotel - it was architecturally stunning, beautifully restored and interiors were gorgeous. Our bedroom was spotless and luxurious. The Rooftop pool and beautiful sun loungers and additional seating on upper terraces were wonderful places to sit relax and read and watch the sun disappear. The service and hospitality of all the staff was outstanding. The breakfast and afternoon tea were all delicious and exquisitely served. The hosts were also full of top tips and useful restaurant recommendations. It was also little things like towels for the beach and a parasol; honesty bar on the roof terrace; and all this was not spoilt by the fact they adhered to the COVID rules explicitly. We will definitely go back for a return trip next year and the 14 day quarantine we now find ourselves in back in the UK is worth every day we spent in Olhao.


Great stay at Convento. It is a real sanctuary in the middle of Olhao. The pool was lovely to cool off in the hot summer sun. Staff and owners were lovely and breakfast was freshly prepared and delicious. Would definitely recommend and hope to be back soon.


A brilliant find. Couldn't recommend it highly enough although it's so good you'd like to keep it to yourself. We stayed in a rooftop room and due to Covid had the entire place to ourselves most days. It's light, bright and airy with a fantastic little plunge pool and an honesty bar. Lovely bathroom with rain shower. You could easily spend the day there "roof watching" and not explore Olhao. Downstairs there's a lovely little courtyard with a Moroccan feel. Breakfast was excellent lots of fresh fruit and good coffee and everything homemade - muesli, yogurt, jams etc. and Vally gave us helpful advice on where to explore. There are some nice restaurants in the little alleyways around the hotel and the marina is nice for a late night drink. All of the staff were so helpful and welcoming and it's only a 20 minute drive from Faro airport. Would highly recommend it and would definitely stay again.


Beautiful hotel. One of the most amazing places I have ever stayed. Light and spacious and totally peaceful. The rooftop pool area was a great place to catch some rays. All the local restaurants are good. We had a wonderful long weekend.


Our holiday at Convento was just perfect! A most peaceful retreat, perfect to recharge, an ultimate holiday therapy. This boutique B&B is a real treasure, small, stylish, their breakfasts, without exception, a real treat. The weather gods loved us, warm and sunny during the day and cooler nights. Lots of good restaurants in the neighbourhood at walking distance. We loved our rooftop room with private terrace and pool. Staff were most kind and made us feel at home! Thank you i-escape!


Tranquil, stylish, unique.
Fabulous breakfast, with roses on the table and really excellent coffee. A haven of peace and relaxation.


Oasis of calm in a fabulous location. Wonderful roof terrace for sunbathing and sundowners. Loved the honesty fridge! Spotlessly clean and nothing was too much trouble. Breakfast was delicious, varied and plentiful. Only slight negative is that they don't use the beautiful indoor courtyard for breakfast as if you don't have a downstairs room you don't end up spending much time there.


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