July 7, 2016

Camara Municipal do Porto

The Camara Municipal (City Hall) in Porto dates from the 1920's and is located at the top of Aliados Avenue near Trindade Station.

The architect responsible for the building was Correia da Silva, working to an overall concept conceived by English architect and town planner Barry Parker (1867-1947), who was active in both Portugal and Brazil in the early 20th century.

Camara Municipal Porto, Portugal.

The tower of the building rises to 70 metres with a carillon clock in its centre. A staircase with 180 steps leads up to the top of the tower.

The impressive facade is granite with a number of statues by José Sousa Caldas and Henrique Moreira on the top section added as embellishments. The statues represent Porto's various industries such as viticulture and maritime trade.

Altogether the Câmara Municipal do Porto has six floors, a basement and two inner courtyards.

Camara Municipal do Porto, Trindade, Porto.

Due to various delays in construction, the municipal authorities only moved in to the building in 1957.

On the west side of the town hall is a tourist office (turismo) with information on the city in various languages.

Camara Municipal do Porto.

Camara Municipal do Porto
Praça General Humberto Delgado
Porto 4000-172
Tel: 222 097 000

To reach the Camara Municipal do Porto walk south from Trindade Station or north from Aliados Station on the Porto metro.

Camara Municipal do Porto.

June 9, 2016

Colombo Mall Lisbon

The Colombo Mall in Lisbon is one of the largest shopping centres in Portugal and the largest in Lisbon. Colombo features over 100 fashion stores and around 60 restaurants in its impressive food court with cuisine on offer from all over the world including Japanese sushi, Indian curries and Chinese dishes as well as several fast food outlets (Burger King, McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut).

Centro Colombo Lisbon.

Brand stores at Colombo include Adidas, Asics, Bershka, Billabong, C&A, Clarks, Disney Store, Footlocker, Guess, H&M, Hush Puppies, Inglot, Lacoste, Levi's, Mont Blanc, Pepe Jeans, Primark, Rolex, Sportzone, Swarovski, Swatch, The Body Shop, Timberland, ToysRus, Triumph, United Colors of Benetton, Vodafone, Zara and many others.

Centro Colombo Lisbon, Portugal.

Colombo also has a multiplex cinema including an IMAX theatre. There is free Wifi throughout the mall.

If you tire of the shopping there is an outdoor garden with fountains to relax as well as a bowling alley. Colombo opened in 1997 and its layout and design has an "Age of Discovery" theme.

The nearest Lisbon metro station is Colégio Militar/Luz Station and a number of Lisbon buses stop at the shopping complex. Colombo is opposite the Estadio da Luz and the Benfica Museum.

Centro Colombo Lisbon, Portugal.

Centro Colombo, Av. Lusíada 1500-392
Lisbon, Portugal
Tel: 21 711 36 00

June 3, 2016

Ilha da Armona

Ilha da Armona, along with Ilha da Culatra, are the two main beaches accessed from the laid-back resort of Olhão, on the Algarve.

Ilha da Armona, Olhao, Algarve.

The Ilha da Armona is part of the picturesque Parque Natural de Ria Formosa, 60km of salt marsh, creeks, lagoons and sand dunes stretching from Faro east to Cacela Velha.

The boat from Olhão drops you at a small harbour on Armona, which has a few shops and restaurants. From here it is a 15-20 minute walk along a narrow street lined with holiday bungalows and an Orbitur campsite (Tel: 351 289 714173) to the south of the long, narrow island and Praia de Armona.

Ilha da Armona.

The Praia de Armona has a very natural feel and the beach stretches out into the distance along the whole southern coast of the island. There are no cars on the island, which is 9km long and about 1km wide at its widest point.

To reach both Ilha da Armona and Ilha da Culatra take a ferry from the harbour near the fish and vegetable market and the replica of the Caique Bom Sucesso on the waterfront of Olhão

Ilha da Armona can also be reached from Fuzeta.

Ferry ticket office in Olhao.

Ilha da Armona, Olhao.

Ilha da Armona, Olhao, Algarve.

June 2, 2016

Museu de Cidade Olhão

Back from the waterfront, the fish and vegetable market and the Caique Bom Sucesso in Olhão is the small but interesting Museu de Cidade.

Museu de Cidade Olhão, Algarve, Portugal.

The museum is situated across the cobbled square from the 17th century Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário (Church of Our Lady of the Rosary).

Museu de Cidade Olhão, Algarve, Portugal.

On display in the two story building are various exhibits relating to the history and culture of Olhão as a fishing port in the Algarve since Roman times. These include model boats, beautiful embroidery, clothes worn by the local fisher folk, Roman archaeological remains, black and white photographs of Olhão's distinctive Moorish-style architecture and exhibits on the salt industry, which has remained of great importance in the town' economy over the centuries from the Romans on.

Museu de Cidade Olhão, Algarve, Portugal.

As well as the small permanent collection of exhibits, the Museu de Cidade also stages temporary exhibitions.

Museu de Cidade
Praça da Restauração
Marítimo de Olhão 8700
Tel: 0289 700 103
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10am-12.30pm; 2pm-6pm; Saturday 10am-5.30pm

Museu de Cidade Olhão, Algarve, Portugal.

June 1, 2016

Ilha da Culatra Olhão

The two main areas for beaches at Olhão, on the Algarve close to Faro, are on the islands of Ilha da Culatra and Ilha da Armona. Both are reached by short boat journeys from the harbour near the fish and vegetable market and the replica of the Caique Bom Sucesso.

Ilha da Culatra Olhão, Algarve, Portugal.

Ilha da Culatra is the further from Olhão by boat of the two islands. which are both part of the Parque Natural de Ria Formosa, a large area of coastal salt marsh, creeks, lagoons and sand dunes stretching 60km from Faro east to Cacela Velha.

The boat drops you off at the small quay with a few bars and restaurants nearby. Walk from here to Praia de Farol (Lighthouse Beach) near the lighthouse for the nearest beach.

Ilha da Culatra Olhão, Algarve, Portugal.

Sun loungers and parasols can be rented on the sands and there is a beach cafe/restaurant. A few sellers also wander the beach in summer hawking ice cream and sweet, cream-filled buns.

The water is clear, though a little cool and the fine sand kept clean. Indeed you can watch more sand being dredged just offshore to be deposited on the beach during the off season in winter.

Altogether the Ilha da Culatra is 6km long and is divided into three parts: Farol, Hângares and Culatra. The northern side of the island is sheltered and mainly lagoons and here near the ferry harbour is a marina for fishing boats and yachts.

Another beach on the south of the island is Praia da Culatra, west of Farol.

Ilha da Culatra Olhão, Portugal.

Rooms and holiday cottages can be rented here. You may need to inquire in one of the places near the harbour. Casa Marina is one such place.

There are no paved roads or vehicles on the island which is very tranquil and relaxing. Wooden boardwalks have been laid to ease pedestrian access to the beaches.

Ilha da Culatra Olhão, Algarve.

Ilha da Culatra can also be reached by ferry from Faro.

Ilha da Culatra Olhão.

Ilha da Culatra Olhão.

Timetable for boats to Culatra and Farol on Ilha da Culatra.

Timetable for boats to Culatra and Farol on Ilha da Culatra.
Click on the timetable to enlarge

May 31, 2016

Igreja de São Tiago Coimbra

The Igreja de São Tiago in Praça do Comércio, Coimbra is located at the foot of the hill up to the Upper Town. The Romanesque church was built during the reign of Dom Sancho I at the end of the 12th century and was inspired by the design of the Sé Velha (Old Cathedral).

Igreja de São Tiago Coimbra, Portugal.

Note the beautiful decoration on the doorway and capitals with motifs of plants and animals as well as geometric reliefs.

The wooden interior of the church is also attractive. Over its history, the Igreja de São Tiago in Coimbra has undergone a number of changes but was restored to its original design in the 19th century.

Igreja de São Tiago Coimbra, Portugal.

Igreja de São Tiago
Praça do Comercio, Coimbra 3000
Hours: 8am-8pm

Igreja de São Tiago Coimbra, Portugal.

May 26, 2016

Fish & Vegetable Market Olhão

Right down on the waterfront by the reconstruction of the Caique Bom Sucesso boat are the twin red brick buildings of the fish and vegetable market of Olhão (Mercado de Olhao).

Fish & Vegetable Market Olhão, Algarve.

One building sells fish and meat: the other fruit and vegetables. Both markets are excellent for shopping and for photo opportunities. The range of fresh seafood includes swordfish, tuna, salmon, octopus and squid.

The fruit and vegetable section has delicious bananas, oranges, plums, watermelons, aubergines, cucumbers, carrots, peppers and tomatoes on sale.

Fish & Vegetable Market Olhão, Algarve, Portugal.

Restaurant owners come here in the early morning to buy in seafood and vegetables for the day's business and many tourists also congregate here if they are staying in self-catering accommodation or are preparing a picnic.

Surrounding the walls of the market are various bars and cafes with outdoor tables under large umbrellas.

Fish & Vegetable Market Olhão, Algarve, Portugal.

The Mercado de Olhao is busy from early morning until just after lunch on weekdays and Saurdays. It is closed on Sunday.

Mercado de Olhao
Avenida 5 de Outubro

Fish & Vegetable Market Olhão, Algarve, Portugal.