Hidden in Olhão da Restauração

On our final weekend we had to find a restaurant in Olhão we’d never been to before, and so a few days before we decided to double-check where it was. On our exploratory adventure we discovered this rather lovely entrance to a building near the harbour.What an entrance

Not sure if the gate will still be there when we return in the winter as Olhão is experiencing an upsurge in new buildings and renovation projects. Much of the change is for the positive but a little bit of me hopes that not everything is renovated or replaced. Having said that I’d be delighted if the gate was restored! The detailing is quite extraordinary and it wouldn’t take much to bring it to its former glory.

There is a name above the entrance way – Villa Majuca – unfortunately I have been unable to discover anything more than its name. I am guessing it was once a home but it could have been a commercial building given its location. And I am wondering if those are the initials of the original owners in the arch ironwork.

Whatever Villa Majuca’s past I thought it perfect for a short post and also Thursday Doors. If you have not heard of Thursday Doors it is a wonderful weekly feature run by Norm; where he invites us all to admire and share our favourite door (or gate!!) photographs from around the world.

Author: BeckyB

It had been a good life walking, cooking, photographing, volunteering, blogging, and best of all spending time with MrB, family, & friends. Sadly it no longer is. Suddenly and unexpectedly I have become a widow.

26 thoughts

  1. Hi Becky, I’m in Olhão now and your blog was suggested to me by Lizanne Lloyd. I adore old doors and have taken photos myself of some of my favourites in the town. This old gate is stunning. It’s sad that those who value the older buildings and styles aren’t the locals and I’ve also seen the upsurge in renovations in the last four years which is when I started coming to Olhão. I’ve realised it’s mostly being done by non Portuguese people, which is a shame as it could lose its local flavour, but at least the buildings are being recovered and restored. I love it here.

    1. I’m so envious! I am usually in Olhão this month but our return has been delayed. Like you we’re worried it’s going to lose its local flavour, we’ve seen so much change over the past 7 to 8 years. Enjoy your stay, how long are you there for?

      1. Sorry for my late reply, Becky. I had limited internet in Portugal so I didn’t have the chance to come back here. We are sadly back home in the Netherlands now after an 11 day stay in Olhão, which we loved. It’s my third time to the town. The first was with a friend in 2016. She didn’t like it, but I was intrigued. There were very few visitors then; it was April and the weather was a little dreary, but I was taken by its intrinsically local Portuguese character and its faded beauty. The next time, I came with my partner who shares my enjoyment of hidden corners, back streets and crumbling glory. We stayed for a week then and decided to come back to Olhão again this year because we liked it so much. The old town was a hive of activity this year with renovations going on everywhere. It’s great for the local builders, I’m sure, but it saddened me to think of the local residents being priced out of their own market. The property prices have risen tremendously since 2016. You have to walk further out to find the places where the real locals congregate now. A pity, isn’t it? If you’re interested, this is my latest post about our visit: https://rivergirlrotterdam.blogspot.com/2020/01/from-islands-to-highlands-in-portugal.html?showComment=1579624112027#c3917617024263510086

        1. oh I am so glad you see its charms too. I have many friends, like yours, who are never quite convinced – falling instead for Tavira or to my horror places in the west! Like you I think Olhão has much to offer although you do have to search sometimes!

          And thank you so much for sharing your blog post, I will enjoy it

  2. HI

    So today I met the owner of Villa Majuca. It belongs to an old Portuguese family whose roots are in Olhao but now the family are spread far and wide. It was owned by a former Mayor of the Town and was used in later years as a family holiday home. Sadly over the generations it has been left to go into ruin and been burgled had many squatters and is now quite a state. Interestingly this generation owners do see the uptrend that is happening in Olhao and want to be a part of it but in a sympathetic way. They contacted us for the same reason that Paul has commented on and that is the foreigners tend to be the ones who want to keep the grand old architecture rather than high rises etc. We didn’t get a chance to go inside but we are really hoping we do as it caught our imagination too!

    Fingers crossed Villa Majuca gets the makeover it deserves and may generations moving forward get to enjoy it as much as many generations did so.


    1. oh wow . . . that’s fabulous to hear. Fingers crossed they are able to restore it sympathetically – won’t be cheap and won’t be quick to do. But so so amazing if they can.

      Thank you for updating me 🙂

  3. That’s beautiful and I’m horrified that it could disappear. Scanning the other comments I gather that’s par for the course – but don’t visitors want to see character rather than soulless modernity? Seems short sighted.

    1. I think they do . . .but not sure the council really understand that. The character is what makes this town and is why so many people go there. So hope it doesn’t end up looking like all the ones in the west but . . . . . . .:-(

    1. Thank you so much, and my pleasure to share . .. just hope it is still there in all its beauty when I return this winter

    1. Oh it is a wonderful country Joan, you’ll love it. Do you have dates and/or an itinerary yet?

  4. Oh yes, that’s just wonderful! 🙂 I, too, hope it will be restored or at least, saved.

  5. This door is lovely, Becky, and I would vote for restoration. How could anyone look at that and believe it needs to be replaced? I’m all for modernization, but this world also needs character and this door/gate has that and then some.

    1. I so so agree with you . . . unfortunately though at the moment in Olhao the commercial developers don’t care about history or want any character in their developments. I’m keeping my fingers crossed a ‘foreigner’ will buy this gate and the property as they are the ones who do seem to cherish the character of this town.

  6. I suspect that you are right and that this beautiful old house will be torn down like the one in Gremio square was a few months ago along with council lies that ‘the facade will be preserved.’

    The pressure is o in Olhao for more tourist bed space and removing viable and historic buildings is the (invariably) Portuguese developer’s way of making money. This is unbelievably short-sighted. Foreigners (often) have taken old properties and turned them into wonderful, interesting paces, as have some enlightened Portuguese like the recently opened AL property opposite the railway station.

    Casa Fuseta was due for demolition by the owning bank, a developer wanted to build another apartment block, until bought by a British couple who have spend millions turning it into a palace of delight, taste and revenue. There are many other examples.

    The council still condones appalling acts of vandalism (Gremio being one classic example) and has failed to address its crucial ‘historic centre’ opportunity, intent on digging up more calçada streets and putting in further ‘space age’ halogen lighting that continues to blind night-time walkers as they negotiate the cracked and chewing-gum soiled pavements.

    So, the Vila you spotted will not last, it it way outside the historic area, it has a high rise in front of it and is not protected at all by any legislation. An beautiful old warehosue 200 metres away has just been demolished by Continente when it cold have at least saved one small section of wall to remind people of Olhai’s fish-packing heritage.

    What appalls foreigners is normal for many Portuguese locals who have lost the will to object and are all for a quiet life albeit one ruled by morons.

    Even the local chattering classes have acknowledged that the foreigners here are a feisty lot when it comes to historic areas and their buildings – and we will continue to object to the mayor’s more idiotic projects (remember Pina’s short-lived Erection…?)

    1. Can’t like this as it is far too accurate reflection of what is happening in Olhão I agree though with every single word.

      They seem to anxious to be exactly like the tourist towns in the west, but as you say what makes Olhão so special and so popular is the fact it isn’t. We are really not sure if we are going to spend our next winter sojourn in Olhão, think we might head up into the hills.

      Couldn’t believe it when that warehouse disappeared overnight . . .and the fact they are replacing it with a modern structure is even worst. Agree with you about the wall idea.

      Thank goodness for yourself, and people like Tara and Jonathan of Casa Fuzetta

  7. That lead photo is lovely, Becky. I love hidden gems. Hope it hangs on. 🙂 🙂
    Which restaurant did you go to and was it a good one? (just doing my research for the future 🙂 ) Happy Thursday!

    1. Thank you Jo and so do I.
      We were there for a really large party so no menu choice which makes it difficult to know if to recommend or not. However what we had was delicious and it is somewhere only locals would find! So maybe you should investigate 😀 Called Restaurante Bom D+
      Very near railway station – here’s a map

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