"Bulicame" - The Freshwater Springs                                                                          <<< Gallery 

The Olhos de Água Beach is known for its famous freshwater springs. It is a rare geological phenomenon but has a relatively easy scientific explanation.

The springs are discharges of freshwater with considerable flows into the marine environment. They are caused by undergroun streams that discharge their waters into the ocean, coming from the aquifer system Albufeira - Quarteira River.

As fresh water is less dense than the salt, it rises up through the salt water producing a turbulent bubble in the sea surface.

A little bit of history...

Since long time the local fishermen commented on the existence of strong bubbles on the beach front that pushed the boats.

There are historical records of several fresh water springs on the beach and in the sea itself. It is known that over the centuries people settled near these freshwater springs, namely:

  • Phoenicians - sailors and pirates from the Mediterranean (between 1500 BC and 300 BC);
  • Carthaginians - descendants of the Phoenicians and the Berber people of North Africa (from 400 BC to 200 BC);
  • Romans - who practiced fishing and developed the salting and drying of fish all along the Algarve coast (between 300 and 500 a.c. d.c.)
"Bulicame" which means hot spring in Italian, links the springs of Olhos de Água with fishermen from Genoa, Venice and Sicily, who visited the Algarve coast, for fishing tuna and whale, during the XII, XIV and XV centuries and supposedly went to the "Bulicame" that existed in the sand to stock up with freshwater.

It is assumed that the spring which supplied these fishermen with freshwater, once named "Ship Spring", is nowadays fully submerged even at low tide.

When the Moors were expelled from Iberia (XII-XIV centuries) and the crusade began on the Algarve coast, this area was strongly attacked by the people of North Africa, which justified the construction of a vast defensive system, including the Medronheira Tower (Torre da Medronheira).

Because the frequent attacks, the inhabitants of the coastal villages were forced to move further north, which includes (presumably) the people who lived near the freshwater springs "Bulicame" and founded the current town of Boliqueime, 6 Km Northeast of Olhos de Água Beach.

Until the 70's of the last century the population continued to use the springs to supply drinking water and to wash the clothes.

Visiting the Springs...

We recommend that the springs, which are more than one hundred, should be visited on foot when the tide is low and allows the visitors to enjoy the circuit along the beach starting at the Olhos de Água Beach going east towards the Barranco das Belharucas Beach, where you can observe the springs between the two beaches and the rocky cliffs and formations.