Loulé, one of the nicest towns

Loulé is one of the nicest towns in the Algarve that you should definitely visit. Loulé is a traditional Portuguese market town and one of the most popular day trip destinations in central Algarve. The bold and characterful historic center, the lively market and the traditional Portuguese atmosphere attract visitors year after year and keep the City alive. when visiting the Algarve, a trip to the Loulé market should not be missing from the to -do list.

Portugal is one of the few remaining European countries that still explore markets for functional products. Loulé’s focus is the Arab-inspired market, with indoor and outdoor stalls selling local produce, fresh fish and regional crafts. The market is surrounded by busy shopping streets and a maze of medieval alleys and beautiful traditional houses that make for a great day out.

The Loulé Market is open from Monday to Saturday from 7 am to 3 pm, although the best time to visit Loulé is on Saturday mornings, when both market take place.

While Loulé normally has a laid -back, laid -back atmosphere , the town comes alive on Saturday mornings when the daily market expands with a farmers market overflowing with fresh local produce in the surrounding street. It’s worth getting there early as many of the fresh food and fish stalls start packing as soon as their produce is sold.


Loulé is one of the oldest towns in the Algarve. Under the Moors it was a fortress town called al -Ulya . That Moorish architectural style such as the white houses can still be seen very well in the nice streets of the old center.

The city was recaptured by the Christians in the 12th century. Thus the old mosque became a church. But the minaret remained as a church tower. Castelo de Loulé was also taken and further expanded. At that time the city flourished.


Loulé is the most extensive district in Portugal. The city itself is home to 35,000 residents and the entire district 65,000.

The city is steeped in history and the “old Loulé” offers the remains of a castle, charming alleys and many churches. Cultural life is rich and varied. The market has built a reputation that has long stretched beyond the borders of the Algarve. Outside the city itself, the district has 9 ” freguesias ” including those of Almancil and Quarteira where the “Golden Triangle” is located, a very residential area consisting of Vilamoura , Vale de Lobo and Quinta do Lago.

Sights and things to do

Loulé is one of the oldest places in the Algrave and was founded by the Moors. Their influence can still be seen in the small narrow streets of the city. You will find the characteristic white houses everywhere and you can still find old Moorish baths in the city. The city walls also date from the time of the Moorish rule. In the 12th century the Moors disappeared and a Christian ruler came . The old Mosque was replaced by a church, but the old minaret still serves as a church tower.

Museums and shops

An important attraction in Loulé is the covered market hall that dates from the beginning of the last century. Inside the hall it is a cacophony of smell and color. Various sellers try to sell fresh and dried fish. There are stalls selling cheeses and sausages from the region and large quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables. Handicraft products such as wicker baskets and handicrafts are also available. On Saturdays, there is an extra market around the market hall with various products. In the summer months, a gypsy market is often held for the tourists.

Loulé was conquered from the Moors in the 12th century, the castle also fell into the hands of new rulers. They fortified the castle and expanded it further. During the city’s heyday in the 15th century, the castle was improved and further renovated several times. Unfortunately, this castle was also seriously damaged by the great earthquake in the Algarve in the 18th century. Today the castle can be visited. You will find some furnished period rooms and it houses the archaeological museum of Loulé.

Shop till you drop

The town of Loule has many nice little shops. Here you will find craft shops with copper cataplana pans, cane crafts, pottery, tile decoration and cork products. But also the atmospheric shopping street Rua 5 de Outubro with souvenirs, clothing, delicatessens and lots of shoe shops.

For fashion & design shoppers, the Designer Outlet Algarve, Ikea and Mar Shopping just outside Loulé is a godsend.

Lunch tips Loulé

In those winding streets and alleys we also find beautiful restaurants for a nice lunch. A few eating tips for everyone:

      • Café Q: Africa meets Portugal with a beautiful courtyard

      • 11 da Villa: Portuguese tapas with a terrace on a sweet square

      • Bica velha: Traditional Portuguese in 16th century spheres

      • MED: Mediterranean cuisine with a modern twist

    The best restaurants

        • Restaurante Bocage (Loule)

        • Flor da Praca (Loule)

        • Restaurante Museu do Lagar (Loule)

        • Restaurante pequeno Mundo ( Almancil )

        • Restaurante 2 Passos (Praia do Ancao )

        • Restaurante De Querensa ( Querensa )

        • Restaurante O Luar da Foia (Monchique)

        • Pizzeria Casavostra ( Almancil )


      The Almond Tree Wellness Spa offers an ideal escape: various treatments that combine traditional massage techniques with careful application of pressure along the spine to reach the nervous system, highly effective in treating symptoms of stress. Has relaxation areas, sauna, hammam , indoor pool, swimming pool and gym equipped with the latest technology. The techniques used combine the benefits of essential oils with the natural elements of the Algarve, such as sun, sea, orange and almond, to give real and unforgettable moments of well-being.


      Loule Jardim Hotel

      Jardim Hotel, a simple 3 star hotel, is within walking distance of the center of Loulé . The rooms are neat but simple. We have already stayed here a number of times because booking available locations in the Algarve is not always easy. This hotel is within walking distance of the center and of the Ombria Resort sales office. The breakfast is excellent and the staff are friendly. There is a small swimming pool on the roof of the hotel.
      Look here to check availability and get an impression of the hotel.

      Spend the night in the vicinity of Loulé

      Vila Monte Farm House

      Vila Monte is the epitome of a classic Farmhouse : it is simple, built with local materials and understated luxury. Vila Monte consists of several buildings with a lush garden and 2 swimming pools. It offers 5-star services and is located about a 20-minute drive from Loulé.
      Look here to check availability .

      Fazenda Nova Country House

      Fazenda Nova is a luxury country house near the beautiful historic coastal town of Tavira, a half hour drive from Loulé. The Fazenda is an original Portuguese country house that has been tastefully renovated while retaining many original features. It features 15 luxury boutique suites. Most rooms have a private terrace or garden.
      Check the availability of the Fazenda here.

      Around Loule

      From Loulé towards the Spanish border

      From Loulé you will be in the beautiful villages of Estoi and Sao Bras de Alportel in no time. Within half an hour you are in the center of Faro and in 40 minutes you drive to the port city of Olhão.


      Olhão is still a very authentic place, where you have the feeling that you are still in the real Portugal. The town center of the characteristic fishing village is characterized by a maze of narrow alleys, whitewashed small houses and picturesque roof terraces. Also have a look at the fish auction in the market halls. At the harbor near the market halls, farmers from the area also come here to offer their merchandise. Around the market halls are all kinds of small cafes and bars where you can enjoy a cup of Portuguese espresso together with one of the delicious sweets from the region.

      You can also take boat trips from Olhão through the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Ria Formosa consists of a 60 km long belt of islands and peninsulas with lagoons and white beaches.


      If you drive even further to the Spanish border, you will arrive in Tavira, a city known for its many churches, 37 in total. The cosiest part of Tavira runs along the river that divides the city in two. An old Roman bridge runs across the river. This bridge connects the two parts of the town. On either side of the river you will find beautiful old houses with the characteristic pointed roofs of Tavira.

      From Loulé to the west

      Beautiful rock formations and beaches

      If you drive west from Loulé, a visit to the beautiful rock formations on the coast of Lagos is definitely worth it. You can take boat trips along the coast from various coastal towns. This gives a beautiful picture of the rugged coast of the Algarve. The beautiful red-yellow rocks protrude high above the beaches.

      Because the coast here is so steep, you have to walk down steep stairs to reach the beaches. Walking on these beaches gives a beautiful picture of this rugged coast. Behind every bend and rock formation you have a beautiful new view.

      Touristic places

      The towns along this coast; Villamoura , Albufeira , Portimao , Ferragudo and Lagos are among the most visited tourist towns in the Algarve. These cities are ideal for going out and enjoying sand, sea and sun. The authentic Portugal is no longer really to be found here. It is mainly aimed at entertaining the tourists in the high season.

      A little more inland are several beautiful villages. Silves is one of them. The old Fort of Silves attracts many tourists to the village every year. The castle can be found at the highest point of the village.

      This is just a small selection of the many possibilities the Algarve has to offer. In addition to the obvious things such as sun, sea and golf, the authentic towns a little further inland are definitely worth a visit.

      Here you can view all the photos of Loulé



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