The top ten things you will love about the traditional market town of Loulé
The quaint, traditional Portuguese market town of Loulé, is located about 15 kilometres north of Faro airport in the Algarve. It offers a picturesque countryside of orange groves and cork oak forests with a historical town centre built around a medieval castle.
Located just 20 minutes inland, the quaint town also offers easy access to Vilamoura, Quarteira, and Vale do Lobo beaches – the perfect places to spend a day out on one of the endlessly sunny Algarve days!
Being just outside the Algarve’s golden triangle where properties are more expensive, in Loule you can find some excellent properties for sale at bargain prices.
If you are looking to live in a more traditional Portuguese setting then Loule offers this and much more. Apart from the more affordable prices, there are many other pluses on offer.
Let’s not forget Loule attracts many tourists staying in the coastal resorts every day to experience the events and highlights this town has to offer.
Two of the biggest events held in the Algarve take place in Loule and are not to be missed.
1. ‘Noite Branca’, the Festival of White Night
With its roots found in Nordic countries, the festival of ‘white night’ is an evening where public access to museums, cultural institutions, and other public and private spaces is free.
Usually used to promote its cultural heritage, it’s also more commonly known as ‘Nuit Blanche’ in France, or ‘Notte Bianca in Italy, however, the concept is now firmly enjoyed in Loulé.
In the evening the streets come alive with street food and bands. The whole theme of the evening is of course white with most attending clothed simply in white. The streets are closed to traffic and the party goes on well into the early hours of the morning.
Held at the end of August each year it signals the end of the Portuguese summer holidays so as you can imagine the attendance is always high and the ambience festive, to say the least.
2. The Carnival of Loule
Ok so it’s nothing in comparison to the Rio carnival but it is actually older with more than 100 years of celebrations. It is even said that the idea of the world-famous carnival in Rio was born from the Loule version.
The whole town centre is closed to traffic to make way for the spectacular show that passes through. Held in the last week of February or the first week of March and goes on for 3 days.
The parade itself commences around 3 pm and lasts for a good few hours. With many well-designed floats usually representing political figures from both Portugal and abroad.
Scantily clad dancers entertain the huge crowds that the event draws. There is also a children’s parade made up of kids from the local schools.
Again it’s a not to be missed event and great entertainment for all the family. As it is held in the early part of the year it can sometimes be a little chilly so if you are going in fancy dress as most people do make it a warm one!
Apart from the events, there are lots of interesting places to visit either on your own at your own pace or with a tour guide to fill you in on all the historical information.
3. The Medieval Castelo De Loulé
Like many of the other Algarve castles, the incredible Castelo De Loule dates back to medieval times, around 1249 AD by all accounts.
If you’re interested in seeing some archaeological collections, you can find the town’s Municipal Museum within the castle’s courtyard which would have been the town governor’s residence during the Middle Ages.
Notably, the Loulé Castle suffered some damage during the great earthquake of 1755 but has since been restored.
Be sure to check opening times outside the summer season, as they can sometimes vary from the peak times.
4. The Wonderful Marketplace Tour
The 19th century neoClassical marketplace of Loulé really is a sight to behold! With its Arabesque-inspired architecture, this vibrant and bustling marketplace has plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit sold directly by the farmers who’ve grown them – so you know you’ll be getting real organic produce.
There is also a great selection of freshly ground coffee and the delectable aroma hits you as you pass by. Ask for recommendations as it is said to be the best-tasting coffee in the Algarve.
You will also find locally produced delicacies you won’t find anywhere else such as honey, olive oil, Piri Piri sauce and medronho the region’s moonshine aptly named fire water!
5. The TechSalt Salt Mine Tour
Why not take a guided tour that takes you deep underground, 230 metres to be exact, beneath the city of Loulé? At TechSalts rock salt mine they invite you to learn about the geological importance of the site and the different ways in which rock salt has been used over the centuries.
A lift takes you down to the mine floor where visitors can walk the 1.3km route that takes them through the interesting geological formations that are said to be over 230 million years old. Along the way learn about the mine’s history from the accompanying guides, who talk you through the evolution of the salt mining processes used to extract rock salt over the years.
Away from the events, tours and interesting places to visit, the day-to-day lifestyle for anyone choosing to settle in this typical Portuguese town also has a great deal to offer.
6. The Healthy Lifestyle
With a multitude of different health, fitness and wellness centres to choose from, Loulé offers the ultimate in relaxation and healthy living!
With the weather seeming to be endless days of sunshine you will find yourself drawn to the region’s healthy outdoor lifestyle. With many walks and trails to discover you will be spoilt for choice. Within the municipality of Loule, you will find many quaint villages to visit and stroll around.
If you are looking to pamper yourself The Resort Natura boasts a level of tranquillity in keeping with the locality and is one we’re particularly fond of. With its devotion to relaxation, the Resort Natura offers free parking to tempt you to its indoor pool and jacuzzi. is where you’ll find therapeutic treatments to rejuvenate and boost your natural beauty in tranquil surroundings.
7. Sports Galore
Loule is the centre for sporting activities in the central Algarve with a wide variety of activities on offer. With many sports centres within easy reach of the town.
For indoor sports, there is the Loule Pavilion catering for those who enjoy gymnastics, squash and indoor football.
In the surrounding areas of the municipality, you can find every imaginable sport both indoor and outdoor. Far too many to mention but including a huge selection of golf courses, all types of water sports, athletics, swimming, tennis, karting and for the 4×4 enthusiast off-roading
8. Shopping Markets
Apart from the central Market hall in Loule which is open Monday to Friday, the best day to visit is Saturday when they also hold a street farmers market in the surrounding streets around the centre. Filled with locally grown and caught produce the streets become a bustling hive of locals and tourists alike vying for the best bargains on offer.
Also on Saturday mornings and just outside the centre, the weekly gipsy market is held. It is one of the largest in the Algarve and has many stalls that offer a wide array of knickknacks and souvenirs. With several kiosks providing a good selection of regional snacks and fast street food it makes for a great cultural day out.
9. Food & Restaurants
Around the town centre, you will find a wide and varied selection of regional type restaurants serving typical Portuguese food. Along with quite a few fast food outlets including MacDonalds!
In the surrounding countryside, you will come across many a hidden gem with great food at very reasonable prices where you will get change from 40 euros for a 3-course meal for two including wine!
Venturing down to the coast and the tourist locations you are spoilt for choice there are many great restaurants but you will be paying tourist prices!
10. The Local Hospitality
You will find a warm welcome from the Portuguese locals who seem to have a mutual liking for British ex-pats living in the Algarve. Although it seems the more you move away from the coast and tourist areas the less English is spoken you will always find a friendly face to help you out.
If it’s relaxation with a hint of activity you’re after, we think you’ll love the Loulé community for its friendly marketplace, great food, healthy lifestyle, captivating surroundings, vibrant culture and friendly vibes to give you the ultimate grounding!
If you are interested in buying a property in Loule why not browse our great selection of villas and apartments? Should you require more information about the area you can contact one of our well-informed team members at Gatehouse International Algarve who are ready and waiting to answer any questions you may have.
Google Local Guide for the Algarve. Been living in the Algarve for over 20 years and loving the experience. Now writing about and photographing the Algarve experience to share with others. Contributor to all that is Algarve on Wikipedia