A City of contrasts where mountains meet the ocean

Loulé is a city of contrasts, where mountains meet the ocean and old monuments blend in with modern buildings. Over 70.000 people live in Loulé’s municipality, the largest in the Algarve, stretching from the north of the region all the way down the coastline.

Right in the city centre stands the local market, a Moorish-inspired building that has been stocking up locals with fresh produce for more than a century.  From fresh fish to local crafts, there are plenty of stalls worth browsing through in this colourful market. Saturdays are the best day to visit the market as there are more stalls open and the market extends into the streets.

Other interesting attractions include the Conceição Chapel and the Castle of Loulé,  that was once occupied by the Romans. Loulé is also known for its premier golf courses considered some of the best in Europe, which are located near Almancil, Quarteira and Vilamoura, three areas in the south end of Loule. The most popular golf courses in the region are at Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago. The first one is set on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean, while Quinta do Lago is renowned for its distinct landscape and its large lakes. It is features like these, along with the warm weather, that draws many professional golfers to Loulé all year round.

Câmara Municipal de Loulé.Câmara Municipal de Loulé.

Furthermore, there is a creative side to the city, known as Loulé Criativo (Creative Loulé), that promotes unique experiences with locals like arts and crafts workshops. Along the coast is Vilamoura’s marina, the largest of its kind in Portugal, surrounded by upscale hotels, golden beaches and plenty of leisure facilities, such as the Vilamoura Casino.

Up north, the mountain villages of Salir and Alte wow visitors with its nature trails passing through breathtaking mountain cliffs and stunning waterfalls. 

The most popular celebration in Loulé is the carnival. A 3-day event that takes place in February and occupies Loulé’s city centre. Parades, people dressed in costumes, dancing and music performances are a few things that you can expect to see during the event. At the end of August, Loulé hosts the Noite Branca (White Night) to celebrate the end of summer. During this night everyone wears white and they party all over the city. Jazz lovers can also attend Loulé’s jazz festival around July, an event that has been held in Loulé since 1995 presenting a mix of classical jazz music with other music genres like funk and blues.

Explore this region by following our Loule 5 day tour. Also read about Vilamoura, Quarteira, Almancil, Boliqueime, Alte and Salir.

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