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Bem Vindos to Loulé, a charming Algarvian market town situated just 16 kilometres (10mi) northeast of Faro. Perfect for a day trip or a refreshing break from the beach, Loulé offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and culinary delights.

From its ancient origins as a strategic stronghold to its present-day allure, Loulé beckons visitors with its picturesque streets, medieval churches, and the majestic ruins of a 12th-century castle. Explore the town's vibrant atmosphere, where old-world charm meets youthful energy, thanks to its thriving student culture.

Don't miss the renowned Saturday market, where you can immerse yourself in the bustling ambience and discover local handicrafts, fresh produce, and authentic cuisine. And if you're lucky enough to visit in August, join the festivities during the Noite Branca (White Nights) festival, where the town comes alive with music, dancing, and celebration under the starlit sky.

With so much to see and do, let Mad About Portugal be your ultimate guide to unlocking the treasures of Loulé and embarking on an unforgettable adventure in the heart of the Algarve.



|  Loulé Centre

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Loulé is the administrative centre of the surround region and whose economy is traditionally based on agriculture and handicrafts. Human presence can be traced back to the Palaeolithic period from artefacts found on the surface. Successive cultures and civilisations have utilised the area for its fertile lands and mineral wealth. Roman mines have been discovered in the hills northwest of Loulé. Where the castle now stands, archaeological finds have revealed the site was originally a Roman structure. Between the eighth and thirteenth centuries, Loulé was an important urban centre under the Moorish occupation. The christian reconquest of Portugal reached Loulé in 1249. The Moors who chose to remain lived in districts called "Mourarias" outside the town walls. The town continued to flourish in the Medieval period as a centre of trade and commerce. Being inland, Loulé did not benefit directly from Portugal's voyages of Discovery (15th and 16th centuries) and so did not share in the surge of growth enjoyed by other towns along the coast, such as Lagos, Faro and Tavira. Today Loulé is a thriving city with a modern, dynamic and diverse economy, counting tourism among its principal activities.

One characteristic of Loulé visitors often notice is the distinctive ornamental chimneys on the roofs of the whitewashed buildings. Their design is Arabesque and individually designed for each house. Being located inland, Loulé is off the tourist trail somewhat. But the town benefits enormously from the Algarve's tourist trade. Much of the region's souvenirs are produced within Loulés' warren of narrow streets. Artisans working in copper, iron, brass, leather, cane and timber use age-old techniques and sell their wares to the local resorts or directly to the public. Each Saturday, Loulé holds a huge market selling the finest the region can offer, including fresh local produce and regional handicrafts. This weekly market attracts hoards of locals and holidaymakers alike. Arriving early is the best way to bag the best bargains. Other town attractions include the old medieval castle, which now houses the municipal museum, old churches and the pleasure of just wandering around the maze of cobbled streets, absorbing the traditional Algarve atmosphere.


During a few days every February, the streets of Loulé come alive during the largest annual event in the Algarve. For three days, thousands of partiers dance away in colourful costumes to a Samba beat in true Brazilian style. Among the dancers, ornate floats and giant caricatures are paraded through the streets decorated according to the year's theme. For over a century, the centre of Loulé has been given over to this spectacular event. Each year, thousands flock to Loulé to join Portugal's liveliest street party. Whether you come to participate or to be a spectator, great laughs and good times are guaranteed. The Carnival of Loulé is held in February or March on three consecutive days. Festivities begin at 15h00 each day on Avenida José da Costa Mealha.

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Loulé Carnival

|  Loulé Carnival


Loulé Rock Salt Mine


With this entrance ticket you can gain entry to the Loulé Rock Salt Mine at your leisure. Buy online before you arrive to avoid queues and have the convenience of the e-ticket on your phone. Book with confidence with FREE CANCELLATION.

Explore the hidden wonders of Loulé Rock Salt Mine in the Algarve, a fascinating attraction waiting to be discovered. Descend into the depths of this historic mine, where centuries-old traditions meet modern-day marvels. Join our guided tours and delve into the intriguing world of salt extraction, learning about the intricate process and the importance of this mineral throughout history. Marvel at the massive caverns and intricate tunnels carved out over time. Our knowledgeable guides will regale you with captivating tales and insights, making this excursion both educational and entertaining. Don't miss the chance to unearth the secrets of Loulé Rock Salt Mine and create unforgettable memories in the heart of the Algarve.

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Adult: €21.50, Child: €12.90, OAP: €17.20, Child 0-6: FREE

80 Rua Combatentes da Grande Guerra, 8100-616 Loulé, Portugal. | 37° 08' 04.3" N | 08° 00' 28.2" W

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Loulé Castle

|  Loulé Castle

On the highest point of the old town, the remaining walls of Loulé's Castle have stood since Christian armies grappled the town from the Moors in 1249. Earlier civilisations have previously taken advantage of this strategic location. Archaeologists have unearthed Roman foundations here. Defensive walls once spanned 940 metres, encompassing medieval Loulé. Today, only a gate tower, three towers, a turret and a few ramparts, including a gangway, remain. The governor quarters (alcaidaria) dates from the 14th century and were used by King Pedro I in 1359, King Afonso V in 1458, after the conquest of the North African garrison of Alcácer Ceguer, and King Sebastian in 1573. There is also a library room and a reproduction of a medieval kitchen. The castle sustained damage during the earthquake of 1755 and was later restored in the 19th century.

Found within the walls of the castle is the Museu Arqueológico, housing a range of Roman, Moorish and early Portuguese artefacts from Loulé and the surrounding area. The largest exhibit is a huge sixteenth-century stone urn, retrieved from the castle itself. All exhibits have Portuguese and English descriptions. To walk along the castle's ramparts to admire the view is free, but there is a small fee to gain entry.

Rua Dom Paio Peres Correia 17, 8100-564 Loulé, Portugal. | 37° 08' 22.7" N | 08° 01' 25.5" W
Tuesday – Saturday: 10h00 – 13h30/ 14h30 – 18h00, Sunday & Monday: CLOSED


Just off the main Praça da República stands Loulé’s famous market hall. Its impressive red onion domes dominate the skyline on Rua José Fernandes Guerreiro. The traditional role Loulé plays as a regional commercial centre is alive and thriving within the walls of this impressive building. The market attracts traders and customers from miles around. The market was constructed in 1908 and incorporates Moorish influences in its architecture. The best produce the area can offer can be found on the stalls here. You can buy fresh fruits, dairy produce, vegetables, fish, handicrafts, herbs, live animals and much more. Each Saturday morning, there are many more vendors whose stalls spill into the surrounding streets, creating a lively atmosphere. Arrive early to find the best bargains.

Rua José Fernandes Guerreiro 34, 8100-535 Loulé, Portugal. | 37° 08' 18.0" N | 08° 01' 19.4" W
Monday – Saturday: 07h00 – 15h00, Sunday: CLOSED

Gypsy Market

There is also a gypsy market held each Saturday close to the Convento Do Santo Antonio on the western side of Loule. Here it's possible to buy handbags, clothes, shoes, jewellery and much more. Haggling is acceptable if not expected. This market is not as large as before the pandemic when there were three times as many vendors, but the market is worth investigating if in the area.

Loulé Market (Mercado Municipal de Loulé)

|  Loulé Market (Mercado Municipal de Loulé)


Loule Traditional Market Tour

Loule Traditional Market Tour

A perfect tour for shopaholics with limited time in Portugal. You’ll be picked up from your hotel and travel in comfort to the beautiful town of Loulé. You won’t have to worry about arranging taxis or finding a parking spot, as you’ll be taken directly to the market. Have the freedom to explore alone and do some shopping before the chance to visit the Moorish castle. Hotel pickup and drop-off included. Travel in comfort in an air-conditioned vehicle. Get access to the Loulé traditional market, and have free time to explore. Visit multiple Loulé highlights, including the Moorish castle.

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Loulé Gypsy Market Half-Day Trip

Loulé Gypsy Market Half-Day Trip

Loulé, a timeless Portuguese market town in the beautiful Algarve region, makes for one of the best day trips from Albufeira or Faro. For a quick half-day Loulé experience, hop on this tour to visit the gipsy market—practising your haggling skills for handicrafts and clothes—and explore this ancient city’s stunning Arab architecture, castle, and more…

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Visit to a Family Brewery in Loulé with Tasting

Visit to a Family Brewery in Loulé with Tasting

The brewer himself will welcome you and help you discover "The art of beer". Starting from the raw materials, from the most classic to the most current, and through the ancestral processes and techniques that result in the incredible diversity of modern beer, you will discover what makes it such an exceptional beverage. Finally, the tasting of FIVE beers brewed at the brewery will allow you to concretely grasp the effects of the ingredients and processes seen earlier. But it will also be an opportunity to discuss with the brewer and ask him all your questions!

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St. Clemente Church (Igfeja Matriz de São Clemente)

|  St. Clemente Church (Igfeja Matriz de São Clemente)

There are many churches and chapels in Loulé, but the most impressive and the oldest is the church of St. Clemente (Igreja Matriz de São Clemente). It is located 300 metres from the castle in the old town and dates from the latter part of the 13th century. The archbishop of Braga commissioned the Dominican friars to build the church over the remains of a former mosque. Occupying one side of the church is the bell tower that utilised the foundations and stones of the old mosque's minaret. It is one of the very few remaining Moorish minarets in Portugal. Despite many alterations and reconstruction works over the centuries, Igreja Matriz de São Clemente maintains much of its original Gothic design. Most notably, the beautiful ogive arched portal that is crowned by a gable and a circular window.

The interior consists of three naves and a vaulted triple apse. The supporting columns are of varying heights and built using recycled materials from earlier Roman or Moorish structures. Three side chapels were added in the 16th century: the chapel of São Brás, which has an entrance arch that combines Manueline styling with other proto-Renaissance elements, the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Consolação (Our Lady of Consolation), which has a ribbed vault, and the Capela das Almas (Chapel of Souls), in addition to an ornately carved altarpiece has walls decorated with very rare 17th-century polychrome tiles, probably of Spanish origin. On 20 June 1924, the Portuguese government classified the church as a national monument.

Largo da Igreja Matriz, 8100-517, Loulé, Portugal. | 37° 08' 14.1"N | 08° 01' 24.5" W
Tuesday – Saturday: 09h00 – 12h00, Sunday: Open for services, Monday: CLOSED

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Loulé Jardim Hotel

Loulé Jardim Hotel ★ ★ ★

Situated on a quiet square overlooking a park, the Loulé Jardim offers rooms with a flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi. There is a rooftop pool with a sun terrace. Guest rooms of the Loulé Jardim Hotel are decorated in neutral tones and offer views of the village or the surrounding mountains. They have air conditioning and a safe. Breakfast is served in a Mediterranean setting of the winter garden. The hotel bar serves a variety of international drinks and cocktails. The hotel also offers a comfortable lounge with fireplace and a 24-hour reception. Parking is free of charge in the hotel’s garage.

Largo Manuel de Arriaga 25, 8100-665 Loulé, Portugal. | 37° 08' 25.1" N | 08° 01' 39.1" W

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Downtown Loulé

Downtown Loulé

Situated in the heart of Loulé, Downtown Loulé features city views and free WiFi, 400 metres from Loulé Municipal Market and 10 km from Algarve Stadium. All units feature air conditioning and a satellite flat-screen TV. Guests can enjoy a continental breakfast at a local bakery, 30 metres away from the property.

Largo Manuel de Arriaga 25, 8100-665 Loulé, Portugal.
37° 08' 24.4" N | 08° 01' 39.3" W

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Set in Loulé and with Church of São Lourenço reachable within 8.5 km, aleixomor'Aqui offers express check-in and check-out, non-smoking rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, free WiFi and an open-air bath. Featuring family rooms, this property also provides guests with a sun terrace. The guest house features a hot tub and a shared kitchen. At the guest house, all rooms are equipped with a desk, a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, bed linen and towels. Selected rooms here will provide you with a kitchen with a dishwasher, an oven and a microwave. The units at aleixomor'Aqui feature air conditioning and a wardrobe.

Rua Engenheiro Duarte Pacheco n.º 79, 8100-570 Loulé, Portugal. | 37° 08' 11.9" N | 08° 01' 21.4" W

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Bica Velha

Bica Velha

This family-run authentic restaurant has been proudly serving the Loulé area and beyond since 1980. A recent makeover has brought a more vibrant and youthful vibe to the establishment, with a core focus on fresh local products. Menus changes daily and reflects the produce in season and regionally available. Delicious meat & charcuterie boards are also available as a tapas-like meal. The wine list champions local wineries. Desserts are all homemade, using only locally sourced organic ingredients.

Weekdays: 18h00 – 21h00, Saturday: 12h30 - 20h30, Sunday: CLOSED
R. Martim Moniz 17, 8100-606 Loulé, Portugal.
37° 05' 14.0" N | 08° 15' 02.3" W | +351 289 463 376

Aurora by Vitor Veloso

Aurora by Vitor Veloso

Although a recent addition to Loulé's culinary scene, Aurora has risen the ranks to become one of the town's finest restaurants, drawing foodies from all over the Algarve. At Aurora, Veloso conjures up his modern interpretation of Algarve cuisine, using high-quality fresh products from the Monchique mountains to the southern coast. There is an open kitchen where you can admire how the chefs apply their craft. Closest to the kitchen is the chef's table, where the tasty menu comprising seven courses is served. Other seating is arranged on a terrace occupying a small side street. The interior is somewhat quirky and resembles an old-fashioned shop.

Tuesday to Saturday: 12h15 – 15h00/19h00 - 22:00
14 Rua Dom Paio Peres Correia, Loulé, Algarve, Portugal. | 37° 08' 22.4" N | 08° 01' 24.7" W
+351 289 035 506 | aurora.restaurant.info@gmail.com

11 de Villa

11 de Villa

Discover the tasty delights the Algarve offers by sampling the petiscos (small dishes, tapas) here at 11 de Villa. Sample the great ceviche or tuck into a tasty seared tuna steak or an octopus salad; you're guaranteed a delicious lunch or evening meal. The service is always lighthearted, unpretentious and friendly. The staff are knowledgeable of the large selection of dishes and wines on the menu.

Wednesday - Saturday: 12h00 - 01h00, Monday & Tuesday: 12h00 - 17h00, Sunday: 18h00 - 23h30
Largo Dom Pedro I, 8100-606 Loulé, Algarve, Portugal. | 37° 08' 21.2" N | 08° 01' 25.4" W
+351 289 093 049 | 11@merceariagourmet.com

Only 17.3km (10.8 miles) Northwest of Faro Airport Website


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The N125 runs west to east along the Algarve, the A22 runs west and E1 runs north and east. N125 and the A22 motorway are only a few kilometres south of Loulé.
Latitude - 37° 08' 16.8" | Longitude - 08°01'14.6"


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Regional train services (comboios regionais) run from Lagos in the west to Vila Real de Santo António on Portugal's eastern border. The nearest train station is situated in Quatro Estradas a seven kilometres south of Loulé.
• Lagos - Vila Real de Santo António line: Timetable | Website

• Eva Transportes run services across the Algarve linking the main resorts and towns, as well as a hostess service to Lisbon. Also worth considering are their tourist passes if you're planing to visit different places: Website
• Rede Expressos operates countrywide services: Website