Loulé is a city of contrasts, where mountains meet the
ocean and old monuments blend inwith
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. It is just 20 minutes to or from Faro airport and about 45 minutes to the Spanish border. Albufeira and Silves are the next major districts further to the west.
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. Close to the market you will find the Câmara Municipal de Loulé or the Loulé City Hall / council offices.
Other interesting attractions include the Conceição Chapel and the Castle of Loulé, that was once occupied by the Romans. Located in the grounds of the castle you will find the Museu Municipal de Loulé or Loulé Municipal Museum which opened in May 1995.
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 Atlantic 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.
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.
Loulé's beaches or praia's stretch from Quinta do Lago in the east to Vilamoura in the west. Whilst some beaches are very busy, other beaches are almost deserted such as Praia do Ancão. All of the beaches here are golden and sandy.
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.
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