Loulé is a city in the district of Faro (Algarve) and one of the commercial centers of the southernmost region of continental Portugal. The famous holiday destinations Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo and Vilamoura which form part of the renowned "Golden Triangle," are located in this municipality (concelho).
The first traces of human occupation in the Loulé area date back to the Stone Age. In excavations on a low plain in Vilamoura the ruins of a Roman settlement of considerable size, the Cerro da Vila were found. Other remains found in the Almancil area suggest that during that time, 'garum', a flavoring and preservative based on fish, widely used in ancient Rome was being produced.
The region experienced its golden period with the conquest by the Moors in the middle of the 7th century. The remnants of the massive castle and the historic center of Loulé bear witness to that era. After years of work, in 2013 archaeologists completed the excavations of Islamic Baths in the historic center of the city that are noteworthy for being unique in Portugal.
After the reconquest of Loulé by the Knights of Santiago, King D. Afonso III granted a charter to the village in 1266 and then elevated Loulé to a town. As did the whole country, Loulé also flourished as a result of the Discoveries, with the riches being imported from the four corners of the world of the Portuguese Empire. The devastating earthquake of 1755 brought this development to a halt.
Since the discovery of the Algarve as a tourist region in the second half of the last century Loulé has benefitted from a revival of economic growth thanks to the holiday resorts of Almancil, Quarteira and Vilamoura.
The city of Loulé, flanked by hills, is situated in the Barrocal, a fertile landscape between the coast and the mountains. The national road EN125 and the A22 motorway are only a few kilometers south of Loulé. The nearest train station of the Linha do Algarve is situated in Quatro Estradas a few km outside the city. Access by bus is more convenient: EVA Transportes operates a bus terminal in the city centre and links Loulé to many other places in the Algarve, to Lisbon and to Seville in Spain.
- Loulé: Municipal market hall - one of the landmarks of the Algarve
- Loulé: Castelo - remnants of the castle in the historic old town
- Loulé: Nossa Senhora de Piedade pilgrimage church on hilltop overlooking the town
- Loulé: Banhos Islâmicos - Islamic bath dating back to the Moorish priod
- Almancil: Igreja de São Lourenço - baroque church completely decorated with tiles
- Alte: Springs - te sources Fonte Pequena and Fonte Grande of the Ribeira de Alte
- Golf: For golfers, the outskirts of Almancil and Quarteira represent paradise: Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo and Vilamoura have 13 excellent golf courses between them. Several have already hosted international tournaments such as the Portugal Open and the Portugal Masters.
- Beaches: On the coast of the municipality of Loulé, between Faro and Vilamoura, there are endless sandy beaches, set against the backdrop of the dune landscape of the Ria Formosa, and further west are magnificent and vividly coloured rugged sandstone cliffs.
- Hinterland: Loulé is the ideal starting point to discover the lesser know inland areas of the Algarve. The villages of Alte, Querença Salir and Tôr as well as the surrounding scenic landscape between the mountains and fertile Barrocal are well worth a visit at anytime of the year.
There has been a market in Loulé since the middle ages. The Municipal Market, an icon of the city, was built late last century in an architectural style incorporating classic elements of Moorish design. On Saturdays, local farmers and those from the Alentejo come and sell their produce here and create a vibrant atmosphere for shoppers and tourists. If you want to learn more about this country you should take a wander round the crowded side streets surrounding the market.
There is a completely different market scene that also takes place every Saturday near the exit from Loulé in the direction of Boliqueime: Located at the base of the church Nossa Senhora da Piedade in front of the ruins of the convent of Sto. Antonio street vendors from all over the Algarve gather to sell many goods but especially textiles and leather products. Here, "haggling” is standard practice!
Despite the structural changes in the retail sector and the emergence of more and more supermarkets on the outskirts of towns, the center of Loulé retains a lively environment of small old fashioned shops that make shopping an event. An industrial zone at the western exit of Loulé has been established and is occupied by a large number of professional company offices: workshops, craftsmen, and service providers.
- Restaurante Monte da Eira - An der Strasse von Loulé nach Querenca gelegenes Restaurant mit ausgezeichneter traditioneller portugiesischer Küche und dem Charme einer ehemaligen Quinta.
- Villa Sao Clemente, Loule. Family Owned Large 3 Bedroom Holiday Villa With Private Pool and Spectacular Sea Views Peaceful and Tranquil Location, Yet Close To All Location Amenties, Beach, Golf Courses and Water Parks Sleeps 6/7 (3 Bedrooms all ensuite)