The Historic Algarve Town Loulé
Loulé is a traditional and historic town in central Algarve, approx. 18km north of Faro and approx. 5km from the coastal areas of Vilamoura, Vale do Lobo, and also Quinta do Lago. This beautiful town is a must for your to-do list when you visit the Algarve, especially on Market Day. Relatively quiet during the week, springing into life on a Saturday morning when the traditional fish market and also the farmers market are on.
The historic town in central Algarve is small and quaint, a beautiful place to walk around, admiring the architecture. Take a stroll down Praça da República, the main street that has bars, coffee shops, restaurants, and local boutiques. If you didn’t find a souvenir at the market, there are several of the more high-end variety souvenir shops here selling typical Portuguese pottery and tiles. As you walk down the street, to the end you will see the Camara
Municipal de Loulé, housed in an 18th-century building that dates back to the golden era of Portugal’s history. Dating back to 1842, the building became the town hall when it was purchased by the municipality in 1884. Also, to the right of the town hall, you can see a large section of the old city walls and to the far right of the Camara is also an old city archway that leads into the cobbled old town. Look out for Loulé’s unique purple and white flag here too.
Not far from the town hall is a large public square where you will see a distinctive pink building. This is the old Convent of Espírito Santo, which also houses the municipal art gallery in its neoclassical cloister. A noticeable feature at the convent and located right in the centre is a 45m tall Pine tree. This tree is the tallest landmark in Loulé and can actually be seen from almost everywhere.
When you go to Loulé you can’t miss this beautiful 100+ year-old building that is really the heart of the town. With its striking raspberry-red roof, domes, and Arabic it certainly stands out. Inside you’ll not only find the famous fish market, but also stalls selling a wide variety of goods. If you’re looking for local gifts to take back home, you’ll find plenty of options here, honey, spices, jams and even local wines to name a few. The municipal market of Loulé is located in the centre of this historic city and is open every day of the year.
Market Opening Times
You’ll find a mix of locals and tourists walking around the stalls inside and outside.
The Loulé market is open from Monday to Saturday from 6:30 to 3:00 pm and is also well known for its fresh local produce, organic products, and fresh fish.
Loulé market is a great example of a traditional indoor market in Portugal. If you’re in the area, stop in and see what you can find!
At the end of Praça da Republica you can go along Rua da Barbacã and this will lead you to Loulé’s famous castle. As with most castles in the Algarve, the castle dates back more than 700 years to the reconquest period. The castle was also built on the remains of a previous Muslim fortress under the instructions of King Afonso III in 1249. Just three defensive towers and the connecting walls remain, however, they also still provide a great focal point.
The rest of the castle and its walls have reportedly been used in many of the nearby buildings. Traditionally the recycling of bricks and materials was common throughout the ages.
There are also other places of interest in Loulé, this historic town in central Algarve. Including the Archaeological Museum in the castle, Igreja (church) Matriz, church of St Clemente, and Jardim dos Amuados.
There are some lovely traditional restaurants in Loulé. The following are very popular and also offer great local produce and a friendly service.
Restaurante Churrasqueira Jolibela – Rua Camilo Castelo Branco 17, 8100-610
A traditional Portuguese Churrasqueira serving Piri Piri Chicken. It’s a no-frills restaurant offering great food at competitive prices. Also, usually very busy with a good mix of locals, and tourists. It’s worth a stop especially if you haven’t had traditional Piri Piri Chicken yet!
O Pescador – Rua Jose Fernandes Guerreiro 54, 8100-598
Next to the market building is a great place to try some of the fresh fish. You maybe saw the fish whilst visiting the market. O Pescador is also a local favourite with simple interior, reasonable prices, and simply great grilled fish.
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