Loulé is a beautiful city. Whether you are interested in history, culture, or simply relaxing, you are sure to enjoy visiting Loulé.

Loulé Market Algarve

Where is Loulé?

Loulé is a city and one of the municipalities of the region of the Algarve. Located inland, approximately 16 km from the Atlantic Ocean.


In 1988, Loulé was no longer considered as the Town of Loulé and became known as the City of Loulé.

GPS : 37.13776317273085, -8.019208755184305

Loulé is situated about 17.3 kilometers north of Faro Airport.

Loulé has an approximate  population of 72,332 inhabitants.

Total area of the Municipality of Loulé is 763.67 km² with 9 parishes – Almancil, Alte, Ameixial, Boliqueime, Quarteira, União das Freguesias de Querença, Benafim e Tôr, Salir, São Clemente, São Sebastião.

As you can see from the map of the Algarve below, this is the largest municipality in the Algarve. 

How Far is Loulé from Vilamoura?

Loulé is 15.8 km (9.82 miles) from Vilamoura travelling on the EN125. This will take you approximately 20 – 25 minutes by car.

How Far is Loulé from Albufeira?

Loulé is 26.5 km (16.45 miles) from Albufeira travelling on the EN125. This will take you approximately 30-35 minutes by car.

map of Algarve showing the Loule Municipality in pink
Map of Algarve showing the area of Loulé Municipality

What is Loulé Known for?

Loulé is known for its rich Moorish heritage, charming historic center, and lively market, making it a must-visit destination in the Algarve. The town is home to a number of well-preserved Moorish monuments, including the Loulé castle, the church of São Franscisco and also the Matriz church, and the newly discovered Islamic baths. Visitors can also experience traditional Portuguese culture and cuisine in Loulé’s vibrant market and many traditional restaurants. Ready to start planning your trip to Loulé?

Loulé is known for its annual Loulé Carnival, which is one of the biggest and most colorful carnivals in the Algarve and Portugal. 

Loulé is known for its handicrafts, such as pottery, embroidery, and basket weaving.

Loulé is known for its weekly market, which is held every Saturday and features a wide variety of fresh produce, handicrafts, and other goods.

fountain with two dancers on top dancing in loule
Visit Loule

History of Loulé

Loulé, has a rich and varied history dating back to the Paleolithic era, with settlements dating back over 40,000 years. Loulé was settled by the Romans in the 2nd century BC and later conquered by the Moors in the 8th century AD.

The Phoenicians were the first known civilization to establish a permanent presence in Loulé, in the 8th century BC. They were followed by the Greeks and the Romans. The Romans built a number of settlements in the area, including the “villa” at Cerro da Vila in Vilamoura, which was a major fishing and fish salting center.

In the 8th century AD, Loulé was conquered by the Moors. The Moors ruled Loulé for over 400 years, and during this time the city became an important urban center. The Moors built a castle in Loulé, as well as a number of mosques and other religious buildings.

Castle in Loulé
Loulé Castle

In 1249, Loulé was recaptured from the Moors by the Portuguese king Afonso III. After the reconquest, Loulé continued to be an important commercial center. In 1291, a fair was established in Loulé, which quickly became one of the most important fairs in the Algarve.

The 17th and 18th centuries were a time of great prosperity for Loulé. The city’s economy was based on agriculture, trade, and industry. Loulé was particularly well-known for its leather goods and its carpets.

In the 19th century, Loulé’s economy began to decline. The city was hit hard by the phylloxera epidemic, which destroyed many of the region’s vineyards. However, Loulé began to recover in the early 20th century, with the development of tourism.

Today, Loulé is a popular tourist destination, known for its beautiful beaches, its historic center, and its vibrant culture. The city is also home to a number of important industries, including agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing.

Loule became an important trading center during the Middle Ages. The town was also a popular destination for pilgrims, who would come to visit the Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição or the Santuary of Nossa Senhora da Piedade.

Is Loulé Worth visiting?

Absolutely! Loulé is a cultural gem in Portugal’s Algarve region, with a rich Moorish heritage on full display. Its historic centre boasts well-preserved monuments like the Loulé castle, Church of São Francisco, Matriz Church, and newly discovered Islamic baths – giving visitors exciting glimpses into the area’s past.

But Loulé’s appeal isn’t just historical. It has a vibrant, present-day atmosphere centred around its lively market. Here, you can experience the traditional Portuguese culture through local cuisine, music, crafts and more. Look through all the stalls selling everything from fresh produce to handicrafts while soaking up the lively energy.

No trip to Loulé is complete without experiencing its famous annual carnival in February. Ranked among the oldest and one of the biggest and most colourful in Portugal, the celebrations take the lively spirit to new heights. Vibrant costumes, live performances and parades fill the streets with joy. It’s a spectacle not to be missed.

With so much rich culture and entertainment, Loulé merits at least a day trip when visiting the Algarve. Its well-preserved heritage sites transported through time and bustling market keeping old traditions alive make for an engaging visit. So don’t overlook charming Loulé – its Moorish allure and warm hospitality make it absolutely worth discovering.

What to see in Loulé?

Loulé is a charming town in the Algarve region of Portugal, with a well-preserved historic center, a lively market, and unique attractions.

Let us guide you through the streets of Loulé and show you our favorite list  of some of the top things to see and do in Loulé:

  • Saturday “Gypsy” Market

Hotels in Loulé Portugal

The city of Loulé has a variety of  accommodations to suit all budgets.

Centrally located is Loulé Jardim Hotel – 3 * hotel offering single, double and triple rooms. All have heating and cooling, private bathroom. Breakfast in included in all the room rates.

After a day of sightseeing relax at the hotels roof top swimming pool and enjoy the view of the city.

You will also get free parking in the Hotels garage included.

Loulé Jardim Hotel is a great option as you have everything included such as breakfast, accommodation and also free parking. You don’t have to worry about paying for extras.

Map Of Loulé

What’s the best way to see Loulé?  Loulé  is easy to visit, almost all the monuments are within a short walking distance of eachother.

We have identified and located all the main monuments and things you must see when visiting this beautiful town. 

Click on each of the camera icons on the map below.

Each icon will locate and the identify all the  monument and things to see in Loulé.

Enjoy a great day discovering the historical old town.

Loulé Market

The Loulé Market is one of the most popular and vibrant markets in the Algarve region of Portugal. Loulé has 3 great markets that you do not want to miss out on visiting.

Two of the markets; Gypsy and Saturday fruit and vegetable outside market is only open Saturday morning.

Is Loulé Market worth visiting?

Loulé Market is a must-visit for anyone staying in the Algarve. It is a vibrant and bustling market with something for everyone, from fresh produce and seafood to souvenirs and handicrafts. You can also find a number of food stalls where you can sample local cuisine and experience the authentic Algarve atmosphere.

The market has a long and rich history, dating back to the Moorish occupation of Portugal. It was originally a slave market, but over time it evolved into a general market where people from all over the region would come to buy and sell goods.

We at the Algarve Travel Tips love the Loulé Market, during our days as local tour guides we showed hundreds of tourists the  Loulé Market, where you can get the freshest vegatables and fruit everyday. Magnificent fresh fish straight off the boats in Quarteira.

Fresh variety of Fish
Fresh Daily Fish – Loulé Market

Don’t forget to try and buy dried figs stuffed with roasted almonds. The locals call them Fig Stars or Fig Flowers (Estrela de Figos, Flores de Figo)

Figs with almonds
Figs with Almonds

The market has a long and rich history, dating back to the Moorish occupation of Portugal. It was originally a slave market, but over time it evolved into a general market where people from all over the region would come to buy and sell goods.

Today, the Loulé Market is a thriving hub of activity. It is open every day of the week, but the busiest day is Saturday, when fresh vegetables and fruit market expands onto the main street of Loulé. 

The Gypsy Market is another huge outdoor market where you can find great souvenirs and clothes. It is a great place to haggle for a bargain and to soak up the atmosphere of the Algarve. The Gypsy market is located 15 minutes walk from the Loulé Market.

What can I buy at Loule Market?

Loule Market is a treasure for local produce, seafood, souvenirs, and handicrafts. 

The market also has a number of food stalls where you can sample local cuisine and enjoy a refreshing drink. Don’t forget to bring your reusable bags and cash, as some stalls may not accept credit cards.

  • Fresh produce: A great place to find fresh produce from local farmers. You can find everything from fruits and vegetables to flowers and herbs.
  • Seafood: The Loulé Market is also a great place to find fresh seafood. There are a number of stalls selling fish, shellfish, and other seafood dishes.
  • Handicrafts: The idea location place to find handicrafts and souvenirs. 
  • Food: The Loulé Market is a great place to eat. There are a number of restaurants and cafes serving traditional Portuguese cuisine. You can also find a number of stalls selling street food and snacks.

What days is Loule Market open?

Loule Market is open Monday until Saturday,  from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The bussiest day is always on  Saturdays where the market extends outside. Loulé every Saturday also has the Gypsy Market in front of the Espirito Santo Convent. ( 900 metres from the main Loulé Market).

Plan your visit accordingly and arrive early to beat the crowds.

Woman holding fresh vegetables
Fresh Vegatables – Loulé Market

Where is Loule Market located?

Loule Market is located in the heart of the town of Loulé, in the Algarve region of Portugal. It is easily accessible by car, bus, or taxi from Faro Airport and other towns in the Algarve.

Where to park for Loulé Market?

Loulé has several parking options. The most popular option is the underground car park on Rua José Afonso.

From Monday – Friday  9 am – 7 pm. Saturday 9 am – 1 pm there are parkting meters  on the main avenue José da Costa Mealha as well as near the Statue of Duarte Pacheco.

If you know Loulé like we do, you will find great free car parking in the residential areas.

Parking on a Saturday in Loulé can be a little difficult but we will tell you the best free spots to park. 

If you enter Loulé by the BP petrol station you can turn left on the roundabout (cyclist roudabout). You will see on your right McDonalds and on your left Continente Modelo supermarket. You can park here as it is free carpark. As this is a residential area you can also find dome free car parking in the adjascent streets. From here you are only 150 metres from the Staurday Gypsy Market. The historical centre is approximately 900 meters from where you left your car.

If you want to park closer to the historical center, the fruit and vegetable Loulé Market? Then at the same roundabout by the BP petrol station turn right, go all the way to the traffic lights. Turn left until you reach the Ballerina Dancer Fountain roundabout , cross straight over and head toward the Engenheiro Duarte Pacheco statue. Turn right at the lights just before the statue, on the next roundabout in front of you will see a free car park. You can access this through Rua Voz de Loulé or Avenida Laginha Serrafim.

Loulé Carnival

The Loulé Carnival is one of the largest and most popular carnivals in Portugal. It is said that the Loulé Carnival is the oldest Carnival in Portugal. See our complete Best Guide to Loulé Carnival 2024 with exclusive tips.

It’s a three-day festival that’s full of elaborate costumes, lively music, and colorful floats. The carnival attracts visitors from all over the world, and it’s a great opportunity to experience Portuguese culture at its best.

The Loulé Carnival is held on the main Avenue Jose Da Costa Mealha located in the centre of  Loulé. Loulé is about 20 kilometers east of the city of Faro.

Loulé Carnival – Best Carnival in Algarve
Loulé carnival
Visit the Carnival in Loulé

Loulé Castle

Loulé Castle The castle is of an Arab origin. This magnificent medieval castle offers stunning views of the town.

GPS location: 37.139645, -8.023868

It was rebuilt in the 13th century. A large walled perimeter, part of which is still visible today, has an extension of approximately 1 kilometre surrounding the old town, including the Market and the Matriz Church.

A prominent masonry tower is visible facing Rua da Barbacã. 

If you visit Loulé during the Christmas Holiday, you will see this tower light up during the festive season. Making it a great location to take a selfie or family photo.

You can also see another critical Tower when you walk down, located on Rua Engenheiro Duarte Pacheco (close to the Martiz Church). Nearby is the Porta de Faro, which retains traces of its original Almohad construction.

You can see the Torre de Vela (Sail Tower) a little further down the road.

It is also home to the Algarve Archaeological Museum, which shows a collection of artefacts from the region’s rich history.

masonry tower from Loulé Castle
Loulé Castle masonry tower.

Loulé Saturday Markets

Loulé Saturday Markets: This traditional Portuguese market is held every Saturday morning. It is a great place to buy fresh produce, local handicrafts, and other souvenirs.

Address: Praça da Republica, Loulé

GPS Location: 37.138810, -8.022089.

 

Outside fruit market in Loulé
Loulé Saturday Market

Igreja Matriz Church

Igreja Matriz : This church is one of the oldest in Loulé, dating back to the 13th century. It is located in the centre of the Old town and within the walls of the Castle.

Address: Nº 19 Largo da Igreja Matriz, Loulé

Telephone: +351 289 415 167

GPS: 37.137390, -8023747

The Church Matriz in Loulé is a significant historical and cultural monument. It is a testament to the rich history of Loulé and the Algarve region.

It is built on the foundations of an old mosque, and the bell tower was adapted from the Muslim minaret.

The church orginally was built with only three naves with a wooden roof.

Throughout the centuries side chapels were added such as the Capela das Almas ( Capel of Souls), Capela de São Brás ( São Brás Chapel) and also Capela da Nossa Senhora da Consolação (chapel of Our Lady of Consolation). The roof was also modified.

The main doorway is one of the few Gothic examples in the region.

It features a beautiful Gothic-Manueline-style facade and a stunning interior.

The church has been extensively restored over the centuries, but it still retains many of its original features. The interior is decorated with a variety of artistic styles, including Gothic, Manueline, Baroque, and Rococo.

In 1924 The Matriz Church was considered as a National Monument.

 
 
 
 
White Matriz church in Loule
Matriz Church in Loulé

Poet António Aleixo

Statue of Antonio Aleixo: A well known Poet. He was born in Vila Real Santo António, but came to Loulé at the age of 7 and lived his whole life here until passing away in 1949. 

His actual life-size statue at the front of the “Calcinha Café” where he spent a lot of his time writing his poems. 

The locals say that he is inviting you to sit at his table, have a coffee, and read some of his poems. 

Bronze statue of Antonio Aleixo in Loule
Poet Antonio Aleixo

Loulé Islamic Baths

Islamic Baths: The  discovered  Islamic public baths stand out, not only because they are unique to date in the current Portuguese territory, but also because of the degree of preservation they present.

Opening times: 10:00 – 12:00 pm Tuesday to Saturday.

Entry Fee:  Free.

Address: Rua Garcia da Horta, Nº 9, 8100-606 Loulé

Telephone: +351 289 400 953

GPS: 37.139274, -8.023824

These baths were built in the 12th century and are one of the best-preserved examples of Islamic architecture in Portugal.

During road works near the Islamic baths, archeologists discovered ruins under the road leading to and also under a building near by. In 2006 The Loulé City Council bought the building and this is when the escavation commenced.

The Islamic baths are divided into 3 sectors. 

  1. The hot room. Here the floor was elevated and would be heated from underneath.
  2. The Tepid Room – From the hot room you would move to the Tepid Room  Here you would have you  massage, beauty treatments etc.
  3. The Cold Room – This is the last room you would go through. Here you would rinse and dry off.

You can see all these rooms as you walk around the ruins. They are all very well identified.

When we walk through the Islamic Baths you are transported back in time.

islamic baths in loulé
Islamic Baths – Loulé

 

Islamic Baths in Loule
Islamic Baths – Loulé

Bicas Velhas Fountain

Bicas Velhas: Dated 1837, this fountain is said to never run out of water. 

Address:  Largo Dom Pedro I Nº 10, 8100-606 Loulé

GPS: 37.139283, -8024126

The Bicas Velhas fountain was used to supply fresh water, which locals used to fill up their clay water pots, also there were washing tanks where women would wash clothing using the running water from the fountain.

As the fountain is so close to the Islamic baths, this water is most likely also the same water supply for the Islamic Baths.

Today the tanks are covered, and only the fountain with the 4 metal spouts ( the metal is said to come from an old bell from the Matriz church) is visible.

what to see in loule bicas velhas
Bicas Velhas – Loulé

São Francisco Church

São Francisco Church: The Church of São Francisco,  was built in the 17th century. 

It is located in the historic center of Loulé, near the castle.

The church is also known for its Easter celebrations, which include a procession of the image of Our Lady of Piety (Nossa Senhora da Piedade).

The procession takes place on Easter Sunday. It is one of the most popular religious events in the Algarve.

On the 9th of July 2019  A wooden panel at the back of one of the rooms that would be restored covered the entrance to an interior room.

In the interior room, artifacts belonging to the former decoration of that church in the parish of São Sebastião were found. These included alters, paintings, and statues.

These valuable findings will be restored to bring them back to their original state.

 

São Francisco Church Loulé
São Francisco Church Loulé

Statue of Engenheiro Duarte Pacheco

Statue of Engineer Duarte Pacheco: Born in this town, but was known for his time in government under Oliveira Salazar as minister of public works. 

Address: Parque Municipal de Loulé, Av. 25 de Abril 33, Loulé.

GPS: 37.141362, -8.020167

 

This monument shows all the works Eng. Duarte Pacheco did during his time in government. 

Look closely at the top of the staue. what do you see… or better yet, what don’t you see?

You will see an unfinished statue.

The reason is that he died suddenly in a car crash and was not able to finish all his projects.

On the 16th November 1953, 10 years after his death this statue was inaugurated showing all his projects and also unfinished projects. 

 

 

 

 Statue Engenheiro Duarte Pacheco
Engenheiro Duarte Pacheco

Rua Das Lojas

Rua Das Lojas: On a map, when you see Rua 5 de Outubro, it is, in fact, the well-known Rua das Lojas.

Rua das Lojas is a pedestrianized street in the historic center of Loulé. Why is it called Rua da Lojas (if you translate it, Shop Street)?

The street is lined with traditional Portuguese buildings. You will find that many of these buildings were built in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Almost every building on this road a shop selling variety of goods, including clothing, souvenirs, handicrafts, and locally made products.

Stop by the local cafés and have a coffee, snack or a meal.

During the Summer months, The city council places covers over the street in order to help create shade and reduce the heat.  

 

Rua das Lojas Loulé with white covers to keep out the heat
Rua das Lojas – Loulé

Nossa Senhora da Conceição Church

Nossa Senhora da Conceição Chapel: (Our lady of Conception)

Address: Rua Dom Paio Peres Correia, 8100-564

GPS: 37.139690, -8.023338

Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday, from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm

Saturday, from 9:30 am to 4 pm.

Closed on Sundays and Mondays

Entrance Fee: Free

The chapel is dated back to the 17th century.  This beautiful chapel is small in size but enormous in beauty.  You will see this from the second you step inside.

The golden altar, wooden carved statues and blue and white tiles depicting the life of the Virgin cover the walls of the chapel. 

 

In 2007, while fixing the road outside the chapel, archaeologists discovered the foundations’ ruins for one of the entry doors into the castle dated back to the Islamic era. 

As you walk into the chapel you will be able to see part of this foundation underground.

Nossa Senhora da Conceição Chapel with golden altar and blue and white tiles
Nossa Senhora da Conceição Chapel Loulé
ruins found underground in capel Nossa Senhora da Conceição
Ruins beneath the Capel Nossa Senhora da Conceição

Nossa Senhora da Piedade

Santuary of Nossa Senhora da Piedade:

The Church in Loulé of Nossa Senhora da Piedade in Loulé is a significant historical and cultural monument.

 It is a testament to the rich religious heritage of Loulé and the Algarve region.

 The church is a popular pilgrimage location for devotees of Our Lady of Piety (Nossa Senhora da Piedade).

The church’s annual procession, which takes place on Easter Sunday – Nossa Senhora da Piedade, leaves her home to come to visit the people of Loulé.

During 2 weeks, people not only from Loulé but all over the Algarve will come to visit her at the São Francisco Church.

At the end of the two weeks, on Sunday afternoon, there is a large procession where  Nossa Senhora da Piedade will be taken through the roads of Loulé, blessing the town and its people.

Nossa Senhora da Piedade is then taken back home carried on the shoulders of men while the band plays and hundreds of people cheer them on.

This is a significant event in Loulé. Thousands of people from all over the Algarve come to participate in the procession, which is a celebration of faith and community.

 

Loule Nossa Senhora piedade
Sanctuary Nossa Senhora da Piedade
Visit loule nossa senhora piedade procession
Nossa Senhora da Piedade Procession

Algarve Wine Museum Tor: This museum is located in a former winery and tells the story of winemaking in the Algarve region.

Aquashow Park: This water park is located just outside of Loulé and features a variety of pools, waterslides, and other attractions for all ages

Does Loulé have a beach?

Yes, within the Loulé County, there are several popular beaches, including Quarteira, Vilamoura, Vale do Lobo, and Quinta do Lago. These beaches are known to be some of the most popular in the Algarve, offering a variety of amenities and activities to suit all tastes.

How far is Loulé from the beach?

Loulé is 13km from the nearest beach of Quarteira, 14 km from the beaches in the Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago area. Vilamoura Marina beach is 15 km from the Loulé. This represents a 15 – 25 minute drive depending on the beach you want to go to and the time of the year.

In Summer it will take you a few more minutes to get to the beach due to increase summer traffic on the roads.

Best Time to Visit Loulé

When planning a trip to Loulé, it’s important to consider the weather conditions to ensure an enjoyable experience. The best time to visit Loulé is between May and October. During this time, the weather is warm and sunny, with average temperatures ranging from 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F).

June to August is the peak tourist season in Loulé, with July being the hottest month of the year.

If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting in May or October when the crowds have thinned out.

If you’re looking for a bargain, consider visiting Loulé in the off-season, which is from November to April. During this time, the weather is cooler, with average temperatures ranging from 9°C (48°F) to 16°C (61°F). However, keep in mind that some tourist attractions may be closed during this time, and the beaches may not be suitable for swimming.

Overall, the best time to visit Loulé is during the summer months when the weather is warm and sunny. However, if you prefer a quieter experience or want to save money, consider visiting during the off-season.