Best Things To Do In Loulé
September 11, 2023
Loulé, located in the picturesque Algarve in southern Portugal, is a destination that offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From its charming historic centre to its vibrant markets and close proximity to beautiful beaches, there’s something to enchant every traveller. Whether you’re exploring ancient ruins or savouring local cuisine, Loulé will leave you with lasting memories of your Algarve adventure. So, pack your bags and get ready to discover the best things to do in Loulé below.
Insider tip: The best way to see Loulé is on foot as the town is quite small.
Explore Loulé’s Historic Centre
Begin your journey through Loulé by wandering through its historic centre. The cobbled streets, traditional architecture, and vibrant market square are a testament to the town’s rich heritage. Don’t miss the chance to explore the stunning Loulé Castle, standing tall since the 13th Century, and the charming churches that dot the town. These architectural gems, such as the Igreja Matriz de Loulé, invite you to step inside and admire their ornate interiors, with centuries-old religious art and intricate stained glass windows. Also look out for the Loulé Tunnel and Arco do Pinto (Pinto Arch) on your journey.
Visit the Loulé Municipal Market
One of the standout attractions on your day trip to Loulé is undoubtedly the Mercado Municipal de Loulé, which claims the title of the largest covered market in southern Portugal.
This remarkable market, constructed in the early 20th century, exudes Moorish-inspired architecture, characterised by its four pavilions, each adorned with distinctive gates. Over the years, numerous renovations and restorations have taken place, culminating in 2007 with the market’s grand reopening. Today, a visit to the Loulé Municipal Market treats you to a delightful array of family-operated stalls encircling the market square. Here, you’ll discover a treasure trove of fresh produce, seafood, delectable local products, and charming gifts. Should you fancy a break, there are also several cosy coffee shops and cafes where you can savour a cup of coffee and indulge in local delicacies.
Hike up to Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade
One of the best things to do in Loulé is to embark on a rewarding adventure – hiking up to the Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade, where you can not only admire the church but also bask in a panoramic vista of the town. The church complex comprises a modest chapel constructed in 1553 and a grand dome-topped church, added in the 20th century. Venture inside the dome chapel to marvel at its grandeur and spaciousness. Don’t forget to savour the breathtaking panoramic view of Loulé before descending the hill. From this vantage point, you can gaze upon the entire town and on a Saturday you may even catch a glimpse of the bustling Gypsy Market.
Visit the Salt Mine
Hidden beneath the picturesque landscape of Loulé lies a subterranean marvel that’s a must-visit for anyone exploring this charming town. The Loulé Salt Mine, locally known as “Mina de Sal de Loulé,” is an incredible underground world waiting to be explored. The mine offers guided tours that take you through a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers, revealing the fascinating history and geological wonders of salt mining in the region. Learn about the geological history of the area, the importance of salt throughout human history, and the environmental conservation efforts undertaken to protect this unique underground ecosystem. At 230m depth, under the city of Loulé, you can discover the history of the rock salt mine and admire the 230 million years old geological formations.
Photo Credit: TechSalt Facebook
Experience Loulé Carnival
If you choose to visit in February you will be lucky enough to witness the Loulé’s vibrant Carnival celebration. It’s one of the biggest yearly events in the Algarve and the town comes alive with colourful parades, samba dancers, and extravagant costumes, making it one of the most festive times to be in Loulé.
Taste Algarvian Cuisine
No visit would be complete without indulging in the flavours of the Algarve at Loulé’s restaurants. Try local specialties like cataplana (a seafood stew) or grilled sardines. Pair your meal with a glass of Portuguese wine for a true culinary experience.
Visit a Winery
Wine lovers will enjoy a visit to Quinta da Tôr, a renowned winery in Algarve, to learn more about wine making. Enjoy tasting different wines with bread and homemade olive oil, and take a guided tour to the winehouse. There are three different types of tours to choose from. The Standard Tour, you taste 4 different wines, the Syrah Tour you will have the chance to try the most alcoholic Syrah wine in Portugal and perhaps in the world with 17% alcohol. On the third tour you will have the chance to experience the most prestigious wines from Quinta da Tor. The winery’s beautiful rural setting makes these wine tasting sessions especially memorable.
Photo Credit: Quinta da Tôr Facebook
Explore the Islamic Baths
Classified as a national monument, the Islamic Baths of Loulé, discovered in 2006, are well worth a visit on your exploration through Loulé. The well-preserved public bathhouse was built against the city wall and was used by men and women alike. They were shut down when the Christians took the city of Loulé from the Muslims but the population later petitioned the king to reopen them and the bath house was regularly used for at least another generation. The baths are now open to the public Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 12:30pm and 1:30pm to 6pm. Admission is free.
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Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with any of these businesses. This information is gathered from client and staff experiences and feedback and we are happy to share as a helpful guide. We do not vouch for or recommend any service or establishment.