Sometimes I come across a place and I just can’t stop saying it. Loule is one such town. I have the same issue with Montevideo and Sparta. I suspect I’m pronouncing Loule incorrectly but the way I say it is addictive.
Anyway, there is a reason I’m discussing Loule other than the pleasing sound it makes. It is, quite simply, very pleasant. If you’re in the Algarve and you want to know what a traditional Portuguese market town has to offer I have one word for you. Yes, that word is Loule.
Here’s five things to look out for when you get there.
Inaugurated in 1908 Loule Market is built with a North African design, harking back to the days when it was a Moorish city. Here you’ll find fish, food, fabrics and gifts. Or on Saturday morning if you’re around there’s the gypsy market to the west of the old town that gets that part of town throbbing with people, sounds, sights and smells.
CASTELO DE LOULE
As an Englishman I know a good castle when I see one. This one has all the ingredients to make it well worth an hour of your holiday time. It first became a castle in the 2nd Century when the Romans took over a local castro. The Moors had it for a few hundred years but in 1266 it became Alfonso III’s and was reconstructed and populated. Much of it is well conserved despite a damaging earthquake in 1969.
Granted, you might not be immediately excited by the prospect of seeing a tree. But this tree is special. The old Convent of Espirito Santo complex houses various sites of interest such as the town hall and municipal art gallery. But in the middle is a single Araucaria tree. It is 200 years old, 45 metres high and is the tallest thing you’ll find in Loule.
After 30 years running a very successful gallery in London Gillian Catto decided to settle in the Algarve. A decision I can, of course, wholly approve of. London’s loss was Loule’s gain as Artcatto opened showing a variety of eclectic and interesting works you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find in a small Algarve town.
Explore Loule Town’s streets and you will find a handful of traditional copper shops. Some focused on displaying finished products and some making hand-made copper products in front of you. Grab yourself a copper Cataplana for a traditional Portuguese meal.