If you are based in one of the larger coastline resort towns like Albufeira, Vilamoura, or Olhos de Água, Loule will give you the chance to experience the real, authentic Portugal. The town has a very different vibe to the coastal resorts and Portuguese will be the predominately language heard.
Loule normally has a peaceful and unhurried atmosphere. However, the town comes alive on Saturday mornings when the daily market expands to include a farmer’s market, spilling onto the surrounding streets. Also held on Saturdays is a bustling and chaotic gypsy market held close to the Convento Do Santo Antonio on the western side of Loule.
You can spend all day mingling with the locals, browsing the handicrafts on offer and shopping for tasty local delicacies. We recommend taking time to watch local craftsmen, coppersmiths, basket weavers and harness makers as they work at their craft in the time-honoured tradition. At the Loulé market, you can also find great gourmet gifts to-go like tins of sardines, wine, bottles of piri piri hot sauce, and confections made with dried figs, crushed almonds and honey, the original energy bars. In fact, entire stands are devoted to these specialty sweets, often made with carob. You can pick up some dried figs assembled into the shape of flowers and decorated with almonds from the stalls and pastry shops brimming with walnut cakes and filho, sheets of fried dough dusted in sugar.
When you’re all shopped out dip into one of the cafés lining the perimeter of the market. With vintage posters and formica-topped tables, it’s straight out of the Algarve of yesteryear. Why not join the locals sipping espresso and nibbling on pastel de nata, Portugal’s traditional custard pastry, piping hot from the oven and sprinkled generously with cinnamon.
If this is your first trip or you want to be fully immersed in Loule Market life, half day tours are available. Your local guide shares insider tips for you to enjoy Loulé's culture, you’ll also learn a bit about the history of Loulé and about its Roman and Arabic legacy. After visiting the market you will have plenty of time to visit the Moorish Castle and walk around the narrow streets to speak with the locals at the Loule Market.