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Portugal > Tourism > Algarve > Loulé
History | Beaches | Golf | Sightseeing | Loulé City | Vilamoura | Gastronomy | Lodging

Loulé, the racy, cosmopolitan lifestyle of the world's leading tourist centres. A long ribbon of fine, golden sand tucked between the blue of the sea and the bold ochre of the cliffs. The splendour of tiles in a chapel that is itself a work of art.

The changing greens of the orchards and the woods of the hills. An endless variety of decorated chimneys, carefully wrought in a filigree of whitewashed stone and art.

Wide open spaces where it is possible to rediscover the meaning of solitude and listen to the silence of nature. With all this and more, Loulé municipality is a place of sunshine and colour, fun and excitement.


Thanks to its golden sands and sunny climate the whole of the coast has become a major centre for beach holidays and includes some of the best tourist facilities in the Algarve.
Vilamoura - Vilamoura's attractive beach is complemented by a tourist development that ranks with the biggest and most prestigious in Europe.
Quarteira - Once a simple fishing village, Quarteira has become a cosmopolitan tourist centre. Its past identity can be glimpsed in a 17th century church and a few houses decorated with coloured borders.
Vale de Lobo - A beach that owes its unique beauty to its ochre and ruby cliffs. It is surrounded by a high quality tourist complex.
Garrão- Long beach edged with brightly coloured cliffs. Facilities for tourists.
Quinta do Lago - This is a long beach with pedestrian access by way of a bridge over the Ria Formosa. It is the site of a top-level international holiday complex.


Ocean Course - part of the Vale de Lobo tourist resort, is located near the sea, thus creating very pleasant game conditions.
Royal Course - famous for itsPar 3 hole, which requires a shot of more than 200 metres over three spectacular cliffs.
Pinheiros Altos - This is a highly original course with two sets of nine holes that have completely opposing characteristics.
Quinta do Lago South - Quinta do Lago has played host to seven Portugues Opens
Quinta do Lago North (Ria Famosa) - This course has great par 5 holes requiring power and accuracy to play them well
San Lorenzo - eighteen widely-ranging holes run past pine trees, lakes and beaches beside the Atlantic Ocean.
Vila Sol - The great variety of trees adds special charm to a course blessed with excellent facilities.
Laguna - offers three loops of nine holes each that are an enduring challenge for any player.
Millennium - new, exciting 18-hole Golf Course.
Old Course - a Par 73 course set in beautiful and tranquil landscape.
Pinhal - in the middle of a beautiful pine wood, with panoramic views to the sea.

Lodging (with homepages)
Hotel Tivoli Marina Vilamoura *****
Meridien Dona Filipa*****
Vale do Lobo de Luxe Resort
Quarteira Sol ****
Pinus Ria ***

Sightseeing - Loulé Municipality

Savour the atmosphere of a traditional Algarvean village of white houses and modest gardens. Main church - With its origins in the 16th century. This church has undergone subsequent alterations. The facade has a simply decorated Manueline doorway (16th century), and the side entrance is from the same period. The main and side chapels have carved and gilded vestals (18th century). Among the statues to be seen, a 16th century Virgin and Child and a 17th century Nossa Senhora da Assuncão deserve particular mention. In the square in front of the church stands an interesting cross mounted on a limestone boulder.
Fonte Benemola Classified Site - There are nature trails for walkers. Within the park are a number of caves containing archaeological remains. The local fauna includes otters, a wide variety of birds and a few colonies of bats.On the approach road is the Cerro dos Negros viewpoint, which looks out over a broad sweep of coastline.

The white houses of the village are scattered higgledy-piggledy on the hillside around the ruins of the castle. Its narrow, streets are an alluring mix of bright flowerpots, whitewashed walls and peace and quiet. Main church - Although of little architectural interest, this church does contain one small treasure: an illuminated papal bull on parchment dated 1550. It also boasts carved and gilded 18th century vestals and statues from the 17th and 18th centuries. Castle - The fact that it does not have an "alcaçova" (house of the castle commander) suggests that the castle was built in the 12th/13th centuries to defend the peasants who worked in the fields from Christian attack. Captured by the Knights of the Order of Santiago (St. James) after the fall of Tavira, it was here that the Master of the Order, Paio Peres Correia, awaited the arrival of the army of King Afonso III before going on to seize Faro (1249-1250). Its ramparts are built of "taipa" and are one of only a few surviving examples of Moorish fortifications in Portugal. Archaeological excavations have uncovered a Moorish residential area and confirm that part of Salir is built on the site of the old fortification. The castle is an excellent vantage point. To the north it looks out over the forbidding ranges of the Serra, while seaward the view, is of more gentle, verdant hills. Rocha da Pena Classified Site - A limestone rnassif with steeply scarped sides,. Rocha da Pena rises to a height of 479 m (1600 feet). There is a panoramic view from its summit which takes in the sea.

Some consider Alte, which has existed since the period of the Roman occupation to be the village most typical of the Algarve. With their whitewashed houses, windows and facades edged with colourful borders, ornate chimneys and pervasive air of tranquillity, the streets of Alte's historic center have retained much of their original charm. The area around the church is a delightful snapshot of the real Algarve. Main church - Built in the 13th century by the wife of the second lord of Alte to give thanks for his safe return from the eighth crusade to the Holy Land, the church has been modified on a number of occasions since, above all in the 16th and 18th centuries. The interior consists of three naves, with short, squat columns dressed with brick to bear the weight of the structure. The main chapel has a Manueline triumphal arch that is partially hidden by wooden moldings. The vaulted ceiling is painted with decorated keystones. The walls and vaults are decorated with 18th century tiles. The chapel of São Sebastião (St. Sebastian) contains some notable polychrome tiles made in Seville which date from the end of the 16th century. The carved vestibules in the chapels of Nossa Senhora do Rosdrio (Our Lady of the Rosary) and São Francisco (St. Francis) are good examples of 18th century art; the latter is also decorated with the coat of arms of the Counts of Alte. Among the statues in the church and the sacristy; three in particular merit a mention: a 17th century Santa Teresa (St. Theresa), a Nossa Senhora do Rosario (Our Lady of the Rosary) and a Santa Margarida Lady bIargareti full of movement and life, from the 18th century. The two fonts are in the Manueline style (16th century).
Chapel of Sao Luis (St. Louis) - Built at the beginning of the 15th century, it was subsequently altered until it attained its current appearance, that of a country, church in the taste of the 18th century. The interior is plain: its most curious feature is a series of four paintings in a popular idiom depicting the life of St. Louis (18th century). Fonte Pequena and Fonte Grande - For centuries these two sources were a meeting place for the women of the village who would fill their water pitchers and do their washing. Tables and stone benches have now been installed, in the cool shade of the overarching trees; making this an ideal spot for having a picnic or just lazing around. Ribeira de Alte and its mills - The waters of the Fonte Pequena and Fonte Grande, which are the source of the Alte river, once turned the wheels of the village's nine mills. Most have since fallen into ruins, the Moinho da Aboboda mill, which is known to date back to 13th century, is still to be seen.

The chapel and the area that surrounds it, which includes an art gallery housed in carefully restored old buildings, retain much of the character and charm of the Algarve of centuries past. Chapel of São Lourenço dos Matos (St. Lawrence of the Woods) - The occurrence of a miracle in 1722 when the locals were searching for water prompted the construction of the chapel. The architecture is baroque, with an elegant cupola and tiled panels set over the main entrance and to the rear of the main chapel. The tiles on the walls, ceiling vaults and cupola were made in Lisbon in 1730 and recount the life of Sao Lourenço (St. Lawrence). Together they form one of the most outstanding decorative ensembles in Portugal and earn the chapel a unique place in art history. Particularly worthy of note is the harmonious way the tiles fit in with the carved and
gilded vestal on the main altar and the decorative detail on the triumphal arch and at the base of the cupola. There is a good collection of 17th and 18th century statues in the church, the sacristy - which also houses a fine chest with carved decoration - and the annex. Nearby, in Sao João da Venda, the old church retains a number of Manueline features (16th century) in its denticulate exterior and the vaulting over the main altar, as well as a vestal with paintings from the end of the same century.

Barranco do Velho
A beautiful church, built in 1944 in the Algarvean rustic style, looks out from the top of a hill. The churchyard is one of the most marvelous viewpoints in the Algarve and from it can be seen an endless vista of hills covered with cork oaks, stretching away almost as far as Loulé, Salir and Alte. In the nearby ranges of hills are to be found picturesque thatched stone houses, round in shape, that are used as barns these days but which recall the dwellings of the peoples who lived in the region in prehistoric times.
History | Beaches | Golf | Sightseeing | Loulé City | Vilamoura | Gastronomy | Lodging
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