Holidays to Loule in the Algarve give you a lively café-culture town where you can soak up ancient history and browse the gypsy market. Then there’s the glam Vilamoura 15 minutes’ drive away.
Where old meets new
Right in the middle of Portugal’s Algarve, Loule is a cosmopolitan town with history to boot. The walled-in old town is a maze of narrow cobbled streets lined with cafés, bars and restaurants – with an intact 13th-century castle thrown in. Every Saturday a famous gypsy market is held here, and for nightlife, Loule comes neatly bundled with the lively coastal town of nearby Vilamoura.
Loule is away from the coast, but Quarteira Beach is just 20 minutes’ drive away. It’s a long and wide stretch with calm waters, and the tree-lined promenade is dotted with cafés and restaurants. Handily, there’s a free car park about 100 metres from the beach itself. Quarteira runs and runs all the way to Praia de Faro. This one’s out on a peninsula with a lagoon on one side, and choppy sea water on the other.
Daytrips to Faro and Vilamoura
The old town in Faro, 15 minutes’ drive away, is encircled by Roman walls and houses a 13th-century cathedral. Orange trees line the narrow cobbled streets and it’s within striking distance of the bus station. Buses from Loule also head to Vilamoura, quarter-of-an-hour away. Its 1,000-berth marina is a bit of a celebrity hotspot, with former footballer Luis Figo owning a bar here – but it’s also got a free-to-explore wetland reserve and the ruins of a Roman fishing village.
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