‘L’ is for Loule


The market town of Loule

The peaceful market town of Loule

Loule to me means just one thing.  Carnaval!  This quiet inland market town in the Algarve is no Rio de Janeiro, but it knows how to party. For over 100 years they have celebrated the beginning of Lent with Carnaval, Portuguese style.  No shortage of dancing girls either, though they often have to dance hard to keep warm.

Bring on the dancing girls!

Bring on the dancing girls!

Carnaval 2012 was a classic, and I made a surprising guest appearance!  Fortunately I was very easily overlooked in the crowd. Numerous photos of the Carnaval floats, of a distinctly political but humorous nature, appear in my post ‘C is for Carnaval’, so I won’t reproduce them all here.  The town’s main street, Avenida Jose de Costa Mealha, is closed for the event and there is a small charge. Don’t miss it if you are in the neighbourhood!

Normally Loule (pronounced Loo-lay, incidentally) is rather more sedate.  One of the most distinctive features of the town is the Arab style market, pictured in my first photograph.  Smaller shops surround the market stalls and it is a treat for both eyes and nose.  On Saturday mornings an open air market takes over the outdoor space too.  Parking becomes no easy matter.

On my first visit to Loule I remember having to search for the remaining fragment of the town walls and the 13th century castle, but I liked what I found. Entrance to the walls is through a small museum, which traces the town’s history back through Roman to medieval times.  It has the vaulted brick ceilings that I love.

The older part of town is fairly compact , and the narrow cobbled streets reveal artisan workshops and some lovely craft shops. Following the twists and turns you will come to a small square containing the town’s main church, Igreja de S. Clemente, and a tiny garden, Jardim dos Amuados, an ancient Arab cemetery.

Loule’s main landmark is visible from the A22 motorway when driving past the town.  Nossa Senhora da Piedade is a dome shaped modern church which sits on a hill to the west of town.  At Easter there is a huge procession in honour of the Sovereign Mother. This must be one of the few things I haven’t yet managed to see in the Algarve.

Nossa Senhora da Piedade- courtesy of Wikipedia

Nossa Senhora da Piedade- courtesy of Wikipedia

The procession to the church at Easter

The procession to the church at Easter

Loule is well worth a look when you’ve tired of the beaches and need a little historical detail, or a shopping bonanza.  A few  parking hints and a lot of photos are available in C is for Carnaval.

For now I’ll simply thank Frizz for his inspiring A-Z series.  With Tagged L this week he is just about managing to keep me on track. Grateful thanks are also due to Julie Dawn Fox, who started the Personal A-Z Challenge a long time ago!  Some day I’ll manage to complete it for both countries.  Join me in the challenges if you can. banner4


  1. How fun! Wonder whether the dancing girls enjoyed the party as much? 🙂
    Have to agree with Viveka. You are our lone window into Portugal.

    1. Hi Madhu 🙂 Julie Dawn Fox, who runs the A-Z challenge, covers central and northern Portugal with much more authority than me. (she lives near Coimbra) She usually provides recommendations for places to stay too- often very nice manor houses. I don’t tend to do that because I haven’t stayed in so many places.

  2. 80 people likes what they landed in here and so do I – your story .. the stunning images and how you sold it to us. We all would love to visit Loule now – know so little about Portugal. So beautiful done this post – are you going down over this Easter ????

    1. I would love to be there for Easter, Vivi, and see the Mae Sobrana procession, but no. Next trip is Poland, 29th April. After that we need to decide about Summer. I’m still thinking about Paris for the Silver Wedding but it might be Portugal. It isn’t only up to me, otherwise I would just go everywhere, until I hadn’t a penny left. Totally irresponsible 🙂

      1. Tell you, Jo … I rather go to Prague for the Silver Wedding – you get so much for your money .. and much friendlier. Maybe you already been??? Cheap flights and fantastic hotels that doesn’t cost an arm and leg.
        Paris a 3star hotel cost about £120 and more per night.
        Prague is so beautiful and romantic.

      2. I’ve never been to Prague, but I want to see the gardens in Paris, Vivi. Giverny, Fontainebleau and Versailles. And I think that Michael will love it. 🙂

      3. Giverny, is a lovely spot – but make sure you visit – when the flowers are in bloom. You can stay outside Paris and that is take the down the prices of the hotels, when its those gardens you want to see. Been to them all .. and they are truly stunning … even if Versailles is very dusty inside or at least was. *smile

      4. Giverny, is a lovely spot – but make sure you visit – when the flowers are in bloom. You can stay outside Paris and that is take the down the prices of the hotels, when its those gardens you want to see. Been to them all .. and they are truly stunning … even if Versailles is very dusty inside or at least was. *smile

  3. Loule looks like another amazing Portuguese town, Jo. Oh how I wish I could go back. I love the festive dancers (where were you??) and I love your photo of the Arab market and Nossa Senhora da Piedade. I guess you never figured out how to put the black borders on the pictures, since WordPress changed everything?

    1. I make a brief appearance in the C is for Carnaval post, Cathy, but I’m easily missed. 🙂
      Jude has sussed that you can do it in Edit if you use Html but I haven’t tried it yet. I used a Gallery so this one didn’t need it so much. Tomorrow’s walk has too many photos to try it out but maybe the next post.

      1. I’ll forward Jude’s email to you, Cathy. It’s explained much better there. I’ve been having problems with my neck/shoulder these past few days and I’m a sad old duck. 😦

  4. Loule’s is a culturally rich town with fun and colorful celebrations. I enjoyed both the carnival event and the tour of the town. So much things to discover. Wonderful post!

    1. It has a very nice ‘old quarter’ in the midst of some urban sprawl, Paula. Not one of my favourite places but very good for a back street stroll. Thank you 🙂

    1. Morning, Sonel 🙂 Oh what a grim and grizzly morning it is here. Not so many smiles from me today because I’m nursing a shoulder injury and too much laptop time is painful. Fortunately I played with my cats and dogs for 6WS before this happened.
      Have a good weekend 🙂

  5. gran carnevale! c’è un miscuglio di tutto, perfino re leone! Come sempre la tua grande vena ironica ti ha fatto fare un grande post
    spero ci sia sempre il sole su da te, stamane brilla anche su Pisa, olé

    great Carnival! There is a mixture of everything, even Lion King! As always your great ironic vein you did make a great post
    I hope there is always Sun on you, this morning also shines on Pisa, olé

    1. A solid wall of rain this morning, Ventis 🙂 Yesterday hailstones as I walked along the seafront! Nursing a frozen shoulder this morning so I can’t spend too much computer time. Glad the sun is shining for you. Buona giornata, cara 🙂

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