Loulé, Portugal, is the cultural and economic capital of what is called the "Golden Triangle" of the Algarve; this area is comprised of the famous golf and holiday destinations of Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo, and Vilamoura. Loulè has a very different feeling than these posh villages, and it is a great place to base for hiking around the undervalued Algarve hills, still ignored by mass tourism.
Loulè is located in the Barrocal, a fertile landscape between the coast and the mountains. It is best accessed by bus, as the train station is a few kilometers out of town; Faro Airport is just under two hundred kilometers away.
The city in itself is not probably as attractive as other places in Algarve, but offers you the experience to mingle with local people not focused on tourism. The municipality area is big, but all the main tourist attractions are located in the small city centre (Baixa).
There are not many tourist accommodations in Loulè. Your options for a Loulé, Portugal hostel are extremely limited, but what exists is a top-rated hostel in the world. Your options for a Loulé, Portugal hostel will be located on the main Avenida José da Costa Mealha, and existing accommodations' success will probably pave the way for new hostels in Loulé, Portugal.
Loulè gets really busy at Carnaval, considered the biggest in Portugal, modeled on the Brazilian parade. During this time, it may be difficult to find a Loulé, Portugal hostel with available beds. Easter and the The MED Music Festival in late June are the other biggest events in the city.
While the main reason to stay in Loulè is to use it as a base to hike around, there are some historical sites to keep you busy for a day. Its castle from the thirteenth century and The Convento of Espirtu Santo, which hosts the Municipal art Gallery, are the most-visited landmarks.
Loulè also hosts a famous gypsy market every Saturday morning, specializing in textile and leather products. The market is located in front of the ruins of the convent of Santo Antonio, at the base of the church Nossa Senhora da Piedade. There is also a good value daily market (except Sundays) in the hall on Praça da República, that has happened since the Middle Age, when the city was under Arab domination.
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