A day out in Loulé

shopping - crafts
A day out in Loulé

With its ancestral palm-weaving skills, cork work and mosaic painting, Loulé is the region's must-see crafts centre.

The heart of Algarve crafts beats in Loulé. As you stroll through the cobblestone alleyways of its old quarter, this charming little town, between the sea and the mountains, gives you a complete survey of the south of Portugal's centuries-old heritage - the result of the successive rules of the Romans, Visigoths and Moors that the region has experienced. But it is the legacy of its artisans and designers, rather than its historical heritage, for which Loulé is well known. Its mercado municipal (municipal market), more than a century old and considered to be the best market in the whole of the Algarve, makes it a point of honour to remain faithful to the regional culture. Some ten or so stalls are set out inside a large neo-Moorish style hall, and the market spreads outside every Saturday morning, an unmissable occasion for the locals, who come here to stock up on fresh fish, fruit and vegetables, charcuterie and almonds.

Along the streets of the historic centre, you will also find numerous workshops where artisans create craft items as you watch, like the palm weavers of Casa de Empreita. A few steps further on, admire the cork creations of Casa Gineta. This material, very widespread in the region, is used to make bags, wallets, hats, belts and even jewellery. Proud of its artisans, the town of Loulé's has put together a programme to promote local skills: Loulé Criativo. You will also have the opportunity to take a mosaic-painting or basket-weaving workshop, using an ancestral method, and to leave with a souvenir.

Municipal market
Rua José Fernandes Guerreiro 34
8100-535 Loulé
Tel : +351 289 401 080

Casa da Empreita
Rua Vice Almirante Cândido dos Reis
8100-612 Loulé
Tel : +351 289 400 618

Casa Gineta
Praça da República 61
8100-270 Loulé
Tel : +351 289 412 003

Loulé Criativo
Rua de Nossa Senhora de Fátima Palácio Gama Lobo
8100-557 Loulé
Tel : +351 289 400 829