Spend your winter in Loulé, Portugal: Is Loulé a good snowbird location?

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Loulé is a quaint traditional town located around 15 km (9 Miles) northwest of Faro, in the Algarve. With a population of 34,000 currently, this town hides in itself the true spirit of local heritage. It is sometimes mentioned as the creative capital of crafts in the Algarve, supported by there local craftsman. It has traces of Roman and Moorish Civilizations that lived here in the past. From history to gastronomy, it is a good place for the curious visitors who want to get a taste of the rich and distinct Portuguese culture.

Spend your winter in Loulé, Portugal: Is Loulé a good snowbird location? 1
Photogal / CC BY-SA

Why should people stay in Loulé during the winter?

Loulé is a good snowbird location for anyone trying to avoid the harsh and bleak winters in their hometowns. The winter weather, which is mild in the Algarve, is excellent for outdoor activities and exploring the many historical sites, natural parks, and trails as well as golf courses that Loulé has to offer. Summers are generally busier which adds an advantage to those visiting it during winters as they can avoid crowds and enjoy the peace that Loulé has to offer. The true Portuguese culture and living style of its local population becomes more evident. Another highlight of the winter season is the Loulé Carnival which takes place in February and is one of the biggest events of the area. It is a colorful affair with music and dancing and everyone from the neighboring areas comes to see it.

Climate

The cool season in Loulé lasts for around 4 months, from mid-November to mid-March with temperature range normally between 15°C (59°F) and 20°C (68°F). The warm season in Loulé lasts for 3 months, from mid-June to mid-September, with an average daily high temperature above 26°C (79°F). Expect also cloudy and rainy days in the winter, and nights can be cold and chilly.

For more climate information visit Meteoblue

Things to see in Loulé

Culturally rich but compact, Loulé has a lot to offer its visitors:

  • Mercado de Loulé: Also known as the famous municipal market it is surely one of the most unique and interesting points of shopping inside a building having an oriental architecture that dates back to 1908. Saturday is the day recommended for a maximum variety of local produce and goods.
  • Town Hall: You can also admire the town hall (originated in the 19th century) with an old town gate as a highlight on its right side.
  • Castle of Loulé (and municipal museum): The castle holds in itself the municipal museum, the castle itself is an archaeological site not to be missed and the museum exhibits historical artifacts. Only a 4-minute walk from the market hall.
  • Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Conceição: The chapel of Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Our Lady of Conception) is a beautiful sight to behold with the building dating back to the 17th century. The entrance is free.
  • Church of St. Clemente: Gothic building from the 13th century, it is the oldest Church of Loulé.
  • Shrine of Nossa Senhora da Piedade: This building is visible from all over Loulé. This shrine has a modern look to it and resembles a spaceship. The pilgrims normally walk uphill to reach the shrine, but it is also possible to drive up and also enjoy the view of the town of Loulé.
  • Parque Municipal de Loulé: Located in the center of Loulé, it is a nice and clean park if you're interested to go for an enjoyable and peaceful walk. Right at the entrance of the park is a monument dedicated to Duarte Pacheco.

Things to see not far from Loulé

When you are done exploring the town of Loulé, there are some places nearby which are not to be missed:

  • Albufeira: 32 km (20 Miles) from Loule and is famous for its coastline and golf courses.
  • Vilamoura:  With multiple golf courses, almost ten beaches, and a Marina with luxury yachts, this place is as luxurious as it can get.
  • Church of São Lourenço: Situated in the nearby village of Almancil, this church is a sight to behold. Its interior is decorated with blue and white glazed tiles, dated back to the 17th century.
  • Quinta do Lago: This area is near Loulé and is famous for its golf courses, luxury hotels, villas, and apartments. For those seeking luxury, this could be their destination.
  • Beach of Vale de Lobo: A nice beach. It has also several golf resorts and hotels.
  • Quarteira: An old fishing village near Loulé comprising of a nice beach with a modern boulevard and many good restaurants and cafes.
  • Nearby villages:  Querença, Alte, and Salir are also nearby villages. A tour through them will bring you to admire the scenic beauty along with a variety of historic monuments.

Activities in Loulé in the winter

Loule may be quieter in the winter season, but there are still a lot activities one can participate in to make the stay worthwhile.

  • Food Tour: Guided tour to experience the local taste of the region.
  • Carnival in Loulé: Every year in February, a carnival comprising of parades, music costumes, and dancing is held in Loulé. This carnival is famous all across the Algarve.
  • Nature Walks: Situated at a distance of 10km from Loulé, there are two circular walking trials of Fonte Benémola. The place is really close to nature and great for a picnic as well.
  • Walking: Enjoy the many routes near the coast. Check with the local tourist office for more details.
  • Golf: Loulé (and the whole Algarve) is near several golf courses.
  • Local crafts: Loule is known for its local crafts. Join one of the creative workshops to experience local arts and crafts, such as basket weaving, felt-making, pottery, or cooking classes. Check http://loulecriativo.pt/pt/home for more information.
  • Traditional Market: Normally on Saturday a traditional market is held. A large variety of fresh produce including fresh fish, herbs, cheese, and arts and crafts. Check the local tourist office for more details.
Spend your winter in Loulé, Portugal: Is Loulé a good snowbird location? 17
(CC BY 2.0) by sky_hlv

Shopping + Restaurants. Are they open in the winter?

Due to the many permanent residents, a lot of the shops and restaurants will be open. Shops and restaurants mainly targeting tourists can be closed, or be only open on weekends.

Portugal is a country extremely rich in terms of flavors and variety of food.  With its vast Atlantic coastline, the region relies heavily on seafood in its cuisine. Some restaurants serving traditional Portuguese dishes like Seafood and meat dishes will make your experience memorable. A few of the most popular restaurants in the town are mentioned below:

The focal point of Loule is the traditional market, with stalls selling regional handicrafts, local produce, and freshly caught fish. Surrounding the market are several more busy shopping streets, tree-lined plazas, and a warren of alleys, which have barely altered since the medieval period. The Municipal Market of Loulé is famous for its large variety of goods and produce. Every Saturday morning the variety is even better with an increased number of stalls.

Transport

The nearest airport from Loulé is Faro Airport, which is 18 km (11 Miles). The cheapest option to travel from the airport to Loulé is by bus.

The Railway Station is located 5 km (3 Miles) South of Loulé and requires a taxi ride to the city.

The bus is the cheapest and reliable option for transportation. The Loule bus station is just a short walk (300 meter (984 feet)) along the busy shopping street of Avenida 25 de Abril from the town. There are direct bus services to Faro and Albufeira and take both about 40 minutes. The information about bus routes and its cost is available at http://eva-bus.com/index.php

Spend your winter in Loulé, Portugal: Is Loulé a good snowbird location? 18
Eduard Marmet / CC BY-SA

Health

In case of a medical emergency Loulé has good medical facilities:

Like in most places in the Algarve they can help you in English.

Also finding a dentist is not a problem.

Accommodation

There are all types of accommodation available in Loulé, from furnished apartments from about €500 (approx. $596, £447, $774 CAD, $809 AUD) per month to small townhouses from about €700 (approx. $834, £626, $1084 CAD, $1132 AUD) per month.  Some links to websites for details regarding rent and availability are mentioned below:

Winter Camping 

We could not find a winter camping close to Loule.
If you know one please let us know.

RV/Campers/Motorhome

If you own a Motor home or RV then you have several options:

Packing List

  • Weather: The winter weather in Loulé (Portugal) will normally be warm during the day and can be cold during the night. You have to pack accordingly.
  • Warm clothing: Even when you go to a warm location like Loulé (Portugal) you should not forget to take some things with you for your trip back home. When you return you are adapted to the warmer weather and need something to protect you from your hometown temperatures.

  • Consider the Weather: Always look at the type of weather in Loulé (Portugal). Things like humidity, wind, and rain do not show up in the temperature graph but can have a great impact on your wardrobe. There are several sites with long term forecasts and climate information. Is there often a short afternoon downpour like in the tropics, you maybe need to take a strong umbrella and shoos that can cope with the rain. If there is often a lot of wind you might need a more wind-resistant coat.

  • Check the local Shopping options: Try to find information about the local shopping options near your location in Loulé (Portugal). Are there stores where you can buy all your daily supplies, or are some things difficult to get? For some more remote locations, the options can be limited. If a certain item is really important for you might need to take it with you.

  • Look at the Local Culture: The local culture in Loulé (Portugal) can impact your wardrobe. If most activities are in more upscale locations you might take some more appropriate clothes with you. Or travelling if you travel to certain countries women need to cover themselves in certain areas.

  • Amenities: Know what’s Included in your house or apartment. Is there a coffee maker, a toaster, a washer and dryer, an iron, what is in the kitchen, what kind of towels are there? Things that are there means you do not have to take them with you. A furnished apartment or house can mean something from a few pieces of furniture to a well-stocked place with all the things you have at home. But most of the time your rental will not be stocked.

  • Mix and match: Wear layers so you can use your wardrobe more efficiently. And do not worry about wearing something more often, probably only you will notice this.

  • Important for you: If there is something that is really important for you that you want to have present in your house or apartment, take it with you. This can be something like a special knife for the kitchen, or a small mirror that you use in the morning. You can also purchase it locally if it is not that expensive.

  • Pet supplies: If you take your pet with you don’t forget to take supplies for a few days with you. And enough medication, vitamins, or other supplies if you can not purchase them in Loulé (Portugal) locally.

  • Food: Don’t take a lot of food with you. Only when there is something you really can not live without you, and it is not too heavy you could consider taking it with you.

  • Towels: Not all locations include bigger towels for the swimming pool or a visit to the beach. If you have to take them and don’t have a lot of room you can buy some big thin towels.

  • Office supplies: Normally you will not find any office supplies in your house or apartment. If you think you will use them you could pack some supplies like a scissor, notepaper, envelopes, some pens, and more depending on your needs.

  • Limit yourself: Don’t take too many shoes and jackets, you will not need them that often.

  • Best-fitting: Bring your favorite and best-fitting items that can multi-function

  • Washer: Do you have a washer and dryer onsite, you don’t need to pack a lot of clothes

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