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Loulé is located in the central Algarve northwest of Faro, and has distinct Roman and Moorish origins.

Loulé castle dates to 1249 and is built on a hill in an area previously occupied by the Romans. It formerly served as the base of the town and Loulé’s defense post, with defensive walls along the castle. At the top of the stone castle are three towers, a turret, and a series of ramparts. Today, visitors can tour what remains of the castle: three towers and a small part of the original defensive wall. Inside the castle, in the former castle commander’s residence, is the city’s municipal museum, which displays archaeological, ethnographic and industrial objects from the area. Loulé is known for its Saturday morning gypsy market, which sells local crafts such as leatherwork and pottery, cheese, produce, and meat.

The Church of St. Clement was built in the 13th century on the site of an ancient mosque. This Gothic church contains a triple nave with Gothic arches and a bell tower modeled after an Arabic minaret. As with many European churches, St. Clement’s Church was remodeled in the 16th and 18th centuries. During this time, the gilded woodwork on the altar was added, as well as the Chapel of Souls and the Chapel of Our Lady of Consolation, which is covered in floor-to-ceiling narrative tiles.

In February, Loulé hosts a three-day carnival reminiscent of Carnaval in Brazil, complete with a procession and costumes, and lots of dancing, music, and partying.

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