One of the Algarve’s largest inland towns, and only 16km northwest of Faro, Loulé (lo-lay) is a handy base from which to explore the hinterland. A busy commercial centre, it's a fast-growing place in which service employees live while working in the Algarve.
Loulé has an attractive old quarter and Moorish castle ruins, and its history goes back to the Romans. A few of Loulé’s artisan traditions still survive; artisans make wicker baskets, copperworks and embroidery in hole-in-the-wall workshops about town. Its small university lends it some verve, as does its wild Carnaval and annual music festival, Festival Med.