Holiday Cottages 4 U
Loulé, Algarve, Portugal
Loulé, one of the oldest towns in the region is situated 18 km (11 miles) north west of Faro in the barrocal, the foothills of the Algarve mountains. Loulé is a busy centre with its colourful and bustling Saturday morning market, which is famous amongst the locals and holidaymakers. The market has an excellent selection of fruit and vegetables, and fresh fish every day.
Leatherwear such as bags, belts and shoes, or embroidered linen and tableware, are also to found in abundance, so too is pottery. Loulé is a town where craftsmanship is still very active.
Loulé is the centre of the Algarvian craft industry and you will often see artisans working brass, copper or clay in and about the streets of Loulé. The Moorish castle that dominates the town with its thick boundary walls is a proud and imposing structure. Today it houses the local tourist office and a museum.
Loulé has a maze of narrow alleyways lined with tall compact houses contrasts with an expansive boulevard shaded by rows of trees, which in spring burst into pinky-red blossom. The parish church, São Clemente, has a mixture of styles, ranging from the Gothic 13th century to the later Manueline era. Opposite the church is a garden called - "Garden of the Sulky ones". Loulé is famous throughout Portugal as it hosts the biggest and most flamboyant celebrations at Carnival time, it also celebrates the almond blossom festival at the same time.
5 days of celebration before Lent, (the 40-day fast before Easter) is derived from carne vale - farewell to meat. This is the party of the year, and you can expect dancing in the streets, floats, flower battles, and fancy dress. Water and flour bombs are often aimed at friends, but seldom get their targets.
Local Places of Interest
Not too far away is the village of Querença perched on a hilltop and with its stalagmite caves, with its rolling foothills and mountains beyond. The focal point of the village is the church with hidden treasures inside. Not far from Querenca is Benemola spring, a fantastic picnic spot and an excellent spot for bird watching.
The village of Salir is a wonderful sleepy village with a few scattered remains of the ancient castle and nearby two 800 meters long walls from the Neolithic period. It is worth a visit to Salir for the beautiful and untouched landscape and the fresh air that blows down from the mountains. Algarve how it used to be.
Further inland is the small village of Alte, (20 minutes from the coast) a village that is known for its unspoilt rural architecture, whitewashed little houses and its enthusiasm for folk music located at the foot of four mountains.
The coastal town of Quarteira that was once a fishing village is now converted into a multi-cottage tourist location. From here you can easily reach the world famous resorts in the Golden Triangle of Vilamoura, Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo, a fantastic place to people watch.
The Algarve is so much more than a summer resort because it offers unique holiday qualities in the spring and the autumn months.
From Almond blossom time in January to the end of March, visitors will find the climate warmer than at home and ideal for many activities.
There is plenty of sunshine, but without the intensity of midsummer, and the air temperatures are ideal for walking, bird watching, touring etc. It is also a time when many would say the countryside is at its best with wonderful displays of wild flowers in bloom.
An added bonus is that prices at these off-peak times are appreciably lower than during the peak summer period. For some, winter is also an appealing time to take a holiday for this is when it is truly quiet and relaxing, and when life reverts to a leisurely rural pace.
Some rain can be expected in these months, but the result is a greener terrain than in neighbouring Spain. The Algarve can be a very comfortable and enjoyable alternative to the prolonged and dreary UK winter.
For the sun worshipers, the summer is just paradise making Loulé an ideal holiday destination all year round.
The Algarve's climate is mild, with little rainfall and plenty of sunny days, on average 300, which is why the region is so popular for outdoor sports enthusiasts and those holidaymakers seeking year-round sunshine. Sea temperatures are normally lower than those of the Mediterranean, due to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean; however, the sea temperature is warmer towards the East Side where Quintassential is located.
The Algarve receives most of its rainfall during the winter; rainfall is rare between June and September. Summers are hot and sunny, but are often refreshed by cooling breezes on the coast, and the further west you go, the windier it becomes. July and August are the hottest months of the year. The autumn and winter months are mild, but you will need a jacket in the evening and some kind of heating in your cottage or hotel room. January is the coolest month of the year.
The Algarve has a wonderful climate with plenty of sunshine and daily temperatures that do not usually drop below 60F(16C) in the winter or go above 90F(35C) in the summer. It is popular for golf, water-skiing, waterslide parks, windsurfing, sailing, tennis and horse riding.
Tuesday, 10 July 2007