As you read this I hopefully will either be on my way to or in Loulé for the ‘Festa da Mãe Soberana‘. The only reason I say hopefully is that our visitors are leaving this afternoon, so our visit all depends on their timings and our ability to find somewhere to park in Loulé as we’ll be arriving in the midst of the procession which involves thousands of people!
The Feast of the Sovereign Mother, the patron saint of Loulé, first began two weeks ago when shewas carried from her sanctuary to the Church of São Francisco. This morning she begins her return journey, and this afternoon she complete her journey with a procession through Loulé’s main streets of the city before ascending to her Sanctuary in Nossa Senhora da Piedade. This is one of the important religious festivals in the Algarve, so I do hope we make it. I’ll keep you posted on what happens, in the meanwhile I thought you might like to enjoy my photographs from previous visits.
Thanks again to Restless Jo for her recommendation in her Monday walks, you inspired us to visit.
Loulé is in the heart of the Barrocal, an area noted for its traditional handicrafts, castles, fauna, flora and wonderful views. If you have yet to stray from the Algarve beaches then the Barrocal region may surprise you. It is very rural and quite beautiful.
Loulé itself is a flourishing market town, with lots of lovely shops, cafes, fabulous covered market, castle and Churches. The market was built in the 19th century and has a Moorish feel to it. It is a beautiful building, and whilst not as large as Olhão’s daily markets, it does have wonderful regional produce on sale including cakes, peri peri and medronho.
I was delighted to find hidden way in a cafe below modern flats behind the castle locally made almond sweets. They were divine, and locals obviously think so too as quite a few people popped in whilst we were there to buy a few.
Loulé is lovely place to stroll, and you can easily spend a couple of hours just wandering around the town, or sitting in one of the many cafes. There is a Brazilian coffee house which is well worth going into simply for the decor.
If you are feeling particularly energetic though you can walk from the town up to incredible Nossa Senhora da Piedade. For those who use the motorway you have probably been wondering what it was everytime you drive past Loulé. If like us you rarely use the motorway and are staying in the east, then the drama of this building will be a surprise!
Don’t worry if you are not feeling energetic as you can like us and also Jo drive up as there is a spacious car park at the top. The church is a must visit if in Loulé – the modern church for its architecture and the restored chapel for its incredible art. You’ll probably like the views too!