Castle of Loulé

Loulé is a beautiful little Portuguese market town which in recent years has become more popular with tourists due to its history and bustling markets and makes a great place for a day trip.

Like many other areas of Portugal, evidence of the Moorish era can be seen throughout Loulé, but nowhere more than in its castle.

Below we will detail some of the history and architecture of the castle as well as how to get there and any accessibility issues and how much it costs to enter:

History and Architecture

This castle is located in what would have been the northwest corner of the city wells. Nowadays, all that remains of the castle is the gate tower, 3 other towers and walls that connect them. This is largely due to restoration work carried out during the 19th century that has helped preserve them as a lot of the castle and the walls were damaged by the major earthquake of 1755, then again in a minor earthquake of 1969. There is evidence that other towers once existed, due to there being six gates, however, little of them remains today except for ruins.

There is still evidence of the original Morrish construction apparent within the Porta de Faro gate and the Torre de Vela tower. The origins of the castle date back to the reconquest from the Moors in 1249. This reconquest was led by Dom Paio Peres Correia (hence the street name on which the castle is located). Previously, the site was a fort, used both by Moors and Romans, with evidence of this dating right back to the 2nd century!

The castle and its courtyards were taken over by the Instituto Portugues do Patrimonio Arquitetonico in June 1992. This ensures that the castle and its grounds will be protected and conserved.

The remains of the castle walls have actually been built into many other structures today and as such now expand much further out than the walls would have originally.

Today, you are able to view the courtyard and its beautifully kept gardens, which houses the municipal museum. This building was formerly known as the Alcaidaria and it used to be where the town governor would live. Now, this building houses a variety of interesting artefacts and archaeological finds. It also has a glass floor, through which you can look down to see excavated Moorish ruins. The courtyard also houses some interesting features such as canyons and a guillotine! You are also able to view the castle and its walls too. The views over the town and further afield are incredible!

Accessibility and Cost

As mentioned, the castle is situated to the Northwest of the town. Loulé is a small town and as such, it is easily reachable by foot, although it is an uphill climb! The climb is worth it for the amazing views though!

Another option is to get a taxi from the main square up to the castle, which would only cost you a few euros.

The castle and its ground are open 9.30 am to 5.30 pm Tuesday to Friday and from 9.30 pm to 4 pm on Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays. If you are looking to visit when it is likely to be quiet, you would want to avoid a Saturday, which is market day and Loulé’s busiest day for visitors!

It is completely free to access the castle courtyard and the views from here alone are amazing! If you wish access to the castle walls and the museum etc, then this is €3 for adults, free for children under 12 and seniors and half price for students! There is no need to book in advance, it’s very easy to purchase tickets upon arrival at the castle.

Evidence of Moorish occupation is strong throughout Portugal and the Castle of Loulé is a prime example. It makes for an interesting visit to learn about the Moorish history of the area, take in some of the more primitive Moorish architecture in comparison to the other newer architectural offerings within the area and enjoy some of the most incredible views!

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