Loulé is an interesting town some 16km (10 miles) to the north of Faro. The beginnings of Loulé are uncertain, some historians putting it as far back as 400BC, but others say it's origins are Roman. It is a fact that when the Arabs invaded the Algarve in 715, Loulé was already an important town. It has been a part of Portugal since 1249 after the Algarve was recaptured from the Moors and in 1291 King Dom Dinis established the Algarve's only medieval fair in Loulé, a sign of the wealth of the region.
Loulé castle (10th century) built on an area previously settled by the Romans, is just a short distance down the road from the market which was one of the best I visited during my time in the Algarve. The castle houses a museum which is worth a look at but to get an idea as to what it once looked like, its best to view it from the west where you can three of its original towers and a large expanse of wall. Other sights worth visiting include the town’s main church located a few hundred metres south of the castle, whose origins go back to the second half of the 13th century.