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A pretty market town with Moorish origins, Loulé encompasses such different sceneries as Quarteira (an over-developed holiday destination, filled with tall buildings that hide the sea and turn the town uncharacteristic), the tourist estates of Vilamoura (with its animated marina) and Quinta do Lago (a luxurious holiday resort with extensive, or is that expensive, facilities ?!!) and the Natural Park of Ria Formosa, a lagoon area of marshes, islets and channels which shelters wild flora and fauna.

The town of Loulé presents a thriving crafts market (workers carving wood, weaving hats or painting pottery and tiles), being particularly animated on Saturdays, when gypsies run a simultaneous outdoor sale.

Near Quarteira, the holiday resort of Vilamoura is the largest private tourist enterprise in Europe, encompassing all kinds of attractions, from the marina to first class hotels, casino, bars, golf courses, restaurants, etc.

The estate of Quinta do Lago offers a yet more secluded and luxurious atmosphere, including extensive amenities such as horse-riding, tennis, golf, health club, top class nightclubs, etc.

It confines with the reserve of Ria Formosa, considered the most important sanctuary of wild life in Algarve. The rich ecosystem of this area shelters abundant types of shellfish and wetland birds in an unique setting.

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