The Lisbon coast offers golfers a more authentic Portuguese experience and a vastly different style of golf to the more popular and well known Algarve. In golfing terms, this area of Portugal has long been in the shadow of the Algarve, whose portfolio of outstanding courses and resorts has rightly placed it at the sharp end of European golfing destinations. However, as the reach of low cost airlines continues to extend, the coastal area around Portugal’s capital has emerged as a fantastic location for a golf escape.
There are established resorts such as Aroeira to the South of the city, while new developments like Campo Real, and particularly Praia D’El Rey to the North, have garnered considerable praise and have put the region firmly on the map.
The main attraction of the Lisbon coast though is that you can play terrific courses like Oitavos Dunes, Penha Longa and Praia D’El Rey, three of the finest courses, not just in Portugal, but in the whole of Europe.
The views from many Lisbon golf courses are simply breathtaking, not least of which the view of the Atlantic and the nearby cliffs at Oitavos Dunes.
Oitavos Dunes was ranked 68th in the world and 2nd best course in mainland Europe by America’s ‘Golf’ magazine in 2011 and has previously hosted a European Tour event, the Estoril Open, in 2008 and 2009. This stunning course offers endless views of the rugged Atlantic coastline and is formulated in the style of a traditional Scottish links course, with nine holes out and nine holes back home. Though not strictly a links course – the fairways are often bordered by woodland – Oitavos does have the sandy turf that makes seaside golf so special. The most notable feature of the course is the collection of par 3s. There are five in total and each one could be put forward as one of the finest short holes in Europe. This course is a real treat to play, the likes of which is hard to come by on the Algarve.
The 14th is just one of a procession of world class par 3s at Oitavos Dunes.
Penha Longa is home to two outstanding golf courses, the 9 hole Monastery Course and the championship Atlantic Course, the latter of which is among the top 30 golf courses in Europe and has also hosted the European Tour’s Estoril Open. This impossibly lush course twists and turns up and down the foothills of the Sintra Mountains and offers one of the most enjoyable tests of golf in the country. The course is divided into two distinct sections, with six holes running through a valley and the remainder straddling the hillside. Expect beautiful, tree-lined holes that call for accuracy over brute strength as well as spectacular views and outstanding conditioning.
Penha Longa is one of the most picturesque golf courses around and the endless elvation changes and tree lined fairways will ask plenty of questions of your game.
Praia D’El Rey opened in June 1997, and quickly became regarded as one of the finest courses in Portugal; it is now ranked as one of the finest layouts in Europe. Set in an extensive estate of pine forests and undulating dunes closer towards the coastline, the spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean and the Berlenga Islands will ensure an unforgettable experience. The championship seaside links is visually stunning, and tremendously exciting to play thanks to the great variety of holes that the natural landscape provides. The front nine has a distinct parkland accent, as it runs in and out of the pine trees, whilst the back nine is home to some of the best links golf in mainland Europe.
Praia D’El Rey offers a heady blend of parkland and links style golf and keeps golfers on their toes from start to finish.
While the outstanding golf courses are the main attraction for golf breakers looking for a bit of fun in the sun, they are not the only thing Lisbon and the surrounding area have to offer holiday makers. You can also get a genuine taste of the Portuguese culture; charming fishing villages and towns like Cascais and Estoril are dotted up and down the shoreline, while the capital city of Lisbon is a thriving hub of cultural activity where you will experience the vibrant combination produced when the traditional Portuguese charm meets the vitality of a young, up-and-coming urban environment.
This fascinating landscape has everything you could ask for, with stunning Atlantic beaches, engrossing cultural attractions, and most importantly some outstanding golf, making it a superb option for a golf holiday.