“Only a handful of golf courses, golf resorts and golf destinations receive an IAGTO Award each year, which makes this such a special event and a great achievement for each of the recipients.
“The IAGTO Awards are respected throughout the industry not only because they have been going 16 years, but because they reflect the experiences of the 1.8 million people who IAGTO operators carry on golf holidays each year.”
~ IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton.
One of the chosen few to receive an award was the golfing hotspot of Lisbon in Portugal, which claimed the prize for Golf Destination of The Year in Europe. More specifically, it was the Lisboa Golf Coast, known as The Silver Coast to many, which is home to an amazing array of golf courses which, while perhaps not matching the more famous Algarve in terms of quantity, certainly matches it for quality, which claimed the top spot in Europe.
Well…as we’ve just mentioned, there a number of excellent golf courses in the region, some of which are ranked among the very best in the country, as well as Europe on the whole. In short, it’s not an easy task to find a course along The Silver Coast which won’t blow the socks off even the most picky of golfing aficionados! More on those later…
As you may have guessed it’s not just the golf courses that make this region around the Portuguese Capital such a special travel destination for golfer, but the charming towns and cities, stunning landscapes and countless fascinating and exciting off course attractions too.
Whether you’d enjoy spending your days away from the course exploring gothic cathedrals, fascinating monasteries and museums, all of which are in abundance in Lisbon City; relaxing by taking a seat at an old school cafe and enjoying traditional Portuguese fare, perhaps even a glass of wine or two before taking a seaside stroll in Sintra and filling the lungs with that crisp seaside air; or saving your energy before hitting the hilltop district of Bairro Alto, home to countless restaurants and bars which will be the perfect sanctuary for the night owls out there; the choice is yours.
In terms of golf, we’ve already mentioned that golfers might be more typically drawn to the more famous Algarve, and that’s a shame. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the Algarve, it’s one of the best golf holiday destinations in the world, ticking boxes for golfers of all shapes and sizes; but the courses in Lisbon are all seemingly spectacular, benefitting from breathtaking locations, and perhaps a bit more of an element of surprise. I’d suggest that many golfers would find it difficult to believe that a handful of the courses here are actually in Portugal, which simply makes them more unique.
Praia D’el Rey, Oitavos Dunes and even stretches of holes at Troia, which sits on a peninsula wedged between the Atlantic Ocean, the Sado Estuary and the Serra da Arrábida and is very reminiscent of Pinehurst No. 2 throughout much of the course, boast some genuine links accents, as if they’ve been airlifted in from the UK or Ireland, and in Toria’s case, South Carolina in the USA.
On the other end of the spectrum, away from the rugged yet beautiful surrounds of these seaside gems, all of which boast some spectacular inland stretches of holes too, making for a thoroughly dynamic and entertaining golfing experience, you’ve got the likes of Royal Obidos, designed by the late great Seve Ballesteros.
Coincidentally, Royal Obidos actually claimed the IAGTO Award for European Golf resort of the Year, but that’s for another article…click here for more information on that.
The Aroeira Resort, home to two golf courses, provides further still a completely different golfing experience to those already mentioned above. Tree-lined and picturesque, Aroeira I is of a high enough calibre to have hosted the Portuguese Open in 1996 and 1997 and with the addition of Aroeira II in 2000, the resort took its place among the best stay and play destinations in Portugal. Designed by Frank Pennink and Donald Steel respectively, Aroeira I and II are reminiscent of the classic heathland layouts of the famed Surrey Sandbelt, albeit despite the presence of a few sizeable water hazards, and provide yet further variety to one of the most golf rich travel destinations in the world.