In golfing terms, when you think of Portugal your mind immediately drifts South to the famous Algarve which, of course, has long been the destination of choice for those looking to enjoy a European golf odyssey. Lisbon however, has been closing the gap in recent years and now the area surrounding Portugal’s capital city, particularly the stunning Lisbon coastline, boasts some of the country’s finest golf courses. One of the standout courses in this region is Praia D’El Rey. Let’s have a closer look…
Head North West from Lisbon Airport and soon enough you’ll find yourself on the Costa de Prata, not far from the charming medieval town of Obidos. Cabell B Robinson – who has left an impressive golfing legacy across Europe – designed the course at Praia D’El Rey and the finished article is a magical hybrid of links and parkland golf, seamlessly sewn together to offer an intoxicating thrill ride from start to finish.
Having viewed the site for the course at Praia D’El Rey, Robinson modestly said, “This is the kind of landscape we architects try to create, but at Praia D’El Rey it’s all here, naturally. Now it’s my responsibility to protect it”. And protect it he did. The course blends perfectly with its natural surroundings and the combination of inland holes the few that lie within touching distance of the Atlantic Ocean are a joy to behold; the views are simply stunning and the golf is to die for.
Early in the round the course climbs gently through umbrella pines and then you start to descend towards the coast. Large bunkers are strewn all over the course so a bit of thinking is required off the tee and the greens, which are tucked away cleverly, are by no means easy to find in regulation. Have your short game at the ready if you’re having an off day from the fairways!
The signature holes – 13, 14 and 15 – run along the Atlantic coastline, providing fantastic views of the sea, dunes and back towards the pine forest. Have your camera at the ready for these three.
Course architect Cabell Robinson has designed Praia D’El Rey to be the complete golfing challenge, with bold, deep bunkers, undulating greens, and natural rugged sand border areas which contrast sharply with the lush green fairways. The International Association of Golf Tour Operators voted Praia D’El Rey the best on the continent and Golf World seem to love the place as well. They described Robinson’s creation as “A mix of holes – some in the mighty dunes, others among fragrant pines – that are an assault to the senses. Wild and wonderful.”
While the assertion that Praia D’El Rey is the best course in Europe is a grand one, the mere fact that it’s in the conversation underlines its undoubted quality and with Praia D’El Rey’s village of luxurious townhouses and apartments, not to mention an impressive array of leisure facilities and attraction in nearby Lisbon, just a stone’s throw from the course, this stunning Lisbon resort should be firmly at the business end of your golfing bucket list.
With a vast array of accommodation options, Praia D’El Rey is one which is perfect not only for couples but also for groups. Couples are often drawn to the excellent five-star Marriott Praia D’El Rey Resort which offers stunning views across the beach just moments from the resort itself. The 177 deluxe rooms are complimented by 12 premium ocean view rooms, 8 suites and junior suites and 1 opulent presidential suite. To relax after your round we’d recommend a drink in the Cliffs bar, this might seem like an odd suggestion given its lobby location but we can assure you if you can grab of of the seats near the floor to ceiling windows you’ll appreciate just how special the views are here.
Golfers travelling as a group will find great apartments and villas which are perfect to sit back and relax in after a day on the course. For those wanting something extra special on their golf break, there are a limited number of ocean front villas which match luxury accommodations with views that are a match to anything on any golf resort across the globe.