Positively Portugal: 6 Reasons to Visit

April 25, 2016
Lisbon

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Travel post cards were invented for places like Portugal. From Lisbon, with its ancient trolleys, cobblestone streets and colorful tile detailed buildings, to the Algarve, the 250-mile long coastline framed by turquoise water, reddish cliffs and sandstone rocks, Portugal is drop dead gorgeous.

While there’s no guarantee you’ll return with scorecards full of birdies, rest assured, you’ll have dozens of amazing photos of cliffside fairways and greens and rock formations jutting out of deep blue and turquoise waters on the Algarve.

A golf vacation to Portugal is a celebration of picturesque and challenging golf, beautiful beaches, quaint villages, fresh and exciting cuisine and exceptional wines. Translation: It’s the ultimate couples golf destination.

vale do lobo PortugalGreat Golf-There are more than 50 golf courses in the Lisbon area and on the Algarve, where most of the country’s top courses are located. The spectacular terrain has attracted a wide array of celebrated architects, including Robert Trent Jones, Joe Lee, Rocky Roquemore, Ronald Fream and Sir Thomas Henry Cotton. Golf in Portugal, even during its most popular times in spring and fall, is unhurried and relaxing. Most of the resorts and luxury hotels on the Algarve are set in residential estates with a strong sense of community, and visitors assimilate easily into the leisure-oriented lifestyle. Top courses to play, include Oitavos Dunes, Vale do Lobo Royal Course, Oceanico Old Course, Monte Rei and Quinto do Lago North and South.

Fabulous Food-If you savor seafood, you’ll love Portugal. Blessed with the ocean as their neighbor, Portugal’s chefs prepare fish to perfection in a variety of ways. A few of the more popular dishes are grilled sardines (large ones, not like those found in cans), fried codfish, tuna fish cooked in onions, caldeirada (a fish stew), a prawns simmered in garlic and wine. For poultry options, try Frango, a spit-roasted chicken with generous showers of garlic and Churrasco Chicken with piri-piri, a butter and chili sauce. Pastry enthusiasts should try Pastel de Nata, a delicious creamy, flaky custard tart that can be found at bakeries and grocery stores.

Wonderful Wines-Whether you want an excellent wine to enhance your dinner or one to sip slowly on a veranda overlooking the ocean, you’ll find a wide variety of superb Portuguese wines. The most popular sipping wine is Vinho Verde, the light white somewhat spritzy selection that many Americans enjoy. Portugal has 14 wine regions and some of its best wines come from Douro, Dao and Alentejo (a great choice if you enjoy Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon). Portugal is also heralded for its award-winning Port wines.

IMG_0742Stunning Beaches-The Algarve, about a 2 1/2-hour drive from Lisbon, has some of the most photogenic beaches in the world, a series of quiet, sandy coves rimmed by the bluest of blue waters and broken up by spectacular cliffs. So stunning and overwhelming is the natural beauty that you’ll be hard pressed to describe the beaches to your friends and relatives when you return. Oh, but you’ll have an extensive selection of awe-inspiring pictures taken from your smartphone or camera.

Amazing Architecture-Lisbon, with its cathedrals, castle and bustling narrow streets in the Alfama district has the pronounced feel of a Mediterranean port. A leisurely walk through Lisbon rewards visitors with views of buildings with colorful, brightly colored tiles covering the facades and beautiful white stucco homes with terra-cotta roofs. Walkable and clean, the city can be compared to San Francisco in many ways. At the edge of an ocean, Lisbon is built on seven hills with a dramatic suspension bridge spanning its harbor.

IMG_0688Temperate Climate-The weather on The Algarve, where most of the top courses are located, is exceptional without great variations in temperature. Winter is not very cold, nor is it very hot in summer because of the influence of the gulf current.