Take a golf tour of Portugal’s cultural capital, Lisbon.
Lisbon may not be the first destination that springs to mind when planning a golf trip to Europe, with the historic links of Scotland and Ireland understandably taking the headlines. However, among those who have experienced it, and certainly European golf travelers, the Portuguese capital is considered one of the finest golf destinations on the planet.
Let’s start with the golf. While Portugal’s sun-drenched Algarve may be the golf epicenter of Europe, the natural landscape of the Lisbon peninsula and the raw Atlantic coastline provides one of the most exhilarating natural settings for golf you’ll ever witness. Think Bandon Dunes with a warmer climate.
From Arthur Hills’ Oitvos Dunes, which sits among a protected nature reserve right on the headland of the Lisbon peninsula, offering unspoiled views of the ocean, to the picturesque beauty of Penha Longa, set among the Sintra hills, you can play world-class golf without leaving Lisbon’s suburbs.
Travel north of the city, along the rugged Atlantic coast, and you’ll find Cabell Robinson’s Preia D’El Rey, Cynthia Dye’s West Cliffs, and Seve Ballesteros’ Royal Obidos. This trio of exceptional courses all feature dramatic ocean views and their own signature style.
South of the city sits Troia, perched on a narrow sandy peninsula with water surrounding three sides course. Further down the coast you’ll find David McLay Kidd’s new Dunas course at Terras da Comporta, soon to be accompanied by sister course Torre, designed by Sergio Garcia. 8 exquisite courses to fulfill the appetite of even the most seasoned golf traveler.
However, there is so much more to Lisbon beyond the fairways. The heart of the city is a feast of architecture, quaint cobbled streets, and warm hospitality. Sip a glass of Douro from a rooftop bar and enjoy views over the terracotta roofs to the bay below.
Sintra, the picturesque hilltop town neighboring Penha Longa provides a perfect day trip when combined with nearby Palácio Nacional da Pena. This vibrant palace is quite literally the jewel in the crown of this region.
Explore Cascais and Estoril, these old fishing villages are now elegant playgrounds of the wealthy locals. Bask in the ample waterfront restaurants, specializing in Potugal’s favorite dish, grilled fresh fish.
During your time north of the city, the ancient walled town of Obidos is a perfect setting for dinner following your round, and the bohemian surf town of Peniche offers a change of pace and a welcoming atmosphere.
Accommodations range from cozy guesthouses to the luxurious 5* resorts of Grand Palacio Estoril, the Ritz Carlton at Penha Longa, and The Oitavos, set among the dunes and nature reserve.
Travel during shoulder season, April – May or September – October, and you’re sure to enjoy warm weather, avoid the crowds, and lower prices in an already affordable region.
With direct flights from more than 8 U.S. hubs, and flight times starting from a little over 6 hours, this once-undiscovered cultural and golfing mecca may not stay this way for long.