Luxury at Lisbon |
When it comes to golf holidays, Portugal’s jewel in the crown is surely the Lisbon coast. Not for nothing is it chosen as the setting for major championships, year after year, or selected by many professional golfers as their base. The magnificent natural landscape of the region fits seamlessly with architect-designed courses. And of course it helps that the sun shines beautifully across the calendar!
Golf connoisseurs have long held the region to be the crème de la crème for luxury and top-of-the-range style. Where else can you golf in the grounds of a fourteenth-century monastery, which plays host to the Portuguese Open? And if you want more vintage heritage on your golf holiday, Portugal’s Estoril Club, designed by the great Scottish architect, Mackenzie Ross, is nearing its ninetieth year.
With all these riches, it can be hard to get a grip on what the region has to offer. So here are the highlights, divided into three manageable zones.
1. Blue Coast
The name alone conjures up sublime images of lavish, world-class golf holidays. Portugal’s Blue Coast, or Costa Azul, is sequestered from the crowds of Lisbon by one of the largest suspension bridges in the world, and retains that atmosphere of serene reserve. Historic courses litter the area ¬– 18-hole Aroeira I, designed by the English architect Frank Pennick in 1973, is renowned as one of the best that Europe can offer.
When you’re not golfing, the proximity of the sea gives this region a reputation for top-quality seafood. Nothing beats a fantastic dish of fresh fish, enjoyed within earshot of the tumbling waves. Except when it’s followed by a good round or two of golf!
2. Estoril and Cascais
Between Lisbon to the east and Cascais to the west, the Estoril region hugs the coast, offering spectacular golfing opportunities in sight of the sea. The monastery at Penha Longa is one of the region’s more famous greens, but there’s plenty more on offer for the golfer looking for challenging golf combined with serious luxury. The Lisbon Sports Club dates back to the 1920s and is one of the most historic courses in the country. Designed by Hawtree & Sons, its subtle green beauty has to be seen to be believed.
3. The West Region
Last but not least for the luxury golf holiday: Portugal’s West Region. On the stark Atlantic coast of Europe, the region’s West Cliffs Links must rank among one of the most awe-inspiring of courses. Brainchild of architect Cynthia Dye – niece of the legendary Peter Dye – this is a recent addition, offering high-end facilities set off from the hustle and bustle of the world by an exclusive 200-acre resort. The links has been designed with real sensitivity to the rich fossil record and wild flowers of the area, making it hard to discern where curation ends and nature begins. As such, West Cliffs truly represents the sustainable future of golf.
So whether it’s a historic course set in a stunning location, or a pioneering, cliff-edge view of what’s in store for the future of golf holidays, Portugal’s Lisbon coast is the region for you. Now enough talk. Let’s get out on the green!
Steve Frewin is the Managing Director of A Golfing Experience, a company with more than 25 years experience organising bespoke golf holidays and escapes throughout Europe for individuals, societies and groups. If you're looking for truly great golf holidays, Portugal is one of our top destinations. We also operate in all the other major European golf destinations and, if you'd like to explore options further afield, we can arrange holidays to the world's greatest golf courses in The Caribbean, Mauritius, Bermuda and USA.
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