Golf Travel in Portugal
by Stacy Solomon
Picture yourself visiting picturesque villages many which have not changed in several centuries, basking on inviting beaches and playing golf on some of the best courses in Europe and chances are you will be traveling to Portugal.
With only a seven hour flight time from New York, a golf vacation in Portugal is not a world away, as I originally thought!
Destinations in Algarve and Madiera were long considered to be the 'creme de la creme' of Portuguese golf excursions and now the Lisbon coastal region is being added as an intriguing option.
Lisbon, the legendary capital and largest city on Portugal, may be both sophisticated and cosmopolitan but golf in the surrounding area is considered tranquil and a great value. Most importantly, it has the three components of what I consider to be a winning vacation; beach, a casino and nightlife while at the same time retaining its charm. Fishing villages line the coast, culture surrounds the visiting tourist and golf courses amid fine resorts are growing in number.
A five-star golf and beach resort situated on the Silver Coast in Obidos which delivers all of the above is Praia d'el Rey. Uncrowded beach, temperate climate and a famous golf course within the hotel - with additional courses to try in the region - make this fantasy golf vacation a reality.
Considered to be one of the top twenty golf courses in Europe by Golf World Magazine and ranked number one in Portugal by the the Peugeot Golf Guide, Praia del Rey Golf Club is challenging yet also a fun experience. It has hosted a number of professional events and comes complete with driving range and golf academy.
With a total of twelve highly rated golf courses in Lisbon, another playing option is located in Estoril at the Penha Longa Golf Club. Travel there in the beginning of April and watch some of the greatest golfers on the European Tour courageously try to win on the Atlantic, one of the top courses in Europe. Play the nine-hole Monastery course as well which is considered "less demanding" than it's acclaimed Robert Trent Jones counterpart.
The Penha Longa, a Ritz Carlton Resort, has its own monastery, spa, mountain views and is considered luxurious by Portuguese and foreign dignitaries.
For those travelers who want to visit a new and stunning resort with a grand golf course designed by Donald Steele (whose portfolio includes Ailsa), the Westin Campo Real Golf Resort and Spa will provide a five star experience.
Another brand new golf course with five-star luxury compound is the Quinta da Marinha, situated in natural surroundings about nineteen miles west of central Lisbon. In 2007 the entire location won the award of Best Established Golfing Destination Europe by the IAGTO with the golf course being host to numerous professional events.
Speaking of European Tour events, Portugal will host a total of three tournaments for the 2010 season: the Estoril Open de Portugal at Penha Longa G.C., the Madeira Islands Open (just after the Masters) concluding with the Portugal Masters at the Oceanico Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura.
Although Lisbon was my initial inspiration for considering a vacation of golf in Portugal, Algarve's coastline situated on the extreme south side intrigued me as well. With temperate clime, the location is ideal for water sports activities, beach relaxation and, of course, golf!
Fabulous scenery, warm sunny days, luxurious resorts with pristine golf courses and interesting cultural flavor will invite even the most discerning tourist to visit Portugal. The only question might be how many golf courses will you play during your stay?