Escape to the Lisbon Golf Coast
We start our journey on our LISBOA GOLF COAST blog in the north of the region, in an area known as the “Oeste”. The first and arguably most popular course here is Praia d’el Rey. With holes meandering through the sand dunes overlooking the Atlantic and other holes inside a mature pine forest, every hole offers a unique challenge here. The clubhouse is just a couple of minutes drive by regular shuttle from the 5* Praia d’el Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort where you can enjoy some fantastic golf packages to play here and also at the new sister course 5 minutes away at West Cliffs. West Cliffs opened in 2017 to great critical acclaim and is now recognised as one of Portugal’s finest but also one of its toughest courses. You really need to bring your straight driving game here and if you do, you’ll be rewarded with some amazing approach shots to well-guarded greens. And if you don’t, just leave your credit card behind the pro shop desk. Another tough course in this increasingly requested area is the Seve designed Royal Obidos. Although not as tight as West Cliffs, Royal Obidos has some long par 4s and some good carries even off the yellow tees. It really is a great test of golf and any Stableford score in the 30s is a round to be savoured. The luxurious and boutique 5* Royal Evolutee Hotel completes this fine golf resort at Royal Obidos. The last of the quartet, but by no means least, is the under-rated Bom Sucesso. This resort endured some tough economic times in 2010 and beyond, but the new owners are constantly upgrading the course (certainly the most playable for higher handicaps in the region) and the excellent self-catering accommodations on site. Our exclusive semi all-inclusive packages are our clients’ most popular option in this golf-rich region. The opening of the new 5* hotel overlooking the 18th green is eagerly anticipated.
Half an hour south of the Oeste region and conveniently located just off the Lisbon-bound motorway we have the 18-hole Campo Real course and the on-site 5* Dolce Campo Real Lisboa Hotel. Campo Real has hosted The Portuguese Women’s Open and is an enjoyable but tight test of golf set in rural rolling countryside. The hotel offers some great value golf packages for a 5* and is ideal for a few nights rest and relaxation.
A further half-hour south and just to the west of the city, we come to the Cascais / Estoril coast, arguably where the LISBOA GOLF COAST made its name. There are several fine courses in this area. On the way from Lisbon to Estoril, we have two fine courses. The first stop is Lisbon Sports Club, a relatively short but tricky layout with the atmosphere of a private English club. Almost opposite this, we have the excellent but wildly different Belas, a longer hillier course with a more contemporary design. Both courses offer great value green fees and an exceptional 2-round package including transfers from Cascais and Estoril.
Just outside the town bearing the same name, Estoril Golf Club offers a varied experience to players with undulating fairways, tight approach shots and some spectacular scenery. This is one of the country’s oldest courses and held the Portuguese Open on 20 occasions. Guests at the wonderful and historic Estoril Palacio Hotel in the centre of town receive free golf here most months of the year. The hotel is one of our favourites in the whole of Portugal with its classic architecture and superb location and facilities.
Estoril being a little more sophisticated with its casino and fine dining restaurants. However, Cascais has some wonderful restaurants both in quality and authenticity with some amazing family restaurants in the backstreets where you feel like you are eating in someone’s front room. There are numerous hotels serving both towns from 2-star pensions to 5-star luxury hotels. The golfer’s favourite in Cascais town is Hotel Vila Gale Cascais next to the glossy modern marina.
Just a couple of kilometres from Cascais, we’ll find two superb golf resorts. Onyria Quinta da Marinha is now a fully-fledged luxury resort having recently been completely renovated and upgraded to a 5-star hotel. The onsite Quinta da Marinha course is a traditional style layout surrounded by pine trees with a few water hazards and several bunkers adding to the challenge. Adjoining Quinta da Marinha we will find the wonderful Oitavos Dunes golf course. It is odd to think that these 2 courses occupy the same piece of land as they are so different. Oitavos has starting and finishing holes among the dunes forests but otherwise, it is very much a links layout. The wind invariably blows hard here as the course is exposed to the coastline; the course is truly one of Lisboa Golf Coast’s best and has held numerous PGA European Tour events. Adjacent to the Oitavos Dunes clubhouse is The Oitavos Hotel, an ultra-modern design and open plan 5-star hotel with every mod con available to make your stay a relaxing and memorable one.
Just 20 minutes drive away from the coast, we will find the area’s 3rd luxury golf resort at Penha Longa. This property consists of the Penha Longa Resort Hotel, a glorious 5-star hotel with exceptional quality and service. The hotel is one of the area’s iconic landmarks and has hosted royalty and celebrities over several decades, keeping its full splendour intact throughout several renovations and ownerships. On-site is the equally magnificent Penha Longa Golf. There are 18 holes of superb Championship golf with the 9 hole Monastery course offering higher handicaps respite from the challenge of the main course. The Championship course is undulating, some would say hilly, and offers a great challenge to golfers in beautiful countryside. The peace can be shattered on several holes if there are events at the neighbouring race track though!
One of the several benefits of a golf holiday on the LISBOA GOLF COAST is the range of geographical options available. We now move to the south of the area and to the so-called “Wentworth of Lisbon”, namely Aroeira Golf Resort. There are 36-holes of great tree-lined golf here, just 30 minutes south of the city centre and 5 minutes to the amazingly long stretch of sandy beach at Costa Caparica. There isn’t much to choose between Aroeira 1 and Aroeira 2 in terms of golf. Both are similar in design and high quality and offer golfers of all abilities a fair round. It really is a special place and recently enhanced by the brand new Aroeira Lisbon Hotel, a 4* hotel catering to golfers with their semi all-inclusive option offering dinner and evening drinks in an all-in package with golf on-site and very reasonable rates. STOP PRESS: The golf courses have been rebranded; Aroeira 1 has become Aroeira Pines and 2 is now Aroeira Challenge.
Just 20 minutes east, we’ll find Quinta do Peru. Very much a members club feel but our clients receive a warm welcome from the friendly staff here. This is also one of our favourite courses in the area with a great layout and the course is invariably in excellent condition as demanded by the members. We were blown away by the choice of excellent local craft beer in the clubhouse after our last visit – this almost overshadowed the quality of the course in the preceding 4 hours.
30-40 minutes south of Aroeira and Quinta do Peru, the lovely resort of Sesimbra offers golfers a great base from which to explore this area’s courses. There are four 4* hotels to choose from and seemingly more restaurants than you can eat at in a year. We recommend booking a room with views out across the Atlantic and the fabulous sandy beach.
Around the coast from Sesimbra heading east, the traditional working town of Setubal (famous as the birthplace and hometown of Jose Mourinho) gives us the choice of ferry or catamaran over to the magnificent Troia Golf. This superb course is always high up in the rankings of Portugal, and indeed European, golf courses. This track occupies an area of natural beauty amongst the sand dunes. When you see how Trent Jones Snr designed the course, it is almost as if this small peninsula was created with the sole purpose of hosting this course. The layout is tough – you need to keep the ball on the fairway or be prepared to play out the sandy rough, and there is usually a breeze to contend with. However, the natural beauty will be enough to divert your eyes away from your scorecard. We recommend to any golfer that this is a journey worth taking and is truly a great day out with the trip over the water. We are very happy to suggest a few nights either in one of the two hotels on the Troia Peninsula or in Setubal, so you can enjoy more than one round here without travelling.
Just to the east of Setubal, we’ll find another of LISBOA GOLF COAST’s excellent golf resorts. Montado Golf Resort has a 4* hotel on-site and a much-underrated golf course. Everyone has seen images of the island green on the par 3 18th but there is so much more to the course. The wide fairways offer generous landing areas but the greens are small and heavily bunkered so your approach shots need to be accurate. The packages with accommodation and golf here offer the lowest prices in the area but we are very happy with the quality of both hotel, golf and importantly, the hospitality at Montado.
Working our way north and further east, and 30 minutes east of Lisbon city, Ribagolfe is a favourite of Golf Escapes. There are two great 18 hole courses set among cork trees in a spectacular rural area. This could be millionaire’s golf as the courses very rarely have many players, especially midweek. Rarely have we come across a golf complex in such an isolated area, and especially one with such quality golf. Ribagolfe 1, a regular host of the European Tour Qualifying School and the tougher of the two courses, is now known as Ribagolfe Lakes. Ribagolfe 2, the shorter and more forgiving course, is now Ribagolfe Oaks. Sadly, the strict planning rules in the area currently prevent the construction of the planned hotel and upgraded clubhouse – when this happens, everyone will know about Ribagolfe. We host golf groups in Alcochete, a quaint town 15 minutes drive away.
We hope you have enjoyed our brief tour of the LISBOA GOLF COAST – be sure to include this area in the planning of your next Golf Escapes!