Golf Guide to Lisbon
Lisbon is one of the most vibrant capital cities in Europe, boasting a glorious combination of modern and ancient architecture, great weather and tradition. It is a port city where record number of cruise ships now dock, unloading passengers who flock in to spend the day there.
The city is packed with life and has built a reputation as a musical hot spot, with live converts featuring everything from rock to pop, and jazz to classical. But it is the mournful sound of Portugal’s fado music that draws the biggest crowds to Lisbon.
Lisbon, which was built on seven hills and boasts castles, cathedrals and houses with terra-cotta slate roofs. features Unesco World Heritage Sites in the suburb of Belem, from where Vasco da Game set off on his voyages of discovery. The River Tagus flows through the city into the Atlantic Ocean. Indoor attractions include galleries, museums and cultural centres boasting some of the finest artwork, sculptures and painting on display anywhere in the world. It is a relatively compact city, which means that it is possible to see a lot of it in a short period of time - a bit like France. There are dozens of restaurants to suit every pocket and Lisbon remains one of the most affordable cities in Europe. It is also within striking distance of a whole host of world-class golf courses.
When you think of Lisbon you may not necessarily conjure up an image of a golf destination in your mind. Think again. Within striking distance of the Portuguese capital are 16 golf courses, four of which are nine holes.
Troia’s championship course involves a trip on the Setubal ferry - and is well worth the trouble. The pick of the rest of the courses in and around Lisbon must include Golf do Estoril, Penha Longa’s Atlantic course and Aoreira I. The Atlantic course at Penha Longa features some of the most stunning ocean views you will find anywhere in the world and, as the wind usually blows, also provides a proper challenge to golfers of all standards.
There are also several resort based courses offering top class courses, accommodation and on site facilities including: Clube de Campo da Aroeira Golf Resort, Marriott Praia D`El Rey Golf & Beach Resort, Aroeira Golf Resort, Troia Resort Aqualuz Suite Hotel Apartments, Penha Longa Resort and The Oitavas.
Lisbon is perfectly placed to offer golfers a trip all year round.
Depending on the region and time of year that you visit, Portugal enjoys plenty of sunshine, with temperatures reaching 40C during the summer. It is much warmer than Britain during the winter but it can also be wet. If you are planning a golf trip, the months to avoid are probably December, January and February, when monthly rainfall amounts to about four inches.
In the north of the country, which is quite mountainous, conditions are generally cooler and wetter while Lisbon, the Alentejo and Algarve regions have long, hot summers with temperatures up to 35–40ºC. The humidity diminishes as you move away from the coast and the interior areas are quite mild.
During the summer, the locals enjoy a siesta to get out of the heat, usually between 2pm and 5pm - it is worth remembering that many shops will close during this time. On the other hand, they remain open later at night.
There is no time difference between the UK and Portugal
Portugal uses the Euro and there are plenty of ATMs and bureaus de change
With a flight time of just over 2 hours 30 minutes from most UK airports Lisbon is perfectly placed for UK golfers heading over for a golf trip.
A host of airlines provide year-round flights to Portugal, including British Airways, Ryanair, Air Portugal, Jet2, easyJet, Are Lingus, TUI and SATA. They fly from all major UK airports and many regional airports and the good news is that you travel with one of the budget airlines, and book your tickets well in advance, it is cheap to get there.
There is more than just golf when visiting Lisbon, whether you like to get out and about visiting the local cities and towns or simply accessing the local venues for evening dining.
Things to do
Lisbon is a compact city, which means that the traffic can be a nightmare, so you should either explore it on foot or use the trams, which are cheap, plentiful and reliable. It is packed with bars, cafes and restaurants. There is lots to see and do in the Portuguese capital. One of the highlights is the museum of design and fashion, which highlights the links between the two disciplines. The permanent displays were donated to the city by a private collector with an interest in both fields. It's housed in a cavernous former bank headquarters. The underground vault and second-floor gallery host temporary exhibitions, while the ground floor showcases the main collection: iconic and experimental clothing, footwear and accessories, household design and furniture - even the odd scooter.
If you fancy some retail therapy you should head for the LX factory, a shopping city within the city which features an eclectic mix of places to eat, drink, dance and shop.
For nightlife, be sure to check out Case Independente, which is houses in an old mansion. The Tiger Room hosts gigs and DJs, while there are various small room if all you want to do is chat or work on your laptop. It also features a cafe and back patio, with finger food being served until midnight. Reputedly the best night club in the city is Lux Fragil, which has two dance floors and a roof terrace that overlooks the river.
Lisbon is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and the capital of Portugal offers a wide and varied choice of bars, restaurants and cafes to cater for every pocket and every taste.
Enoteca de Belém is located in a small alley, near the Pastéis de Belém, and is regarded as a hidden gem for wine lovers. There are bottles wherever you look, and even binoculars so visitors can take a look at them from the table. But there's more than just wine here: Chef Ricardo Gonçalves's traditional menu is a delight.
Rio Maravilha is located in an old factory building. The rooftop is a stunning setting and offers one of the best views of any bar or restaurant in Lisbon.. Go up for a cocktail at sunset and then head to the restaurant below.
There are many excellent restaurants in Campo de Ourique — one of Lisbon's busiest areas — and Coelho da Rocha stands out . This is traditional Portuguese cuisine. Main courses such as filetes de peixe-galo (battered and fried John Dory fillets) with tomato rice and the partridge pie are delicious.
Call in at A Valencia for the speciality of the house, piri-piri chicken, which can be eaten in or taken away and then washed down with a beer.
Forno d’Oro is a pizzeria that serves Neapolitan-style pizzas with naturally leavened dough, served with both Italian and Portuguese toppings, like alheira (poultry-and-bread sausage), Serra da Estrela cheese, or francesinha, a Porto speciality. There's also a good selection of Italian beers.
Ever since opening in 2015, Cevicheria, with a big octopus falling from the ceiling, has been one of the most popular in Lisbon. On the menu, you'll find different kinds of ceviches, as well as other Peruvian and South American dishes, influenced by chef-owner Kiko Martins's travels around the world.
The Decadente is an elegant restaurant and bar, perfect for a cocktail, weekend brunch or an unusual snack. It specialises in Portuguese cuisine, and that means amazing seafood dishes.
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