Lisbon Golf Courses

Lisboa Golf Coast

Best European Golf Destination Award

Praia d'el Rey

For several years the golf courses within a radius of approximately 80 kilometres from Lisbon have been grouped into three individual areas with separate regional tourist boards, namely Estoril & Sintra Golf Coast, Costa Azul/Ribatejo Golf and Golfoeste. However, the tourist authorities had the foresight to unite these into an umbrella destination named the Lisbon Golf Coast.


This decision has gained almost immediate success as this coordinated region was awarded the prestigious prize of Best European Golf Destination 2007 by IAGTO – the International Association of Golf Tour Operators - that includes over 1,000 members. IAGTO granted this accolade late last year at the International Golf Trade Market (IGTM) held in Marbella, Spain, in recognition of the efforts carried out by the golf industry in the Greater Lisbon Region.


Amongst the long list of notable nominations for this award, which for the second time honoured a Portuguese destination (Algarve having won in 2000 and 2006), were Spain with six regional nominations, as well as Ireland and Scotland, with three each.


Currently comprising a total of twenty-two 18-hole golf courses plus two 9-hole ones, many of which capable of staging PGA European Tour events, the Lisbon Coast has plenty to offer golfers of all abilities.


Courses in the area range from the well-known Estoril course – traditional host to the Portuguese Open for many years in the past – to Praia D’El Rey, a magnificent coastal course near the historical town of Óbidos, which won a prominent individual IAGTO prize: Golf Resort of the Year – Europe 2007.


Although a few of the courses are owned by private clubs, visitors are more than welcome due to the relatively low numbers of local playing members, especially during weekdays. Many of the newer courses have been built at resorts or residential development complexes throughout the Lisbon Coast region, and road infrastructure has improved in tandem, providing easy access to and from the capital.


The region’s appeal, apart from the pleasant climate, is less crowded courses compared with some other golf destinations, as well as optional tourist attractions such as the local gastronomic delights, historical monuments and nearby beach resorts. The majority of foreign golfers that have visited the Lisbon Region in recent years were from the United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries. Golf tourism is of course recognised as a prestige market segment, as it involves a sport played by middle and senior managers with high disposable income. Also, Lisbon is less than a 3-hour flight away from most of the major northern Europe cities, making it a destination suitable for long weekend trips.


A deciding factor in the choice of the Lisbon Region for the award was the playing quality of its courses, and the surrounding countryside. During their stay in the region golfing tourists played, on average, at three different courses, approximately 60% were frequent travellers and many had already played golf in the Lisbon coast area previously.


It is notable that more than half of these visitors intended to return and practically all would recommend the region to play golf.