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Portugal Golf Holidays

Portugal - one of the oldest nations in Europe, is renowned for its sunshine and moderate climate. This makes it a golfer's paradise,
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One of the most popular destinations for holiday golf in Europe also boasts a long and colourful history, Portugal is a country rich in culture and charm, whose visitors receive a warm, friendly welcome and feel instantly at home. Golf has formed part of that history, despite the popular misconception that the game arrived in Portugal via the tourist courses in the Algarve developed over the last three decades, the British have been playing the game in the country for more than 100 years. Expatriate wine shippers in Oporto formed a links layout over 9 holes in 1890 and their later compatriots have had a major hand in the development, design and management of what has followed. The country can now rightfully claim to be one the world's favored resort golf locations, offering attractive sunshine conditions during the popular winter season and nearly sixty golf courses, many of true international calibre. The game can be played in all regions of the mainland and its sub-tropical islands, with the primary concentration near to the capital city of Lisbon and along the southern coast of the sheltered Algarve. Many of the greatest names in golf course design have left their mark, including Robert Trent Jones, Frank Pennink, Ronald Fream, Martin Hawtree, Joe Lee, Rocky Roqumore, Sir Henry Cotton and Donald Steel.
Another attraction, apart from the appeal of playing sun-drenched green fairways lined with umbrella pines is the wide diversity of location and terrain you can experience; combined with the confidence of knowing that, in most cases, the courses have been recently built by modern construction methods and are well-irrigated and drained, with grasses suited to the climate. You can play on seaside links with verdant dunes or tackle elegant parkland layouts lined with majestic trees. There is mountain golf, offering spectacular views, and island courses carved from volcanic slopes. You can choose tough championship courses that have tested the top professionals or relax with less demanding but equally interesting challenges in seductive settings. A wide variety of golf for all, whatever your ability or interest. Along the Algarve, from Cape St. Vincent in the west past Tavira to the east, an emerald necklace of more than twenty attractive green locations waits the visitor. Most golfers come to escape less favorable winter weather at home but excellent golf is playable all year round, even in the heat of summer by favoring times early or late in the day. The Algarve, tucked away from the rest of the country by sheltering mountains, offers centuries of tranquil charm, its fishing villages and fruit orchards undisturbed yet influenced by the passage of history. Quaint low houses in pastel shades, filigree walls and unique chimneys, pottery and hand-painted tiles all reflect the visits of Romans, Phoenicians and North African Moors in the past.
The next main region for golf lies close to the capital, Lisbon, at the heart of the nation. To the west, around the quaint seaside spa town of Estoril, a number of good courses are on hand, as is a cosmopolitan nightlife. Facing the Atlantic, one can be sure of excellent fresh fish and seafood in the local restaurants. Just south of Lisbon, over the Tagus river, lies the Costa Azul and some genuinely excellent golf in more rural surroundings. Here you will also find succulent seafood restaurants and fine local wines to provide a fitting accompaniment to that excellent game of golf.
Another cluster of courses, including the country's oldest, are found in the far north near Oporto. Here the mountainous terrain contrasts with the seaside links to provide a challenging variety. Golf is also available on the island of Madeira and in the Azores. Portugal has many delights. One is that the majority of the courses have been developed with the holiday player in mind. Despite more than a hundred years of golfing history, there are still only 12,000 registered domestic players in the country. The courses to play are in holiday areas and most golfers on any course will be your fellow visitors. Other delights include the wide selection of native cuisine, seafood's near the coast with more meat dishes inland and an abundance of relatively unknown, untravelled local wines of fine quality. Add in the wealth of its long and pioneering history, castles, museums, manor houses, galleries and handicrafts supported by some of the most courteous and charming people you will ever meet for a most memorable experience.