Tee time: The golf courses of Estoril

There is little chance of this happening on the seven courses within half an hour's drive of Estoril - and not much further from the centre of Lisbon - which offer as much to the nature-lover as the player. Almost everywhere you take your clubs, there are unforgettable vistas of ocean and mountain; quiet corners of shrub, blossom and wildlife; holes where taking a divot out of the immaculate, sprinkler-fed fairways feels like an act of vandalism. In this part of the world, golf - not football - is the beautiful game.

The rolling landscape and wild Atlantic coast to the west of Lisbon have been the spiritual home of Portuguese golf since the Estoril Golf Club (00 351 21 468 0176; www.hotel-estoril-palacio.pt) opened in its present form in the 1940s. Set among pine, mimosa and eucalyptus trees, the narrow fairways demand extreme accuracy, with especially tricky approaches to the five shorter holes. You need a handicap certificate to attempt this, but another nine, less demanding holes have recently been added for the casual visitor.

Penha Longa (00 351 21 924 9011; www.penhalonga.com), another 27-hole complex, is a beguiling combination of history, beauty and luxury. History, as it's an ancient monastery. Beauty, as the main Atlantic course winds through the foothills of the wooded Serra de Sintra. The luxury option is the five-star hotel that adjoins the course. Opened in 1992, Penha Longa has twice staged the Portuguese Open, as well as testing the skills of former American presidents George Bush Senior and Bill Clinton.

Another great course of the region is Quinta da Marinha Oitavos (00 351 21 486 0600; www.quintadamarinha-oitavosgolfe.pt), overlooking the Atlantic in a conservation area north of Cascais. While the majority of Portugal's golf courses are the result of bulldozing, Oitavos has been designed around its natural, protected features of pine woods and sand dunes, with the course changing in character as it progresses from one to the next.

Not to be confused with the Oitavos course is the similarly named Quinta da Marinha Golf (00 351 21 486 0100; www.quintadamarinha.com), another championship course on a neighbouring stretch of the coastline. With plenty of lakes and forbidding traps, the first nine holes are inland; the second nine straddle spectacular cliffs.

Over the last 20 years, Estoril has faced a vigorous challenge from the Algarve as a year-round golfing destination for Northern European visitors. The Algarve's climate is more benign, and the scale of its golf resort construction has been phenomenal. Estoril has just about managed to keep its nose in front through the quality and pedigree of its courses, and the sensible pricing of its green fees. In high season, a midweek round at Penha Longa and Oitavos costs €90 (£63) - with two-for-one deals at the latter during five months of the year. The weekday green fees at Quinta da Marinha are €88 (£61), while the Estoril Golf Club charges just €57 (£40) - an extraordinarily low price for a course that has attracted some of the world's greats. On equivalent courses almost anywhere else in the world - the Algarve included - you can expect to pay up to twice that amount. Estoril strives to make the beautiful game accessible too.

For more on golf in Estoril, see www.estorilsintragolf.net

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Voices
voices
Sport
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
News
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
News
i100
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

    £18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Exe...

    Web Developer / Software Developer

    £25 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Software Developer is needed ...

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Day In a Page

    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
    Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

    From strung out to playing strings

    Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
    The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

    A big fat surprise about nutrition?

    The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
    Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

    Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

    The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
    On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

    On the road to nowhere

    A Routemaster trip to remember
    Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

    Hotel India

    Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
    10 best pencil cases

    Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

    Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
    Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

    Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

    Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
    Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

    Pete Jenson: A Different League

    Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
    This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

    The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

    Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
    Britain’s superstar ballerina

    Britain’s superstar ballerina

    Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
    Berlin's Furrie invasion

    Berlin's Furrie invasion

    2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
    ‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

    ‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

    Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis