By the sea or on the mountains, play golf in fascinating scenery, with a mild climate and fresh mountain air and professional courses rivalling with the best infrastructures in the world.
In the North of Portugal there are eleven courses located in absolutely inspiring natural settings, ideal for those who seek both a relaxing and stimulating physical activity, always in touch with nature and in the middle of breathtaking landscapes. If you add to all this the gastronomy and the wines, among the most appreciated in the country, you will easily understand that you are in for a unique and complete experience.
Porto and surrounding areas
In the Greater Porto area, there are several reference golf courses. Take advantage of the trip you have destined to golf and visit one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and get to know the busy nightlife of its downtown.
It is imperative to explore the historical centre, listed as World Heritage by UNESCO in 1996, visit the Mercado do Bolhão and stroll along Rua de Santa Catarina, stopping at the hundred-year old Café Majestic. Downtown, you will find the best of Porto’s nightlife on Rua Cândido dos Reis and Galeria de Paris and the surrounding areas. There are design cafés, bookshops, bars, discos and clubs with live music.
To the south of Porto – around 17 kilometres (30 minutes by car) – Oporto Golf Club (18 holes), in Espinho, is an excellent choice. Established in 1890 by British citizens living in Porto, it is, after Pau, in France, the second oldest golf course in mainland Europe. In Espinho, the beach is worth visiting – with some of the best waves in the country, including the so-called Direita do Casino, a Northern myth – as well as the fish restaurants on Rua 2 (on the marine parade) or a show at the Casino.
Near Póvoa do Varzim, a very lively summer resort only 15/20 minutes from Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, Estela Golfe Club was inaugurated in 1989. This 18-hole course, designed by Duarte Sotto-Mayor, is one of the most beautiful and challenging courses in Europe.
The fact that it stands on a primary dune along 3 kilometres of beaches bathed by the Atlantic Ocean surprises even the most focused of golfers. The facilities and the first class service are comparable to the magnificent beauty and unique view of the ocean. It remains to be said that the restaurant and the bar of Estela Golfe Club serves, every day, delicious dishes of the Portuguese cuisine.
Golfe de Amarante, a course designed by Jorge Santana da Silva, closes the list of facilities for practicing golf in the district of Porto. It combines the splendour of nature – the view of the Serras do Marão and Aboboreira is a must – and 18 holes of pure challenge, raking among the top Portuguese golf courses. The city, once the stage of the French Invasions, whose traces are still visible in the Church of S. Gonçalo, is delightful, particularly its historical centre.
Minho is one of the best places to eat in Portugal – ask for bacalhau à Gil Eanes, sarrabulho, papas or arroz, rojões, perna de porco à Clara Penha and the refreshing Vinho Verde wine. Minho is a green region where any outdoor sport becomes an idyllic activity.
Axis Golfe in Ponte de Lima, designed by David and Daniel Silva, consists of 18 holes and is located in a bucolic landscape of mountains, vineyards and orchards. It has six kilometres of luxuriant vegetation, with chestnut trees, cork oaks and English oak trees, and a rehabilitated and expanded manor house where the Club House runs. The holes 1, 2, 8 and 9 offer a magnificent view of Vale do Lima and the city of Viana do Castelo, 20 kilometres away. The following nine holes are located on Quinta de Pias, with vineyards, corn fields, and apple and pear trees.
In Vidago, in the district of Chaves, visit the Golfe Vidago Palace (18 holes), recently redesigned by Cameron & Powell, experts on the courses of McKenzie Ross – the Scottish architect designed the original course, with only 9 holes – and they were careful, for example, to preserve every centennial tree.
Enjoy the historical luxury hotel Palácio de Vidago, built on irregular ground with a fantastic view of the natural landscape, rehabilitated and reopened in 2010, and the distant villages.
How to get there
There are flights from Bremen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe, Munich, Dortmund, Zurich, Liverpool, London, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Dole, La Rochelle, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Paris, Rodez, St. Etienne Toulouse, Tours, Barcelona, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Bologna, Milan, Pisa, Rome, Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and New York.
The best way to go from the International Airport Francisco Sá Carneiro to the city centre is to take the underground. The trip takes about 30 minutes.
To go to Esposende and Póvoa de Varzim, follow the A28/IC1 or the EN13. If you want to go to Ponte de Lima, drive to Viana do Castelo and take the A27 after crossing the bridge over the Lima River.
To drive to Trás-os-Montes, take the A4 heading to Amarante and then the IP4 to Bragança and you’ll reach the heart of the region.