When you think about Portugal, what comes to mind first is probably the excellent cuisine, lovely beaches, and soccer legends! Chances are you probably didn’t think about golf, although if you’re a golfer, you should have.
The country is home to some spectacular courses. But it’s those hidden gem golf courses in Portugal that really make it worth the trip. Here are the courses we highly recommend stopping in at for a few hours if you’re in Portugal for business or for leisure.
Amendoeira Faldo Course (Oceanico)
This 18-hole, par-72 course is the perfect blend of fun, challenging, and enjoyable experiences in a spectacular setting.
Golfers will find that it has an interesting layout featuring elevated tees, rolling fairways, and super-fast greens that are protected by large, deep, and visually-intimidating bunkers.
This course demands that you’re strategic, choose your clubs carefully and play with accuracy if you’re to score well. The range of tee positions allows golfers of all abilities to play the course and have an enjoyable experience.
The Faldo course has a good variety of holes, but golfers may find the 4th hole, 596 yards (545 meters) from the gold tee, to be a memorable risk/reward shot to the downhill fairway.
One of the best par-4s on the course is the 14th, which has a semi-blind tee shot and a fairway that’s best played on the right side for a good angle of approach to an elevated green.
Golfers will also find the 7th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 16th (water comes into play), and 18th holes to be challenging but memorable.
Monte Rei Gold & Country Club
The Jack Nicklaus-designed North Course at Monte Rei sports both mountain and ocean views, with the Serra do Caldeirão in the background and opening onto the Atlantic Ocean. Its remote location makes it a hidden gem, although it is one of the premier courses in the country.
It’s open to the public, but contact them in advance to book a tee time, so you don’t miss out. There are no weak holes in this course—everyone offers something unique and different!
Although the fairways are wide and forgiving, it’s advisable to spend some time with the training aids before playing this course. It winds through valleys, forests, and lakes to provide an exciting round with some of the best bunkerings you’ll find in the country.
Water hazards are also common, so you’ll have to keep your head and play to the best of your ability to get a good score here. There’s no signature hole, as they’re all interesting and will test your skill.
The 13th looks easy, as it plays downhill from the tee and is a decent-length par-4. But it’s easy to fall into the sand traps on your first shot, and once you land on the green, you’ll notice not-so-subtle undulations that you can’t see from the fairway.
The South Course has been designed and is awaiting construction. No doubt it will be as thrilling as the North Course, which means this hidden gem will offer twice as much value to golfers in the future.
West Hills Golf Course
This stunning 18-hole oceanside golf course is located about an hour north of Lisbon, playing right along the Silver Coast.
Golfers who enjoy links-style gameplay will love this seaside links course, not only for the beautiful sweeping sea views of the Atlantic ocean from every single hole but for the golf that fits seamlessly into the natural landscape.
As with all coastal courses, the wind is an ever-present factor here, and you’ll need to consider it when choosing your next shot and club. Strategy is key on this course—between the wind and the challenging layout of every hole, it’s an unforgettable experience.
Less experienced golfers will find the front nine to be demanding. Elevation changes, undulating fairways, and punishing rough and scattered sand dunes provide a variety of challenges.
However, the back nine are more forgiving, with less drastic elevation changes, although they should not be underestimated. These holes also feature stunning wildflowers, which add to the lovely atmosphere of the course.
You’ll need to bring your best-putting game, as the greens are said to run fast but not very true. They’ll be the trickiest part of the game, but strategic thinking and patience will be key to getting a good score from the green.
The view alone makes this golf course absolutely worth a play. Experienced and intermediate golfers should love the links-style gameplay, but beginners may find the front nine to be off-putting in its trickiness!
- On our site: Gem Golf Courses in the U.S. and Canada
-All photos from Shutterstock, with permission.