Where to Stay: Vila Gale Cascais
Using Lisbon as a base for a lovely golfing break to Portugal is becoming more popular every year and it’s easy to see why, thanks to the excellent choice of golf courses in the region. Driving north, away from the Portuguese capital, along the Tagus River, brings you to a delightful area of the country. Passing through the lovely seaside towns of Cascais and Estoril, the journey is worth making in itself but the destination is even better, thanks to Oitavos Dunes Golf Course. This course features in our Guide to the Best 9 Holes of Golf in Portugal.
Situated in the Sintra-Cascais National Park, Oitavos Dunes is a recent addition to the range of golf courses in Portugal, having been opened in September 2001. The location is fantastic, with the Atlantic Ocean opening out before you on one side of the course and the Sintra mountains providing a spectacular backdrop on the other. You know you are going to experience a special round of golf, as soon as you arrive at Oitavos Dunes.
The golf course was designed by Arthur Hills, who only has two golf courses to his name in the whole of Europe, making Oitavos Dunes a rare find on the European golfing map. The course is a par-71, playing to 6,372 off the championship tees and offers a great mix of woodland and links-style golf, which blends perfectly into the natural surroundings. Oitavos Dunes is a golf course that regularly features as not only one of the top 20 golf courses in Europe but in the top 100 in the world.
The course is very well maintained throughout the year, with plenty of testing hazards and the greens are fast and undulating, providing a real challenge with the putter. The opening four holes give a glimpse of what is to come but they are a little tight and the easiest run of holes on the course. This can lull golfers into a false sense of security on their first visit to the course. However, from the 5th hole onwards, things really begin to open up at Oitavos Dunes, with trees, bunkers, and dunes all coming into play, making long accurate shots off the tee vital for good scoring.
If the wind picks up, the par-3, 14th hole can easily become the most difficult on the golf course, with a ravine between the tee and green waiting to claim any wayward balls. The 18th is an example of a perfect finishing hole, with a tough, narrow fairway which doglegs left, bordered by trees and dunes. It provides a great ending, to a wonderful round of golf.
Oitavos Dunes has played host to the Portuguese Open numerous times and continues to build a great reputation in the world of golf. A challenging course, which demands to be played more than once, Oitavos Dunes gives the sense of something special and it has to be played, to be believed. Include this fantastic Portuguese golf course as part of any Lisbon Golf holiday package that also includes hotel accommodation and you will not be disappointed.