Sesimbra On The Costa Azul
The Algarve has always been a favourite golfing destination with golfers from around the world, especially with the Irish. In more recent years the Lisbon and Porto regions have become increasingly popular and it’s not hard to see why. The magnificent countryside around Porto is amazing, I loved the quaint little towns, the food and Douro wines and not least the superb golf courses.
My second Portuguese golf adventure this year was to Cascais a beautiful town just thirty minutes from Lisbon. There are so many excellent courses in the regions. We played Penha Longa, Pestana Quinta da Beloura, Quinta da Marinha and Belas Club de Campo, again the food and wine superb, hospitality amazing, so when I was invited to play in the Lisbon Tee Times Golf Tournament with E.G.T.M.A. the following month I didn’t hesitate, count me in!
Our destination was Sesimbra a small fishing town on the Costa Azul a short drive from the Portuguese Capital.
From the balcony I could see that the street below was buzzing, people strolling along some with children in push chairs, people running or power walking and some just going about their daily business. There were lots of cafe bars along the sea front close to the hotel and restaurants advertising the catch of the day.
The Sana Sesimbra Wellness area located on the hotel’s rooftop features a fantastic swimming pool, the pool is covered over in the winter months and is heated all year round. On the sundeck there’s a jacuzzi, a fitness room, sauna, Turkish bath and plenty of luxurious sun loungers to laze around on all day, that is if you’re not rushing off to play golf as we usually are!
The panoramic views from the Caravela Sky Bar are breathtaking. The bar menu offers a superb selection of fresh sea food, salads, pastas and risottos.
An à la Carte menu is available daily at the hotel’s Espadarte Restaurant typical dishes of Sesimbra available and a wonderful variety of traditional Portuguese food.
The Lisbon Tee Times tournament was played over three courses Aroeira 1 and Aroeira 11 and Quinta do Peru.
The Aroeira Golf Resort just south of Lisbon, boasts of two excellent courses. Aroiera 1 which was designed by Frank Pennick and opened in 1973. Aroiera 11 opened later in 2000 and was designed by Donald Steel.
Aroeira 1 is located within a preservation area, there are thousands of magnificent pines throughout the estate and lots of wild life. With the benefit of a temperate micro-climate golfers can play here all year round.
Aroeira 11 is a lovely Par 72 parkland course, some say more challenging than Aroiera 1 and I have to say my favourite. The course features five lakes and plenty of well placed bunkers, there are five tee boxes on each hole. This course is a fair test for golfers of all standards. Aroiera 11 has hosted the Qualifying School of Ladies European Tour and several Ladies Opens.
The Aroiera Estate is the perfect holiday resort for families and golfing groups. As well as having two championship golf courses there is also a golf academy there are four tennis courts, a tropical swimming pool, a playground for the little kids a golf shop and bar.
The resort is also close to the beautiful Costa da Caparica beaches.
Quinta do Peru an exclusive 18 hole course is located on the south side of the River Tagus from Lisbon between Sesimbra and Setubal. The course is laid out in a 300 area of pine forest with the stunning Arrabida mountains featuring in the back ground. Designed by American course architect Rocky Roquemore in 1994. Roquemore used every piece of the natural landscape and his genius to create this magnificent course.
The course is routed across an undulating terrain over a beautiful forested landscape. Quinta do Peru with its many lakes and well-guarded greens will prove challenging for the average player and low handicapper. Definitely a must play course!
Golfing in the Lisbon and Porto regions have been one the most amazing and enjoyable experiences of my golfing travels, and the beauty is that it’s just a couple of hours from Dublin and the UK. Green fees are very reasonable, the courses are popular but never crowded!
Places of interest.
Sesimbra is a region of stunning natural beauty, including the Serra da Arrabida nature park, the Cabo Espichel and the wild beaches of the southern Costa da Caparica coastline.
For centuries the Portuguese coast was known by foreign vessels, especially the British, as the “black coast” because there was no lighting system to help navigation. In the late eighteenth century, the Marquis of Pombal built a network of lighthouses to make it safer, including the one on Cabo Espichel, one of oldest in Portugal, built in 1790.
The Moorish castle of Sesimbra stands high above the village and has guarded the town since its early founding. The castle was one of the first victories for the Christian conquest of Portugal over the Moors in the 12th century and its strategic positioning was important for the defence of early Portugal. If you’re feeling energetic you can the climb the 230m to the castle views are amazing.
The Convento de Nossa Senhora da Arrabida is a 16th century convent that is set amidst the steep hills of the Parque Natural da Arrabida. The complex was designed for complete seclusion from the outside world and today it is the only building within the deep greens Serra da Arrabida’s hills.
Getting to Lisbon could not have been easier, we flew with TAP, it was absolutely fabulous! The service was superb, staff friendly and they even offer a complimentary snack and a drink on board.
TAP Air Portugal flies to Lisbon from Dublin twice daily. Prices start at €106 return including all taxes. For further information visit flytap.com or call (01) 656 9162.