UK golfers can return to Portugal as golf holidays are given the green light

As we look out of the window here in the UK and see the grey and threatening skies, we could be forgiven for dreaming of warmer climes. From Monday, those dreams could become a reality as Portugal is added to green list for travel.

There will be Covid protocols to follow, which we are not fully up to speed on, but it looks like tourists would need to provide a recent negative Covid-19 test or if they are fully vaccinated. It is also worth noting that on returning to the UK there will be a requirement to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test within two days of arrival back home.

Putting the testing aside, there seems to be a real appetite for travel from the UK with Portugal’s largest hotel chain, Pestana, seeing demand jump 250% since Friday and rise by 475% from external booking operators.

You may not be looking to rush to book but if you are thinking of a golf holiday this year, there are some fantastic resorts and destinations in Portugal and Madeira waiting for your arrival.


Penha Longa

Cascais, Europe’s most westerly point and home to a group of Portugal’s finest golf facilities, is ready to welcome golfers back to the fairways, as UK families and groups are in search of their idyllic 2021 destination.

Renowned as one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, Portugal is often one of the first European escapes considered by the British people, and this year, it will be the number one choice. Offering an all-year round climate, unrivalled leisure activities and a coastline to match, the warmest of welcomes is just a short flight away.

Undiscovered by many, Cascais presents a collection of unique and picturesque championship golf courses, painted by the panoramic Atlantic Ocean and Sintra Mountains. Each venue showcases a range of traditional and modern golf facilities, with immaculately conditioned championship courses, premium accommodation, exceptional gastronomy, and authentic scenery.

Quinta da Marinha

Golfers have the ability to discover each of the seven golf venues in the region, including two of Portugal’s Top 10, Oitavos Dunes, current host venue for the European Tour’s GolfSixes Cascais, and Penha Longa, former European Tour Venue and the only golf resort in Portugal to feature three Michelin Star restaurants.

The Cascais golf portfolio also boasts a variety of challenging layouts, including Estoril Golf Club, one of Portugal’s oldest and most traditional golf clubs; Belas Clube de Campo, Portugal’s first ever GEO Certified golf course; Quinta da Marinha Golf Club, designed by the world-renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones; Lisbon Sports Club, featuring picturesque views of Lisbon’s surrounding countryside that have remained unchanged since 1922; and Pestana Beloura Golf Resort, located in the historic World Heritage village of Sintra.

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Ribagolfe Lakes 12th hole

Staying in the Lisbon region. Lisbon Golf is celebrating the return of golf by rebranding the courses at Aroeira Golf Resort and Ribagolfe, two of the acclaimed venues in its Portuguese portfolio.

Four 18-hole championship courses, Aroeira I and II and Ribagolfe I and II, have all been updated with new identities that reflect the style and characteristics of each layout.

Located 25km south of Lisbon, Aroeira is rated among Europe’s top-50 golf resorts. Dubbed the ‘Wentworth of Lisbon’ by many observers, both courses have undergone strict maintenance programmes during the lockdown period to upgrade the condition of the tees, fairways and greens, with the Aroeira clubhouse also being given a fresh new look this spring.

A short drive from Aroeira, Ribagolfe boasts two of the finest layouts in the Lisbon region and both courses have also been the subject of a winter upgrade as part of ORIZONTE’s golf maintenance programme. In addition, a new hotel partner for 2021, the Four Points by Sheraton Sesimbra, offers the ideal base to play the club known as the ‘Valderrama of Portugal’.

Orizonte provides golfers with the opportunity to play four of the leading courses in close proximity to Lisbon in the stunning Costa Azul, together with exceptional value for money on a wide range of accommodation options.

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The Algarve has seen significant investment during the lockdown period as the destination strives to provide a best-in-class experience with course maintenance teams across the region demonstrating unwavering commitment to ensure optimum playing conditions await the returning golfers.

Meanwhile, a renovation of the South Course at Quinta do Lago will be ready for play in September, while the new Wyndham Grand Hotel has also opened nearby. Further west in Lagos, a brand new clubhouse at Palmares has opened to further complement the fantastic 27-hole resort. On the horizon, there is growing excitement ahead of the opening of the new Ombria Resort near Loulé set for its launch in early 2022.

And away from golf, all shops have re-opened and restaurants are open until 10.30pm with plenty of opportunity to dine outside in the warm Algarve evenings.

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Clube de Golf Santo da Serra

As well as three first-class golf courses, Madeira offers an array of outstanding historic, cultural and lifestyle experiences and Visit Madeira, the consumer-facing brand of the Madeira Promotion Bureau, has taken every step to ensure the safety of every resident and visitor after the islands were placed on the UK government’s Covid-19 travel green list.

Located approximately 1,000km from the European mainland – and just 500km from the African continent – Madeira and her islands enjoy an amazingly mild climate, ranging from 25°c in the summer to 17°c in the winter, with very mild average temperatures and moderate humidity, making it the perfect year-round destination for a golf break.

The islands feature three golf courses – Clube de Golf Santo da Serra, Palheiro Golf and Porto Santo Golf, which is located on the nearby island of Porto Santo. All three were included in recent industry poll of the best golf courses in Portugal.

The best way to enjoy the archipelago’s golf is with a Madeira Golf Passport which, providing holders with an unrivalled golf experience, is available to both individuals and groups and can be booked on a three or five-round basis.

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So whether you’re looking to get away from the grey skies of the UK or looking to book a summer holiday, there are plenty of safe golf travel options to Portugal and Madeira.