Oporto Golf Club
Situated just 17 kilometers to the south of Porto, this links course was created in 1890 by British Port wine traders, who laid out a rudimentary 9-hole course, founding the oldest golf club in Portugal. Originally known as the Oporto Niblicks Club, it unfolded on a strip of sandy linksland beside the beautiful beaches of Espinho. Redeveloped in the late 1950s by Philip Mackenzie Ross, this course should be on the bucket list of any serious golf aficionados in Portugal. Though relatively short (5,668 meters), its narrow fairways and the north wind are an excellent test for any player. The course meanders among forests and lakes, despite being only a 20-minute drive from the busy town of Porto.
Vidago Palace Golf
Vidago Palace was originally built as a summer retreat for King Manuel II, the last Portuguese monarch, but a coup d’état in October 1910 put an end to that and the building became a hotel. Today, thanks to a €50 million restoration program that took four years, the hotel has reopened. The Cameron Powell design company has remodeled the original 9-hole course that was laid out within the hotel’s grounds in 1936 by Philip Mackenzie Ross. A dozen new fairways have been added to create an 18-hole championship course, constructed to USGA standards. Spectacular views, naturally beautiful landscapes and strategically placed bunkers await you here, so remember to keep a sharp eye on the ball. Though starting out on the relatively flat valley floor, the course develops into open expanses and elevated tees that drop from the highest to the lowest point on the later holes, making it a delight and challenge for even the most seasoned players.
Discover the renowned wine region of Douro
Famed for its port wines, but also increasingly for its rich, elegant red and white unfortified wines, the Douro region takes its name from the Douro river, which flows east to west from the Spanish border to Oporto, where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. The wine region follows the course of the river through dizzyingly mountainous land, where the vines are planted on steep slopes along the banks of the river in terraces that defy the natural laws of gravity. In fact, in the center of the region, the historic, narrow, stone-walled vine terraces have gained UNESCO World Heritage status. The region is wild and rugged, but luxury accommodation can be found at the Douro Royal Valley Hotel & Spa, a modern and elegant establishment with a spa that encourages guests to relax with vinotherapy treatment. The Six Senses Douro Valley Hotel also beckons from its 19th century manor home, where guests can enjoy a private tasting in the well-stocked Wine Library. Then you can head out to Quinta Nova, a winery founded in 1764 and visit the Wine Museum designed by Arnaldo Barnosa or explore Quinta Do Noval, which has been producing exquisite port wine since 1715.
Swing by the town of Porto
The second largest city in Portugal, Porto’s Historical Center has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. There are actually two sides to Porto. The town of Vila Nova de Gaia lies on the southern bank of the Douro river and that is where most of the Port houses can be found. The Ribeira district and the city of Porto lie on the northern bank and the historical center of Porto is well-worth a detour. Cross the famed Ponte Luis I bridge to get from one place to the other.