Sintra and its mystical hills dotted with fairytale palaces and extravagant villas have bewitched visitors for centuries. The Romans made it a place of cult moon worshiping and named it "Cynthia" after the goddess of the moon. They were followed by the Moors who also fell in love with the lush vegetation and built a hilltop castle, a palace, and several fountains around the town. Later it became the summer residence of the Portuguese royal family and attracted a number of wealthy aristocrats who built huge mansions and villas. Famous British poet and traveler Lord Byron stopped by in the 18th century, writing that the town is "perhaps in every respect the most delightful in Europe," and calling it a "glorious Eden" in his epic poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. His fellow countryman Robert Southey followed him and saw it as "the most blessed spot on the whole inhabitable globe." Others made it their own private retreat, such as William Beckford (one of 18th century England's wealthiest men), who lived in the splendid Monserrate Palace, later bought by Francis Cook. It is indeed an extraordinary place with a surreal mixture of history and fantasy, protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Its fairytale palaces, incredible vistas, and notable museum collections make it a destination you will enjoy and we'll make the effort to see as much of it as time permits.
A spectacular cliff-top design from Arthur Hills and a regular host to The Portuguese Open, Oitavos Dunes Golf Course is not only ranked among Portugal’s top courses, but is also one of the best in Europe. Stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean to one side and the Sintra Mountains to the other, this handsome layout with its links-like characteristics, is tough and unforgiving to the extreme. A stern examination of golf to be savored and enjoyed by the true connoisseurs of the game.
West Cliffs at Praia d’El Rey:
The West Cliffs Golf Course by Praia D´el Rey is a brand-new golf course on Portugal’s Silver Golf Coast, near Obidos, and a little over an hour drive from Lisbon. Designed by Dye Designs Group, the golf course is located in Praia D´el Rey Golf Resort community and offers one of the most wonderful golf experiences in Portugal. The nature around The West Cliffs Golf Course is abundant and from every hole there will be stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. The existing terrain is natural rolling sand dunes and coastal vegetation interspersed with areas of pine groves overlooking the sea from a variety of elevations above the cliffs at the mouth of the Obidos Laguna.
The Grande Real Villa Italia Hotel & Spa – Cascais
The Five Star Grande Real Villa Italia Hotel & Spa represents the pinnacle of Hotel design and the very best in sophistication and comfort. Overlooking the protected harbor of Cascais and just 20 minutes from Lisbon, the seaside property offers rooms with views of the stunning hills of Sintra or the deep blue Atlantic Ocean. The decor of each sumptuously appointed guest room is inspired by shades from thesea: blue and gray with just a hint of color. Each morning you will awaken to the sound of waves breaking on the beach and enjoy stunning sunsets each evening. Real Spa Marine offers you every opportunity to completely renew, refresh and relax. A ten-page menu of treatment options focuses on therapies derived from the sea, including an algae body wrap and multiple seawater hydrotherapies. The hotel is built on the site of the restored former residences of Italy's King Humberto II.No expense has been spared in the construction, the decoration or superb facilities availablein this hotel. The gourmet restaurant Belvedere (summer only) serves both traditional Portuguese and international cuisine, La Terraza offers Tapas and show cooking and the Navegantes is the breakfast restaurant. The location of the Hotel permits easy access to multiple tourist attractions on foot. Grande Real Villa Italia Hotel & Spa is the ideal choice for those wishing to visit the diverse charms of Portugal and surround themselves in an environment of classic luxury.
Praia D’El Rey:
The course was voted the third best in Portugal by Golf World magazine in 2004 and it's really very easy to see why. The front nine has a parkland feel to it as it runs in and out of the pine trees, whilst the back nine offers some of the best links golf in Portugal. Holes 13, 14 and 15 run along the Atlantic Ocean, providing fantastic views of the sea, dunes and back towards the pine forest. The 12th has to be the pick of the bunch; your approach shot to the green is played with the Atlantic Ocean as the backdrop and once you arrive on the green the Belengas Islands become visible.
The Palacio Estoril Hotel Golf & Spa – Estoril
A testament to understated 1930s’ elegance, Palácio Estoril Hotel, Golf & Spa is located in the heart of Estoril, increasingly known as the Portuguese Riviera. Surrounded by manicured gardens with magnificent coastal & garden views, this sophisticated retreat offers elegant rooms, a holistic spa, refined dining & an 18-hole golf course.
Expect a warm and friendly welcome and attentive but unobtrusive service from the minute you enter Palácio Estoril. From its impressive façade to its traditionally styled interiors, this grown-up establishment reflects an era renowned for style, sophistication and courteous hospitality. The Palácio Estoril was the second home of the Spanish, Italian, French, Bulgarian and Romanian royal families, and even today remains a favorite with their descendants.
The hotel also served as the set for the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service. You can enjoy a martini, ”shaken, not stirred”, or spend sunny days by the pool under a bright blue sky or go to the beach, just a five-minute walk away from Palácio Estoril Hotel, Golf & Spa. Take time out to wander along the seafront promenade with its boutiques, bars and restaurants and in the evening, try your luck at the nearby casino, following a superb dinner in the restaurant. We think the best way to end your stay in Portugal is with a three night stay at the Palacio.
Penha Longa Championship Course
Ranked in the top 30 Courses in Continental Europe, Penha Longa Resort’s 27 holes designed by the famed Robert Trent Jones Jr, is escapist golf at its best. With its bold drives, courageous approaches and artful greens, it is both an adrenalin rush and a soothing journey through one of Portugal's most inspiring landscapes. Exciting at every turn, this championship challenge and former host to the Portuguese Open, is a test of skill and pleasure to play with a variety of elevation changes and generous landing area and enough hazard to provide plenty of thrills.
Surrounding the palace is the mystical Pena Park, filled with a variety of trees and exotic plants from the former colonies of the Portuguese empire, ponds, fountains, and black swans. There is also a charming lodge hidden among the trees that can be visited. At the highest point is a statue of King Ferdinand looking towards his palace, and a viewpoint called "Cruz Alta" overlooking Pena Palace and surroundings. A number of luxurious old villas are scattered around the park. The most famous (for being part of the setting of Roman Polanski's "The Ninth Gate" starring Johnny Depp) is Challet Biester, with dark conic rooftops and Gothic windows. Regaleira Palace Another remarkable building is the fantasy "Palace of the Millions," part of the Regaleira Estate. Built at the close of the 19th century in Gothic, Manueline and Renaissance styles, it sprouts turrets and towers. It is surrounded by a garden filled with mythological and esoteric symbols -- statues of gods, mysterious wells, ponds, and grottoes. The highlight is an almost supernatural tunnel staircase that symbolizes death leading into a "Garden of Eden," symbolizing "rebirth" or the entrance to Heaven. You are free to look around unguided, although the option of a guided tour is worth taking to get the full flavor of the place.
Quinta do Sanguinhal Winery
This company has produced wine since the beginning of the 20th century. The growing interest in wine related tourism led us to establish tourist visits that allows visitors to share a little of this ancient know-how and provide at the same time a pleasant visit in a unique environment.
The Pereira de Fonseca Family personally invites and welcomes you at Quinta do Sanguinhal. On your visit you will travel through 100 years of Portuguese wine making. They provide an enjoyable alternative to the usual circuits. Their program includes: Walking through the vineyards and in the 19th century gardens around the family house. You’ll visit an old distillery that has been renovated and was in use until 1970. This distillery was where they produced brandies and grappa. The visit also includes a pressing-room with stone and wood manual winepresses dated 1871. And you’ll also see an ageing cellar of liquor wines and brandies with 36 barrels. All of this is followed by the best part - a Tasting!
Built in 1515 as a fortress to guard the entrance to Lisbon's harbor, the Belem Tower was the starting point for many of the voyages of discovery, and for the sailors it was the last sight of their homeland. It is a monument to Portugal's Age of Discovery, often serving as a symbol of the country, and UNESCO has listed it as a World Heritage monument. Built in the Manueline style, it incorporates many stonework motifs of the Discoveries, sculptures depicting historical figures such as St. Vincent and an exotic rhinoceros that inspired Dürer's drawing of the beast. The architect, Francisco de Arruda, had previously worked on Portuguese fortifications in Morocco, so there are also Moorish-style watchtowers and other Moorish influences. Facing the river are arcaded windows, delicate Venetian-style loggias, and a statue of Our Lady of Safe Homecoming, a symbol of protection for sailors on their voyages.
The Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort – Praia D’El Rey
This award-winning five star resort is right by the beach and next to an 18-hole championship golf course. Guests can access an extensive spa equipped with hot tub and massage facilities. The elegant guest rooms at the Praia D´El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort include a bathtub with selected bathroom amenities, TVs with cable and air conditioning. They are classically furnished with a spacious living area. From their private balconies they either offer views of the ocean or of the golf course. Guests can choose from 7 different restaurants, bars and brasseries, serving gourmet dishes from buffets and from the menus. They are scattered throughout the property, offering ocean or pool views. The Praia D´El Rey Marriott also features a well-equipped gym with cardio and fitness activities, a Turkish bath, indoor and outdoor pools. Other sports facilities include tennis and horseback riding, diving & windsurfing. The resort is on the coast, about a 15 minute drive between the cities of Peniche and Óbidos.
Pasteis de Belém
This is a must do when near the monastery in Belem …. the line goes quickly … the price is reasonable... and the pastel de nata is out of this world! …. they are soooooooo good !!!!!! they've been making these pastries since 1837. At the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, in Belém, next to the Jerónimos Monastery there was a sugar cane refinery linked to a small general store. As a result of the liberal revolution of 1820, all convents and monasteries in Portugal were shut down by 1834, the clergy and laborers expelled. In an attempt at survival, someone from the monastery offered sweet pastries for sale in the shop; pastries that rapidly became known as 'Pasteis de Belém'. In 1837, the baking of the 'Pasteis de Belém' was begun in buildings joined to the refinery, following the ancient 'secret recipe' from the monastery. Passed on and known exclusively to the master confectioners who hand-crafted the pastries in the 'secrets room', this recipe remained unchanged to the present day. In fact, the only true 'Pasteis de Belém' contrive, by means of a scrupulous selection of ingredients, to offer even today the flavor of the time-honored Portuguese sweet making.
National Tile Museum
(Museu Nacional do Azulejo)
One of the most notable aspects of Lisbon's alluring architecture is its vibrant ceramic tiles. You might find these Portuguese tiles, or azulejos, adorned on buildings during a walk about town (especially in Alfama), in gift shops (or at the Feira da Ladra), or within the walls of other top city attractions, including some of the palaces or villas that dot Sintra.
If anyone can make a visit to a Tile Museum interesting, it is our professional guide as she explains the story these silent tiles tell. The museum is filled to the brim with tiles of all colors and sizes, some of which date back to the 15th century. Some are simple, with individual tiles decorated with flowers or sailboats, while others are pieced together to create grand murals chronicling people or stories steeped with history. Not only that, but there is information spread throughout detailing how azulejos are made.
Recent visitors enjoyed both the museum's expansive collection as well as the building it's housed in - a former convent. As such, some visitors said the highlight of the visit was the chapel, adorned with not only plenty of azulejos but centuries-old oil paintings, which added an extra layer to the experience.
Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal and the second-oldest capital city of Europe (after Athens!) The city is absolutely gorgeous with scenic vistas from every angle, saturated with rich history found everywhere from the roads to the marvelous architecture. The many treasures of Lisbon will captivate the historian and artist alike with a vintage feel and the charm of having survived many struggles. On the other hand, Lisbon is also home to some of the world’s most contemporary fashions, art, and entertainment. With Lisbon you get the best of both worlds (old and new) with the bonus of being in one of the least expensive capital cities in Europe.
The Maritime Museum
The interesting Maritime Museum is one of the most important in Europe, evoking Portugal's domination of the seas. Its colossal 17,000 items are installed in the west wing of Jeronimos Monastery, and include model ships from the Age of Discovery onward. The oldest exhibit is a wooden figure representing the Archangel Raphael that accompanied Vasco da Gama on his voyage to India. Other highlights are two 18th century ceremonial barges (one of them built for Queen Maria I that remained operational for almost two hundred years, Ceremonial barge in the Maritime Museum transporting famous passengerssuch as Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Queen Elizabeth II of England), a
19th century royal cabin from the yacht of Queen Amelia, the seaplane
"Santa Cruz" that made the first crossing of the south Atlantic in 1922, the world's largest collection of astrolabes, and replicas of 16th century maps showing the world as it was known then. A 1645 terrestrial globe made by the most famous globe maker of all time, Willem Jansz Blaeu, is also of note,as is the Far East Room and its interesting display of porcelain and Asiaticships, and 15th century Japanese armor. This is a great way to remember the story of Portugal's pioneering role in world exploration at sea.
Nestled along the Atlantic seaboard Portugal is a country of Discoverers waiting to be discovered by you. Offering more days of sunshine per year(300+) than any other country in Europe, it is ideal for golfers. Portugal offers an exceptional range of diverse landscapes in close proximity, superb cuisine, fine wines and hospitable people. Situated in the extreme south-west of Europe, just a 6-8 hour non-stop flight from four US Gateways(MIA, EWR, BOS & PHI), the country has an excellent infrastructure and impressive venue options to complement its storied history, world class golf, fantastic climate and warm culture. Our trip includes first class hotels, sumptuous cuisine, a selection of Portugal’s finest golf courses and outstanding sightseeing when we are not on the links. Join our fantastic Golf and Touring Adventure!
All of Obidos has been declared a national monument. It is known as the "Wedding Present Town" because it was a gift King Dinis gave to Queen Isabel on their wedding day in 1282, but that alone is not what makes it such an extraordinarily romantic place -- what make it one of Europe's most romantic medieval villages are its incredibly picturesque cobblestone streets lined with colorful houses filled with geraniums and bougainvillea, Gothic doorways and windows, whitewashed churches, flowerpots and dazzling tiles -- all encircled by the walls of a 12th century castle. Scaling its 13m (45ft)-high medieval walls is the best way to admire this picture postcard-perfect place. The main street ("Rua Direita") leads from the town gate (decorated with 18th century tile panels) to the main square (Praça de Santa Maria). It has a beautiful fountain, a 15th century pillory, the Town Museum (with exhibits ranging from archeological finds to 15-17th centuries sculpture and paintings), and Santa Maria Church. That's where 10-year-old King Afonso V married his 8-year-old cousin Isabel in 1444, with an interior entirely faced with tiles and containing the tomb of João de Noronha, the castle governor who died in 1575. Close by is Misericordia Church (with a fine Baroque doorway), while outside the walls is the Amoreira Aqueduct, built at the behest of Catherine of Austria in 1575. Every July a Medieval Fair recreates the Middle Ages with medieval music, knights, witches, and theater performances, and during the International Chocolate Festival in November, Obidos becomes the world's chocolate capital with incredible chocolate sculptures.
The Jeronimos Monastery is the most impressive symbol of Portugal's power and wealth during the Age of Discovery. King Manuel I built it in 1502 on the site of a hermitage founded by Prince Henry the Navigator, where Vasco da Gama and his crew spent their last night in Portugal in prayer before leaving for India. It was built to commemorate Vasco Da Gama's voyage and to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for its success. Vasco da Gama's tomb was placed inside by the entrance, as was the tomb of poet Luis de Camões, author of the epic The Lusiads in which he glorifies the triumphs of Da Gama and his compatriots. Other great figures in Portuguese history are also entombed here, like King Manuel and King Sebastião, and poets Fernando Pessoa and Alexandre Herculano.
Across from Jeronimos Monastery, reached via an underpass by its gardens, is the Discoveries Monument, built on the north bank of the Tagus River in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator. It represents a three-sailed ship ready to depart, with sculptures of important historical figures such as King Manuel I carrying an armillary sphere, poet Camões holding verses from The Lusiads, Vasco da Gama, Magellan, Cabral, and several other notable Portuguese explorers, crusaders, monks, cartographers, and cosmographers, following Prince Henry the Navigator at the prow holding a small vessel. The only female is queen Felipa of Lancaster, mother of Henry the navigator, the brain of the discoveries. Inside is an exhibition space with temporary exhibits, an interesting film about the city of Lisbon, and an elevator that takes visitors to the top for some bird's-eye views of Belem and its monuments. The pavement in front of the monument is decorated with a mosaic that was offered by the South African government in 1960, representing a compass with the map of the world charting the routes taken by the Portuguese explorers.
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Tuesday - Arrive at Lisbon Airport & Transfer to hotel – Relax & Enjoy Welcome Dinner in hotel -- stay at Palácio Estoril Hotel Golf & Spa – Estoril
Wednesday -We play at Penha Longa, former host course of the Portuguese Open -- Local Dinner, stay at Palácio Estoril Hotel Golf & Spa – Estoril
Thursday - Guided Tour of Jeronimos Mosterio, Belem Tower, lunch at Pastels de Belem & more -- stay at Palácio Estoril Hotel Golf & Spa – Estoril
Friday -Transfer to Play Praia D’El Rey GC – Check into Marriott Praia D’El Rey -- Dinner at hotel stay at Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf Resort
Saturday - Play West Cliffs GC – A new course that promises to be one of the best.-- Local DInner, stay at Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf Resort
Sunday - Guided Tour of the Medieval town of Obidos then visit a Vineyard enjoy wine and Dinner-- stay at Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf Resort
Monday - Play a second round on West Cliffs GC – Enjoy Dinner at Hotel -- stay at Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf Resort
Tuesday - Guided Tour of Sintra a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- stay at Grande Real Villa Italia – Cascias
Wednesday - Free day to explore Cascias
Thursday - Final round of golf on Portugal’s # 1 rated coastal gem, Oitavos Dunes. Farewell Dinner at Grande Real Villa Italia – Cascias
Friday - Depart from Lisbon Airport
The most famous building in Sintra is Pena Palace. Built in the 1840s, it is one of Europe's most fantastic palaces, often compared to Neuschwanstein and the other mock-medieval castles of Ludwig of Bavaria in Germany, although it was actually built more than two decades before those. It includes a drawbridge, a conglomeration of turrets, ramparts, and domes, and a gargoyle above a Neo-Manueline arch, all washed in an array of pastel shades. Pena Palace The extravagant interior is decorated in late Victorian and Edwardian furnishings, rich ornaments, paintings, and priceless porcelain preserved just as the royal family left them. Other highlights include the spacious ballroom, the marvelous "Arab Room", and an impressive 16th-century chapel altarpiece (part of an original convent founded to celebrate the first sight of Vasco da Gama's returning fleet).