Travelling off-season to Lisbon brings with it all sorts of benefits. Hotel room rates tend to be cheaper, the city is less crowded, and thanks to Portugal’s mild winter climate, the weather is, for the most part, warm and dry.
This is good news for sports fans and the more adventurous tourist. In fact, it’s possible to follow a one-day itinerary and take advantage of the city’s numerous outdoor activity options, many of which are played out along Lisbon’s expansive coastline.
On the green at Oitavos Dunes Golf Course — Photo courtesy of Paul Bernhardt
Golfers are in for a treat. In Portugal, the best time to play is during the off-season, from November to April, and there are some excellent golf courses located around the Portuguese capital, especially near the resort town of Cascais and along the Guincho coast. One of these is Oitavos Dunes Golf Course, a natural links layout that is rated by Golf magazine as the second best course in Europe.
By teeing off early morning either here or at other courses like nearby Golf do Estoril or Penha Longa - situated in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains - players can sink the final putt around midday before taking lunch in the clubhouse or heading into Cascais and grab a table at Duke’s for a good old pub lunch. Afterwards, you might want to work it all off with a spot of mountain biking or horse riding. Perhaps a jeep safari is more your thing? How about a kayak tour? Sounds good? Well, the great outdoors is what Guincho Adventours is all about. This free-spirited tour company also offers surf and wind surfing lessons at nearby Guincho beach, a renowned watersports location.
Winter surfers on the beach before taking to the waves. — Photo courtesy of Paul Bernhardt
However, if you’d prefer to tread the boards nearer the city, then nip on the train to Carcavelos Beach a broad swathe of sand near Lisbon where the Carcavelos Surf School is situated. Here, top-notch instructors will have novices hanging ten in no time at all while more seasoned exponents can polish their technique in clear Atlantic waters. Off-season, the ocean is chilly and wetsuits are needed, but warm winds and an abundance of sunshine means you can hang out in colourful and snazzy Billabong and O’Neill clobber and blend in with the other young, fashionable surfistas.
A pair of mountain bikers pause to admire an Atlantic Ocean sunset. — Photo courtesy of Paul Bernhardt
Back in town, We Hate Tourism Tours operate all year round. Lisbon is this whacky and offbeat company’s backyard and the great thing about signing up for one of the their fabulous King of the Hills tours is that the hoards of summer tourists have long departed leaving the city wonderfully empty and yours to explore.