Oeste, the Portuguese for west, stretches for over 200km along the ruggedly beautiful Atlantic coastline between Portugal’s two main cities, Lisbon and Oporto. The region’s must-see site is the stunning medieval town of ?“bidos.
Unlike more famous and populated regions in the south of the country, here you can discover pretty villages and a real Portuguese way-of-life amongst stunning coastal scenery, including some of the best beaches in Europe. So much of this area has yet to be undiscovered by the mass tourism market, guaranteeing you a beach to yourself.
The landscape is indeed rather special, starting off from Castelo de Paiva, all the way down south to Arruda dos Vinhos, you will be amazed by the picturesque fishing towns (Nazaré, Peniche, Ericeira) and the beautiful lagoon of ?“bidos that links to the stunning beach of Foz do Arelho.
(Above: Castelo de ?“bidos)
The weather is invariably one of perfect blue skies, providing the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities including water sports, hiking or camping in the lush green surrounding land. The balmy weather and the white sandy beaches offer one of the choices between practicing water sports and enjoying the calm life of the seaside.
Golf with a sea-view
While the Algarve is famous the world over for its golf, the lesser-known Oeste region is rapidly earning a reputation too for its world-class fairways. The gentle rolling hills set against the backdrop of huge skies and deep oceans make this a golfer’s paradise.
The recent opening of the new Bom Sucesso course near Praia D’El Rey is welcoming more and more golfers from around Europe, as word spreads about the Donald Steel-designed course. The legendary Seve Ballesteros has also designed some courses in the pipeline.
Jewel of the Oeste
Set along a beautiful sandy beach less than one hour from Lisbon, in an area of protected rural landscape of rolling sand dunes and pine tree forests, Praia D’El Rey Golf & Beach Resort epitomises the charm of the Oeste region. With year-round sunshine, a championship links golf course, luxury accommodation, world-class spa and a vast range of outdoor activities, this is the best holiday location under the sun. The resort will also play host to the World Travel Awards Europe Ceremony this autumn.
It is luxury hotel is worthy of a capital city, whilst overlooking a sandy beach on one of Europe’s most serene and natural coastlines. Book into the resort’s spa and health club and get down to some serious relaxation therapy.
The resort also has much to offer outside its gates. History is to hand, including nearby Peniche, a pretty and unspoilt ancient fishing port, known for the sprawling landmark fortress overlooking its harbour, as well as some of Portugal’s finest surfing.
But while the days are hot, the area around Praia D’El Rey is prized by sunbathers for its empty, pristine beaches, especially those near Baleal, a small island village five minutes from the resort.
Almost every town near Praia D’El Rey can trace its history back to the 12th century but the most famous is ?“bidos, 15 minutes from the resort but a whole world away. Its untouched town centre is medieval in feel and many of its buildings date back to the time of the Conquests, their whitewashed and ochre walls and blue-framed windows and doors crying out to be photographed.