Lisbon sports tourism surf school

Why Lisbon Is An Idyllic Sports Tourism Destination

By James Dempsey

What is the dream of a Sports Fan? Watch their team win the World Cup? Perhaps meet their sporting idol or being ringside for the fight of the year. Sports fans now more than ever want to experience electric moments and create long-lasting memories. By attending sporting events the traveller becomes immersed in the people, culture and history of the region. Of course, we would all love to attend huge events such as the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup, but now more than ever European cities host an array of large-scale sporting events and frequent sporting activities for all ages. Lisbon, the Capital of Portugal, has become a leader in sports tourism.

Lisbon surf holidays for families

Photo courtesy of Surf Lisbon

Why Lisbon Is An Idyllic Sports Tourism Destination
1. Football tourism in Lisbon

With over 3.5 billion fans around the globe, Soccer is the leading sport. But who is the best player is a question often asked by fans and pundits. Normally the answer is either Lionel Messi, a silky Argentinean, or Cristiano Ronaldo, the powerful charismatic Portuguese Winger. Cristiano Ronaldo has single-handedly transformed soccer in Portugal and has given his country countless proud moments.

Football tourism in Lisbon Cristiano Ronaldo

Born in the island of Madeira, Ronaldo began his career at the historic Sporting Lisbon Club. This is where the love affair of Ronaldo and soccer fans began. Now 17 years and over 700 goals later, soccer fans want to see where this once in a generation talent learned his trade.

Sporting Lisboa offers a top-class interactive tour and museum which is sure to be a hit with fans. Tours offer full behind the scenes access to the whole stadium and its facilities. The José Alvalade is one of the world’s most iconic stadiums and has hosted Champions League and European Cup finals.

Fans experience the players tunnel to the pitch, press conference room, changing rooms as well as walking on the pitch itself. The final piece of the tour sees fans visit the historic museum. Here fans can see countless trophies, boots worm by players and jerseys of all of its stars. This is a section completely dedicated to Cristiano Ronaldo where fans can get an insight into the player’s time at Sporting Lisbon. (, 2019)

What’s a better way than experiencing soccer in Lisbon than attending a Benfica vs Sporting Lisbon match? We all love derby matches no matter what the sport is. There is always an added aggression and increased competitiveness. The derby of Lisbon between Benfica and Sporting Lisbon is one of the most iconic.

Originating in 1907 these clubs are located just 20 minutes away from each other. Match days are colourful events with the city becoming separated in different colours. With these two teams being two of the very best in Europe tickets can be hard to find for Visitors. However, fan zones are set up around the city which fans can enter for free. Here you can experience a game-day atmosphere with large screens and a bar.

2. Golf Tourism in Lisbon

Lisbon is amongst the very best for a fantastic golf break. With numerous different packages on offer and with over 100 courses in Portugal, it can be very difficult to choose your golfing holiday. Firstly you must choose Lisbon over the Algarve. Lisbon and its courses have so much more to offer. Lisbon’s coastline is much more breathtaking and golfing is a fantastic way to travel the area.

With top-class resorts and golf courses in such close proximity to the city, there is so much for golfers to do when they are not on the course. But with over 40 courses in a 40km radius of Lisbon, How do you choose? It is simple there are three courses which you simply must play!!!

  1. West Cliffs Golf Course

This brand-new course only opened in 2017 but has already earned the reputation of being one of Europe’s very best. Located only one hour north of Lisbon it is a must-play course for golf lovers. With views of the Atlantic on every hole, the course fits in perfectly with its natural surroundings.

sports tourism Lisbon West Cliffs Golf Course
Photo courtesy of West Cliffs Golf Course

With five tee boxes to choose from it is suited to players of all levels. There is also high-class accommodation available at the golf course which gives players the opportunity to play the course as often as they like! Green fees and club hire cost about 80 euro during the summer months.

The clubhouse Steak house restaurant offers high-class meals overlooking the Atlantic, with a two-course dinner costing between 35 and 40 euro. (, 2019)

2. Lisbon Sports Club

Open since 1861, this is one of the most historic courses in Portugal if not Europe. With competitive prices, fast-playing greens, spectacular views and top-class Portuguese cuisine, this is a course not to be missed.

Situated in Belas just 20 kilometres from Lisbon, this course is nestled in a valley with multiple forests, high plains and deep sand dunes: it really has it all. Layed out very much like a Scottish course, this offers golfers a once in a lifetime opportunity to play a typical Irish or Great British links course in striking sunshine!!!

Lisbon Sports Club

Photo courtesy of Lisbon Sports Club

Once you have made the last putt you can retreat to the beautiful veranda restaurant overlooking the course to get the evening party started! Green fees cost 65 euro for one round. (, n.d.)

3. Montado Hotel and Golf Course

Are you one of those people who like to go play a round of golf and then go lay by the pool all day? If so look no further than this fantastic resort. This is a very affordable resort with great Room and golf packages. It offers a full-scale resort with great leisure facilities and dining options. The Golf course itself is known for hosting a variety of top-class competitions.

This par 72 course is known for its 18th hole. Here the entire green is set on an individual island surrounded by water, which means the whole round often comes down to who can survive the last hole! This resort sells packages of 7 nights bed and breakfast with 5 rounds of golf starting from 850 euro per person in the peak season. The nearby town of Pamela is bursting cool authentic restaurants and cool bars, it also offers much money value than eating out in the city centre. (, n.d.)

3. Surfing Holidays Lisbon

As you know we are blessed to be surrounded by some of the world’s best beaches. However, what’s better than toppling waves in Strandhill or Lahinch? Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to hype yourself up every time to get into the freezing cold water!!!

Well, that’s where Lisbon comes into hand. Hop onto a 3-hour flight and you will soon be basking in sunshine and riding some of Europe’s biggest waves. The majority of Portugal’s surfing hot spots are located just 40 minutes from the city centre. This makes Lisbon a Fantastic base for your next surfing holiday! Of course, when you hear Lisbon and surfing, there is one beach which will come to your mind straight away.

The famous Carcavelos beach is known for getting constantly good waves all year round. It is just a 10-minute drive from the city centre. Located along the Lisbon-Cascais shoreline, this beach is 1.5km of pure golden sand.

Thanks to its barrelling beach break, surfing at Carvavelos has options for all abilities. The nearby Carcvaelos surf hostel rent surfboards and other equipment at reasonable prices which saves the hassle of travelling around Lisbon with a surfboard. It is recommended to visit between September and April as the Summer months can be extremely overcrowded!


Every year Carvavelos hosts the Billabong Pro which is well worth checking out. Here you can watch the worlds best surfers compete for points on the World Qualifying series. If you want to take a break between surfing the waves, Carvavelos has fantastic facilities for tourists to enjoy. Along the promenade, there is an array of cool beach bars, tiki bars, local coffee shops and not to mention the great restaurants which offer fantastic seafood options at competitive prices. Surf Lisbon House and School offer cheap and cheerful accommodation just 200 metres from the beach. (Hallahan, 2016)

If you are looking for something a little different then look no further than Costa de Caparica.

This lively resort town is located just 20 minutes south of the city centre. It is known as a local secret, as tourists don’t really know much about it, so don’t tell your friends!

The area is known for its traditional heritage, colourful fishing boats and fantastic seafood. The coastline extends for 24km making it Europe’s longest sandy shoreline. There are countless surfing hotspots along the shore. If visiting Lisbon during the summer months, Costa de Caparica is where you need to go.

It’s a lot less crowded than Carcavelos and there is always plenty of space available. The Costa de Caparica is very attractive to beginners as there is many surf schools offering lessons at competitive prices. Accommodation is also plentiful and is a little bit cheaper than staying in the city centre. Aldeia dos Capuchos and Tryp Lisboa Carpacia Mar are both well worth checking out.

Now more than ever we are seeking authentic experiences when choosing a destination for our next holiday. We wish to become immersed in the region and everything it has to offer. Lisbon offers soo much for the adventure-seeking traveller. Whether you want to engage in a variety of sports or simply go watch a soccer game, there is something for everyone.

This article is one of a series about Lisbon. To discover more and get excellent information about this city, head over to the Lisbon Portugal Travel Guide.

As the topic of sustainability is so important, you may be interested to learn more about Why Lisbon Is A Top Sustainable Destination by Eduardo Lera Latorre

If you are considering relocating or retiring to Portugal, you may find this article about relocation and retirement to Portugal of interest. It is written by a relocation expert. Doctor Valentino Coletto.
Other articles featured in this Lisbon series are:

4 thoughts on “Why Lisbon Is An Idyllic Sports Tourism Destination”

  1. Thanks James a great piece of journalism. I had an itch to go to Lisbon before reading this, but after reading this piece I’m on the next flight over. Thanks sir

    1. Jackie De Burca

      Thanks very much, Pa for your comment about James’ article. It is a very good piece of writing.

      Best wishes,
      Jackie De Burca

  2. I am so happy I found your blog and I absolutely love your information about why Lisbon is an idyllic sports tourism destination and the tips you have shared are awesome. I liked and it is wonderful to know about so many things that are useful for all of us! Thanks a lot for this amazing blog!!

    1. Jackie De Burca

      Hi Warren,

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment. 🙂 That article was by one of our student group that visited Lisbon in January of this year.

      Hopefully, you will manage to get there one day when it is safe to travel.

      Take care,

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