Sports & Fitness

Fitness in Portugal

There is a variety of ways to keep your fitness in Portugal. If you prefer swimming and water sports, there’s the beach; if you prefer a gym, there are many health clubs; and if you prefer team sports, there are many groups to join.

Portugal sports

By Expatica

Updated 8-1-2024

Football in Portugal

Similar to most European countries, football is one of the most popular sports in Portugal. The main domestic competition is the Portuguese Liga. The main clubs that compete are Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Futebol Clube do Porto, and Sporting Clube de Portugal. All three of them have several sports activities but their focus is on football. They have professional teams that participate in European competitions.

Golf courses in Portugal

Portugal has a collection of golf courses for the passionate golfer; although it does not have as many as its neighbor, Spain. There are almost 60 courses of great quality in beautiful locations. The most popular location is the Algarve where the climate is ideal. If you would like to play in the Algarve and make use of discount Green Fees, go to for information about courses, discounts, and prices. If you would like to play anywhere else then visit Some of the good ones in the Lisbon area are the Belas, Estoril, Lisbon Sports Club, Penha Longa, and Quinta da Marinha. Across the river from and within easy reach are the courses of Aroeira, Montado, Quinta de Peru and Troía.

Portuguese horse riding

The Portuguese have a soft spot for horses and the country is considered to be the home of the Lusitano breed. This great, hot-blooded horse has been bred for hundreds of years and is a cross between the Arab and the Pure English Thoroughbred. This type is often chosen to enter in international events and competitions. There are many stables along the coast of the Algarve where you could ask for a course or where to go hacking. The varied grounds allow for enjoyable rides through the countryside. You could try out many areas; such as the Silves, the Alentejo region and the Portimão area. You could also participate in or simply watch dressage competitions. Stables will have horses available, even for the inexperienced riders.

Tennis in Estoril

Tennis is another popular sport that can be played at any time of the year. There are clubs in all major cities and most towns. The center of the sport is in Estoril where an annual tournament attracts many international players from the top ten. In the Algarve, again, you will find many clubs along the coast with multilingual coaches with a friendly atmosphere. Coaching is available for all ages and all levels

Watersports in Portugal

The Portuguese sea provides attractive conditions for surfers. The agreeable temperature of the air and the sea is another advantage. It’s probably the most popular country for this sport in Europe. A famous, challenging spot is the Guincho beach, east of Lisbon. The waves here can be up to three meters high. Be aware that the current can make these waters dangerous. Another popular spot is the Praia Grande on the north coast. In the Algarve, there are many open beaches that bring in the waves from the Western Atlantic Ocean.

Water-skiing is another sport you can attempt in the sea. In the southern Algarve region, there are favorable conditions. It is possible to practice this sport on many days of the year, particularly in the summer. Rivers also offer some good water-skiing areas, so you are not limited to the beach. The sport centers on popular beaches are sure to have equipment you can hire or courses if you would like to learn. If using your own boat, be sure to follow the Portuguese regulations.

Finally, the coast allows you to practice windsurfing. The wind is usually constant in force, averaging between Force 3 to 5. Again, Guincho and Praia Grande beach are famous spots for this sport, and the Algarve will have many centers where you can hire equipment.

A trip to the Azores

The Azores consists of nine islands that are ideal for anyone who craves fitness and some fresh air. You can swim off the coast where the water is exceptionally warm, and there are also natural swimming pools formed by the volcanoes.

Boat trips will allow you to practice all the water sports; surfing, windsurfing, waterskiing, and bodyboarding. You could also try out diving, to observe the underwater caves, shipwrecks and the multicolored fish.

Again, horse riding can also be undertaken on the islands.

There are some unique aspects that you may want to see, such as vegetation, volcanic craters, and lakes. You can take a hike on one of the many paths, with all levels of difficulty available.

Other exciting activities include climbing and caving, where you make your way through dark, sometimes narrow, caves. Even more exhilarating are activities such as hand-gliding, abseiling and ultra-light flying. These provide beautiful views of the island.

The white waters with a strong current of the Minho River are perfect for rafting. The river Tâmega also has great conditions.

All of the activities are available with guides, for any level.

Vocabulary you need to know

Football: Futebol
Golf: Golfe
Horse riding: Equitação
Tennis: Ténis
Surfing: Surf
Water-skiing: Esqui aquático
Windsurfing: Windsurf
Diving: Mergulho
Rafting: Rafting