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Sports and Leisure in Portugal

Despite its size, Portugal offers a great variety of terrain, with a wide range of sports and leisure activities to match. Golf and tennis facilities have been well established for many years, and in the south the mild climate means that both sports can be enjoyed all year round. Other activities such as walking, cycling, riding and water sports are also widely enjoyed and easily arranged. Tennis courts are found almost everywhere in Portugal and certainly alongside most tourist facilities. In the Algarve, most of the courts in tourist complexes are hard-surfaced, although elsewhere many are clay. The larger resorts in the Algarve, Madeira and the Estoril Coast & Sintra region offer tennis coaching holidays.

Portugal's resorts are also famous for their golf courses, which include some of Europe 's finest. The majority offer coaching for golfers of all abilities and specialist holidays are now easy to arrange. Although most of Portugal's best courses exist in the Algarve and the Estoril Coast, although more are being built in Portugal's lesser-known regions such as on the west coast and in the north of the country. Walkers will find excellent conditions in both the Montesinho Natural Park and the Peneda-Gerês National Park, but some of Portugal's best walks are on Madeira and the islands of São Miguel and São Jorge in the Azores. In Madeira, visitors can walk alongside the levada irrigation channels, some of which date back to the 15th century. Following the levadas allows access to parts of the island where no roads can penetrate. Other areas are well suited to mountain biking, particularly in the Peneda-Gerês National Park which has many scenic routes. Portugal also enjoys a famous riding tradition as a result of the country's fine Lusitano horses.

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