The best independent guide to the Algarve
The best independent guide to the Algarve
The Algarve is one of Europe’s premier locations for golf. The region has it all for golfers, with fantastic year-round weather, 31 premium courses and world-class tourism facilities.
The Golden Triangle is the unofficial name given to the resort communities of Vilamoura, Vale do Lago and Quinta do Lago, where many of the Algarve’s golf courses are situated. However, there are many outstanding courses throughout the entire region.
The 10 best golf courses in the Algarve are:
1) Monte Rei (North Course) 2) Dom Pedro Old Course 3) Quinta do Lago (South Course) 4) San Lorenzo 5) Palmares 6) Amendoeira (O’Connor) 7) Quinta de Cima 8) Vale Do Lobo (Royal Course) 9) Penina (Championship Course) 10) Dom Pedro (Victoria)
Insight: Links to each of the courses are provided at the end of the guide.
The interactive map below shows the location of the 10 best golf courses in the Algarve:
Key: 1) Monte Rei 2) Dom Pedro Old Course 3) Quinta do Lago 4) San Lorenzo 5) Palmares 6) Amendoeira 7) Quinta de Cima 8) Vale Do Lobo 9) Penina 10) Dom Pedro (Victoria)
Playing down the 18th on the Millenium course in Vilamoura
Vilamoura, the mecca for golfing, was built around six challenging courses that host some of the world’s best in tournament play throughout the year. A twenty-minute drive from Faro International Airport (20 kilometers), it’s no surprise that several of the best courses in Portugal can be found here. Dom Pedro, a name synonymous with golf venues in Portugal and perhaps all of Europe, has lent its name to five of the six courses in the town.
The Dom Pedro Victoria course, designed by golfing legend Arnold Palmer, is considered to be the most challenging course in Europe. It has hosted the Portugal Masters Tournament since 2007, and the well-known World Cup Championship was held there in 2005. Comprised of 90 hectares, the landscape includes typical vegetation of carob, olive and almond trees, along with natural wetlands and lakes. Golfers are offered five to six teeing options per hole, expansive, rolling fairways, water hazards and smartly positioned bunkers.
Dom Pedro Victoria: Green fees from €164, 18-holes, one course.
The Dom Pedro Old Course, also in Vilamoura, is considered the Grande Dame of golf courses. One of the first established courses in the area, it was designed by Frank Pennink and is highly regarded. Located just a twenty-minute drive from Faro International Airport, the course is set amidst green, rolling hills and stately pine trees.
Dom Pedro Old Course: Green fees from €109, one course, 18-holes.
Dom Pedro Golf - www.dompedrogolf.com
The Old Course at Vilamoura
To the east of Vilamoura is the resort complex of Quinta do Lago. This golfers paradise offers three world-class golf courses (Laranjal, South and North) and is set among 2,000 hectares of rolling countryside and cooling pine forests.
The Laranjal course, set in the middle of an orange grove - as the name suggests in Portuguese - was designed by Jorge Santana de Silva. Named Portugal’s Best Golf Course in 2011 by the Portuguese Travel Awards, the course has challenged players since it first opened in 2008. Spread out over 6,480 meters in length, the rolling landscape offers golfers a world-class experience.
Quinta do Lago – Laranjal: Green fees start at €114, one course, 18-holes.
The South course, a favourite among tour professionals, is set against the background of the Ria Formosa Natural Park and often is featured in golf magazines around the world. Strategically placed hazards of various difficulties pose a challenge to professionals and amateurs alike. Green fees start at €132.
Quinta do Lago – South: Green fees start at €132, one course, 18 holes
The North course was redesigned at a cost of €9 million in 2014 by renowned architect Beau Welling and Paul McGinley, former European Ryder Cup captain, to ensure it had the highest standards. Players of all levels will enjoy the undulating terrain, crafty bunkers and water challenges.
Quinta do Lago – North: Green fees start at €114 , one course, 18 holes.
The Quinta do Lago complex is also home to the Paul McGinley Golf Academy, along with Europe’s only Taylor-made performance centre - a state-of-the-art facility to evaluate a player’s current level and help them improve their game. A driving range and practice facilities also serve to help players improve, all set among a backdrop of stunning scenery.
Quinta do Lago: www.quintadolago.com
San Lorenzo Golf Course, also in Quinta do Lago, is the famed, award-winning, grand showpiece of the golf community. Situated within the picturesque Ria Formosa Estuary and Nature Reserve, the fairways hug the saltwater marshes and freshwater lagoons, with views of the sea in the distance. Considered one of the best courses in the world, it has continually won awards. Designed by American golf architects Joseph Lee and Rocky Roquemore, it features Bermuda grass fairways, a pro shop, changing facilities, a bar and restaurant.
San Lorenzo: Green fees start at €142, one course, 18-holes.
San Lorenzo: sanlorenzogolfcourse.com/
Vale do Lobo golf course is located between Faro Airport and Vilamoura, and serves to accommodate players of all levels. Two courses (Royal and Ocean) take golfers through forests of fig trees to the cliffs overlooking the coast. The clubhouse hosts a golf academy, fitness centre, changing rooms with lockers, and trolley and buggy rentals. When hunger strikes, head to Spikes restaurant for a tasty lunch, or enjoy sipping cocktails with friends.
Vale do Lobo: Green fees start at just €69, two course, 36 holes
Vale Do Lobo: https://www.valedolobo.com
The Royal Course at Vale de Lobo
Close to the beaches of Albufeira in Alcantarilha is the Amendoeira Golf Resort. A thirty-minute drive from Faro airport, the resort features two world-class golf courses (False, O’Connor Jr), along with an illuminated, 9-hole night course (The Academy Course).
Designed by Nick Faldo, The False Course presents players with a strategic game that requires careful play to achieve decent results. A modern twist includes cacti, wild herbs, limestone rock, oak and olive trees to replace the more traditional fauna on the course.
The O’Connor Jr. Course, designed by Christy O’Connor himself, is a demanding course of watercourses, lakes and palm trees spread out over a sprawling oasis. And lastly, The Academy Course, the only illuminated course in Portugal, has become a favourite at the resort. It provides the perfect spot for anyone who wants to improve their short game on the nine-hole course.
Amendoeira Golf: Green fees start at €150, three courses, 45 holes.
Palmares was one of the original courses in the Algarve, which underwent major remodeling in 2011 to transform it into one of the region’s finest courses. Within Palmares are three 9-hole courses, which means a total of 27 holes could be played while admiring the beautiful ocean views. It is known for its challenging layout, with a mix of holes that are enjoyable for all types of play.
Palmares golf course along the Meia Praia beach
On the western side of the Algarve, near the town of Lagos, is Espiche Golf. This course was designed to integrate fully into the landscape, keeping the natural flora and fauna. This challenging course features tree-lined fairways, rolling greens, bunkers and lakes that require the players to have precise technique. The clubhouse is the perfect spot to relax with friends or grab a bite to eat at the Gecko restaurant, which serves farm-to-table delights.
Espiche Golf: Green fees start at €79, one course, 18 holes.
Espiche Golf: www.espichegolf.pt/
In the eastern Algarve, near the popular haven of Tavira, there are several other choices of golf resorts.
Monte Rei Golf & Country Club, a fifty-minute drive (65 kilometres) to Faro airport, may be well worth the journey for the golfing connoisseur. This award-winning Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, consistently rated number one in Portugal, is set between the mountains of the Serra do Caldeirão and the Atlantic Ocean. A golfer’s paradise, the course challenges players of all levels. Included in the resort are luxury accommodations, a clubhouse, swimming pools and tennis courts. This is one of the most exclusive golf courses of the Algarve and the green fees reflect this.
Monte Rei Golf: Green fees start at €220, one course, 18 holes.
Monte Rei: www.monte-rei.com
In the village of Castro Marim, famous for its salt pans, sits the Quinta do Vale Golf Resort. Designed by world-famous player Severiano Ballesteros, the challenging, 75-hectare course boasts undulating terrain for a unique perspective to players of all levels. Castro Marim is a 45-minute drive from Faro airport (62 kilometres).
Quinta do Vale: Green fees start at €67, one course, 18 holes.
Quinta do Vale: quintadovalegolf.com/
Quinta da Ria and Cima Golf Resort is located close to the picturesque village of Vila Nova de Cacela, a 45-minute drive (60 kilometres) from the airport. The two 18-hole courses (the Quinta da Cima and Quinta da Ria) have been integrated into the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve, an area of protected wetlands and rich habitat for native species. Designed by architect Rocky Roquemore, golfers are treated to tranquil ocean vistas, islands of golden sand and mountain views.
The Quinta da Cima is a championship course, that features wide fairways, well-positioned bunkers, and lakes and streams that make for challenging play. Here even the most experienced players need to be on their game. Proper club choices and continual concentration will ensure the best experience on this difficult but spectacular course.
Quinta da Ria is another 18-hole course, with stunning sea views overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the beach of Cacela Vela. Set among carob and olive trees, the course boasts five lakes surrounded by flat terrain. The memorable 17th hole includes a small island that is now a sanctuary for endangered birds.
Quinta da Ria and Cima: Green fees start at €74, two courses, 36 holes.
Quinta da Ria: quintadaria.com/