Portugal's premier golfing destination

Angela Youngman


Many golfers regard the Algarve as the premier golfing destination worldwide. With an ideal climate, all year round play and nearly 50 courses set within incredibly beautiful locations, the Algarve is also a popular international tournament venue. It is quite simply a golfer’s paradise! And not only that – it is also great for non-playing partners and families since there are miles of beautiful sandy beaches, pretty historic towns, and wonderful countryside to explore.

Prestigious courses

Most of the golf courses in the Ålgarve have been carefully designed to provide serious challenges to the golfers of all abilities. It was in 1966 that Sir Henry Cotton laid out the first golf course on the Algarve, and since then numerous other shave been designed by top players like Rocky Roquemore, Arnold Palmer and Ronald Fream. Many of these championship courses are used to host international tournaments such as Algarve World Cup or the Cup of Nations. The Portugal Masters is part of the PGA European Tour and is held every year at the Vilamoura Victoria Golf course.

Numerous Golf Academies are located throughout the Algarve, and together with the highly skilled Golf Professionals are able to help golfers improve their skills and technique. There are even specific training programmes that can be undertaken during a golfing holiday in the area. Quinta do Lago in Almacilis often used as a winter training base for English Golf’s training squad.  

Golf challenges

There is a vast range of different challenges facing golfers in the Algarve. No two courses are the same. Often there is more than one course available in a location – at Vilamoura there are no less than six championship courses available. Some golf courses are naturally hilly while others are very flat, some are by a beach while others are inland. Just looking at the area between Villamoura, Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo and you can find some very challenging conditions. Hole 6 at Pine Cliffs is actually located on the edge of a ravine – to play it successfully you have to take a shot over the beach! While the nine hole course at the edge of the ocean at Praia d’el Rey means that the vagaries of the sea winds ensures that conditions change every day.

Over at the Royal Golf Course in Vale de Lobo, golfers attempting hole 16 face a demanding Par 3 involving three sea cliffs which stand between the sea and the green. It is said to be the most photographed hole on any golf course in Europe! The 13th Hole at Quinta da Marinha involves a par 4 of 339 metres descending towards the sea while other holes are located within a pine forest.

Then there are the imaginative challenges posed within courses around Sotavento involving the use of a variety of different clubs, or simply avoiding being distracted by the natural panoramic beauty of the area. The Montado Golf Course is set among cork oak woods and on the 18th hole requires golfers to hit the ball across a lake to reach an island.

Beaches, Spas and heritage

Even non-playing partners and families can find lots to do in the Algarve. Golfing resorts such as Quinta Do Lago and Palmares provide superb accommodation and facilities such as spas, cycling, tennis, watersports and fitness activities. Then there are the beaches providing miles upon miles of golden sand interspersed with rocky islets and sheer cliffs along the Atlantic coastline. Head into the heartland of the Algarve to find the pretty spa resort of Caldas de Monchique which offers access to natural thermal and hydrotherapy spas. Alternatively, you can explore historic towns and sites such as the Moorish town of Silvas with its red sandstone castle and Knights Crusader statue, Tavira’s pretty streets, or the town of Lagos with its Discovery Museum relating to the voyages of Christopher Columbus and Vasco Da Gama who set sail from here on the first voyages to America. Nature lovers will enjoy exploring Cape St Vincent with its dramatic cliffs and countless rare birds while on the opposite side of the Algarve is the Castro Marim Nature Reserve and the Guadriana River marking Portugal’s boundary with Spain.


Located on the southern coast of Portugal, the Algarve is renowned for the quality of its tourist facilities. Flights into Faro take less than three hours from the UK and there are good road connections between the airport and all the major towns and resorts within the Algarve. Driving from Faro in the east to the western coastline takes around two hours.  

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