Boasting 150 km of white-sand beaches, the Algarve coast is one of the very best golfing destinations in the world. Plenty of world-class golf courses, together with the excellent weather, and breathtaking scenery of southern Portugal, ensures that a golfing getaway in the Algarve is always a sheer delight.
Your golf holiday will truly be memorable when you also visit the quaint towns and villages, dine on the delicious Portuguese cuisine served in the many restaurants, and enjoy the abundant nightlife.
So which Algarve courses should you play on your holiday? While some will undoubtedly disagree on which courses should makes the top five, here is a selection of superb courses for you to consider.
With holes available for those at all skill levels, the 18-hole, Par 71 Benamor features gorgeous views of the Atlantic to the south, and the hills of the Serra do Caldeirão to the north. There are chipping and putting greens, a driving range, a restaurant with a bar, as well as a suitably supplied pro-shop. Benamor provides a challenge along with stunning scenery, beginning with the first hole with its Par 4 dogleg that ends in an elevated green surrounded by bunkers, to the last hole, a 512-meter, Par 5 with a beautiful Algarvean church in the background. The challenges inherent in each hole vary, with the main issue being getting around the mature trees that were not removed when the course was established in 2000, rather than dealing with lots of bunkers.
Right beside the Atlantic in the Western Algarve, spectacular ocean views are abundant. Established in 2002, this Par 71, 18-hole championship course features a layout that blends in well with its natural surroundings. Five of the holes have water obstacles and the course presents a broad array of challenges. The ocean glittering in the background on the 7th, Par 4 hole is one example of the picturesque distractions that make this course enjoyable and thrilling to play on.
This 18-hole, Par 71 course is one of the most scenic golf courses in Algarve, with views overlooking the shoreline, the old town, and the bay of Lagos. Besides the usual golfing challenges, your attention may waver to the blooming shrubs, magnificent acacias, and almonds, as well as the Meia Praia sand dunes along five holes. Begin at the practice driving range and putting areas to ready yourself for the challenges of the almost 6,000 yard course. The 5th hole presents the greatest challenge, with its 550-meter length and cramped fairway. Clubs, trolleys and buggies can be rented and a restaurant and bar is available.
4. Quinta da Ria
Presenting mountain and sea views, this splendid Par 72 course has plenty of hazards with five lakes and more than 300 olive and carob trees. Lying around the perimeter, the back nine holes present a difficult 90-degree dogleg with a large lake at the 14th hole. Besides a golf school, a putting green, and a driving range there is a clubhouse with a bar.
5. Vale do Lobo
Sir Henry Cotton designed Vale do Lobo, which is comprised of two 18-hole courses: The Royal and The Ocean. The Par 3, 16th hole of the Royal course, with its seaside setting and surrounded by umbrella pines, orange, olive, and eucalyptus trees, is one of the most frequently photographed golfing holes in Europe. Golf Digest mentioned the 18-hole, Par 71 Ocean course as one of the top three in Portugal. Among the facilities are a driving range, putting and chipping greens, a practice net, a pro shop, and a swimming pool.
Whichever Algarve golf courses you think should be in the top 5, you will not be disappointed with any of those we have described above. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these are all highly popular courses and so you should book your Algarve tee times well in advance of your holiday to avoid any disappointment.