Best Golf Courses in Portugal
If you are considering a golf holiday to Portugal and you are looking to play some of the countries highest ranked golf courses, then this blog is ideal for you, it should give you some brief background about each golf course and help you on choosing what golf courses to play before booking your next golf break.
A hot bed for Golf Breaks for over 30 years, Portugal has some of the very best Golf Resorts and Courses to visit on many Golf Holidays. Always a firm favourite with British holidaymakers due to its mild winter temperatures combined with the glorious highs seen between April and October. With two major airports in Faro and Lisbon (albeit this is also an airport in Porto if you want to go further north) you should not have far to travel after only a short 3 hour flight, to get to your preferred Golf Holiday destination.
Algarve – 25 minutes from Faro Airport
A Golf Holiday favourite for many years San Lorenzo is a real through back to before the ‘resort’ course became apparent all over the world. A course set up in a figure of eight which means a number of fascinating dog legged holes. This a real old-fashioned golf club and course where you have to plot yourself around making sure you are on the right side of the fairways, otherwise you will be blocked out – definitely a thinker’s golf course. It is unlikely that you could come of this course having not played all the shots and it is unfortune they do not make them like this anymore.
Monte Rei Golf and Country Club
Eastern Algarve – 45 minutes from Faro Airport
The first Jack Nicklaus design back in 2007 this resort course has gone from strength to strength and is now regarded not only one of the best in Portugal if not the best but one of the best in continental Europe. What Jack has done here is truly magnificent, each hole is practically in its own little valley giving the illusion that you are the only people on the course. If you have seen my Spanish blog you would have seen what I wrote about Finca Cortesin and this place is similar in the piece of land it is built in, the challenge it possesses and very little property encroaching on the golf course. I would also point out that the service at Monte Rei is on par with Finca Cortesin and one of the best seen in Portugal.
Monte Rei has a second Jack Nicklaus course in its final stage of development so in the next few years will be a monster of a resort with 2 first class golf courses to play on a Golf Holiday.
South Course @ Quinta do Lago
Algarve – 15 minutes from Faro Airport
One of the very first resort type courses built in Portugal in 1974. A championship parkland course with generous fairways which has hosted the European Tour’s Portugal Open numerous times. The fairways are lined with tall umbrella pine tree’s and you will be required to move the ball both ways off the tee to avoid being in amongst them. One thing to note is the practice green is significantly slower than the greens on the South Course (which are extremely slick).
There was a huge investment into the resort in 2014 with the redevelopment of the North Course, the building of a golf academy / fitting centre and all this was after they had built the third course on the resort the Laranjal back in 2009.
Praia D’EL Rey Resort
Lisbon (1 hour north of Lisbon airport)
The course here is a wonderful mix of holes set alongside the Atlantic Ocean. There are not many resorts that have successfully built a parkland / Links feel course, but American architect Cabell B. Robinson has 100% achieved it. You will be playing holes that have dense tall pines lining the fairways and then be playing wide open fairways with huge dunes with the wind blowing off the Atlantic, a gorgeous true test of golf. There is also a lovely practice area with a 24-bay driving range accompanied with one of the largest practice putting area you ever seen. Praia D’EL Rey resort also has a 2nd course the West Cliffs which only opened in 2017 but is already being tipped to be one of the best in Portugal and why wouldn’t it? As it was designed by Cynthia Dye (Dye Design Company and niece of legendary architect Pete Dye).
With it being a 5* Marriot Resort I would be surprised if there was a better resort with 2 of the very best golf courses in Europe available in Portugal to go on your Golf Holiday.
With the Algarve being a hugely popular destination for both holiday makers and golfers ‘on tour’ Lisbon could offer something a bit different with a significant amount of architecture on offer. By opting to have a golf holiday in this area you may also be able to save significant money on flights by flying direct to Lisbon when everyone else is flying into Faro.
Vilamoura – Old Course
Algarve – 25 minutes from Faro Airport
I couldn’t look at courses in Portugal without a small mention to probably its most famous Golf Course. Vilamoura old course is just one of those courses that would be on many golfers top 10 to play. Since opening in 1969 Vilamoura has become a real gem in the Algarve. An old-style parkland course where their fairways are lined with huge dense trees which do affect you if you are unable to shape the ball. You will have to have a deft touch on the greens because they are some of the fastest greens you will ever play. To not play Vilamoura would be like going to Scotland and not trying to get a tee time on the old course at St Andrews in my opinion, a course to tick off the bucket list whilst on your Golf Holiday.
Written by Dan Parker from Golf Holidays Direct