With over 4,000 golf courses in Europe alone, there are more than enough golf holiday destinations to last you a lifetime. From PGA golf courses and award winning golf courses to five star luxury resorts, Europe’s golfing industry is wickedly overindulged; great news for serious golfers.
Europe not only offers an unmatchable choice of golf courses but the continent’s picturesque backdrops are just an added bonus. The dramatic Italian lakes, the arresting allure of the French mountains and scenic sea views of the Spanish coast; wherever you are in Europe, you won’t be far from a dream golfing holiday.
Here at Golf-Escapes, we’ve hand-picked some of Europe’s finest golf courses and hotels to bring you the ultimate guide to European golf holidays. Read on to find out more about some of Europe’s most coveted golfing destinations.
The varying regions of France provide a rich and interesting choice of golfing destinations. From the tempting vineyards of the South West region to the quiet, hidden gems of Northern France and Pas de Calais, the French golfing experience is simply one not to be overlooked.
Whilst Northern France is often overlooked by tourists in search of sun, sea and coast typical of the Southern coastline, this region has much to offer in terms of history, culture and a never-ending stretch of vineyards. But there’s also the fairytale allure of the South West and its hundreds of French chateaux, making it an impossible choice between the regions. Here are some of our favourites, by region.
REGION: North of France
- Le Touquet La Mer, Pas de Calais – Designed by the legendary Harry Colt, this respected golf course dates back to the 30s and has been cited by many as an architectural wonder. To this day, the course remains a treasured favourite for serious golfers and its spiritual setting amongst the French sand dunes, makes it completely unique. With the challenge of coastal winds and firm, fast greens, this course is nothing short of stimulating.
- Belle Dune, Pas de Calais – the Belle Dune course is ranked by many as one of the best courses across Europe. This traditional links style course sits within the Marquenterre reserve and the area is adorned by the most stunning natural fauna and flora. Much like Le Touquet La Mer, the intense coastal winds promise a challenging and exciting round any time of year.
For something of a grand affair, Hotel Westminster in Côte d’Opale is the perfect French seaside resort, and with a strong relationship with Le Touquet golf course, your stay will truly be seamless. Built in the 1930s, visitors can enjoy the art deco charm of the hotel and with its exceptional NUXE Spa, it’s the perfect base for a luxury family holiday.
If you’re looking for a hotel close to Belle Dune, the gracefully charming Hotel La Terrasse makes a great base for the seaside (20 metres away), the enchanting town centre of Fort Mahon Plage, and various golf courses in the area.
When to Go
Northern France is affected by cold winters and hot summers, an oceanic climate which can be temperamental. The best time to travel is during the summer months but generally, this is peak season for tourism. So if you prefer avoiding the hustle and bustle, try visiting during May/early June or late August/early September.
South West France benefits from a Mediterranean climate and is warm all year round and there’s plenty to do any time you decide to visit.
Other Attractions / Things to Do
The South West coastline is an enviable one and with beautiful towns such as Lourdes, Pau and Perpignan, there’s plenty to explore in this area. A region of vineyards and castles, South West France is a truly magical experience for culture vultures and wine enthusiasts. The Dordogne area alone is said to have more than 1,000 French chateaux and the city of Bordeaux boasts endless vineyards.
In Northern Franc e, you can explore all the small town treasures of Lille, Roubaix, Amiens and Arras. The Nord Pas de Calais region is also home to one of the smelliest cheeses in the world, Vieux Boulogne – perfect for foodies in search of a unique experience.
The up and coming golfing destination of Italy is a dream for all year round golfers. With a mild climate, and a love of great food and drink from the hedonistic nation of pleasure-seekers, a golfing holiday in Italy will be most relaxing. Fantastic scenery, beautiful golf courses and ‘La dolce vita’ attitude, make Italy a desirable choice for golfers.
The Italian way to life is all about enjoyment, indulgence and relaxation. And this is evident in their golf resort industry, which is marked by some of the finest golf clubs in the world. We’ve selected a few leading golf courses by region to help you start your search for luxury in Italy.
- Parco de’ Medici, Rome – located just outside of Rome, the 27-hole Parco de’ Medici golf course makes the ultimate golf getaway in the Lazio region. A perfect mix of golf and city break, this golf club is an easy choice for couples or families looking for a varied itinerary. This elegantly designed course is suitable for all abilities but has a stimulating mix of ponds and waterways, so prepare for an exhilarating game.
- Verdura Golf Course, Sicily – with two 18-hole golf courses to choose from (East Course and West Course), golfers can get all the practice they need whilst enjoying the coastal views of the Sciacca seaside. The West Course brings you closer to the coast with breathtaking views after the 8th or 9th hole, and the East Course has a challenging layout with variations in both direction and elevation.
- Donnafugata, Sicily – also offering two 18-hole courses for your leisure (North Course and South Course), Donnafugata is a soulful sanctuary for serious golfers. With a 5* star resort including spa, luxury seekers will feel right at home.
For your Rome golf break, Sheraton Golf Parco De’ Medici Hotel & Resort is a fine getaway with exceptional reviews. Get the best of both worlds and enjoy a serene holiday, just a few miles away from the hustle and bustle of the dazzling city. Dine at Restaurant Rinascimento, Restaurant Savoia or Restaurant Condottieri then head to one of Sheraton’s three bars for ‘Sheraton Social Hour’ when hotel guests can enjoy a wine-tasting session.
The Donnafugata Resort & Spa is a 5* star paradise ideal for families or couples looking to explore the beautiful island of Sicily. Within the resort, there are three superb restaurants serving fresh Italian cuisine.
Verdura Resort is another 5* star establishment which features a 60-metre infinity pool, 6 tennis courts and a world-class spa.
When to Go
Sicilian weather is sickeningly wonderful all year round, much to the sun-seeker’s delight. Unmatchable weather, picture-perfect landscapes and the most dramatic coastlines; Sicily is simply perfect any time of year.
Between June-August, Rome will see the highest tourist traffic. Queues for the Vatican Museum or St. Peter’s Basilica can be as long as four or five hours. If you visit Rome during peak season, be sure to book your tickets for tourist attractions in advance so you can avoid the queues.
Other Attractions / Things to Do
Italy is known for its blindingly beautiful natural landscapes, incredible works of architecture, love of great food and wine, and its striking coastlines. Together with the Mediterranean weather, an Italian holiday will not disappoint. Discover the Ancient ruins of the capital and spend a day at the Roman Forum and Colosseum, take a thrilling drive along the Amalfi Coast and taste the fresh seafood in Sorrento, or relax on the Sicilian beaches after trekking the volcanos of Etna and Stromboli.
Sheraton Golf Parco De’ Medici guests can enjoy the sights of Rome or get a day bus to the island of Capris, where the famous Blue Grotto caves can be explored with a guided tour.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Spain is the serious golfer’s ultimate holiday destination. With over 300 golf courses and stylish resorts sprinkled across the nation, Spain is a playground for golfers and luxury seekers alike. Here at Golf-Escapes, we focus in on some of the best golf courses and golf hotels in the country.
Home to countless courses which have hosted world championships, a golfing holiday in Spain is quite frankly, second to none. There are high-status golf courses across all regions of Spain and here we have hand-selected just a few of the most prestigious and respected courses.
- El Prat, Barcelona – nine times’ host to the Spanish Open, Real Club de Golf El Prat celebrates 100 years of club history and is managed meticulously to withhold its status as the most important golf club in Spain. With 45 holes designed by Australian golfer, Greg Norman, this is surely one of Europe’s finest resorts.
REGION: Costa Del Sol
- San Roque (Old) – the Old Course at San Roque is truly the pride of the club and its high-status is upheld by a members-only entry, expect for daily public periods which are ideal for tourists and the general public to get a taste of this challenging course. Designed by Dave Thomas and with narrow fairways going through groves and forest, this course promises to be an excellent contest.
REGION: Costa Brava
- PGA Catalunya Stadium Course – cited as one of Europe’s top 50 courses, the Stadium Course at PGA Catalunya has seen rising success since hosting the 2000 Spanish Open. This extensive and hilly course is tough but less advanced golfers can take ease from the five sets of tees; a flexible game for all abilities.
- Club De Campo – with more than 10,000 members, this is Madrid’s biggest sports club. Hosting eight Spanish Opens and other major golf championships, Club De Campo is a must-visit destination for avid golfers.
Stay in the 5* star Rey Juan Carlos Hotel for access to golf courses such as El Prat, Terramar, Llavaneres, or Club de Golf Barcelona; a boundless span of clubs to keep you occupied all week. Also a short walk to the Avenida Diagonal shopping zone and the energetic La Rambla.
La Cala Golf Resort in Costa Del Sol provides a luxury getaway for the whole family, and regularly has special offers for both golf and spa.
If you’re staying in Costa Brava, Emporda Golf Hotel, Golf beach Aparthotel, and Park Hotel San Jorge are all excellent choices with access to a number of golf courses including the PGA Catalunya Stadium Course.
For Madrid’s Club De Campo, there is no other establishment quite as ornate as ME Madrid Reina Victoria, with the grand and extravagant building dating back to 1919. Or for a more boutique experience at a great price, stay at the Petit Palace Puerta del Sol and enjoy free bicycle rental for reconnoitring the artistic city of Madrid.
When to Go
Barcelona is warm and humid in the summer, with high tourist traffic. Late spring is a great time to visit as the weather is pleasingly mild whilst still being outside of peak season.
The summer months see the busiest tourist traffic for Costa Del Sol and Costa Brava, both with soaring heats between June to September. March-May or September-October will be quieter if tranquil is what you’re after and temperatures tend to be mild-hot all year round.
Madrid is one of the liveliest cities in Europe, with a hypnotic energy that runs through the veins of the community, making it an exciting holiday destination at any time of year. But bear in the extreme weather; the Spanish have summed it up on one sentence, “Nueve meses de invierno y tres de infierno”, meaning “Nine months of winter and three months of hell.” So be prepared for sizzling summer heat.
Other Attractions / Things to Do
Barcelona is an art-lover’s paradise, with the awe-inspiring mosaic carvings of Gaudi and a fantastic underground feel with winding backstreets leading to the secreted local haunts (where the best tapas in the world can be found).
Visitors in Costal Del Sol can head to the neighbouring national parks such as El Torcal or Grazalema Natural Park, whilst golfers staying in Costa Brava can easily get to Barcelona for some city culture and great food.
The beguiling city of Madrid charms travellers from all around the world. It’s no wonder with its flavourful history, colourful energy and regionally inspired Spanish cuisine. Tease your taste buds with the country’s most curious concoctions; the profound and hearty fideuá of Valencia, the ever so polished veal terrine of Catalonia, or the mouth-wateringly delectable suckling pig of Castile.
As Europe’s leading golf destination, Portugal is still where our British golfers prefer to return to time and again. It is indeed thanks to British wine exporters for forming Portugal’s oldest golf club Oporto and thanks to the perfect climate Portugal has it all. At Golf-Escapes, we feature the leading hotels, resorts and courses that Portugal has to offer.
The beauty of golf in Portugal is that the stunning championship, world class courses are all easily accessible and welcoming. In fact, you are never far away from a superb golf course in Portugal, regardless of what you are looking for, the quality of the golf courses is second to none.
- Monte Rei – One of the finest golf courses in the world, simply stunning. The design and layout of this Jack Nicklaus Signature course is beautiful in every way. With extensive practice facilities and hole and after hole of visual beauty, any serious golfer simply must experience Monte Rei.
- Praia d’el Rey – Two superb loops of 9 holes make up this renowned course situated an hour northwest of Lisbon, Cabell B Robinson’s masterpiece is considered one of the best courses in Portugal. Running alongside the coast the views here are simply picture perfect.
- Santo da Serra – The views across the bay of Machico are almost as superb as the golf here, with the course loved by professionals and amateur golfers alike. High up in the clouds the view will take your breath away as you navigate your way round 27 holes of stunning golf.
- Estela – Situated right next to the sea, Estela has all the qualities that make a true links course, subtle turf, sand dunes, undulating fairways, solid greens and Atlantic winds. Estela is a course for the purists.
When staying in the Algarve, Penina Hotel & Golf Resort is the first choice for many golf enthusiasts, a five star, elegant and luxury venue, the resort has superb facilities and features two onsite golf courses including the fantastic Championship course.
Another five star experience is Praia d’el Rey Marriott Golf and Beach Resort in Lisbon, which is also home to the much sought after Praia d’el Rey Golf Course, the hotel’s superb rooms provide outstanding views over the and the championship course, with a cheaper option being the Praia d’el Rey Golf and Beach Resort which offers more affordable apartments as a residential option with the same golf package.
To experience the beauty of Madeira’s golf courses, you will do well to find a more idyllic property than Vila Gale Santa Cruz, set in the centre of Santa Cruz and a short drive from the courses, the hotel has stunning views of the mountains and ocean.
Vidago Palace and Hotel Solverde are two of the top hotels for golf in Porto, with Vidago featuring world class spa facilities and its own stunning course.
When to Go
In the summertime the sun is endless in Portugal, perfect for golfers playing long into the afternoon with the sun setting long after putting out on the 18th green.
July and August are the busiest periods for the coastal resorts, with the temperatures soaring, May, September and October are perfect for golfers to enjoy all that the areas of Portugal have to offer. The climate is warm all year round, even in winter and in the unlikely event of some rain, it will rarely interfere with a round of glorious golf.
Other Attractions / Things to Do
In the Algarve, beaches and nightlife can dominate your holiday away from the course, with local hotspots such as Albufeira becoming very lively at night. In contrast, some fantastic smaller fishing villages can offer a more relaxing or active stay, with mountain biking being incredibly popular and the nature reserves and leisure activities of Monte Gordo and the marina of Vilamoura being favourite attractions.
Lisbon is a fascinating cultural experience with so much of the city in which you can explore. The oldest parts of the city are home to some fantastic architecture, grand building, museums of art and one of Europe’s largest oceanariums.
In Porto, the attraction of this city is the superb wines and ports, with numerous historic tours and experience of the vine yards in the Doro Valley and the distilleries in the town centre.
BOOK A EUROPEAN GOLF BREAK
We hope this guide has helped you with your search for the perfect European golf holiday. However, this is by no means an extensive list of our top golf resorts in Europe and we’ll be adding more information to this page in the coming weeks. To search by country or by region, please use the quick search on our homepage and discover the hundreds of golf courses across the continent.