This week’s blog is a guide to the courses that we consider as being the top nine courses situated in the Algarve. The Algarve is widely considered as being one of the best golf destinations in Europe due to the brilliant golf courses and luxurious golf resorts that you can find there. Another good thing about choosing the Algarve as your destination for your next golf escape is that the courses are mostly close to one another which means that whilst you are staying at one resort, it is easy for you to play a variety of great courses. With the weather chilly and winter feeling like it may ask forever, make sure to get your next golf break in the diary so that you have something to look forward to.
Monte Rei’s Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course opened in 2007 and quickly established itself as one of the finest courses on the Algarve. From the moment that you arrive at the club which is set in the hills to the northeast of Tavira, you will know that you are going to be taking on a stunning course due to the beautiful scenery that greets you. The course boasts five lakes which are all bordered by indigenous trees and plants as well as many strategically placed bunkers which all are lying in wait for any errant shots.
As you play the course, the holes just get better and better but some of the best holes of the course include the 13th which is a downhill par-4 with bunkers situated at the drive landing point and a lakeside green that is treacherously undulating. The prettiest hole of the course is undoubtedly the 14th which is a medium-length par-3 where you must carry your tee short over the lake in order to reach the green, anything off to the left will land right in the water. Of course, a course like Monte Rei has a special finishing hole, the 18th is a brilliant finishing hole, it is a par-5 that is in reach for big hitters, but you must watch out for the lake that can mess up anyone’s 2nd or 3rd shot! If you are looking to play a very special round of golf, look no further than a round at Monte Rei.
Next up, we have Palmares which boasts three loops of nine fantastic holes: Lagos, Alvor and Praia. The 27-hole complex is situated above and along the Atlantic coast close to the Meia Praia beach and boasts some of the most beautiful views from different points along the course. The Alvor course starts as you wind through pine tree-lined undulating fairways before dunes and links-style holes come into play, you then finish playing in parkland. The course boasts three fairways which are laid out across a road in a lovely valley in the middle of the loop and the loop’s final two holes face directly uphill towards the clubhouse.
The Lagos loop maintains the same parkland and links characters as Alvor, but also boasts two water hazards that you must contend with along the way. The Praia rolls its way down towards the beach and is mainly a classic links course with four beautiful coastline holes. All 27 brilliant holes of golf are fully matured making Palmares one of the Algarve’s must-play golf courses. It is not really surprising that this club made our list of top nine courses in the Algarve due to its fantastic setting, unique layout and brilliant clubhouse which boasts stunning views over the course.
Quinta Da Ria opened for play in 2002 and was designed by the well-known architect, Rocky Roquemore. This brilliant course can be found in the Eastern Algarve and is situated within the beautiful Ria Formosa Nature Reserve which stretches from Faro right along the coast towards the border with Spain. The course measures 6,016 metres from the back tees and is a fairly flat parkland course but there is normally a breeze coming in from the coast which can make your round a little difficult. A round here is a great choice for golfers of all abilities due to its wide landing areas but if you manage to miss these, you will be in trouble. There are five strategically placed lakes, many bunkers and carob and olive trees situated around the course which all lie in wait for any errant shots.
There are some brilliantly-designed, tough holes on the course including the 5th which is an impressive par-3 which has two differing tee areas, but both require you to carry a good tee shot over a lake towards the shallow green which is heavily guarded by bunkers. Another very special hole is the 10th which is a very difficult hole measuring 422 metres from the back tees with out-of-bounds running all down the left-hand side. Then, there is a large lake guarding the green 100-metres out! With an excellent range of holes, beautiful landscape and a superb location, look no further than the Quinta da Ria course for your next golf escape.
The coastal town of Vilamoura boasts a wonderful, central location and it is no surprise that it has earned a reputation for being one of Europe’s largest and most successful golfing destinations. The Dom Pedro Old Course is one of the gems situated near to Vilamoura and it is no surprise that this course is on our list of recommendations. The course opened for play in 1969 and has gained a brilliant reputation since partly due to its sympathetic use of the existing natural landscape. The tees and greens are always beautifully kept, and the fairways are lined with trees which means that if your drive isn’t straight, you may struggle to end the round with a good scorecard!
Each and every hole will remain with you for long after you have finished your round on the Old Course. The round begins with a straightforward set of four holes but the rest of the front nine is tricky and pose a challenge to even the best golfers. The signature hole is arguably the 8th hole which stretches over 400 metres from the medal tees, the hole slopes downhill to a fairway bunker before doglegging gently to the right and then rising back up towards a narrow green which is heavily guarded by trees! If you score a par on this hole, you have played very well. The back nine are also very tricky and you should watch out for the collection of strategically placed bunkers which come into play on the 12th hole and are lying in wait to catch your second shot. After your round, enjoy a few drinks in the well-designed clubhouse. A round here is a spectacular one and no discerning golfer should miss out.
The Penina Championship course opened in 1966 but was then completely rebuilt in 1995 and boasts two loops of nine holes. The sun is often shining during your round here and you can enjoy the smell of eucalyptus trees whilst you tackle this impressive course. The fairways are gently rolling and well-manicured but feature many strategically-placed hazards including deep bunkers and trees. Right from the moment that you tee off here, you will know that you are in for a challenge as the 1st hole is a long dog-leg left towards a heavily-guarded narrow green. Another impressive hole on the front nine is the 5rh which is the only par-5 on the front nine and only measures 451 yards from the back tees. However, this hole is the perfect risk-reward hole as if you place your tee shot well, you may want to try for the green in two shots but there is a large lake and out-of-bounds waiting for any slightly errant shot.
In contrast to the front nine, there are four par-5s, but the two standout holes are considered to be the 12th and the 13th. The 12th is a long par-4 which is a very straight hole with only one bunker but once you arrive for the approach shot, you will find that the small green sits directly behind a lake which goes on to cause further problems for your scorecard on the 13th hole. Lots of golfers fall foul of the lake which guards the 13th hole which is a long par-3 which boasts a narrow and sloped-towards-the-water green. There is no doubting that this is a very impressive course and the Penina Hotel is a fantastic option for your next golf escape…
Situated in the Quinta do Lago Estate is the San Lorenzo course which has been ranked in the past as being the second-best course in the whole of Europe. It isn’t hard to see why San Lorenzo was given this title with its beautiful location alongside the Atlantic on sandy, undulating terrain and variety of interesting and challenging holes. The first five holes of the course run through a pine tree forest, you will then find water holes which boast stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. The par-3 5th hole is where you will get your first glance of the Atlantic Ocean and is a delightful short hole with a green perched at the top of a valley which is heavily guarded by trees and bunkers.
At the 8th hole, you will turn back inland and tackle the larger of the course’s two lakes. The finishing holes are particularly strong and entertaining as you head back out to sea. The 18th hole is a difficult and long par-4 at over 400 yards from the back tees. You will find water all the way up the left-hand side and a semi-island green. This is a classic risk-reward finish which tops off the very special round of golf here nicely. After your round, take a visit to the clubhouse and enjoy a few drinks and a bite to eat whilst discussing this impressive course. For any discerning golfer, a trip to San Lorenzo is a must.
Quinta do Lago Estate boasts three other courses besides San Lorenzo: North, South and Laranjal. These are all fantastic courses that are different and exciting in their own ways. The North course is one of the Algarve’s most charming courses, many of the holes are framed with umbrella pine trees and some of the greens are nestled in truly magnificent sites.
One of the most beautiful holes on this course is the par-4 12th which measures 361 metres and features a 3-acre lake. The hole doglegs its way around the leg which leaves you to make a treacherous approach shot in order to land on the undulating green. The course was recently redesigned in close collaboration with European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley and is considered to be a very special course indeed. This is a course that golfers can enjoy again and again making it an ideal holiday course.
Quinta do Lago South is one of the most requested courses on the Algarve. The course was designed by William Mitchell and opened for play in 1974 and became well-known after it hosted the Portuguese Open on seven occasions. This course is the most famous in the area due to the Portuguese Open and can be enjoyed by golfers of all abilities due to its relatively generous fairways. This eye-catching course is great for big hitters, but accuracy is also required if you want to finish the round with a good scorecard. It is no surprise that the South course made our list of recommendations and if you haven’t played this one already, make sure that you book it in.
Last, but certainly not least, Quinta do Lago Laranjal was originally an orange grove but today, it is a beautiful 18-hole championship golf course which offers its players a fantastic and challenging round of golf. The course is known for its narrow, undulating fairways, five stunning lakes and well-defined greens. The course is the newest of the three on the Estate as it only opened for play in February of 2009, but it is quickly gaining a stellar reputation. This is a fun and exciting course and is the perfect addition to your golf escape to the Algarve.
Whatever you are looking for from your next golf break, the Algarve has it all from luxurious resorts to boutique hotels and self-catering accommodation. Give us a call today to discuss what you are looking for from your next golf break and let us do the work to find you the perfect holiday.