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Best Golf Courses & Holes In Europe

With so many different golf courses in Europe, choosing your favourite can be a hard decision. 

To help you decide which European locations to put on your golfing bucket list and where you can centre your next golfing holiday around, here is our tailor-made list of some of the top golf courses and holes in Europe.

Top Golf Courses in Europe

Monte Rei, Portugal

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First up we have Monte Rei, which could well be the best golf course that we sell holidays to in all of Portugal!  The club is renowned for its fabulous service; guests will be met by a member of staff on arrival who will park the car and take the clubs to the first tee for them.

All the buggies at Monte Rei include GPS systems that help you navigate your way around the spectacular course. Everything from its excellent service to the bunkers made of crushed marble and beautiful greenery explains why this is one of the finest courses in the Algarve.

San Lorenzo, Portugal

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San Lorenzo is a fabulously well thought out course in Portugal. It constantly appears in the list of ‘Europe’s Top 100 Courses’ in magazines such as Today’s Golfer and Golf World, and once you’ve visited you’ll understand why.  

The course features sandy undulating greens with fairways bordered by umbrella pines and the marsh sanctuary. There are stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean looking out over the coast, whilst turning back inland after the 7th hole reveals spectacular greenery and the lakes that make this course a little tricky.

Royal Obidos, Portugal

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The Royal Obidos course only opened in 2012, but is already making a name for itself. With its undulating greens and its spectacular scenery of lakes and greenery, it’s not hard to see why this is one of the Golf Escapes’ favourites spots in Europe!

We recommend taking a buggy at Royal Obidos, as you will certainly know about it the next day if you decide to walk the course! Water also features prominently on this course, so you are certain to lose a few balls and should make sure you bring a few spare! 

This picturesque course also offers great views of the Atlantic Ocean and holes of varying difficulty. Set on the grounds of the amazing Evolutee Royal Obidos Hotel & Spa, this really is a perfect golfing holiday destination.

PGA Catalunya, Spain

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There are two fantastic 18 hole courses at PGA Catalunya, and both are brilliant in their own way and could be argued as the two best courses in Northern Spain easily. The PGA Stadium is the tougher of the two courses and has held the Spanish Open on several occasions, and although it is not confirmed until December, this course has a shot at even being the host of the Ryder Cup 2022. 

Even though the Stadium course is fantastic, the PGA Tour course seems to be more popular with a lot of golfers as it is easier and less punishing! We recommend staying in Girona if these two courses are on your golfing holiday itinerary, which is just 20 minutes away.

Thracian Cliffs, Spain

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Thracian Cliffs is unlike any other golf course in Europe. It’s a spectacular and very challenging course, so even the best players will have to have a good round to score even close to their handicap! 

The course was designed by Gary Player and all 18 holes run along the cliff line of the Black Sea. The green fees at Thracian Cliffs all include unlimited use of the driving range facilities and buggies. We believe that the reason people should play at Thracian Cliffs is that it’s a world-class golfing experience, unlike any other course and is also superb value for money. This course is a must-play and will be an unforgettable round!

Top Golf Course Holes in Europe

Aphrodite Hills 7th – Par 3, Cyprus

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Aphrodite Hills in Cyprus is known as being one of the world’ best golf courses, so it’s unsurprising that it has made our list. The staggering 130-metre gorge dividing the tee from green at the 7th hole is an enticing challenge for all lovers of this beautiful game. Anything short is lost, and to add difficulty the large bunker at the back of the green makes this a real tough tee shot, needing pinpoint accuracy.

Valderrama 17th – Par 5, Spain

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Par 5 at Valderrama is long and narrow with two bunkers on either side of the fairway, where your tee shot and second shot will land. Water in front and to the left of the green will make your approach shot difficult as well. There’s no wonder Tiger Woods struggled with this hole back in 2000, hitting 3 shots over the 4 days into the hazard.

PGA Catalunya Stadium 13th – Par 4, Spain

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The 13th at the PGA Catalunya Stadium course is a stunning example of one of the best golf course holes in Europe. With a backdrop worthy of being framed, the hole is a chance to hit a long straight drive downhill. The pitch into the green is tricky to say the least, with anything too short, long or right being punished by the water.

Carya 10th – Par 4, Turkey

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This hole is on the Carya course is officially known as The Kracken by those who have encountered it several times. It’s an incredibly difficult hole urging you into the water on the left in every way possible. Trees on the right-hand side mean a straight drive is vital, but the narrow fairway sloping right to left also doesn’t help matters, with bunkers lining the right-hand side of the fairway. An iron off the tee is strongly advised…

Infinitum Hills Course 18th – Par 4, Spain

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This Infinitum Hills Course hole is in our top recommendations for its beauty. The sharp dogleg right looks like a normal dog leg from the tee, until you turn the corner and see the large lake on the left and a stunning open cliff face shadowing the green. A big hitter can avoid the lake if you can shoot over the trees, but if not, a tricky approach shot over the water onto a slightly raised green will mean anything too heavy will roll off the back of the green.

Santana 4th – Par 5, Spain

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Santana offers a long par 5 and a hole to think about. The second shot is one you want to keep right to give yourself the best angle into the green. Keep your tee shot left to avoid the cluster of bunkers that can be reached from your tee shot, and be aware of the small stream and two nasty bunkers protecting the front of the green.

Costa Navarino Dunes 2nd – Par 4, Greece

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This stunning short par 4 on the Costa Navarino resort requires you to be accurate off the tee to avoid the bunkers lining the fairway. This hole is on our list of recommendations because of its breath-taking, sea view backdrop from tee to green.

Thracian Cliffs 7th – Par 4, Bulgaria

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Thracian Cliffs are home to possibly the most photographed hole in Europe. But it’s one of the most challenging too. The tee shot, which is from a tee box in the sea, needs to carry 170 meters over the sea onto a narrow, elevated fairway. Good luck!

​​Verdura East 18th – Par 4, Sicily

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The tee shot is played against a backdrop of the cliffs and an ancient ruin at the Verdura Resort with the coastline of Sicily lying to the right with the waves breaking on the shoreline. The demanding second shot to the green must carry a deep hollow, before rising up to the undulating putting surface set directly against the cliff face.

Vale do Lobo Royal 16th – Par 3, Portugal

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Vale do Lobo hosts a signature hole in the Algarve. A stunning sea view from the tee box and a daunting view over to the green. An average length tee shot is needed over the picturesque gauge that will require steady nerves not to be put off by what lies ahead.

Penha Longa 6th – Par 5, Portugal

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The long par five at Penha Longa is a hole you need to add to your photo albums, as the scenic approach shot to the green is one to remember. Penha Longa’s signature hole has a historic ruin to the right of the green and a pond to the left which makes this hole a real tough task.

Santa Maria 16th – Par 4, Spain

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The 16th on Santa Maria is a par four that becomes very long if the wind is blowing its usual southwest way. From the tee, you need to take into account the right to left slope on the fairway as any draw or hook will be pushed into the olive trees. The long, three-tiered green means your approach shot will call for accuracy to make your putt as easy as possible.

Finca Cortesin 15th – Par 4, Spain

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The tee shot on Par 4 of the Finca Cortesin is very difficult. A huge stream must be carried to reach the fairway, and the second shot will probably be faced with an uneven lie to a small and bunker protected elevated green. Always take one club more than you think for your second shot, and don’t forget to take in the views of the Mediterranean from this very fast green.

La Reserva 9th – Par 4, Spain

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The La Reserva 9th is a long uphill, par 4, which seems a really daunting task when looking up at the hole from the tee box. The fairway is tight where your first shot will land and also has bunkers on each side of the fairway too. A long iron uphill will take you to the elevated green, where you can view the hole back down the hill, full of pride that you made it.

BlackSeaRama 18th – Par 3, Bulgaria

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This long par 3 greets you well as you walk to the tee box through an ancient ruin arch on the course of the BlackSeaRama resort. Hit it right, as you’ll need to reload from the tee. Too short and you may have the same outcome, or you are left with a tricky bunker shot.

Monte Rei 2nd – Par 5, Portugal

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Monte Rei could have had all of their holes in our top recommendations, but this hole takes the bunch. Par 5 has a tricky start over water on the right-hand side, so it is safe to play down the left if possible. Fairway bunkers where your second shot will land requires good, accurate iron play. A lofted chip is needed to beat the bunkers in front of the green and leave yourself an easy putt.

Dom Pedro Victoria 14th – Par 4, Portugal

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Dom Pedro Victoria’s 14th is a hole that is popular amongst spectators when the Portuguese Masters is held here. A tricky decision from the tee box is whether or not to drive over the large lake which will take you onto the right-hand fairway. Or play it safe down the left-hand fairway, which leaves you with a harder approach shot into the green surrounded by water.

San Lorenzo 6th – Par 4, Portugal

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A beautiful hole on the Dona Filipa Hotel & San Lorenzo Golf Course with a dogleg left, stroke index 1, looking out as the sea tempts you to cut the corner. Unless you get the length and line just right, you will be penalised by landing in a thick shrub. Once the corner is turned, the green becomes visible, kicked off to the right, so club selection is paramount.

For more advice on the best European destinations for a golf holiday, get in touch and speak to one of our experts about which of our amazing holidays will be best for you.

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About the Author

Matt Standley

I'm a Marketing Executive at Golf Escapes and have been here for over six years. I love my golf and try to get out as much as possible. I play off of a handicap of 18 and my favourite course I've played is either Aphrodite Hills in Paphos or the South Course at La Manga Club in Murcia.

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