Escape to the Algarve

The Algarve is a consistent favourite among golfers in Europe with its great climate, fantastic range of hotels and most importantly, its superb golf courses. There is everything and more in the Algarve to ensure that all golfers have an unforgettable golf escape, so it really does come as no surprise that golfers continue to flock here in numbers year after year. Golf Escapes send more golfers to The Algarve annually than to any other destination – and it’s easy to see why…

Starting in East of The Algarve, Monte Rei has established itself as arguably Portugal’s finest. This Jack Nicklaus design has attracted praise and awards from afar and is now ever-present in Europe’s top 10 course rankings. The design makes full use of the undulating terrain and is fully deserving of the accolades. You come off the course thinking that the area of land was created for a golf course. We await the opening of Monte Rei’s second course eagerly – currently a work in progress. This magnificent resort boasts a range of luxurious self-catering properties offering great packages with golf. We love the linked houses with plenty of room to relax after your round with a huge swimming pool and restaurant/bar adjacent. Off-site, the nearest town with a good choice of amenities is Tavira…

In Tavira, you will find The Maria Nova Lounge Hotel, centrally located for travellers looking for a great golf holiday comprising of sun, food, sand, nightlife, and of course, fantastic golf. Just a short stroll away from the hotel takes guests into the centre of Tavira, a charming coastal town set in the Eastern Algarve. Tavira is home to a great range of bars, shops and restaurants to give guests an opportunity for a fun night out, or a leisurely lunch to enjoy some authentic Portuguese food. Also, perfect for all of those who are looking to relax on their golf holiday, golfers can head to the nearby beach in Tavira to soak up the sun in between rounds of golf on the local golf courses. In addition to Monte Rei, the 36-hole resort comprising the excellent Quinta da Ria and Quinta de Cima courses are under 10 minutes’ drive from town, as well as the enjoyable Benamor. Further back towards Spain, you will also find two fine but tricky courses, Quinta do Vale and Castro Marim, both offering amazing value green fees with views over into Spain. With stunning beaches and terrific courses always in easy reach, the Maria Nova Lounge Hotel is a great choice for your next golf escape to the Algarve. Furthermore, in recent years, the Maria Nova Lounge Hotel made huge investments to completely renovate the hotel, so all of the guest rooms and facilities here are very modern. Non-golfers can relax around the outdoor swimming pool, visit the hotel’s fitness centre, or enjoy a session at the spa.

Moving into the centre of The Algarve nearer to Faro Airport, we’ll find the Magnolia Hotel located in the heart of the luxury Quinta do Lago resort opposite the famous Quinta Shopping complex. With a huge range of facilities, superb golf courses and a great location, Quinta do Lago is known to be a consistent favourite amongst golfers in the Algarve. Whether guests at the Magnolia Hotel are looking to improve their tan on the nearby sandy beach, or challenge some of the Algarve’s best golf courses, the hotel has something for everyone to ensure an unbeatable stay. Quinta do Lago has been aptly labelled the ‘California of Europe’ with its stunning beaches and great weather, so it is sure to be a great base for your next golf escape to the Algarve. However, the Magnolia Hotel is not just an option for some well-deserved ‘R and R’; it is also a fantastic choice for all those looking to enjoy some of the Algarve’s best golf courses. Quinta do Lago is home to three superb golf courses; Quinta do Lago Laranjal, Quinta do Lago North, and the newly renovated in 2021 Quinta do Lago South. With such a range of golf on offer to guests with reduced green fees and packages at the Magnolia Hotel, it is no surprise that so many golfers return there for a guaranteed amazing golfing experience. No stay in the central Algarve will be complete without an après golf refreshment at The Melting Pot over the road from the hotel, and it has to be said there is an excellent gin selection in the hotel bar.

Just a few kilometres west of Quinta do Lago, we’ll find the famous Vilamoura. This is widely considered to be among the Algarve’s most luxurious destinations with its yacht-filled marina and upmarket bars, shops and restaurants. At the Hotel Vila Gale Ampalius, guests can enjoy all the luxuries of Vilamoura at a value price as the hotel offers superb value for money and regular deals. While golfers are taking a break in between rounds of golf at the local golf courses, they can indulge in some retail therapy, or alternatively grab lunch around the marina. Also, perfect for all those looking to relax as well, they can head to the beach conveniently opposite the hotel. The Ampalius could not be better located to ensure all guests make the most of Vilamoura; as well as backing onto the beach, the centre of Vilamoura is just a few hundred metres away. While the hotel has its own bar and restaurant, with the centre of Vilamoura on the doorstep, there are always plenty of options on offer for guests to have a leisurely lunch or a fun night out. Furthermore, at the Vila Gale Ampalius, the hotel could not make it easier for its guests to make the most out of some of the best golf on offer in the Algarve; the hotel conveniently runs a complimentary shuttle service to Dom Pedro Laguna, Millennium, Pinhal, Old Course and Victoria, so a great round of golf is never far away. While its value for money and location being great appeals for guests here, the hotel also has a fantastic selection of facilities for all those looking to relax and stay local to the hotel with outdoor and indoor pools, as well as a comprehensive Health Club facility.

For those looking to stay on a golf course and still have the bright lights of Vilamoura within a few minutes’ drive, we would suggest Pestana Vila Sol. This 5-star property enjoys a rural location just northeast of Vilamoura and has the 27-hole Vila Sol course surrounding the hotel, with the clubhouse a chip shot from the hotel. Guests here enjoy the rooms in the semi-tropical garden set around the huge outdoor pool and the welcoming bar and restaurant. With guest green fees starting at £30 in low season on Vila Sol (a fraction of the other green fees in the area and a Portuguese Open host no less!), and on the other Pestana courses further down towards the western coast, you can see why this resort is a popular choice for golfers looking for quality and value with great nightlife, shopping and beaches on the doorstep. As well as the on-site Vila Sol, guests here have easy access to all the other Vilamoura courses within a 10-minute drive, and the Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo courses are just 20 minutes away with free transfers for 4 players or more.

The Hilton Vilamoura as Cascatas Golf Resort and Spa is another great choice for your next luxury golf holiday in the Algarve with its five-star status, impeccable service, and ideal location close to the popular Pinhal course. Guests at the Hilton Vilamoura can truly enjoy the best of both worlds, as they will find themselves set back a good distance away from the hustle and bustle of the town centre so they can enjoy some well-deserved peace on their next golf holiday, but should they choose to explore the local region, then the centre of Vilamoura lies just a short drive away from the hotel. Ten minutes in the car will take guests into the centre of Vilamoura where they can lounge on the beach to catch a tan, or alternatively, grab some lunch or do some shopping around the Vilamoura marina. Furthermore, the resort could not make it easier for guests to enjoy all the region’s fantastic golf on offer, as it runs a complimentary shuttle service to four of the region’s best golf courses, and the Dom Pedro Pinhal Golf Course is also positioned just over the road. Due to the location of the resort, guests will never find themselves without something to do. Even if they choose to stay local to the resort for a relaxing afternoon, guests can lounge around one of the resort’s six swimming pools, or even head to the resort’s private beach club at the nearby Falesia Beach.

Moving west down the coast past Albufeira, we find the newly refurbished luxury Tivoli Carvoeiro.  The renovation of the old hotel is truly breathtaking and the new Tivoli Carvoeiro can justifiably call itself one of the top hotels on The Algarve coast. The hotel has a beautiful location on top of a cliff surrounding a sheltered cove. Guests of the hotel can enjoy the best of both worlds as they can enjoy a peaceful stay in a stunning beach location, but they still have the opportunity to take a short stroll down the hill into the local town of Carvoeiro where there is a good range of shops, bars and restaurants. Guests are never more than a fifteen-minute walk away from town, and they can also escape from the hustle and bustle of the busy towns and resorts to enjoy their golf holiday in peace. At the Tivoli Carvoeiro, there is truly something for everyone; whether the guests are looking to top up their tan on the nearby sandy beach, enjoy a leisurely round of golf or enjoy some authentic Portuguese food in Carvoeiro. In under 10 minutes, you can be sampling the delights of the courses at Carvoeiro Golf Resort, Pinta and Gramacho, and just a further 15 minutes away you can play several others including Penina Championship, Silves, Alto, the two great courses of Amendoeira O’Connor and Amendoeira Faldo, and Alamos and Morgado. Even considering its five-star status, the guest rooms at the hotel are especially spacious and modern in design with light décor, with the highest standard of furnishings due to the recent extensive renovation. For non-golfers, there is a great choice of things to see and do here such as a trip to the spa, a trip to the beach, or a sociable round of tennis. A cocktail on the hotel’s rooftop bar watching the sun dip over the Atlantic is a perfect way to start your evening…

Just a little further west and inland from Carvoeiro, we come to the place where golf on The Algarve began. The Penina Hotel and Golf Resort is arguably the most popular of The Algarve’s many golf resorts. With a world-class golf course, impeccable service and five-star facilities, it is no wonder Penina is such a highly respected golf resort in the Algarve. Guests are never far away from a superb round of golf at the Penina Hotel and Golf Resort, as both the Penina Championship and Penina Resort golf courses are on-site. The fantastic practice facilities make this a go-to resort for golf pros and their students. While guests have a great choice of bars and restaurants in the hotel itself, the beautiful beach town of Alvor is also located just a short drive away from the resort and offers a huge variety of cuisines and nightlife, so if guests decide to go out and explore the local area on a lazy afternoon or for a lively night out, then they can do so with ease. Guests are never without an opportunity to enjoy some of the stunning views across the resort from their guest rooms, with views spanning out across the two Penina golf courses and the neighbouring Monchique Mountains.

The final major resort moving westwards on The Algarve is Lagos. This town offers beautiful secluded sandy coves, a marina with a dozen plus bars and restaurants, a beautifully atmospheric old town, and some fine golf courses. Our most popular property in Lagos is the Tivoli Lagos (originally called simply “Hotel Lagos”) and has been an iconic building in the town for decades. The Tivoli was totally refurbished in 2018 and offers a very high standard of accommodation at great prices in probably the best location in Lagos. A five-minute stroll one way and you will find yourself in the heart of the pedestrianised old town among quaint restaurants, bars that come alive late evening, and boutique shops. A ten-minute amble in the other direction and over the bridge you will find the lively bustling modern marina to enjoy a beer, wine or cocktail as you look back towards the town across the sea of luxury boats on display. There are three fine golf courses within a ten-minute drive of the Tivoli Lagos: the amazing 27-hole Palmares course with links and parkland holes, the modern style of Boavista with plenty of water and bunkers, and the short but tricky track of Espiche. Further afield you can play several other courses that the western Algarve enjoys but the three mentioned will keep most players happy for week’s great golfing enjoyment.

We hope that you have enjoyed this week’s blog on nine of the best escapes on the Algarve, widely considered to be Europe’s best golf destination.

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