Golfing in the Algarve: best golf courses to play and where to stay
Pack your clubs – and hit the fairways and greens in Portugal this off-season
With its year-round sunshine and coastal backdrop, it’s easy to see why Portugal’s Algarve region is one of the world’s most popular destinations for golfers.
Boasting some of the mildest winters in Europe and a range of world-class courses, this is what makes a golf holiday to the Algarve so popular during the October to March “off-season”.
Here we take a look at the best golf courses to suit all abilities and where to stay in the Algarve.
Quinta do Lago South Course
First opened for play back in 1974, Quinta do Lago’s South Course is the most renowned in the area, having hosted the Portuguese Open on numerous occasions. A winner of the Golf Digest editor’s choice award for best international resort in 2015, Quinta do Lago was also named Portugal’s best golf course by the World Golf Awards in 2019. Unlike some of the others on the list, it is a course that will appeal to and challenge all levels, requiring long drives. Suitable for the average handicap golfer, it’s also home to the Paul McGinley Academy for those seeking additional tuition. Currently undergoing a €7m (£6m) renovation, the South Course will reopen in September.
Monte Rei North Course
An ideal option for sun seekers, the Monte Rei Golf and Country Club is set in a privileged position at the foothills of the eastern Algarve, with stunning views of Serra do Caldeirão Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. Having only opened in 2007, the Jack Nicklaus Signature North Course has rapidly risen through the ranks to become an internationally popular choice. Lakes, indigenous plants and native grasses surround the fairways and greens, providing players with a superb test of golf and some unforgettable experiences. In addition to the North Course, construction has also started on the South Course, another 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature.
Dom Pedro Millennium Golf Course Vilamoura
Reflecting typical Algarve style, the Dom Pedro Millennium Golf Course in Vilamoura boasts a smattering of pine trees surrounding the holes and is very well presented. Being relatively open with minimal hazards, it’s ideal for leisure golfers, although there are a few more challenging holes to pique the interest of more proficient players.
The Ocean Course at Vale do Lobo
A course credited with helping to put the Algarve on the map for golf, it’s one of the most picturesque on the list. The Ocean Course at Vale Do Lobo is situated right on the very edge of the coastline and offers some of the most stunning views in European golf. The rolling fairways are lined with rows of olive trees and present a testing course that can challenge a golfer’s game as well as any other course in Europe. The Ocean Course demands precision with some narrow fairways and undulating terrain; it requires a certain amount of accuracy, but if you’re in the Algarve it’s one you must play.
Where to stay: Four Seasons Fairways, Quinta do Lago
Located in the heart of the Algarve’s Quinta do Lago development, Four Seasons Fairways is surrounded on three sides by the greens and fairways of both the attractive 27-hole Pinheiros Altos course and the first tee of the award-winning Quinta Do Lago North Course. Within a five-minute walk resort guests will also find Quinta do Lago South and Laranjal, two more award-winning championship courses.
Offering discounted golf on most of the Algarve’s best courses, the Four Seasons Fairways Clubhouse area is also home to a Golf Pro Shop where there is a dedicated team on hand to help guests organise personalised golf programmes. They can book tee times, secure preferential rates and also help with club hire (quality sets of TaylorMade or Callaway), trolley rental and any further equipment required.
Four Seasons Fairways offers seven nights in a two-bedroom apartment with a private pool or jacuzzi for two people, including daily a-la-carte breakfast and a complimentary round of golf from €1,200 (£1,029).