With a mild climate and around 3,000 hours of sunshine every year, it’s hardly surprising that Portugal has become one of the world’s premiere golfing destinations. But Portugal’s popularity with golfers isn’t just down to the climate – the beautiful countryside, the superb food, the stunning beaches, and the fantastic Portuguese people are a big part of its attraction too.
Portugal is home to some incredible golf courses created in perfect harmony with nature – and which challenge even the best golfers – as they nestle amidst the diverse and varied landscape, with steep cliffs, rolling hills, and endless coastal sand dunes.
Year-round golfing on the perfect course for you
There are over 70 golf courses in Portugal, from Campo de Golfe de Ponte de Lima in the north to San Lorenzo Golf Club in the south, and the majority of courses are open throughout the year. You’ll find most of the courses – around 35 of them – in and around the Algarve coast, with even more currently in the planning or construction stage.
All of the courses are of a high standard and the Algarve has regularly been voted as one of Europe’s best golfing destinations. Autumn, winter, and early spring are the perfect times for golfers to visit the Algarve, via the nearest airport in Faro. A wide range of lessons are available, and there are plenty of English-speaking golf pros to help you.
Championship courses and picture-perfect holes
The best-known course is Estoril Palacio, which opened way back in 1936. Estoril has hosted the Portugal Open for many years now, along with numerous international amateur competitions. The Algarve coast, meanwhile, is home to Vilamoura, to the east of Albufeira, which offers a wide range of courses and degrees of difficulty.
Between Portimão and Lagos, you’ll find the Penina Golf Resort, which is the oldest golf course in the Algarve, founded in 1966, and which has hosted numerous major tournaments on its famous Championship Course.
Other excellent courses in the Algarve include the Boavista Golf Club outside Lagos, Gramacho near Carvoeiro, and Vale do Lobo outside Quarteira, where the 16th hole on the Royal Course is one of the most photographed in Europe. Which is perhaps not so surprising, given that golfers have to drive right over the edge of the Atlantic cliffs to the green on the other side!
Tips and advice if you’re playing golf in Portugal
Book in advance. Many of the courses are very popular and getting a starting time is sometimes difficult. Book well in advance and take a written confirmation of your starting time with you.