Top 10 Best Golf Courses in the Algarve

The Algarve is one of the top destinations for golf tourists, with towns such as; Albufeira, Lagos and Vilamoura, it is no surprise to see why. Introduced in 1890 by a group of British wine exporters, golf in Portugal is some of the best in the world. One of Europe’s most popular golf holiday destinations, over half of the best golf courses in Portugal can be found in the Algarve. Stretching 100-miles along the southern coastline, there are over 40 golf courses in the Algarve, ranging from 9-holes to 18-holes. Obviously, you can’t visit all of these courses during a single golf holiday in the Algarve, so we’ve listed the top 10 best golf courses in the Algarve for your golf holiday in Portugal.

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A Countdown of the Best Golf Courses in the Algarve

10. Quinta da Ria at Quinta da Ria Resort

Located away from the majority of Algarve golf courses, Quinta da Ria is one of two courses at the Quinta da Ria Resort. Located in the Eastern Algarve and within the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, the Quinta da Ria opened for play in 2002. The course was designed by the architect Rocky Roquemore and offers 18-holes with a traditional par 72 layout that runs on an almost flat terrain. Serene, rugged and unspoilt, Quinta da Ria features five lakes and numerous bunkers to challenge players of all standards.

9. Quinta de Cima at Quinta da Ria Resort

The second course located within the Quinta da Ria Resort, the Quinta de Cima is an 18-hole championship course with a par of 72. Spread over 620,000m², the course has established international acclaim, hosting the PGA Europro Tour in 2003 and 2004. Quinta da Cima combines the serene surroundings of orange trees and vineyards with hazards such as permanent flowing water to create a top-quality golf course that maintains the essence of the landscape.

8. Laranjal at Quinta do Lago

Part of a 2,000-acre exclusive residential development, Laranjal is one of three courses at Sociedade de Golfe da Quinta do Lago. Just 15 minutes northwest of Faro airport, the development consists of housing and three award-winning golf courses. Voted Best Golf Course at the 2011 Portuguese Travel Awards, Laranjal gets its name from the orange grove which previously occupied the site. Measuring 6,480 metres in length, this par 72 championship course has distinctive undulating terrain which requires concentration and accuracy.

7. North at Quinta do Lago

Renovated in 2014 by Beau Welling in collaboration with European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, the North course at Quinta do Lago is one of the most enjoyable golf courses in the Algarve. Embracing the charm of the Ria Formosa nature reserve, this par 72 course, is both natural and technically perfect. Using undulating terrain, strategically placed bunkers and water hazards such as a 3-acre lake, players of all abilities will be challenged.

6. South at Quinta do Lago

The third and most critically-acclaimed course at the Sociedade de Golfe da Quinta do Lago is the South. Designed by William Mitchell in 1974, this 18-hole championship par 72 course has hosted the Portuguese Open eight times and is a flagship in the European Tour Course. Despite its prestigious reputation, the South course’s variety should not deter an amateur golfer from experiencing it.

5. Onyria Palmares Golf & Beach Resort

Offering the best views available from any golf course in Portugal, the Onyria Palmares Golf & Beach Resort is a collection of links-like and park-like holes. Renovated by Robert Trent Jones in 2011, the course is composed of three returning nine-hole loops that can be played in any sequence. Combining elevation changes, various hazards and shoreline play, the amount of variety available at this course has made it one of the most popular golf courses on the Algarve.

4. The Sir Henry Cotton Championship at Penina Hotel & Golf Resort

The first 18-hole Championship golf course on the Algarve, the Championship course at Penina Hotel & Golf Resort was built in 1966 by Sir Henry Cotton. Located on a 360-acre estate between Portimao and Lagos, the resort has previously been voted Portugal’s Leading Golf Resort by the World Travel Awards. The Championship course is one of three at the resort; the other two being the 18-hole Resort course and the 9-hole Academy course. Featuring a stream, ditches and subtle slopes, this par 73 course has hosted the Portuguese Open ten times and is playable all year round.

3. The Royal at Vale do Lobo

Portugal’s largest luxury resort and the most senior golf resort on the Algarve, Vale do Lobo is a luxury residential development which boasts two award-winning 18-hole golf courses, known as the Royal and the Ocean. Based on the original drawings of Sir Henry Cotton, the Royal was designed by Rocky Roquemore and opened in 1997. Home to the almost island green of the 9th and the famous 16th, with cliff-top carryover, the Royal course is a must-visit on your golfing holiday to the Algarve.

2. San Lorenzo Golf Course

Set close by to Vilamoura, alongside the Atlantic Ocean, the San Lorenzo Golf Course is ranked alongside the best in the world. Opening for play in 1988, Joe Lee took advantage of the areas excellent topography and routed the course through gently undulating pine woodland. Laid out in a figure of eight, the course offers spectacular sea views alongside threatening water hazards.

1. North at Monte Rei Golf & Country Club

Located in the northeast hills of Tavira, the Monte Rei Golf & Country Club is worth travelling for. Despite only opening for play in 2007, the North is not only the best golf course in the Algarve but also the best golf course in Portugal. This par 72 championship golf course consists of eight par 4’s, five par 3’s and five par 5’s in a unique and challenging layout. Measuring 6567m² from the Tournament tees, the contoured and sculpted bunkers and attention to detail make this course an enjoyable and memorable experience that no golfing holiday to the Algarve is complete without.