The Algarve is the southernmost region of continental Portugal. The Algarve is the most popular tourist destination in Portugal, and one of the most popular in Europe. Its population triples to nearly 1.5 million people in the peak holiday season thanks to seasonal residents, and receives an average of 7 million foreign tourists each year. In total, including national visitors, almost 10 million people visit the Algarve annually. Repeatedly considered to be the best golfing destination in the world by magazines devoted to the sport and by international associations of specialist tour operators, the Algarve lives up to this distinction by maintaining an unrelenting quality.
With an ideal climate that lets you play throughout the year and a wide variety of almost four dozen courses, the region is a golfers’ paradise. Most courses are located in protected areas, with stunning views. They are internationally recognized for the quality of their facilities, and they have been designed by prestigious players and legendary champions such as Sir Henry Cotton, Rocky Roquemore, Arnold Palmer and Ronald Fream. On top of all this, there are excellent golf pros, a varied network of hotels and good accessibility, ranging from direct air links with many destinations in the world to easy transfers between Faro airport and the various resorts.
The courses are spread from one extreme of the region to the other. By the beach or further inland, flat or hilly, the choice is varied, but any of them can offer you the chance of birdies and eagles, and maybe even a hole in one. Between Lagos, Sagres and Serra de Monchique there are courses with varying degrees of difficulty, where the greens and fairways are framed by beautiful natural scenery. It is in this area, near Portimão, that the first course opened in Algarve is to be found, Penina Hotel & Golf Resort, which has been awarded on several occasions as one of the best in Europe.
The most central area, between Vilamoura, Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo is one of the most luxurious in the Algarve and also one of the best equipped for playing golf. These courses combine links and fairways with cliffs, lakes and bunkers, providing a high standard of holes. Take, for example, hole 16 at the Royal Golf Course in Vale de Lobo, the most photographed in Europe: a demanding Par 3 in which three spectacular sea cliffs stand between the tee and the green. Or hole 6 at Pine Cliffs that is on the edge of a ravine and requires a shot over the beach.