5 of the Best Resorts to Visit in Portugal
Portugal is a haven for golfers. Nothing much more needs to be said, but we will try anyway.
You will have heard of the Algarve, which is where golf in Portugal really began, and if you haven't played golf there then you have missed out on something and somewhere very special indeed. Most of the courses are world-class in terms of the condition and the challenge they offer, and they are always kept in sensational condition.
The climate in Portugal means that it serves as an all-year-round venue. From May through to the middle of October the temperatures will range from 20C to 40C, so bear this in mind when you plan your trip, as it can get very hot. And don't restrict yourself to the Algarve - there are fabulous courses all over the country.
It is a perfect place to take the family too, with hundreds of miles of unspoilt beaches, hotels to suit all pockets and amazing local drink and cuisine. And as an added bonus, the Portuguese are a friendly, hospitable people who make tourists feel welcome.
Here, we look at five of the best courses/resorts in Portugal.
Positioned in the western Algarve, Penina Hotel & Golf Resort is recognised as the true home of Portuguese golf. This is the only resort in the country to offer three golf courses on the one site. The most famous of these is the Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course, which was the first 18-hole course to be built in the Algarve, and features some of the finest and most challenging golf holes in the world.
Set in a stunning 360 acre estate, amidst an impressive array of natural surroundings, the Penina Hotel & Golf Resort has been voted Portugal's Leading Golf Resort by the World Travel Awards, while the Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course has hosted the Portuguese Open on 10 occasions. At the heart of it all is a luxury five-star hotel, which caters for golfers, families and corporate events.
There are five courses to choose from at Vilamoura, but the one you should not miss is the Victoria. Designed by Arnold Palmer, it was hailed as the most ambitious golf course Portugal had ever witnessed. It features an exceptional driving range and a vast putting green. It hosts the Portugal Masters and in 2005 it staged the Golf World Cup.
The par 72 measures 7,232 yards from the back tees and incorporates natural wetlands and carob, olive and almond trees. There is also plenty of water, forming hazards which must be avoided but which also have a strategic purpose in providing reservoirs for irrigation. The course features wide, undulating fairways and plenty of well-placed bunkers. It is a gem.
Vale de Lobo
Vale do Lobo features two sensational courses, The Ocean and The Royal, which have hosted several European Tour events and are home to some of the most iconic holes in Portugal. The Vale do Lobo Golf Club offers a full range of services, including a golf shop and a golf academy with two practice areas. Club, buggy and trolley rental, changing facilities and lockers are also available.
The Ocean Course, composed of the two original nine-hole golf courses designed by the legendary Sir Henry Cotton, features gently undulating fairways which run alongside a nature reserve before leading gently down to the shores of the Atlantic, with several holes running alongside the beach. Opened in 1997, the Royal was designed by top American golf architect Rocky Roquemore, based on original drawings of by Cotton. Now recognised as one of Portugal’s best golf courses, its signature hole is the 16th, which calls for a drive to be carried over a clifftop and is one of the most photographed golf holes in the world.
Penha Longa Resort
If you plan to visit the Lisbon area, you must play the Penha Longa Atlantic Championship Course, which has been consistently ranked among the top 30 in Europe. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jn, Penha Longa provides an experience you will never forget, with stunning views of the Serra de Sintra and trees lining most of the fairways. Accuracy from the tee is essential. The fairways are perfect and the condition of the greens is amazing - these are some of the best putting surfaces you will ever come across. Attention to detail is impressive - when you check-in for your tee time you will be given a printout showing where all the flags are positioned.
The hotel is located within 545 glorious acres with luxury coming as standard. There are 194 rooms and a variety of dining options.
Pestana Quinta do Gramacho
Nick Price and renowned course architect Ronald Fream joined together to create a unique 18-hole course that features 27 greens. It means that you can play it several times and effectively play an entirely different golf course on each occasion. The positioning of the tee markers helps to increase this variety still further. As with just about every golf course in the Algarve, no matter what time of year you play Pestana Gramacho you will find it in tournament-ready condition. It features plenty of man-made lakes, which also double up as reservoirs to help irrigate the course. Pestana Gramacho has hosted the Portuguese Ladies Open several times.
Price and Fream made the most of the natural landscape when designing the course, incorporating historical dry stone walling and existing ancient trees into its design.
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