5 Reasons to Play Golf in the Algarve
Burning for the sun and longing for an escape from the the usual monotony, you’ve gathered up your clubs, summoned together your friends and slathered your body in sun cream. But with so many potential destinations to choose from, where are you going to go? For a top golfing holiday, look no further than the sunny south coast of Portugal, one of the most popular golfing venues in the world. Here’s 5 reasons why the next time you’re planning a golfing getaway, your go-to destination should be the Algarve.
The Golf Courses
There are few regions in Europe with a better spread of courses than the Algarve, offering something for every level of golfer and for every budget. Among the 35 plus top-class courses in the area, visitors can expect to be wowed by the Vilamoura Old Course, the Laranjal course at Quinta de Lago, San Lorenzo and, a Golfshake favourite, the stunning Jack-Nicklaus-designed Monte Rei. Nicklaus’s track isn’t the cheapest in the area, but well-worth a visit even just once. Other layouts which earned top marks in our independent reviews include the Oceanico Old Course and the Victoria Course, and many other excellent courses besides. With so many awesomely designed and perfectly manicured layouts on offer, the Algarve is THE place to go for a premium golfing experience in sun-splashed Portugal.
The Accommodation Options
There are so many hotels to choose from in the Algarve, spanning the whole range of experiences. Wherever you stay, you’re guaranteed to enjoy truly classy accommodation. If you’re basing yourself in busier areas such as Vilamoura or Quinta de Lago, check out the sumptuous but quirky Magnolia, a really fantastic hotel which backs onto the Quinta de Lago golf courses. If you want something a little bit quieter, consider the Monte Rei – nestled beside a sleepy little town called Tavira, it’s a perfectly secluded paradise. Many of the Algarve’s hotels are attached to golf courses so offer some fantastic stay and play deals, The Amendoeira Golf Resort is especially stunning, offering not just one but two really brilliant courses, one of which was designed by Nick Faldo. When you fancy a break from the fairways, boat trips, dolphin watching, scuba diving, paintballing, hiking and clay pigeon shooting are just some of the activities on offer. Other top places to stay include the Dona Filipa, Penina Hotel & golf resort and The Magnolia, but such is the all-round quality of the Algarve’s venues that pretty much anywhere you park your clubs will be class.
Reason number 3 is the restaurants. And once again, there’s something to suit every palette. Let’s say you’re out with your buddies and you’re looking for a place to stay late. Head to Vilamoura – with a great mix of restaurants and old school watering holes, it’s the area of choice if you’re out for a drink. Add in live sport and live music and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a great night out: Super Bock a plenty! For those looking for something more ‘civilised’, the local cuisine is incredible. Seafood is obviously very popular here as it is all so fresh, but the local Cataplanya is also a palette-pleaser, not to mention Portugal’s original Piri Piri chicken! If you want to stay in, the hotels are also a hotspot for top grub. Most of the resorts in the Algarve have fantastic onsite diners, serving up a variety of fresh local foods. Head into town and there are all kinds of restaurants to choose from, offering something for every palette. Meat lovers should head down to The Shack, a rustic little bar and grill by a scenic lake, or the Bovino Steakhouse, the home of some of the area’s best dry-aged beef. The Caso do Lago is the place to go if you’re in the mood for seafood, while no trip to the Algarve is complete without a visit to the popular English-themed pub, the Melting Pot, all capped off with a tall glass of Super Bock!
It’s not all about the golf: sometimes, you just want a day by the beach to chill out. Well, just as the Algarve is a smorgasbord of blow-your-mind-brilliant golf courses, restaurants and hotels, the area is also redolent in beautiful beaches. Wherever you’re staying in the Algarve, be it the Vilamoura area, Albufeira, or even further down the coastline in Tavira, there’s sure to be a top beach near you. Magnificent stretches of sand in the region include the beautiful Praia de Dona Ana, which blends azure blue water with the most stunning backdrop of tropical cliffs, and the cosier Praia de Camilo, a beautifully secluded stretch along the usually heaving Algarve coastline. If you fancy a bit of an adventure, you can also take a trip on a local ferry. A short ferry ride and you’ll be strolling along Ilha de Tavira, one of the Algarve’s most picturesque shores.
With over 300 days of sunshine a year, one of the Algarve’s best selling-points is its wonderful climate. Few places are as sunny and idyllic as the Portuguese coast – it’s no wonder that golfers adore it! That said, there are certain parts of the year which make more sense to visit in than in others. Although Portugal’s summers are not as blistering as some, it may be wise to avoid going in peak summer months. For the best of the weather during your visit, prioritise holidaying around late spring (February-April) or Autumn (September-October).
And if you’re still not convinced, here’s 2 extra reasons to pick the Algarve for your golfing holiday!
On the golf course, going for a dip is usually something to be avoided, but out in the Algarve, a dive under the waves is to be enjoyed. As well as resplendent, feathery-sanded beaches, the area is also famous for its waters and coves, which offer unparalleled opportunities for snorkelling. The water has perfect characteristics for a dive: it’s crystal-clear – meaning great visibility – nearly always calm and wonderfully warm. Moreover, the Algarve is chock-full of animated reefs, underground caves and rock formations, all dying to be explored. Particular snorkelling hotspots include Praia do Camilo, Praia Dona Ana, Praia de Benagil and Praia da Marinha, the last of which is commonly regarded as one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in Europe.
Teetotallers need not apply, but for those who enjoy a good drink, the Algarve is difficult to beat. The tipple of choice in the region is wine, for which the Algarve is deservedly well-known. Along the coast, Lagoa, Portimao, Tavira and Lagos all have a reputation for winey excellence. Vineyards have been dotted around the coastline for over 2000 years and the wines display all the flavour you’d expect from such a history. The area has been a demarcated wine region since 1980. The most popular grapes in the region are red, particularly the sultry Negra Mole and Castelao. Among the white grapes which are grown in the region, the most prosperous are the sparkling Siria, Malvasia Fina and Manteudo. The perfect way to relax after a day playing golf!
Have any other great reasons to play golf in the Algarve that we’ve missed? Fill us in in the comments below.
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