Golf Guide to the Algarve
It was the Algarve that really put Portugal on the map as a golf and tourist destination, and much of the credit for that goes to the legendary British golfer Henry Cotton, who moved there after his playing days ended and quickly realised that the climate made it the perfect place for the game he so loved. And so he began to work with the local authorities to design and build a series of wonderful courses that quickly began to attract golfers and their families from all over Europe, but especially from Great Britain. The Algarve is the beautiful southern coastline of Portugal. It is a region blessed with stunning beaches, picturesque fishing towns and a glorious climate, all of which combine to create the perfect holiday destination. There are beautiful beaches for families, waterparks for teenagers, buzzing nightlife for young couples and historic towns for cultural tour.
The Algarve provides excellent value for money, especially when compared to many other established European holiday destinations, while the Portuguese have a reputation as being welcoming, hospitable and progressive. Hotels are of a high standard, flights are short and inexpensive, English is universally spoken and the extensive selection of restaurants means that every cuisine or dietary requirement is catered for. The good news is that the Algarve is in the midst of unprecedented period of growth and investment; new businesses are opening, hotels are extending their seasons and there is a real confidence about the region.
Some of the best course designers in the world have left their mark in the Algarve. It started with Henry Cotton in the 1960s and he has been followed by the likes of Arnold Palmer, Joesph Lee, Santana de Silva, Frank Pennink and Michael Hawtree. They are responsible for some of the most iconic courses in the world and 20 of the very best in the Algarve. They include Laguna GC, Laranjal, Pinhal, Palmares, Quinto do Lago North, Quinto do Lago South, Pinheiros Altos and Vila Sol.
As you would expect with such a choice, they offer plenty of variety, from the host of lakes at Laguna, to the 600-plus yard par five at Alto Golf. Penina was one of the first courses and is still regarded by many as Cotton’s masterpiece, and no trip to the Algarve can be considered to have been completed without taking on this 18-hole course. Make the time, too, for Quinto do Lago North, which features undulating greens, well positioned bunkers, water hazards and four great par fives.
The Algarve is perfectly placed to offer golfers a trip all year round.
Depending on the region and time of year that you visit, Portugal enjoys plenty of sunshine, with temperatures reaching 40C during the summer. It is much warmer than Britain during the winter but it can also be wet. If you are planning a golf trip, the months to avoid are probably December, January and February, when monthly rainfall amounts to about four inches.
In the north of the country, which is quite mountainous, conditions are generally cooler and wetter while Lisbon, the Alentejo and Algarve regions have long, hot summers with temperatures up to 35–40ºC. The humidity diminishes as you move away from the coast and the interior areas are quite mild.
During the summer, the locals enjoy a siesta to get out of the heat, usually between 2pm and 5pm - it is worth remembering that many shops will close during this time. On the other hand, they remain open later at night.
There is no time difference between the UK and Portugal.
Portugal uses the Euro and there are plenty of ATMs and bureaus de change.
With a flight time of just over 2 hours 30 minutes from most UK airports the Algarve is perfectly placed for UK golfers heading over for a golf trip.
A host of airlines provide year-round flights to Portugal, including British Airways, Ryanair, Air Portugal, Jet2, easyJet, Are Lingus, TUI and SATA. They fly from all major UK airports and many regional airports and the good news is that you travel with one of the budget airlines, and book your tickets well in advance, it is cheap to get there.
There is more than just golf when visiting The Algarve, whether you like to get out and about visiting the local cities and towns or simply accessing the local venues for evening dining.
Things to do
The Algarve features miles of golden beaches, making it an ideal destination for families. You will find a host of watersports on offer, with everything from banana boats to kite surfing, parascending to boat trips, cave exploration to snorkelling. Or if you don’t want to spend the day at the beach, you could try one of the water parks.
Basically, if you can do it on the water then it happens here. For the more adventurous, why not try a jeep safari? There are shops that cater for all tastes and pockets, as well as dozens of cafes, bars and restaurants. And when it comes to night life, the choice is endless, whether you are looking for a quiet bar or a packed night club to while away the hours.
As the popularity of golf has increased and the number of visitors has increased, so has the choice of bars, restaurants and cafes in Quinta do Lago.
With its rustic charm, The Shack stands beside a lake, overlooking the nature reserve and sea beyond. It is the perfect place to relax with a beer or cocktail and then enjoy a meal from the grill. You can choose between snacks and substantial main courses, included the famous Shack Burger. There is also live music
Bovino Steakhouse does exactly what it says on the tin, serving dry-aged beef. The house speciality is the two-person Bovino Signature Cuts Experience, while fish lovers will enjoy the grilled grouper fillet. This is an award-winning steakhouse which features an extensive menu and plenty of choice of wines.
Located on the edge of the lake, Casa do Lago serves fresh seafood bought from local markets. Famed for its exquisite cuisine, the restaurant features an outdoor terrace, pool and fire pit. Enjoy the house speciality, grilled lobster, while enjoying spectacular views.
Quinta Shopping Plaza lies at the entrance to the resort and no trip is complete without a visit to the Melting Pot, an English-themed pub that makes all visitors feel right at home.
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