Golf Guide to Madeira
Madeira is located in the North Atlantic, just off the Northwest of Africa. Below, we provide information on the golf courses; resorts; activities; travel information and restaurants. If you’re looking for a warm weather golf trip, then the island of Madeira is calling.
Due to its sub-tropical climate, Madeira is a fantastic place to visit all year round. There are plenty of beaches, trails for walking and the island is dipped in rich culture and local history. Away from the daytime activities and the city of Funchal comes to life during the evening. There are endless places to eat and keep you entertained as you recover from a day of golfing in the blistering Portuguese sun.
The three golf courses that reside on the 2 of Maderia's islands offer incredible value for money and considering there’s only a few, the golfer is able to play all three with relative ease.
Santo da Serra
Santo de Serra is comfortably one of the best golf courses throughout the entirety of Portugal – rated as 12th of the 75 that exist in the country. The track looks over the bay of Machico, where Portuguese explorers first landed on the island. The golf club’s original layout was built in 1937 but it was later re-designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1991, where an expansion saw the complex generated into three loops of nine. The Machico and Desertas loops are the two that are played in the Madeira Island Open, an event on the European Tour. Throughout the course, you will find lakes, hills and flat terrain. The club also boasts incredible practice facilities, including: two putting greens, chipping green, bunker green and driving range. Considering it’s closely located from the airport, this is a fantastic course to play on arrival or departure days.
Palheiro is a championship golf course that will have the golfer weaving through a pristine environment of maritime pine and botanical woodland. There are areas of this course that are nearly 500 metres above sea level, which will provide surreal views of the expansive Atlantic Ocean. Just ten minutes below the track is the city of Funchal, the island’s capital. Cabell B. Robinson is responsible for this picturesque layout and the hilly terrain coupled with ridges and deep valleys provide an excellent test of golf. Due to COVID-19 and the course being closed, there have been plenty of renovations to the playing area to further bolster its appeal and the golfer’s enjoyment. The greens have been made faster while staying true to their line and the general upkeep of the course has continued to be further defined.
Porto Santo has a slight edge over the others in this list – it was designed by Seve Ballesteros. Similarly to the rest, the beautiful landscape that Madeira proudly owns provides a sensational environment to enjoy a round of golf. This club presents two golf courses, a traditional 18-hole layout and a Par-3 course. The South Course is the 18 and it requires good length and pinpoint accuracy if you are to get around with a respectable score. You’ll need to evade the many lakes that reside there but if you do, you’ll be duly rewarded by the lush greens that have been obtained through sustainable irrigation that utilises treated wastewater. The club also proudly owns a pro shop, chipping green, putting green, restaurant, spa and driving range – which is one of the most complete in Europe, accommodating 40 concurrent golfers and providing a length of 300 meters. It is also worth noting that this course is located on Porto Santo, the second largest island of Madeira.
Casa Velha do Palherio
Casa Velha do Palherio is the only resort on the island that is connected to a golf course. In addition to its marvellous golfing facilities, this ideally situated resort, that is only 20 minutes away from Madeira airport, will offer the visitor two types of accommodation: hotel or holiday apartments. The 5* star hotel has several rooms and the on site entertainment and food options are impressive. If you opt for an apartment, then you can expect further privacy and relaxation. It is important to note that breakfast is not included for those who have booked an apartment. However, there are three restaurants on site that visitors or guests can use, and these range from the dining room, the tea house and the golf club’s restaurant that sits above Funchal and offers surreal panorama of the surrounding bay, mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.
When to travel to Madeira is completely up to the discretion of the travelling group, considering the weather is typically warm all year round.
If you’re looking for the scorching sun, then it is advised that you travel between August and September. However, winter months are equally desirable for visitors due to the sub-tropical climate that the island finds itself in.
There is no time difference between the UK and Portugal
Portugal uses the Euro and there are plenty of ATMs and bureaus de change
The majority of UK airports have flights to Madeira and the flight time is roughly three hours and 45 minutes.
When you arrive, you’ll have an array of options for travel to your accommodation. Private taxis operate in the area but the airport also offer shuttle and bus services - €3.85 for the bus to Funchal and €5 for the shuttle to the same city.
While we expect you to spend the majority of your days on the golf course, Madeira is packed with endless entertainment for those post rounds or days away from the club. It is an island that is proud of its history and the city of Funchal has something to offer everyone.
Things to do
Funchal Old Town
Funchal is a peaceful city and it is also the birthplace of Cristiano Ronaldo. The tempo of life is different, as you’ll find a relaxed atmosphere as you wander the streets of the quaint area. The Old Town offers a juxtaposition to that, by providing lively entertainment through plentiful bars and restaurants. Colour and design are at the forefront of this welcoming city, where food stalls and fresh fruit are offered virtually on every corner.
Pirate Ship Cruise
It’s not as cheesy as it sounds. If you opt for this cruise, you can expect a three-hour boat ride along the sea that surrounds Madeira – on a pirate-themed ship! You’ll be on the Santa Maria, where you will get to view incredible vistas such as the wonderful cliffs around the island and, if you’re fortunate, you might even get to see the dolphins and whales as you sail the water. Honey cake and wine is served while on the trip and don’t forget to have your free photo with the parrots.
Monte Palace Tropical Garden
Escape to a land where colour and life is at the forefront of the day’s activity. This place is surrounded by beautiful gardens, rich history, local art and surreal views of your setting. The property was purchased in 1987 and quickly made open to the public. As you traverse the botanical garden, the area is littered with facts of the island and historical developments. If you opt for purchasing a ticket, you’ll also gain access to a free glass of wine. €10 is the admission free and the garden is a whopping 17,000 square feet in size.
No holiday is truly complete without excellent and varied food options. Luckily, Madeira prides itself on its local food and superb service. Whether you’re looking to indulge in the local cuisine, experiment with different dishes or if you want something snacky, Madeira, and in particular Funchal, can accommodate all tastes.
Leeno’s Bar & Restaurant, Funchal
Situated in Funchal, Leeno’s vision for incredible tastes and pleasing textures is something that has enticed visitors to try this upmarket eatery. It is one of the most popular restaurants for locals on the island, which best highlights just how valued this establishment is. Special praise has been given to the grilled sirloin steaks and when you couple that with a scrumptious dessert, you’ll have started the evening in perfect fashion.
Whether you’re in Portugal, England, Germany or Spain, sometimes Italian food is the ultimate craving. Villa Cipriani is one of the best Italian eateries on the island and their elegant and relaxed setting provides the perfect environment for unwinding and taking in one of the many views that Madeira exhibit as an island. A particular standout is enjoying your meal on the beautiful terrace – you won’t be disappointed.
Casal de Penha, Funchal
Casal is a family operated business and one that puts the customer and their needs first. While the menu may display signs of simplicity, the food is authentic and the chef’s happily allow their ingredients and meals to do the talking. You can find Casal in the centre of Funchal, completely surrounded by large hotels. Expect to find fish, meat, paellas and a range of tasty rice dishes.
Casa dos Salgados, Camacha
You need to bring a bloodhound to find this place. From the car park, you have to descend an ancient ‘Royal Road’ to an old farmstead perched on the side of a steep valley. You also have to book a couple of weeks in advance but believe me, it’s well worth it.
A Quinta, Santo da Serra
On the edge of Santo da Serra, the food is simple and simply delicious, especially their codfish. It’s only a few minutes walk from ‘Quinta Do Pântano’ so very handy for an evening meal.
Where To Play
Clube de Golf Santo da Serra Casaia Proximos
Rated 4.25 from 9 reviews
Porto Santo Golfe
Rated 4.18 from 8 reviews
Rated 4.03 from 22 reviews
Interactive Golf Course Map
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