Southern Portugal defines golfing escapism. A sublime natural setting with courses weaving through nature reserves and cliff-strewn coastline. A selection of championship challenges that test you while offering grandeur and flair, clubhouses within steps of the ocean, and the serenity of a boutique five-star golf resort that is nestled between the waves and the fairway. Handcrafted with six of the Algarve’s most iconic courses, this is Southern Europe’s eminent one-week golf getaway.
Quinta do Lago – Relaxing on the Algarve Coastline
The sound of the surf floats gently across the fairway. Scents mingle, eucalyptus trees mixed with the salt that comes in off the Atlantic waves. From a deluxe suite, you gaze out over a dramatic coastline where the cliffs are multihued, and an estuary leads your eye toward a protected nature reserve. You are staying at one of Southern Portugal’s most revered estates, where the five-star Hotel Quinta do Lago is set against a backdrop of coastline and four sublime golf courses. Earlier in the day, you are greeted at Faro Airport and transferred to the hotel, a 20-minute transfer that takes you away from the town’s bustle and into the tranquility of the Algarve. The golfing starts properly tomorrow, but there are various putting greens and driving ranges within the complex, as well as a clubhouse that you are going to get to know over the next week.
Quinta do Lago – Playing Algarve’s Pre-Eminent Golf Club
The Algarve has quickly established itself as Europe’s golfing escape, the consistent sun and contrasting courses making it the continent’s favorite golfing destination. It all started at Quinta do Lago in the early 1970s, a resort and course that was way ahead of its time. Of the four courses at Quinta do Lago, it is the south that most demands the attention, an undulating challenge that has hosted the Portuguese Open on seven occasions. Serene and sublime, this is a course that is emblematic of the region’s appeal, a course that is incredibly eye-catching and tailored to the discerning golfer. And while a championship course, the pine-lined fairways are a good place to start a golfing escape as they are certainly more generous than other courses in the region.
Teeing off at the first, you can immediately tell you are in a special place. The par-four third is always a standout, along with the twisting par-five fifth. Most holes have some serious changes in elevation, as well as Quinta do Lago South’s trademark – greens protected by a splash of water and bold bunkering. You need tight approach shots to score well on this course. As an example, the par-three 15th leaves no room for error when approaching over the estuary. You are transferred to the first tee for a morning round which ends in the Quinta do Lago clubhouse, before an afternoon and evening at leisure along the Algarve coast.
Quinta do Lago – Playing the Algarve’s Historic Championship Course
The Algarve’s most historical course does not quite have the same history as those in the UK – Penina was only constructed in 1966. However, the estate and clubhouse emanate a much older grandeur, as well as showcasing Penina’s role in the global golfing calendar. The course has hosted the Portuguese Open eight times, an unusual par-73 with four par-fives on the back nine. From the first tee, you are consumed by the communion of golf and nature, the parklands creating a tranquility that has not changed since the 1960s. But this is no easy round, something you will discover as soon as you approach the hidden domed green on the par-four second.
Penina is a course that hides its treasures, only truly revealing itself when you are deep into the round. Spectacular water features add further hazard, particularly the lake that must be crossed to a narrow green on the par-three 13th. This is the standout hole for many, one that was entered into Golf Magazine’s 500 World’s Greatest Golf Courses, and regulars in the clubhouse will be quick to tell you that one in five see their tee shot wind up in the water. While dozens of courses have been built in the Algarve over the last 50 years, Penina remains the spiritual home of golf in Southern Portugal. The course is a 45-minute transfer from your hotel, and the clubhouse reflects the esteemed local history.
Quinta do Lago – Playing the Algarve’s Second Oldest 18 Holes
The old course at Vilamoura is a quintessential Portuguese experience, long established as one of the finest in Europe. The scent of tropical trees welcomes you, along with the fragrance of pine as you continue the round. Fairways are perfectly crafted, long and narrow, and framed by extensive woodland. The small greens are testing, especially at each of the par-three holes. It is a real challenge, yet one that lets you ease into the round, and the first four holes reveal little about the challenge that is to come.
While it was initially designed as a resort-style course for British golfers seeking an escape in the sun, this is a no-frills course that will test every part of your golfing ability. In particular, the start of the back nine requires the full range of skills, while the par-five greens are exceptionally well protected, causing even the most ambitious to refrain from attempting them in two. Finishing on the 18th, you step into the small and traditional clubhouse which is full of wood panels and refined service. Most prefer Vilamoura’s old-world style to the flashier resort courses and clubhouses that are more recent to the Algarve. There is also an excellent restaurant here to end the round before a transfer back to Quinta do Lago.
Quinta do Lago – Driving Long at Arnold Palmer’s Algarve Course
The fifth course to open at Vilamoura, the Victoria immediately gives off an impression of tournament play. The holes are long and have hosted numerous important tour events over the last decade, including the WGC World Cup and the inaugural Portugal Masters. Designed by Arnold Palmer, the course now has its annual slot in the European Tour calendar. It is certainly a challenge to build up to, rather than start with. Severe hazards demand accuracy and the fast, undulating greens are among the trickiest in the Algarve. After completing the round, you have time to explore some more of the Vilamoura’s facilities before another leisurely day along the beach.
This is one of Europe’s most spectacular stretches of coast. Marshes provide snippets of fresh color, sand dunes rise around the cliffs, and isolated rocky pinnacles stand like sentinels above the waves. Most of the coast is protected as various nature reserves, with migratory birdlife prolific throughout spring and autumn. It is not the classic beach landscape, but one where serene strips of sand are backdropped by the excesses of nature. While there are stretches for sunbathing on the sand, this is more a coastline for beautiful cliff-line walks, admiring the panoramas, and a faint call of the wilderness whispering into your ear.
Quinta do Lago – Playing An Iconic Algarve Challenge
Much like the Algarve coastline, the region’s golf courses are a celebration of nature. Quinta de Cima epitomizes this, built completely within the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, the only thing artificial in the vista is the pin. Streams run across the fairways asking questions of the strategic golfer. The par-three 17th takes you over a pond, while water is the defining feature on the trademark 18th. It is a course that eases you in over the front nine before some really tough holes on the back nine. A good score here requires a strong day with your driver, finding the balance between length and accuracy.
Returning to Quinta do Lago, there are various ways to spend an afternoon, beyond the charms of the golf resort and the coastline. Historic towns dot the Algarve region, Faro the most majestic in its reflection of a bygone era. Though a little heavier with tourist traffic, Lagos is also glistening white and full of cobblestone streets. Small fishing villages are hidden by the cliffs, distinguished by colorful boats and the omnipresent white shimmer of their facade. Boat and canoe trips explore inaccessible parts of the coastline, taking you into caves that change with the tide. You can find spectacular restaurants all along the coast, with the most esteemed often those in the smallest villages. Your driver can provide suggestions as there are dozens within reach of the hotel.
Quinta do Lago – Playing A Beautiful Ocean Course to End the Week
Completing the golf escape are 18 holes along the ocean, where the tees have sublime views over the waves, and the greens are raised above the beach. While the Royal is the more famous course at Vale do Lobo, the Ocean course provides a great contrast to the others featured on this trip. No two holes are the same, looping through woodland then running parallel to the ocean. It is the closest of all the Algarve courses to the waves, with the beach holes along the back nine particularly inspiring. An afternoon tee time is always recommended as the coastline has a wonderful ability to change colors as the sun crosses the sky.
You might want to come a little earlier for lunch on the terrace of the clubhouse which is also replete with views. The front nine provides some opportunities to open your shoulders and drive long, with the fairways hemmed -by umbrella pines and eucalyptus trees. The stretch of holes from 7 to 11 live long in the memory, then the rest of the back nine is all views, with some sublime approach shots to greens raised above the beach. Vale do Lobo is only a 15-minute drive from your hotel, and the clubhouse is an elegant place to stop following your round. Even after lunch here, you may want to stay and also enjoy dinner.
Faro – Departure
After breakfast, it is a 20-minute transfer back to Faro International Airport. Transfers to other destinations in Portugal can also be arranged to complement the golfing escape, with Lisbon a two-and-a-half-hour drive to the north.
- Savor seven nights in Southern Portugal’s finest golf retreat, the five-star Hotel Quinta do Lago blending the pleasures of the clubhouse with the tranquility of the coast
- The Vilamoura Old course has long been one of Europe’s finest golfing challenges, a majestic round where every hole is memorable
- Relish 18 holes at Penina, the most historic of all Portuguese golf courses and host of the Portuguese Open on a record eight occasions
- Admire the ocean holes when playing Vale do Lobo, a beautiful course with delectably positioned beachfront greens, flanked by eucalyptus trees
- Take on the challenge of Arnold Palmer’s Vilamoura Victoria course, a tournament-inspired course that has hosted the WGC World Cup and Portugal Masters on multiple occasions
- Quinta de Cima is a celebration of escapism, 18 challenging holes set within the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve
- A round on the Quinta do Lago South course is an iconic way to start any golfing escape in the Algarve, an eye-catching 18 holes with serious championship pedigree
Southern Portugal may be a relatively new golfing region – the first courses were created in the 1960s – but it has risen to become Europe’s favorite golfing destination. The setting is exquisite, some courses winding along a dramatic cliff-strewn coastline, others enclosed in protected nature reserves. The championship courses provide contrasting challenges, from windswept holes along the ocean to fairways flanked by eucalyptus trees and water hazards. You will need to play long on many, especially the unusual par-73 courses, and the general atmosphere seems to define golfing escapism, with blue skies throughout most of the year and a serenity that fits perfectly with the championship courses.
This 8-day golfing getaway combines the best of the region. Arriving into Faro, you spend seven nights in one of Southern Europe’s pre-eminent golfing hotels, the five-star Hotel Quinta do Lago perfectly located between fairway and beach. The clubhouse is a few steps away, as is the soft sand of a quiet coastline that captivates all who visit. Over the week, you will play six distinctive courses, handpicked for their setting, challenge and championship pedigree. Each is a contrast from the one before, and that is why the Algarve has become such an admired golfing escape, this opportunity to play differently on every round. Transfers to the courses are included, and all are within 45 minutes of your base at Hotel Quinta do Lago.
The south course at Quinta do Lago is Portugal’s most popular golfing challenge, the course that everyone seems to want to play whether they have one round or seven. You will take on Penina, Southern Portugal’s historic championship course, and then experience a scent of old grandeur at Vilamoura, the second oldest 18 holes in the region. The 18 holes are emblematic of Southern Portugal, perfectly attuned to Mother Nature while emanating a championship grandeur. It has long been one of the finest courses in Europe. Continuing into the second half of the week, you move onto two long and challenging courses, the Arnold Palmer-designed Vilamoura Victoria and Quinta de Cima. Staying close to the ocean, you finish at Vale do Lobo, with approach shots to sublime oceanfront greens and the smell of the eucalyptus.
We work closely with the best Portugal tour operators to ensure that you have a fully personalized trip of a lifetime.
$1,595 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
Reviews of Zicasso's Referral Service
4.94 stars based on 627 reviews.
Reviewed By Judith S.
Reviewed By Bernd E.
Reviewed By Allen D.
Reviewed By Candi L.
Reviewed By Srinivas G.
Reviewed By Suzanne C.
Get Weekly Inspiration and Expert Advice on Travel
during the COVID and post-COVID era