12 February 2018
The Algarve is a laid-back, sun-soaked paradise where you can escape from it all. Enjoy leisure pursuits while holidaying from museum tours to country drives. The region is a hot spot golfing enthusiasts, and you’ll find plenty of ways to pass the time.
Situated on the southern edge of Portugal, the Algarve is one of the most conveniently-located tourist spots in Europe. It boasts a pleasant climate with around 300 days of sunshine per year, making it an ideal destination for those who like to bask in the sun. The warm climate has also made the Algarve a lush region, boasting a diverse fauna, from pine forests and cork oak stands to verdant greens, which make way for sprawling golf courses.
The Algarve has gained a reputation as one of Europe’s finest golfing destinations, regularly attracting professionals to its carefully-manicured greens. You can visit a range of courses designed by internationally recognised architects and skilled landscapers, playing on courses covered with trees, plants, and lakes. Due to the plentiful sunshine, the Algarve’s golfing season runs all the way from March right through to November.
One of the most popular golf courses in the Algarve is the 27-hole Palmares Golf Course in Lagos. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr in the 1970s, it boasts unrivalled views of the Bay of Lagos, along with holes traversing both woodland and beaches. For those who want a challenge, the 72-par Ocean Golf Course, designed by the legendary Sir Henry Cotton in Vale do Lobo, should put golfers to the test with its undulate fairways and greens. You can enjoy spectacular views of the Formosa Estuary National Park while playing on the three lush courses of Quinta da Ria, while the scaled-down 9-hole course at Vale de Milho near the town of Carvoeiro is ideal for beginners.
The Algarve’s premier golfing destination is the village of Vilamoura near Albufeira. Vilamoura is home to five 18-hole courses, all catering to players of differing abilities with unique designs. It’s 18-hole ‘Old Course’ is one of the most well-known facilities in Europe, with a par of 73 which can prove challenging when you’re trying to tackle its exacting fairways. For scenic surroundings, play at the 18-hole open Laguna Golf Course which is dotted with waterfalls, and test your abilities at the Victoria Clube de Golfe. This 72-par course regularly hosts the Portuguese Masters and was also the host venue of the 2005 WCG-World Cup.
Hone your skills by enrolling in one of the Algarve’s many golfing academies. Vilamoura is home to the Four Seasons Golf Academy, which offers both three and five-day programmes for players of all abilities with PGA professionals. You can also visit the Penina Golf Academy at the Penina Hotel & Golf Resort, which allows you to test your skills on putting greens and a practice bunker with two PGA professionals. Another good place to enrol is in the Pinheiros Altos Golf Academy, situated on the Quinta do Lago estate near Faro Airport. Here cutting-edge V1 and Flightscope technology, mixed with expert tuition, is used to help you advance your game.
There are plenty of other leisurely pursuits you can enjoy away from the Algarve’s driving ranges. Take in the region’s picturesque scenery on a country drive through the Guadiana Valley, passing rivers, beaches, rural villages and Neolithic ruins as you go. Dine on the region’s famous seafood cuisine at restaurants throughout the Guadiana Valley. Check out the area’s famous beaches such as the Praia do Camillo which is dotted with intriguing coves and grottoes, and visit the secluded Praia de Albandeira with its pristine sands. Discover a range of cultural experiences here - tour the 19th Century rococo ‘Palácio de Estoi’ in the village of Estoi, relax in the quaint cafes of Faro or check out ornate Catholic cathedrals.