Book the ultimate 3 centre golfing itinerary to The Far East including a short stay in Singapore, a week at The Sanchaya Resort on Bintan Island, in Indonesia and a week at the sensational Datai Resort on Langkawi Island in Malaysia
Coming soon to celebrate the Olympic Games which will be held in Japan, we are launching escorted golf tours across Japan including all the best golf and cultural venues, taking in Mount Fuji, Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima plus more!!
Book now to the Ritz-Carlton, Abama for late summer 2021 to take advantage of unlimited golf offers – September is a wonderful month – the best month for sunshine in the entire year and still low season golf and hotel prices.
British Airways has moved its short haul operation to London Heathrow from London Gatwick for the rest of summer 2021, this is seen as a sensible cost cutting exercise, destinations like Tenerife, Palma, Las Palmas are affected.
Verdura Resort Sicily will be back to its best as 2021 unfolds, the forced closure of 18 holes in November 2018 due to a freak flood has seen the resort operate with only 18 holes. Kyle Philips completes a superb upgraded in September 21 27 holes will be open with 36 holes opening in October 2021. We have some superb deals for the months with 5 rounds of golf on a 7 night stay, with free buggies included with prices from £849.00 per person, booking has to be made by 30 April 21.
Check out our superb new addition to our Jamaica programme with the new inclusion of the exquisite Round Hill Hotel & Villas, near Montego Bay, with golf on the exceptional Tryall Golf Course.
Coming very soon the Island of Barbados and the wonderful Sandy Lane Hotel, arguably the best golf and beach property in the world.
If you have never played much golf in Scotland why not try one of our exclusive multi centre itineraries in 2021, whilst the Americans remain the other side of The Pond, great tours including Aberdeenshire and the Highlands with venues like Castle Stuart, Cruden Bay, Nairn and the awesome Royal Dornoch. Or try the Best of the West with venues like Machrihanish, The Machrie, Ardfin and Turnberry!

Portugal Top 20 Golf Courses Overview

Welcome to the top 20 courses of Portugal, an opportunity to look at the cream of Portuguese Golf, from the East and West Algarve, up to Lisbon, the Costa Azul and the Silver Coast further north of the Capital.

This is an exercise which starts conversations and is always likely to cause controversy, but it is always a healthy and fun debate, especially when looking at the top 5 venues selected. The joy of golf is (like a fine dining menu) everyone has different tastes and you will never get a definitive agreement on what is the best.

Island Golf Holidays have launched a sumptuous programme of golfing holidays to Portugal, including Lisbon, the Algarve, Porto and Madeira, this offers our customers a new country not previously featured in the last 3 years.

The relatively new West Cliffs course was close to blowing Monte Rei off the top, it was a close-run thing. The Lisbon region features 5 golf courses out of 20 and 10 of the 20 courses have on site accommodation. Madeira and Porto miss out in the top 20 stakes but special mention of the links at Estela which is a special place to play golf.

Best wishes

David Sledmere
Managing Director
Island Golf Holidays

NO 20: Quinta de Cima

This delightful parkland course on the East Algarve is part of a 36-hole resort and hotel, the Robinson Club, designed by Rocky Roquemore, this is the Championship Course. The course has a number of testing dog legs, a lot of fairway bunkering, lakes, natural streams, with a good number of carob and olive trees which give definition to the fairways. At 6586 metres from the back tees, Quinta de Cima is worthy of its position in the top 20 courses in Portugal.

NO 19: Royal Obidos Golf

This majestic Seve Ballesteros design makes it into our top 20 courses in Portugal. The course is located close to Praia del Rey and at 6,400 metres from the back tees, is a long layout, but with rolling undulating terrain, offers the visitor wonderful panoramas of the Atlantic Ocean and the Obidos Lagoon. Watch out for the superb par 3 third hole with an island green and the superb long par 5 18th hole. The back nine sees the course wind its way around a string of cascading lakes and streams. Stay at the beautiful boutique hotel adjacent the Royal Obidos Golf & Spa Resort, on the Silver Coast of Portugal.

NO 18: Dom Pedro Millennium

This well-known course in Vilamoura was built in the year 2000 by Martin Hawtree and includes some of the holes of the Old Laguna Course. The course has a good combination of holes through deep umbrella pine trees, especially from holes 3-8 but there are also a good number of more open stadium style holes, some with very good water features. The highlight holes are the 165 yard par 3 6th hole and the testing 425 yard par 4.  We would recommend staying at the very good Tivoli Marina Vilamoura Hotel, or the impressive Vilamoura Anantara boutique hotel on the Victoria Course.

NO 17: Dom Pedro Victoria

This majestic golf course has hosted the European Tour on several occasions and is a brilliant stadium style design, laid out over fairly flat landscape, but very interesting terrain, as it is in the middle of natural wetlands. Venue for the Portuguese Open the course is long off the back tees at 6,651 metres, the holes are laid out through carob, olive trees and almond trees, but many holes have very obtrusive water hazards in play including at the dramatic 18th hole – which is a fine climax to your round. We recommend the stylish and lavish Vilamoura Anantara located beside the golf course.

NO 16: Praia del Rey

This gorgeous design is located next to the Marriott Resort on the spectacular Silver Coast of Portugal. The attraction of Praia del Rey is that it is a good mix – with holes inland featuring changes of elevation, which are more parkland style and some wonderful holes right on the Atlantic Ocean. The course features pine trees and sand dunes and lovely links style turf. The course has exhilarating ocean views on many holes and there is always a fresh breeze off the Atlantic Ocean. We highly recommend the well-priced Marriott Property next to the hotel or the smaller boutique hotel at Royal Obidos 10 minutes away.

NO 15: Quinta do Lago Laranjal

The Laranjal Course is the newest of the three Quinta courses and is located 2kms inland from the other Quinta courses (North & South). The course is more undulating than the older courses, set in an area of ancient orange groves, in the midst of the Ludo Valley, featuring 5 beautiful lakes. The course has a good number of umbrella pines, cork trees and some great water holes to challenge the visiting golfer. The course is interesting with five par 5 holes and 5 par 3 holes, giving it plenty of variety. We highly recommend the Wyndham Grand Quinta do Lago, the picturesque Quinta do Lago Hotel, or the top end exclusive Conrad Algarve all on the Quinta do Lago Estate.

NO 14: Troia Golf

Set on the dramatic Troia Peninsula on the Costa Azul, near Setubal on the opposite side of the Estuary, this is an awesome links design and a secret gem, which many golfers will not have visited. The course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Senior featuring pines, sand dunes and a scattering of water holes, some holes have views of the Arrabida Mountains. The course is worthy of its lofty position at no 14 – at 6317 metres, the signature holes are the short par 4 third hole which has a wonderful ocean backdrop and the incredible long and tight uphill par 5 18th hole. Majestic. We highly recommend the Hotel Do Mar in Sesembra a lovely fishing village in the south of the Costa Azul, combined with golf on the 2 Aroeira courses.

NO 13: Vale do Lobo Ocean

Designed by Sir Henry Cotton, the undulating fairways are set above the Atlantic Ocean with some holes which plunge down towards the shoreline and the beaches. The course has many holes which are flanked by small umbrella pine trees, but the best holes are close to the beach with the signature holes being the back nine – particularly the par 4 holes at 11 and 14 and the gorgeous par 3 15th hole! We highly recommend staying at the Dona Filipa Hotel at Vale do Lobo next door, or hotels in Quinta do Lago like the Wyndham Grand property for example. Well worth its ranking at no 13.

NO 12: Amendoeira O’Connor

This classic test of golf is located on the Mid West Algarve, not far from Silves, and is part of a challenging 36-hole Estate, with the Faldo Course next door. Designed by Christy O’Connor it is a little gentler and forgiving than the Faldo Course. Designed through a fertile valley, the course features lakes and streams, with mature palm trees flanking many holes too. At 6598 metres off the back tees it is a long track, within a very exotic setting. We highly recommend the Tivoli Carvoeiro Hotel, the boutique Palmares Beach House Hotel, or the cheaper Amendoeira apart/hotel next to the golf courses, ideal for a small group on a short break and very affordable.

NO 11: Vale do Lobo Royal

This beautiful seaside parkland layout just misses out on the top 10, but its position at 11 is an impressive one, designed by Rocky Roquemore, the course has a majority of its holes through avenues of umbrella pine trees, with tricky water hazards and panoramic picturesque scenery. At 6,059 metres off the back tees, it is not too long, but relatively tight and so well-manicured it is an absolute pleasure to play. The signature hole is undoubtedly the 16th over the cliff which requires a well struck long iron or wood to carry safely to the green on this long par 3. Also, it is worth highlighting the island green at the 9th hole.

We highly recommend staying at the Dona Filipa at Vale do Lobo or any of our properties in Quinta do Lago, or Vilamoura, between 10 – 15 minute’s drive away.

NO 10: Palmares Golf

This exciting and visually stunning 27 hole golf venue is arguably the most scenic of all in the Algarve. Originally, designed by Frank Pennink, but redesigned by Robert Trent Jones in 2010 and now split into three separate nines, but combining brilliantly parkland and links holes. Many of the holes have exceptional ocean views from elevated tee positions and from the holes close to the beach within the Praia Nine which are the most enjoyable of all. The golf course is now enhanced by an elegant and cool boutique golfer’s hotel called the Palmares Beach House Hotel which is located on top of the course next to the clubhouse.

NO 9: Penha Longa

This superb design was created by Robert Trent Jones in 1992, it has hosted the Portuguese Open several times and is a real masterpiece. The course is stadium/parkland in design and has elevated tees, roller coaster fairways, lots of wonderful dog legs, some great holes featuring water, especially the par 3s. Located in the beautiful Sintra Hills the course is indeed incredibly scenic, within the grounds of an ancient Palace. We highly recommend the Penha Longa Golf Resort Hotel on site which is very highly ranked in our top 20 hotels in Portugal. Penha Longa is very worthy of a top 10 position.

NO 8: Quinta do Lago North

Quinta do Lago North was redesigned by Paul McGinley in 2017-18 when there was a massive 19-million-euro investment. The course has become the hardest of the three QDL courses, it is a par 72, laid out through umbrella pine trees, with lots of water hazards, many marble sand bunkers especially protecting the greens, whilst the biggest changes have been the new raised and highly contoured greens and run offs. This reinvestment has seen the course shoot back up the rankings. We highly recommend the Wyndham Grand, the Conrad Algarve and the Quinta do Lago Hotels all on the Quinta Estate.

NO 7: San Lorenzo Golf

San Lorenzo has been ranked as high as 2 in Continental Europe as long ago as 20 years but has been trumped by many great new courses since its original inception. The course itself which is attached to the renowned Dona Filipa Hotel at Vale do Lobo, is located on the scenic Ria Formosa Estuary at Quinta do Lago. The golf course is laid out through gently undulating terrain through pine trees, the best holes however are those closest to the Ria Formosa Estuary, holes 6 – 8 especially are wonderful and full of danger on the right of the fairways and greens, the holes 16 – 18 are also a superb climax especially 17 and 18 which have so much water in play, the island green 18th is incredibly challenging. We highly recommend the Dona Filipa Hotel if you wish to play this exhilarating course, 4 free rounds are included on a 7-night stay.

NO 6: Amendoeira Faldo

Designed by Sir Nick Faldo and 6,598 metres in length this is a very challenging golf design. The course is carved through stunning natural hills and valleys, there are (like most Faldo courses) many dog legs, with lots of pine trees, cacti, wild herbs, desert scrub bunkers with crushed limestone sand. The course is very easy on the eye and incredibly well manicured.

We highly recommend the Tivoli Carvoeiro Hotel, the boutique Palmares Beach House Hotel, or the cheaper Amendoeira apart/hotel next to the golf courses, ideal for a small group on a short break and very affordable.

NO 5: Oitavos Dunes

This is an exceptional golf course just outside Cascais in a stunning part of Portugal. The golf course is on raised land with marvellous views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Sintra Hills and the Cabo da Roca. The course is 5,967 metres so it is not over long, but is infinitely testing due to the sea breeze prevalent on an exposed piece of high terrain overlooking the Atlantic. The course is all about umbrella pines trees, sand dunes, with tight holes and generous fairways also, some exquisite links par 3s and great finishing holes. The relatively small greens put the emphasis on the short game and the accuracy of your approach shots.

Oitavos Dunes has hosted the European Tour several times and was a very popular venue. We highly recommend The Oitavos Resort adjacent or the Albatroz in Cascais for places to stay.

NO 4: Dom Pedro Old Course

This classic course designed through hills and valleys in the midst of the most beautiful scenery in Vilamoura. The short downhill par 4 first hole sets the tone, where accuracy is paramount, in fact the entire course is all about pinpoint accuracy, the umbrella pines are so prevalent, it is tight on almost every hole including the par 3s! The course does not need water – it is an exceptional Frank Pennink design and has stood the test of time and is many UK golfers favourite Portuguese design. The new clubhouse and practice amenities have been well received. We highly recommend staying at the Tivoli Marina Vilamoura, or the Vilamoura Anantara luxury properties. Worthy of the lofty no 4 position in our top 20.

NO 3: Quinta do Lago South

This brilliant design has stood the test of time, but with the reinvestment in the North Course recently, the South Course also needed a facelift and in September 2020 it reopens following a 7 Million Euros investment. Originally designed by William Mitchell in 1974, the course is tough at 6,500 metres par 72. The course features avenues of umbrella pine trees, with holes close to the Ria Formosa National Park, lots of water hazards in play and beautiful wildflowers off fairway. The course has hosted the Portuguese Open many times and we highly recommend staying at the Wyndham Grand, Conrad Algarve or Quinta do Lago hotels all of which are less than 7 minute’s away.

NO 2: West Cliffs

This relatively new golf course located on the Silver Coast is a heart stopper and located more than 1 hour north of Lisbon is as dramatic as any golf course in Mainland Europe. The course was laid out by the renowned Dye family, this one accredited to Cynthia – Pete Dye’s daughter, the layout is so spectacular, such wonderful natural links terrain and lovely rolling hills close to the Ocean. The course features pine groves, wild coastal vegetation, natural rolling sand dunes. At 6,382 metres it is a long track but unrivalled for pure natural beauty. We highly recommend staying at the Marriott Praia del Rey or the Obidos Golf & Spa Resort if you prefer boutique style, these are both 5-7 minute’s drive away only.

NO 1: Monte Rei Golf

Worthy of the number 1 spot and now very well established is this awesome Jack Nicklaus Signature Course set in rolling hills inland on the East Algarve. There are wonderful inland vistas of the most scenic part of the Algarve, featuring many elevated tees, lots of dog legs, wonderful vistas, up and down roller coaster fairways. The greens are very raised and there are lots of run offs, the difficulty is the approach play and the short game if you miss the greens. Like many Nicklaus courses the course has heavily bunkered fairways, which is a main feature. The entire Monte Rei experience is a different level of quality to anywhere else. The practice facilities and welcome on arrival unsurpassed.

We highly recommend the elegant and prestigious Villas at Monte Rei on site.

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by Helen and Viv W on Island Golf Holidays

Hi David – all over the jet lag and the self imposed “coronavirus isolation” – all well, no signs of virus!!!   In terms of feedback...

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