Golf World Top 100: Best Golf Courses in Continental Europe – 50-26

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What are the best golf courses in continental Europe? The Golf World Top 100 reveals all.

From Ryder Cup courses and European Tour hosts to layouts that many of you may never have heard off, this is the definitive and revered list of the finest golf courses continental Europe has to offer. 

You can find out who is on the panel that ranks the courses and the criteria we use to mark them, along with answers to the FAQs we receive around the Golf World Top 100s and the courses that were in the running for the continental Europe list by clicking here.

And before you start planning your tour of the continent to play these amazing golf courses, be sure to check out our guides to Europe's best new golf courses and the continent's best golf resorts to ensure your incredible round is followed by an incredible stay.

Of course, if you're not much of a traveller (and who has been for the last 18 months?!), we've also got your covered with rankings of the best courses in EnglandScotlandIreland and Wales, along with the most fun courses on these shores, the best courses you can play £60 and less and the best golf resorts in Great Britain and Ireland.

But for now, let's continue our countdown of continental Europe's best golf courses.

<<< Click here to view the courses ranked 75th-51st <<<

Golf World Top 100 Courses in Continental Europe: 50th-26th

50. Villa d’Este

Como, Italy
DOWN TWO PLACES
Design 30 Setting 11 Memorability 11 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 7 Total 72

Villa d'Este is the best golf course in Italy and one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Italy’s No.1... just. With significant tree clearance, this old-school course could be 10 spots higher at least because the basis for a wonderful course is there thanks to the work of the eccentric Peter Gannon. Quirky and charming if a tad claustrophobic, but we love it beneath the branches...

49. Royal Limburg

Helchteren, Belgium
DOWN SIX PLACES
Design
30 Setting 11 Memorability 11 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 7 Total 72

Royal Limburg is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Laid out by Fred Hawtree in what was an otherwise bleak period for design after World War I and the end of the ’90s, Limburg is a fine heathland-style course that plays between heather and towering pines. It’s worth trying to time it right for the heather in full boom – truly spectacular.

48. Quinta do Lago (South)

Almancil, Portugal
DOWN 19 PLACES
Design 29 Setting 11 Memorability 12 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 7 Total 72

The South course at Quinta do Lago is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

A very healthy position for a longstanding favourite of GW’s, certainly helped by recent investment in the course that means it will remain one of Portugal’s finest. A couple of weaker holes affect its consistency mark, but otherwise a very strong all-rounder.

A brilliant option for a golf break. Not only is the South one of our top 10 courses in Portugal, the resort ranks 1st in Portugal and 5th in continental Europe.

47. Estela

Porto, Portugal
NEW ENTRY
Design 29 Setting 12 Memorability 13 Playability 6 Consistency 6 Presentation 6 Total 72

Estela is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

It may surprise some to see Estela in the top 50 of continental Europe’s best golf courses – but to a golfer we suspect they have never been. It might be little known, but this seaside course north of Porto exudes character. A proper old golf club with holes right on the edge of the coast – but get there fast because erosion is sadly taking its toll. We have it inside the top 10 in our Top 100 courses in Portugal.

46. Neguri

Algorta, Spain
UP SEVEN PLACES
Design 30 Setting 11 Memorability 11 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 73

Neguri is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

“Javier Arana designed only good courses in his short life,” writes one panellist. On the coast near Bilbao, Arana’s cerebral, compact routing flows brilliantly and is enhanced by a typically intriguing set of green complexes. It’s highlighted by an exacting collection of par 5s.

45. Lubker (Sand & Sky)

Nimtofte, Denmark
DOWN 12 PLACES
Design 29 Setting 11 Memorability 12 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 73

Lubker's Sand and Sky is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

The work of Robert Trent Jones Jnr – with Bruce Charlton doing the detail work on site – is lauded by a panel that is at times not impressed by blunt modern courses. The Sand and Sky loops (there are 27 holes) are the pick, offering a peaceful, interesting round in woodland-parkland.

The luxury houses and villas make this a great place for golfers looking for a new break and we rank it inside the top 70 of our Top 100 Resorts in continental Europe.

44. Raevo

Moscow, Russia
DOWN 26 PLACES
Design 30 Setting 10 Memorability 11 Playability 6 Consistency 7 Presentation 9 Total 73

Raevo is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

We think this is Russia’s No.1, although admit while our assessment of the country is vastly improved on what it was, it is still gathering pace. This Jack Nicklaus design is manicured flawlessly and is a big-boned test as almost all Russian courses are. It doesn’t do ‘subtle’ all that well, but it does do brawny- modern-course-without-a-blade-of-grass-out-of-place superbly.

43. The Scandinavian (Old)

Copenhagen, Denmark
DOWN FIVE PLACES
Design 29 Setting 11 Memorability 10 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 9 Total 73

The Old at The Scandinavian is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Like its sister, in wonderful condition, which is testament to the greens staff given it is hardly blessed with Belek’s climate. Just a lovely place to play the game, from the breathtaking clubhouse to the consistently excellent courses, with the Old delivering hole after hole of high-calibre, modern golf.

42. Thracian Cliffs

Cape Kaliakra, Bulgaria
UP 20 PLACES
Design 26 Setting 14 Memorability 15 Playability 6 Consistency 6 Presentation 6 Total 73

Thracian Cliffs is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Will split the opinions of those who play here. If views and drama are your thing, Thracian Cliffs will absolutely wow you. If you want subtle and considered architecture, it will appeal less. There is no right or wrong, but what we can say with certainty is Thracian Cliffs is Instagram-worthy from almost every hole. And it’s tested the best players in Europe too, so it’s a proper challenge.

Its conditioning was its Achilles’ heel for a period, but our last two visits have seen that soundly rectified. Just make sure you’ve charged your phone before you set off – you’ll be taking plenty of pictures throughout the round.

High-end villas and plenty of off-course activities make it a great option for a getaway. Its 66th in our Top 100 Resorts in continental Europe.

41. Morfontaine (Valliere)

Paris, Morfontaine
NEW ENTRY
Design 28 Setting 12 Memorability 14 Playability 6 Consistency 6 Presentation 7 Total 73

Morfontaine's Valliere is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

The most exciting and interesting greens in this list, by some distance. So much so that only nine holes are needed to get the Valliere – the only non-18-hole course in the list – to the cusp of the top 40. Short, sporty and enormous fun, its marks are diluted by it having just nine holes, or it would be top 20.

40. Le Golf National (Albatros)

Paris, France
DOWN 18 PLACES
Design 29 Setting 10 Memorability 13 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 8 Total 73

Le Golf National's Albatros is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

The Ryder Cup host doesn’t attract quite the same affection as it once did but it is, without question, one of the most thrilling courses in this list. Has the X Factor in spades, by virtue of its 2018 Europe-USA hosting as well as the water hazards that dominate the conclusion in particular. Alongside the Eagle course, we have it as a one if the top 25 best resorts in continental Europe.

39. The Scandinavian (New)

Copenhagen, Denmark
UP 11 PLACES
Design 29 Setting 11 Memorability 11 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 9 Total 74

The New course at The Scandinavian is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Denmark’s No.1... by a short head from its marginally older sister. And in all honesty, there is nothing to separate them, as their rankings suggest. The New has a slight edge for us in terms of variety and memorability, but we wouldn’t argue with anyone claiming otherwise. Simply a very, very fine venue.

38. Palmares

Algarve, Portugal
DOWN SEVEN PLACES
Design 31 Setting 12 Memorability 11 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 7 Total 74

Palmares is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Thorough renovation of all 27 holes at Palmares has left this long-established favourite with three high-class nines that are hard to split. The Praia loop gets down closest to the coast for a seaside feel, but the woodland-parkland phases are as good and preferred by many. Our seventh best course in Portugal and a top 40 resort in continental Europe.

37. Oitavos Dunes

Lisbon, Portugal
UP 19 PLACES
Design 27 Setting 14 Memorability 13 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 7 Total 74

Oitavos Dunes is one of the best golf courses and resorts in continental Europe.

A wonderful site which it is hard not to think could have spawned an even better course, yet it remains one of the finest in Europe. Views of the Atlantic give it a fabulous setting and the piles of sand, pines and firm turf are a delight. Expect several memorable holes at Oitavos, which sits sixth within our Top 100 courses in Portugal and 20th in our Top 100 Resorts in continental Europe.

36. Dom Pedro (Old)

Vilamoura, Portugal
UP 46 PLACES
Design 29 Setting 11 Memorability 11 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 9 Total 74

Dom Pedro's Old course is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

For a while, as new courses grabbed the attention in Portugal and elsewhere across the continent, the Old was perhaps not an especially fashionable option.

That was a mistake. Arrive at the Old, set a few minutes’ drive inland from Vilamoura’s marina and beach, and you immediately know you are somewhere classy. The view down the gentle downhill 1st assures you the next few hours will be entirely pleasant, not least due to the lack of housing on show.

That scene is a common theme here, because while there are more villas in your sightline on the next two holes, there is much less residential development here than almost anywhere else in the region. Quality holes come at regular intervals; the short 4th over water and up and over umbrella pines, then another terrific par 3 at the 6th. This nine ends with a really classy, tranquil par 4 then a short two-shotter.

The cool par-3 10th over a valley to a plateau green enclosed by trees, the high-calibre 14th and, perhaps, the pick of the par 3s that follows are all effortlessly good.

Dom Pedro shines across our Top 100s, ranking in the Top 10 of our continental Europe resorts, Portugal courses and Portugal resorts rankings.

35. Carya

Belek, Turkey
UP SEVEN PLACES
Design 30 Setting 11 Memorability 12 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 74

Carya is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Our No.1 in Belek for the third list in a row, this Thomson, Perrett and Lobb design is established as one of the continent’s finest. Enjoys a heathland feel with its white sand bunkers, tall pines and purple heather, even if the grass is lush and less firm. Tim Lobb made a nice job of rerouting some holes. No.4 in our Top 100 Resorts.

RELATED: Top 100 – Best New Courses in Europe

34. Budersand

Sylt, Germany
DOWN TWO PLACES
Design 29 Setting 13 Memorability 12 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 7 Total 74

Budersand is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Split opinion on the panel a little, with some raving about it and others less taken with this links on the island of Sylt. Designed by Rolf-Stephan Hansen on a disused military base, it features rippling seaside terrain and pot bunkers, as well as an element of escapism that’s hard to define.

33. Rosendaelsche

Arnhem, Netherlands
UP 18 PLACES
Design 31 Setting 11 Memorability 12 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 75

Rosendaelsche is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

A fixture in the top 40 of our ranking since we made an all-encompassing trip to the Netherlands in 2016. Anyone who doesn’t think this is one of the continent’s Top 100 courses won’t agree with us on courses a great deal. New holes have blended in well and this is simply a high-class heathland.

32. Saint-Emilionnais

Bordeaux, France
NEW ENTRY
Design 32 Setting 10 Memorability 12 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 75

Saint-Emilionnais is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Tom Doak’s first imprint on continental Europe moves to the cusp of the top 30 of this best golf courses ranking, four years after entering the Golf World Top 100. It is, naturally, a well-conceived course both in its routing and individual holes – we can recall right now how enamoured we were by the sporty opening trio that set the tone.

31. Hilversumsche

Hilversum, Netherlands
DOWN SEVEN PLACES
Design 33 Setting 11 Memorability 10 Playability 6 Consistency 8 Presentation 7 Total 75

Hilversumsche is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

The most stringent of the Dutch heathlands we feature, Hilversumsche was modernised astutely by Kyle Phillips in the past decade. It’s characterised by exacting two-shot holes, this is a course to play off a suitable tee to get the most from it; do that, and you will lap up its pine, heather and sand. 

30. Praia d’el Rey

Obidos, Portugal
UP 14 PLACES
Design 28 Setting 14 Memorability 14 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 7 Total 76

Praia D'el Rey is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

A course of two halves, both of which have so much to commend them. Yes, it is the seaside stretch for which this Cabel Robinson design is best known - and even with residences on the right as you play these holes, they have real X Factor – but those among the pines still have plenty of merit. We have it as the fifth best course in Portugal and the sixth best resort in our continental Europe golf resorts ranking.

29. Terre Blanche (Chateau)

Bordeaux, France
DOWN 18 PLACES
Design 29 Setting 12 Memorability 11 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 10 Total 76

Terre Blanche's Chateau is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

The work of Dave Thomas, the prolific designer behind The Belfry and Spey Valley, the Chateau – at our No.1 continental Europe golf resort – is routed sympathetically among the rolling hills of Provence. In magnificent condition, it blends seamlessly with existing trees, fauna and terrain.

28. Noordwijkse

Noordwijk, Netherlands
DOWN 19 PLACES
Design 32 Setting 12 Memorability 12 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 7 Total 76

Noordwijkse is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Some question Noordwijkse’s fall in the ranking over the last decade, but our panel feel it needs a thorough not superficial overhaul to reach its full potential. The seaside holes could be absolutely spectacular, the woodland ones need a lot of tree management. It really could be wonderful

27. Eindhoven

Eindhoven, Netherlands
NON-MOVER
Design 31 Setting 11 Memorability 12 Playability 7 Consistency 8 Presentation 7 Total 76

Eindhoven is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

A notable position for Eindhoven; this is the first time it has been ranked above one of the three seaside courses in the Netherlands in our ranking. This heathland is all about fun. Playable, varied and always interesting, don’t expect this to be a one-off top 30 slot. This is an effortlessly charming course.

26. Royal Bled

Bled, Slovenia
UP 11 PLACES
Design 28 Setting 13 Memorability 11 Playability 9 Consistency 6 Presentation 9 Total 76

Royal Bled is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

This section of the ranking is all about renovations; those that have and those that should. Royal Bled did, Howard Swan and son undertaking a long-intended overhaul, with the results as spectacular as the setting. It bites off the backs but off sensible tees is just the most lovely day in the mountains. Makes for a brilliant weekend break, hence its position within our Top 100 Resorts.

>>> The Best Golf Courses in Continental Europe: 25th-11th >>>

About the Author

Golf World Top 100 Courses and Resorts editor Chris Bertram.

Chris Bertram is the Golf World Top 100 Editor.
He was born and brought up in Dumfriesshire and has been a sports journalist since 1996, initially as a junior writer with National Club Golfer magazine.
Chris then spent four years writing about football and rugby union for the Press Association but returned to be Editor and then Publisher of NCG before joining Golf World and Today's Golfer as Senior Production Editor.
He has been freelance since 2010 and when he is not playing and writing about the world's finest golf courses, he works for BBC Sport.
A keen all-round sportsman, Chris plays off 11 - which could be a little better if it wasn't for hilariously poor lag putting which has to be seen to be believed.