What are the best golf resorts in Continental Europe for a city break?
As part of our Golf World Top 100 Best Golf Resorts in Continental Europe ranking, we’ve also ranked the resorts in 12 individual categories, from best resorts for males, females and families to the best for couples, beach breaks and value.
Here, we take a look at the ten courses from the list that allow you to combine a golf getaway with an amazing city break (and we’ve included their marks from the main ranking as a guide).
Your can find all of the latest rankings here and, as always, we’d love to hear your views on our Top 100s.
Chris Bertram, Golf World Top 100 Editor
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How we marked the golf resorts
Course/s (marked out of 40): We largely followed our Top 100 Courses ranking as a guide. We awarded extra marks for resorts with more than one course, which gives the option of never having to leave the resort in search of variety. Even so, those with second (and third) courses do, if anything, may not quite get the extra boost they warrant.
Accommodation (out of 20): Needs little explanation, but worth pointing out two things: range and quantity of accommodation was looked on favourably, rather than just 10 incredible rooms. Given there is a separate category for non-golf amenities, we focused solely on the accommodation rather than facilities.
Setting (out of 20): We have increased the marks here because we feel a beachside, cliff-edge or lakeside location – to name three – do make a difference to the enjoyment of a resort. Peaceful countryside gets 15s and 16s in this category, but those with the ‘wow’ factor gain traction with 17s, 18s and even 19s.
Non-golf amenities (out of 20): We do not want this to be ‘Courses with Rooms’. We have a Continental Courses ranking and a lot of those courses have dormie houses, and we do not want to simply replicate that list here. This list is for golf breaks and holidays, with resorts that will appeal to golfers primarily but also non-golfers too.
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The best golf resorts in continental Europe for a city break
Course 28.9 Accommodation 17.8 Amenities 14.9 Setting 17.0 Total 78.6
Getting there: Baku airport in 20 mins.
Baku is amazing. This is the perfect base for it.
Azerbaijan is a fascinating mix of old (such as its medieval walled ‘Inner City’) and new (being enriched by oil money). So, Baku is one of the great cities for a golf break with a difference – and Dreamland will not disappoint.
It is a sparkling new resort close to the airport that comprises a terrific Cynthia Dye-designed parkland with impressive variety and some thrilling moments. There is also now a hotel on site too, making it the perfect base for a trip you’ll be reminiscing about forever.
Courses 32.8 Accommodation 17.2 Amenities 15.9 Setting 16.3 Total 82.2
Getting there: Paris CDG Airport is an hour away, Eurostar terminal in city centre, EuroTunnel terminal at Calais is 3hrs 30mins.
Play a Ryder Cup course in the morning, explore one of the world’s most famous cities in the afternoon and then sample the incredible cuisine and wine by night – and you can be there within a few hours of leaving your front door and even take your own car.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock then you’ll already know everything there is to know about the Albratross course, home to numerous French Opens and the victorious Ryder Cup of 2018.
But did you know there is also a second course to the headline-grabbing Albatross? The Eagle isn’t quite so dramatic but is sufficiently solid. The on-site hotel gets Le Golf National to the fringe of the top 20 in our main ranking, but aside from the golf, the biggest attraction is being just 40 minutes from the city centre.
Courses 31.9 Accommodation 17.6 Amenities 15.0 Setting 16.0 Total 80.5
Getting there: Lisbon airport is 50 minutes away.
Lisbon, just 20 minutes away, is one of the best cities in Europe. History, architecture, football, cuisine, climate – it has it all.
Aroeira is one of several entries into this year’s main list that has been transformed by the addition of a hotel. The hotel only opened in autumn last year, but we’ve already been so know how good it is.
It is super-stylish and a great base from where to play Aroeira’s two courses, with No.1 a regular in our Top 100 list. It’s also a great base to explore beautiful the region, especially Cascais, and play the vast array of superb courses on offer, including the brilliant Oitavos Dunes.
Courses 31.4 Accommodation 17.3 Amenities 15.3 Setting 16.4 Total 80.4
Getting there: Milan Malpensa is 50 minutes away.
Bogogno sits to the west of Milan, although you may find it hard to drag yourself away from this brilliant resort.
For the serious golf groups or couple, this is immense. Charismatic designer Robert von Hagge is responsible for two evenly balanced courses here; they are impossible to split and could undoubtedly grace our Continental Top 100 list.
To those 36 holes of parkland golf add a slick hotel and a good selection of non-golf amenities that make this an all-rounder. If you do make it to Milan (and you really should), you’llk find one of the world’s most fashionable cities. Be sure to visit Piazza del Duomo – Milan’s grandest square and home to the city’s largest Gothic cathedral – and the world’s oldest shopping mall, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
Course 25.9 Accommodation 16.0 Amenities 17.0 Setting 17.6 Total 76.5
Getting there: Venice is 80 minutes, Trieste 40.
Take a holiday resort packed with family-friendly amenities, add in a course set on the edge of a lagoon and the fact it is ideal for a Venice day trip and you have this uber-fun Italian venue.
The course has an Everglades-style setting, so water is so often a threat. Choose to stay in log cabins or marina suites – and which of the many sports to play. We loved our time here and Venice is a city that everyone should experience at least once.
Course 27.6 Accommodation 17.2 Amenities 17.1 Setting 15.1 Total 77.0
Getting there: Barcelona is 20 minutes away.
Las Ramblas and Nou Camp plus golf… er, OK, if we must! Just a brilliant base to explore what is one of Europe’s most fascinating and beautiful cities.
Barcelona Golf sits in the shadow of the mountain of Montserrat and is encircled by vineyards. This modern 150-room hotel boasts a renowned restaurant, spa, gym and outdoor pool surrounded by gardens.
The Masia course, by Jose Maria Olazabal, is backed up by a shorter nine.
7. PGA National
Courses 32.9 Accommodation 16.8 Amenities 13.9 Setting 16.6 Total 80.2
Getting there: Malmö airport is 30 minutes away.
Use the bridge and you can do Malmo and Copenhagen – two city breaks for the price of one!
The accommodation is on the first floor of the clubhouse. It is extremely nice but limited in scope, as are the amenities, hence its overall position at 44th in our main list.
The Links course is superb and the Lakes a very good No.2. It’s really one for golfers, with not much else in the way of other facilities, but it is an ideal base to head into the city or take in the Danish capital and we love it.
8. Royal Bled
Course 32.4 Accommodation 15.9 Amenities 12.9 Setting 18.2 Total 79.4
Getting there: Fly to either Ljubljana or Trieste.
If a a gorgeous setting, a beautifully-manicured course, classy accommodation and magnificent dining are what you look for in a golf break, put Royal Bled to the top of your list of options for 2021. It’s just 40 minutes away from the uber-cool capital Ljubljana with the beautiful Tivoli Park and the Ljubljanica River, which is lined with outdoor cafes.
There aren’t lots of non-golf amenities at Bled, though a new spa and pool has been opened, but frankly the golf and dining and just the ‘glad to be alive aspect’ is more than enough for us.
The course has been restored wonderfully by Swan Designs – it’s now a fixture in the first half of our Continental Top 100 – and the clubhouse similarly refurbished to a high spec. It would be much higher in this list, but for the limited number of rooms and relative lack of amenities.
The truly awesome Lake Bled is 10 minutes away, too, and so this is a majestic weekend break waiting to happen.
9. Sporting Club Berlin
Courses 32.9 Accommodation 17.5 Amenities 12.5 Setting 16.2 Total 79.1
Getting there: Berlin airport is 30 minutes away.
Make sure you book an extra night here. Why? Well, before you even consider a trip into the brilliant German capital you have a staggering 63 holes to play here. They’ve designed by Arnold Palmer, Stan Eby and Nick Faldo among others and The Faldo regularly gets in our Continental Top 100.
The hotel is a wellness resort set on a lake in an area bigger than Monaco and offers lots of other activities as well as having one of the world’s most famous cities on its doorstep. What is not to like? Be sure to visit the Brandenburg Gate, one of Europe’s most famous historical landmarks, the Reichstag Building, with its large glass dome that offers superb city views, head for the uber-cool fleamarket at Mauerpark and, of course, try the famous currywurst.
Courses 32.9 Accommodation 15.8 Amenities 12.2 Setting 16.6 Total 77.5
Getting there: Bratislava is an hour away.
You’ll fly in and out of Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, which is a superb city break in its own right. Set along the Danube River by the border with Austria and Hungary, it’s surrounded by vineyards and the Little Carpathian mountains, crisscrossed with forested hiking and cycling trails.
We love the pedestrianised 18th-century old town with its many lively bars and cafes, overlooked by the beautifully reconstructed Bratislava Castle.
Penati is a brilliant option for groups wanting amazing value and plenty of high-class holes on-site but aren’t bothered by non-golf facilities. The Heritage course by Jonathan Davison is in our Top 100, the other by Nicklaus Design just outside it. There are neat villas to stay in.