What are the best golf resorts in Continental Europe for couples?
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 male and female groups to the best for families, beach breaks and value. Here, we take a look at the ten courses from the list that provide the best getaway for couples (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 continental Europe golf resorts for couples
Course 29.4 Accommodation 18.5 Amenities 16.6 Setting 16.9 Total 81.4
Getting there: Porto airport is 1hr 20 mins away.
The golf is key for us all, but we have to start by talking about this hotel. It is breathtaking. If you prefer character and pedigree over glitz and dazzle, this is for you. Strolling around the grounds of this mini Gleneagles is an absolute treat. The course mixes historic woodland and modern parkland.
Course 31.8 Accommodation 19.5 Amenities 15.2 Setting 17.9 Total 84.4
Getting there: Fly into Gibraltar or Malaga.
If you don’t mind only playing one course on your trip, this should be near the top of your list. That Finca ranks so highly despite having ‘only’ one course shows how highly we rate the all-round resort. The hotel is as good as anything here, the service peerless and the course is in impeccable condition. Proof that a golf resort can be romantic.
Course 27.5 Accommodation 18.4 Amenities 15.9 Setting 17.7 Total 79.5
Getting there: Fly to Bari or Brindisi.
Puglia, in the heel of Italy’s boot, is now one of Europe’s most fashionable holiday destinations and this resort fits right in. The course is by European Golf Design and offers spectacular views of the Adriatic.
Then, off the course, Masseria San Domenico, Masseria Cimino and Borgo Egnazia offer accommodation in the top 10 of this list, all whitewashed buildings and authentic, traditional Italian luxury. Absolutely heavenly for couples.
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 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. There aren’t lots of non-golf amenities here, 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.
Courses 29.1 Accommodation 17.9 Amenities 16.3 Setting 16.8 Total 80.1
Getting there: Bordeaux airport is 50 mins away.
In among all the gleaming modern resorts is this pedigree offering. Chateau des Vigier’s allure begins with its château-based hotel, which oozes class, and continues with its three distinctive loops of nine. Then add in world-class dining and a refurbished spa and pool and you have a fabulous bolthole.
Courses 26.3 Accommodation 18.0 Amenities 18.2 Setting 17.2 Total 79.7
Getting there: Fly to Florence or Pisa.
Enters our top 50 for the first time and is one of the list’s most intriguing entries. It has a highly entertaining course (plus nine extra holes) routed over undulating land, while the rest of the resort is like a charming old Tuscan town; the two hotels sit discreetly in the middle. One of the best ‘couples’ options.
Course 27.5 Accommodation 17.8 Amenities 14.4 Setting 17.6 Total 77.3
Getting there: Funchal airport is 30 minutes away.
The course offers expansive views over Madeira’s capital Funchal and the Atlantic from fairways set among the hills. Colourful native flora makes the quirky course a scenic delight. The wonderful, cosy hotel mixes super service and excellent food with unobtrusive luxurious touches.
8. Villa Padierna
Courses 28.9 Accommodation 19.2 Amenities 17.3 Setting 16.8 Total 82.2
Getting there: Malaga is an hour away.
We're willing to bet you've never heard of it, but that should definitely change. It’s not especially well known to the British market, but, trust us, it deserves its place at No.21 in our main list – at least. It has three courses, with the Flamingos and Alferini backed up by the short Tramores, while the hotel has very few peers in this ranking – it’s that good. Just a dream for couples.
9. Quinta da Ria
Courses 31.6 Accommodation 16.3 Amenities 14.9 Setting 18.0 Total 80.8
Getting there: Faro is 25 minutes away.
There’s every chance many haven’t heard of this low-profile Algarve resort; it is often drowned out by bigger names. But there’s also every chance of a quietly excellent golf break in an unfussy yet super Robinson hotel, with two fine courses – the seaside Ria and the woodland Cima. This is ideal for peace, beach walks and recharging.
Courses 31.4 Accommodation 17.3 Amenities 15.3 Setting 16.4 Total 80.4
Getting there: Milan Malpensa is 50 minutes away.
For the serious golf 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.