What are the Best Golf Resorts in Portugal?
Portugal is one of the top destinations for a golf break in Europe with so many incredible places to play, as we've highlighted in our Top 100 Courses in Portugal. But where are the best places to stay and play in the country?
From Porto and Lisbon to the Algarve, Golf World Top 100 Editor Chris Bertram and our expert panel have had their say on the 15 best golf resorts in Portugal.
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Quick guide to golf in Portugal
Comfortably has the most courses, with more than 40 strung across the width of the region. The West’s stars are Palmares and Penina, while the quieter East has Monte Rei plus Quinta da Cima and Ria. The Centre – with Vilamoura – is heavily populated, headlined by the Quinta do Lago trio, Dom Pedro Old and San Lorenzo. Only Palmares’ Praia provides variety from the immaculate parklands.
There are three areas, all within easy reach of Lisbon airport. An hour to the north are Praia D’El Rey, West Cliffs and Royal Obidos. To the south are Aroeira, Quinta do Peru, Ribagolfe and Troia. To the west towards Cascais are Penha Longha, Estoril, Oitavos Dunes and Quinta da Marinha. Troia, Oitavos, PDR and West Cliffs offer seaside excellence.
The fewest courses, but great variety. Oporto is a mini Royal North Devon and Estela is as close to a raw seaside course as you can find on the continent, while Vidago Palace offers some of the most characterful inland holes in Portugal (and a sensational hotel).
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The Best Golf Resorts in Portugal
The golf: Frank Pennink-designed Aroeira I sits among tall pines, while Aroeira II is by Donald Steel and plays around six lakes.
Off-course amenities: An outdoor pool plus four impressive tennis courts.
Accommodation: Opt for apartments or a brand-new, four-star hotel.
Golf World Top 100 verdict: Transformed by the addition of a stylish hotel, opened in autumn 2019. It is super-stylish and a great base from which to play Aroeira’s two courses.
The golf: Twenty seven holes across three nines, with a mix of seaside and parkland.
Off-course amenities: Swimming pool, bar, lounge and restaurant.
Accommodation: The shiny new hotel offers 20 rooms with sea views.
Golf World verdict: Robert Trent Jones overhauled their three loops of nine, then they added a neat on-site hotel.
13. Quinta da Ria
The golf: Excellent contrasting courses – one technical (Cima), the other scenic (Ria).
Off-course amenities: Tennis, bike riding and swimming pools.
Accommodation: A fine combination of rooms, suites and apartments.
Golf World verdict: Expect a quietly excellent break in an unfussy yet super Robinson hotel, with two fine courses.
The golf: The first course to be built on the Algarve opened in 1966 and has hosted 11 Portuguese Opens.
Off-course amenities: A very lengthy list that includes a health and beauty centre spa, sauna, pool, games room, gym, kids’ club and five restaurants and two bars.
Accommodation: Five-star hotel boasting 188 refurbished rooms and suites.
Golf World verdict: The course in mature woodland is excellent. The large hotel is arguably even better.
11. Quinta da Marinha
The golf: A Robert Trent Jones Snr course from 1984, boasting views of the Sintra Mountains and Atlantic.
Off-course amenities: Health club and spa, a large pool, sauna, Turkish bath and a gym.
Accommodation: Choose between a five-star hotel with all the amenities you need, or 44 individual villas.
Golf World verdict: One of Portugal’s biggest and best hotels is the star attraction here, making it one of this list’s premier destinations for families.
10. Vidago Palace
The golf: A classic parkland/woodland that was originally the 1934 creation of MacKenzie Ross.
Off-course amenities: Include indoor and outdoor pools and a Zen-inspired spa.
Accommodation: You feel like royalty at the historic five-star hotel with its exquisite rooms and suites.
Golf World verdict: If you prefer character and pedigree over glitz and dazzle, this is for you. A mini Gleneagles.
9. Royal Obidos
The golf: The last course designed by Seve guarantees plenty of thrills and spills.
Off-course amenities: Extensive dining options and an array of leisure facilities include a gym, spa, tennis courts, cycle trails and outdoor swimming pool.
Accommodation: A very chic five-star boutique hotel.
Golf World verdict: The course has been a fixture in our Continental Top 100 since it opened in 2012. The stylish, modern hotel does not disappoint.
The golf Two Portugal top 20 courses – the Faldo and O’Connor.
Off-course amenities Five-a-side football, tennis courts, a 1km jogging track and a great gym.
Accommodation A collection of luxury properties – from spacious two-bedroom apartments to grand four-bedroom villas.
Golf World verdict: The Faldo and O’Connor – which, as our ranking suggests, are equal in quality – and superb apartments and villa accommodation see Amendoeira rank high.
7. Penha Longa
The golf: Classic Robert Trent Jones Jnr (Kyle Phillips steering the ship) undulating parkland, plus the nine-hole Monastery.
Off-course amenities: The spa is one of Portugal’s finest, while The AssaMassa is an elegant dining room. Lots for families.
Accommodation: Wonderful five-star hotel, tastefully decorated and furnished.
Golf World verdict: Constant drama on the course. The on-site hotel is arguably even better; chic look and terrific amenities.
6. Monte Rei
The golf: Spectacular Jack Nicklaus course which weaves across rolling terrain. World-class championship golf in immaculate condition.
Off-course: amenities Swimming pool and tennis courts.
Accommodation: A collection of luxury villas, which is now getting close to 150 in terms of rooms – exquisitely furnished.
Golf World verdict: With 142 rooms on resort from 2021, and with a Michelin-starred restaurant, this high-end resort offers the ultimate in quality and service.
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The golf: A classic Arthur Hills design with Atlantic views.
Off-course amenities: Top spa, a Jacuzzi, sauna, and indoor swimming pool with heated salt water.
Accommodation: Five-star hotel with views over the ocean or course.
Golf World verdict: A Continental Top 100 (usually in the top 25) course with fabulous Atlantic views are the highlight of this entry. But the hotel is no letdown, being uber-minimalist in style and lying just a few steps from the 18th green.
The golf: A masterpiece of a Robert Trent Jones seaside course.
Off-course amenities: A spa with more than 70 different treatments, kids’ club, two rooftop pools and a casino.
Accommodation: The five-star Troia Design hotel.
Golf World verdict: The course is fabulous – witness its position in the top 10 of our Continental courses list. The hotel has lots of amenities. Super setting.
The golf: Five 18-hole courses with the stunning Old Course and dashing Victoria the stars, backed-up by the Millennium, Pinhal and Laguna.
Off-course amenities: The hotels are packed with amenities.
Accommodation: Three four-star hotels (Dom Pedro Vilamoura, DP Marina and DP Portobelo) – 500 rooms in total.
Golf World verdict: Five courses plus three four-star hotels: Dom Pedro is clearly comprehensive! It has so many rooms and amenities across the Vilamoura, Portobelo and Marina hotels, while the Old is the pick of the 90 holes. Loses marks for being relatively spread out, but none of the hotel-to-course trips is onerous.
The golf: Two world-class courses with the stunning part-links, part-parkland Praia de’l Rey being joined by the equally spectacular West Cliffs.
Off-course amenities: A number of good restaurants, plus a tennis centre, football pitch and a leisure complex with heated indoor and outdoor pools, Jacuzzis, sauna, steam baths, fitness centre and spa.
Accommodation: Refurbished five-star hotel overlooking the Atlantic, plus villas and apartments.
Golf World verdict: An immense golf offering, fabulous location and really good accommodation – unlucky not to be No.1.
The golf: Home to three superb 18-hole championship golf courses (North, South & Laranjal) that are in our Golf World Portugal Top 50 and two in our Continental Europe ranking.
Off-course amenities: A wealth of practice facilities and a wide range of sports and leisure activities, plus 12 bars and restaurants.
Accommodation: The funky four-star Magnolia Hotel with comfortable rooms, a spa, lively pool area and gym.
Golf World verdict: Quinta do Lago has been transformed as a resort entry by the addition of the Magnolia Hotel. Prior to the acquisition of this cute residence in the heart of the ‘super resort’, QdL relied on villas for its accommodation because the hotels within the town-like complex do not have the same owner as the golf courses.
Now, the picture is different. And while Magnolia isn’t the biggest or most luxurious hotel in the top 10, we absolutely love it! It has a vibrant atmosphere, neat bedrooms, a lively pool area and excellent bar and restaurant. And its gym is world-class.