Best Golf Courses In Portugal

Portugal is home to some of the best golf courses in Europe...

Quinta do Lago South Course pictured
Quinta do Lago South Course
(Image credit: Quinta do Lago)

Best Golf Courses In Portugal

Portugal welcomes millions of tourists every year with many simply looking to enjoy the lovely climate, the beaches, the seafood and the culture.

However more and more people are looking at Portugal as a golfing destination too because of the superb selection of golf courses and resorts that have emerged over the last 40 years. It is home to some stunning golf resorts along the Algarve as well as scenic courses further north around Lisbon and beyond.

Here we have taken a look at 20 of the best golf courses in Portugal, featuring the likes of Monte Rei, West Cliffs, Quinta do Lago, a couple of Vilamoura beauties and many more...

Monte Rei

Monte Rei pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Markham)

The magnificent Monte Rei is pure golf luxury and the course’s reputation is founded on the solid gold that is the Jack Nicklaus Signature name. The course, the facilities, the customer service are all first class. It is said that each hole lies in its own valley which emphasises the individuality of holes and the vast area that the course covers. This is ‘big’ golf with enormous bunkering, broad bouncing fairways and greens that look like works of art. Add in the colourful framing to fairways and around greens and it is picture-perfect stuff. There are beautiful lakes and ponds and the course drips peacefulness and quality at every turn. 

Book Monte Rei Golf & Country Club | Hotels.com (opens in new tab)

Book Monte Rei Golf & Country Club | Hotels.com (opens in new tab)

Book your stay at the luxury Monte Rei Golf & Country Club with Hotels.com. The resort of course features Portugal's best golf course, designed by Jack Nicklaus. Choose from a wide range of villas, apartments and penthouses.

West Cliffs

West Cliffs Golf course pictured

(Image credit: West Cliffs)

One of the best golf courses in Portugal, and one of its youngest too, West Cliffs was designed by Cynthia Dye – Pete Dye’s niece – and it bolsters the allure of the Centro region, which already included Praia d’El Rei and Royal Obidos. Opened in 2017, this is a remarkable piece of golf design, employing rolling sand dunes, natural vegetation and pine groves, with silken fairways gliding in between. Greens are bold in size, shape and spirit. The sensational back-9 take you out to the sea and ramp up the drama as you are led ever higher to the most towering drive of the day on the final hole. A big, big driving course.

Troia

Troia Golf course pictured

(Image credit: Troia)

Located south of Lisbon, on a peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and the Sado Estuary, Troia was designed by Robert Trent Jones Senior, in 1980. Regarded as one of the toughest and most scenic courses in Portugal, the 18 holes race through established pine trees and native flora with ocean views never far away. The glorious sandy terrain is emphasised by the narrow fairways that fade immediately into the long scars of sand dunes. It makes accuracy absolutely essential as you seek out the heavily bunkered, small and often elevated greens…so choosing the correct tee will make or break your day. A serious test but an enchanting one nonetheless. 

Quinta Do Lago (South)

Quinta do Lago South Course pictured

(Image credit: Quinta do Lago)

It may not be the oldest course in the Algarve (that title belongs to Penina, 1966) but the South course is the ‘grand dame’ of the region…and it has been revitalised by a recent multi-million renovation, completed in 2021. And yet it still retains that classic feel, coasting over hilly terrain and through countless corridors of umbrella pines. Doglegs abound, placing a premium on accuracy, and while water is a rare hazard it plays a big part on the signature 177-yard par-3 15th. It is all carry across the lake. That same lake fronts the tee box on the par-5 17th which weaves its way slowly uphill between the pine trees.

- Full Quinta do Lago South Course review

Book The Magnolia Hotel | Hotels.com (opens in new tab)

Book The Magnolia Hotel | Hotels.com (opens in new tab)

A boutique hospitality experience on the doorstep of Quinta do Lago. Paying homage to the iconic vintage motel, The Magnolia brings a taste of Palm Springs to the Algarve and offers a unique hospitality experience you won’t find anywhere else in the region.

San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo golf club pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

There is a grand scale to San Lorenzo, which blends so seamlessly with its charming location alongside the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve. A sea lagoon even divides part of the course and it is well employed on the closing two holes. Four holes in all bring water in to play while a further three lie on the coastline, with the par-3 5th providing the big reveal. Elsewhere, fairways meander between the pine-drenched slopes of gently undulating terrain. San Lorenzo opened in 1988, to considerable acclaim, but it has been surpassed in recent years as more modern courses/upgrades shine brighter. It is still a fine test of golf and very popular, too.

Vilamoura Dom Pedro Old Course 

Vilamoura Old Course pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

The beauty of Vilamoura Old (1969) is evident from the moment you step past the clubhouse. The umbrella pines are utterly enchanting companions and you can walk along the nearby paths to glimpse some of the holes. Those pines follow you everywhere and they help provide a sweet, sleek rhythm which makes this such a popular venue. Accuracy is essential to avoid the trees and to find the best angles into greens, and the par-3s are particularly impressive (the 6th and 10th are along those clubhouse pathways). That said, this is a strong course from start to finish and an embracing round of golf that teases you constantly with the movements of the land. 

Book Dom Pedro Vilamoura | Hotels.com (opens in new tab)

Book Dom Pedro Vilamoura | Hotels.com (opens in new tab)

Featuring 266 smoke-free guestrooms, restaurants and bar/lounge, full-service spa and great location, the Dom Pedro Vilamoura makes for a great base when exploring Vilamoura's best golf courses, including the famous Old and Victoria, host of the Portugal Masters.

Oitavos Dunes

Oitavos Dunes pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Markham)

Laid out over a calm, lilting dunescape, Oitavos Dunes is a different experience to anything else in Portugal. Opened in 2001, it rapidly acquired an impressive reputation thanks to the design of American, Arthur Hills. Its strong links flavour shines through and even the woodland flourishes at the start and end boast that sandy terrain. This is a stern test of golf and the shapely greens are things of joy. The views are no less dramatic but what will capture your imagination most is that raw links feel, not to mention the achingly pretty pair of par-3s on 14 and 15, at the top of the course. Oitavos Dunes was the first course in Europe to win the Audubon Gold Signature environmental award. 

Quinta do Lago (North)

Quinta do Lago North Course pictured

(Image credit: Quinta do Lago)

The upgraded North course (2014) has been turning heads in recent years. The changes and improvements in quality have significantly ramped up its reputation and, alongside the South and Laranjal courses, Quinta do Lago is Portugal’s premier golfing venue. The North is a fast starter with a downhill opening drive between umbrella pines hovering above. The course does weave between houses and there are several road crossings but it just makes each section stand apart. As good as the front-9 is it is the back-9 that takes the plaudits with a furious final run of rippling holes through the pines… as well as the short but daunting par-4 12th which doglegs tightly around a lake.

Book The Magnolia Hotel | Hotels.com (opens in new tab)

Book The Magnolia Hotel | Hotels.com (opens in new tab)

A boutique hospitality experience on the doorstep of Quinta do Lago. Paying homage to the iconic vintage motel, The Magnolia brings a taste of Palm Springs to the Algarve and offers a unique hospitality experience you won’t find anywhere else in the region.

Praia D'El Rey

Praia D'el rey pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Praia D'El Rey and West Cliffs are part of the same golf resort and with two courses so highly ranked – not to mention the neighbouring Royal Obidos – the Central region on the Silver Coast has become a highly alluring destination with three of the best golf courses in Portugal. The routing of Praia D'El Rey takes you out to the ocean’s edge on the back-9 for three glorious holes (13 to 15), while also giving you a taste for it on the front-9. It is an idyllic setting, mostly in duneland, and the course is meticulously maintained as it rambles over the dunes and cliffs, and through pine forest for the more inland holes. 

Palmares 

Palmares Golf course pictured

(Image credit: Palmares )

Tucked away on the Algarve’s more western fringes are 27 holes of superb variety and intrigue. In 2010, Robert Trent Jones Jr redesigned Frank Pennink’s original work at Palmares and added a third nine to create three engaging 18-hole options. The course sits on a hillside that drops quickly to more level sandy terrain near the shore. The railway line slices through the Praia nine, highlighting the four links holes that reside closest to the sea – two par-5s and two par-3s. Constant views of the Atlantic accompany your round especially on the two more shapely nines with an inland horizon filled by the Monchique Mountains. The vast new clubhouse sets the scene perfectly.

Amendoeira (Faldo)

Amendoeira Faldo course pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)


No doubt the Nick Faldo name will prove highly appealing for many golfers and, at Amendoeira, they won’t be disappointed. He has created an intriguing and high quality golf course as part of this 36-hole resort. The inland location sets it apart from many Algarve courses and here you will find rocky outcrops, ancient olive trees and desert scrub bunkers. Throw in some cacti and it all gives the Faldo design a different feel especially with a hilly back nine tossing you all over the place and offering up so many attractive shots…all showing off the countryside views.

Penha Longa (Atlantic)

Penha Longa course pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Markham)

Located in the Sintra Natural Park, this is a gorgeous course encircled by mountains of trees and mist. The surroundings are peaceful and enchanting but this is a sterling test of golf. The Atlantic was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr (1992) and it carves its way through valleys and across the foothills of the Sintra mountains. Expect some steep slopes and elevated terrain to add extra drama to what’s already a dramatic course. This is a 27-hole 5-star resort and you tee off in front of a 14th century palace and monastery. 

Estela

Estela golf course pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Markham)

The genuine links terrain of Estela clings closely to two miles of coastline north of Porto. There are two loops of nine, both routed out and back to the clubhouse, both offering holes that fully employ the dunes and hillocks over which the course roams. Estela opened in 1989, and it is the stellar course in a region that possesses some rollercoaster inland courses. It is also one of only three or four courses in Portugal that can boast pure links terrain. Expect wind to influence your play as you seek out smallish green sites. The start along the coastline gets you off to a flyer.

Quinta do Lago (Laranjal)

Quinta do Lago Laranjal course pictured

(Image credit: Quinta do Lago)

The youngest (2009) of the Quinta do Lago courses and one that famously plays through orange groves. Laranjal is a modern course full of fluidity and it effortlessly embraces the water features as well as the umbrella pines, holm oaks and orange trees. There’s no question that the undulating greens are a highlight for their beauty, their quality and their challenges. You will need a very confident stroke to avoid three putting. Fairways are generous and greens are big, but missing the putting surfaces will cause problems, not least because of the bunkers which have tentacles stretching right around greens. A different experience to its two stablemates.

Book The Magnolia Hotel | Hotels.com (opens in new tab)

Book The Magnolia Hotel | Hotels.com (opens in new tab)

A boutique hospitality experience on the doorstep of Quinta do Lago. Paying homage to the iconic vintage motel, The Magnolia brings a taste of Palm Springs to the Algarve and offers a unique hospitality experience you won’t find anywhere else in the region.

Quinta de Cima

Quinta de Cima golf course pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Markham)

On the eastern fringes of the Algarve, and not far from Monte Rei, Quinta de Cima is part of a 36-hole complex. Both courses are within the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, and while the Quinta da Ria course pushes right out to the sea, Quinta de Cima is the bigger, more rhythmic and fluid championship course. Its strength is a languid consistency that lasts for 18 holes, with strong bunkering, wide fairways flowing between the olive trees, and undulating greens. There are no houses here, which only adds to the peacefulness. You’ll also play two holes through an orange grove. Designed by Rocky Roquemore.

Royal Obidos

Royal Obidos golf course pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Markham)

This Seve Ballesteros course (one of three in Portugal) is a rollercoaster of wide graceful fairways and hypnotic greens, carved over shapely rolling terrain. Opened in 2012, it was Seve’s final design. It is smartly presented and with a barrage of five par-3s and five par-5s you know there will be all kinds of opportunities for shot-making. Some early holes (2 to 7) are slightly separate to the main body of the course, but water is just as prevalent and is a serious threat on eight holes. With its slightly exposed appearance you will be able to see numerous flags from the clubhouse and it gives an excellent taste of the course. 

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Book Royal Obidos Spa & Golf Resort | Hotels.com (opens in new tab)

Featuring 39 smoke-free guestrooms, two restaurants, two bars/lounges, a full-service spa and one of the best golf courses in Portugal, Royal Obidos makes for a fantastic golf break. Book with Hotels.com.

Porto Santo

Porto Santo golf course pictured

(Image credit: Porto Santo)

This lone golf course on the island of Porto Santo, off Madeira, was designed by Seve Ballesteros (2004). The ferry ride to reach it is part of the experience of playing a course possessing only a few palm trees, several water features and a cavorting volcanic landscape that takes you out to frighteningly high cliff tops. Two par-3s and a par-4 dogleg cling to these cliffs perched above the Atlantic. It’s a splash of drama and turns the back-9 into an adrenaline rush especially with the tricky greens. There is always plenty to see from the tee, thanks to the course’s open nature and generous fairways. Seve used a 6-6-6 combination of par-3s, par-4s and par-5s.

Vilamoura Dom Pedro Victoria 

Vilamoura Victoria course pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Markham)

The Portugal Masters has been played on the Arnold Palmer-designed Victoria course for 15 years and it possesses and the large-scale championship elements that you’d expect. With heaving green complexes, slick fairways, threatening bunkers and greens with some alarming swings, Victoria is never less than an adventure. The back-9 is flatter than the elegantly rolling front-9 but possesses more frequent and threatening water features, on the delicious par-3 13th most notably. Accuracy into greens will avoid the penal bunkering but with those swinging greens there’s still lots of work to do. There are plenty of olive trees around but Victoria still feels open and accessible.

Book Dom Pedro Vilamoura | Hotels.com (opens in new tab)

Book Dom Pedro Vilamoura | Hotels.com (opens in new tab)

Featuring 266 smoke-free guestrooms, restaurants and bar/lounge, full-service spa and great location, the Dom Pedro Vilamoura makes for a great base when exploring Vilamoura's best golf courses, including the famous Old and Victoria, host of the Portugal Masters.

Espiche

Espiche golf course pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Markham)

The wild and peaceful setting of Espiche makes this cavorting young course (2012) float across the landscape. Views stretch towards the Monchique Mountains, and the lack of residential development only adds to the romantic setting. Perched high above the course is a heavily glassed and stunning wooden clubhouse. From here you can see how much Espiche tumbles up and down, a rollercoaster that never stops until you walk off the 18th. The narrow fairways are flanked by deep rough so accuracy is key. It is not long for a par 72 (5,862 metres, back tees) and this well laid out course is very much connected to the nature around it.

Vidago Palace

Vidago Palace golf course pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Markham)

Vidago Palace, east of Porto, is a luxury hotel (built for royalty) that also happens to have one of the best golf courses in Portugal attached. Entirely renovated in 2010, by Cameron & Powell, the majority of the opening holes glide through a wide valley, elegantly paced with big greens and a stream slipping across some fairways. The main event, however, comes on the back-9 as the holes edge higher up the hillside and into deep woods. Here lie the enthralling holes with some hero shots, swinging doglegs and a final four holes that rank among the best closing stretches anywhere.