ALGARVE

ALGARVE

A GOLFERS PARADISE!

Steeped in history and bathed in sunshine all year round, the Algarve is Portugal’s southern most province and one of Europe’s most popular golfing destinations. A land of beguiling charm and disarming friendliness and home to over 30 fantastic golf courses, many of which rank amongst the best in the world!

100 miles of dramatic coastline dominated by pristine, long, sun drenched beaches, punctuated by precipitous cliffs, rugged rock formations and enchanting hidden coves. As with most of the Iberian peninsular, the Algarve has been occupied and influenced by many of the ancient empires, Phoenicians and Romans to name but a few. However, it was the Moors that bequeathed the most indelible legacy, as is evident in the charactistic whitewashed architecture. Indeed, the very name Algarve is derived from the Arabic “Al Gharb” meaning “The West”.

The Algarve, both geographically and golf wise, divides into three areas, central, east and west. Central Algarve encompasses Faro, the regional capital and the gateway to the Algarve.  It is this region that boasts the highest concentration of golf courses with the iconic estates of Vilamoura, Quinta da Lago and Vale do Lobo offering 12 fantastic courses between them.

VILAMOURA

Vilamoura, Europe’s largest purpose built, private tourist resort. Under 20 miles from Faro, Vilamoura was the brainchild of wealthy Porto banker, Cupertino de Miranda, whose vision for what was basically a flat tract of terrain, was a playground for golfers, not to mention the wealthy and famous. The resort began to take shape in the late 60’s with the opening of its first course, Vilamoura Old. A further five courses have been developed since, Pinhal, Laguna, Vila Sol, Millennium and Victoria, which between them have hosted a multitude of European Tour championships.

Although there is a massive emphasis on golf, the pulsating heart of the resort is focused around the magnificent marina, surround by an abundance of bars, restaurants of every conceivable cuisine and night spots. To cater for those for whom a wager on the golf course does not sate their need for excitement there is the Vilamoura casino. The vast majority of the resorts hotels are located within a few minutes walk of the marina and those slightly further afield normally offer a shuttle service into the marina.

There is very little of “real” Portugal about Vilamoura, although paradoxically it does boast some Roman ruins. Vilamoura is all about golf and fun, unashameably brash, what you see is what you get…

 

ALBUFEIRA

Founded by the Romans 2000 years ago, the Moors transformed the fortified town into a prosperous, bustling port. Although some charm is still maintained in the old town where narrow winding streets are lined by whitewashed houses, it’s not the history or culture that draws holidaymakers and golfers to Albufeira, it’s the nightlife and the plethora of bars and restaurants. At night the town bursts into life, climaxing into a vibrant crescendo way after midnight! Only 15 minutes away from the courses of Vilamoura, Albufeira is the ideal base for golfers who value their nocturnal activieties as importantly as their golf.

LAGOS

Once the capital of the Algarve and home to Henry the Navigator, from where he launched many of his voyages during the age of discovery. At one time the gateway of the European slave trade, but now a quintessential Portuguese fishing town. Conveniently located close to the famous Penina resort and fantastic Palmares course, there are also another six courses within close proximity making laid back Lagos the perfect location for a relaxing golf break.

TAVIRA

Until the advent of the new Millennium very few golfers, if any, turned East upon exiting Faro airport. However, an explosion of new courses around the start of the century transformed the eastern Algarve into a golf destination, within a golf destination. This is very much unspoilt Algarve which is typified by the principle town of the area, Tavira, an attractive fishing town that straddles the mouth of the River Gilao. Gone are the cliffs and rock formations that characterise the central and western Algarve to be replaced by dunes, lagoons and mile after mile of pristine white beaches. Many of the beaches are separated from the mainland, only accessible by ferry, very few of the resorts are right on the beach and perhaps this provides the reason why the Eastern Algarve has escaped mass development. Six golf courses are within easy reach of Tavira including the magnificent Monte Rei Resort, a Jack Nicklaus signature course and Quinta do Vale designed by the late, great Seve Ballesteros. The collection of gourmets golf galore can even be stretched by a further seven courses if you wanted to take the short hop over the border into Spain.

All in all, the Algarve, the epitome of ….

A GOLFERS PARADISE!