1 Sir Henry Cotton Course, Penina Hotel, Portimao
Set inland in the traditional Algarvian town of Portimao, this is the oldest course in the region, opening in 1966, and has played host to 10 Portuguese Opens. It’s superbly located with a high-tech driving range that’s up there with the most advanced in Europe. The course itself is as unforgiving as it is easy on the eye. Elevated greens are its hallmark and golfers of all abilities should club-up on approach shots. The par-5 fifth makes for the best risk-and-reward challenge: drive straight and attack the green in two with a low-flighted iron.
penina.com, green fees from £76
2 Victoria Golf Course, Vilamoura
Designed by Arnold Palmer and home course for the annual Portugal Masters on the European Tour, this set of 18 marks a tough test to low-handicap golfers looking for a challenge. Sand and water line many of the fairways and the denuding four holes are the hardest on the course. Interestingly, the layout is completely flat, which makes it eminently walkable and suited to older players or those with restricted mobility.
dompedrogolf.com, green fees from £89
3 South Course, Quinta do Lago
This course is considered the best on the Quinta do Lago estate and regularly features in lists of the top 50 courses in the world. It’s played host to the Portuguese Open on many occasions and its year-round conditioning is superb, as evidenced by its relatively high green fees. Elevation is the main enemy here as it varies from hole to hole, with many restricted-visibility approach shots; course guides are available dailywhich detail pin positions. It’s set among umbrella pines, lakes and traces the course of Ria Formosa National Park, with stunning vistas from almost every hole.
quintadolago.com, green fees from £115