Teeing up your golf break: Antalya to Algarve - the best courses to pitch up at this winter

Last updated Dec 01, 2022

Despite Scotland being the home of golf and home to some of the planet's very best courses, our famous weather can make playing in the winter a little testing.

It's therefore no surprise that we see keen golfers rocking up at the airport with their clubs as soon as temperatures plummet, destined for sunnier climes.

At EDI we fly to some of the very best 'winter golf' destinations across Europe - two of them being Turkey and Portugal. Here we take a look at some of the finest courses to enjoy when teeing up in these parts of the world.

Antalya

With some of the best courses and best weather around, you could do a lot worse than pitch up in Antalya to sample the golf on offer.

You've got a host of challenging options, including a stunning links course on the Mediterranean Sea and several others set in Turkey's forests, this is a great place to test your game while enjoying some gorgeous surroundings.

Here are some of our top picks if you're planning a golf break to Antalya this winter.

Carya Golf Club

Set on undulating sand hills, this was the first classic, heathland-style golf course to be built on Turkey's Mediterranean coast. A par 72 championship course running 7,186 yards, it is described as a demanding test of golfing strategy.

In addition to the beautiful course itself you've also got a top of the range golf academy and an impressive clubhouse. Plus the course is lit up at night, creating an atmospheric setting and allowing play to continue playing into the evening when the conditions remain mild.

Find it in Antalya's Belek Region, right at the heart of Turkey's golf coast.

Lykia Links Golf Club

Antalya golf - Lykia Links 2

Most keen golfers will have tried out Scotland's famous links courses, so why not experience links golf on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea?

This course, which belongs to the Lykia World Hotel, is rated among the top 100 courses in Europe, and really is something special.

Taking inspiration from the Scottish links courses we know so well, you can expect green-side pot bunkers, holes found inside sand dunes, a hefty breeze, and the need for a fair few punch and run shots.

Montgomerie Maxx Royal Golf Club

Antalya golf - Montgomerie Maxx 2

With a course designed by Colin Montgomerie, this club is thought of as one of the most ambitious facilities in the entire region.

The course, said to be among the toughest in Belek, is set in more than 100 hectares of pine forest and features more than eight lakes and seven hectares of bunkers - so there are challenges aplenty.

It's not just the course visitors come here for though. The clubhouse is very highly rated with some fantastic food and drink on offer, while there's also top-of-the-range practice facilities to enjoy.

Cornelia Faldo Course

A course you need to plot your way around, with several holes requiring very careful consideration.

The 27-hole Nick Faldo championship course is one of the most popular in the area, located in the forest on the eastern side of Belek. A broad dune ridge runs across the course and is a feature of several holes with elevated tees and greens as a result.

Those at Cornelia Faldo pride themselves on course upkeep and management, meaning you'll find this place in pristine condition.

You'll also find a clubhouse with a David Leadbetter Academy including a driving range, putting greens, pitch and put greens and an additional practice area for groups.

Check out our Antalya destination page here

Algarve golf

They don't call the Algarve a golfer's paradise for nothing.

The warm climate allows for play all year round, and the quite incredible selection of different courses (around 30 in total) means this is the go-to place for many planning to pack up their clubs and enjoy a few rounds in the sun.

Importantly, the options range from world class courses designed to test the very best players to less challenging alternatives with birdie opportunities aplenty - perfect for beginners or those with a higher handicap.

Here are some of our top picks.

Vale do Lobo Royal Golf Course

Vale do Lobo golf course - Algarve

This picturesque course is home to one of the most famous golf holes on the continent - a tough par three which dares you to cross three sea cliffs on your way from tee to green.

It's also got an 'almost-island' par three, fraught with danger!

Vale do Lobo, designed by top US golf architect Rocky Roquemore, can be found in the heart of Algarve, around 20-minutes drive from Faro International Airport.

Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Algarve

Dom Pedro Victoria Golf

Designed by the legendary Arnold Palmer this course was hailed as the most ambitious golf projects Portugal has ever seen.

Located in Vilamoura, it has been the setting for a number of top tournaments down the years given its challenging, and uncompromising nature.

In addition to the course itself you've got a brilliant driving range and extensive putting greens so you can get some practice in before your round. Find out more about Dom Pedro Victoria Golf here.

San Lorenzo Golf Course

Algarve golf - San Lorenzo Golf Course

One of the finest courses to play in the Algarve, San Lorenzo has previously played host to the Portuguese Open

The course, lined by pines, flows past lakes and private villas before working its way out towards the ocean for a magnificent finish. The 18th hole itself is fraught with danger and if your approach to the semi-island green isn't spot-on you risk big trouble.

San Lorenzo is found on Portugal's south coast, and is a must-visit for anyone on a golfing break in the Algarve.

Check out our Faro destination page here

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