Europe is a golfing hotspot, with Ryder Cup caliber courses and European Tour hosts scattered throughout the continent. A number of the world’s best (and most beautiful) golf courses can be found throughout continental Europe, from the Algarve in Portugal to Sicily’s sunbathed coast.
Golfers can expect to find some of the best golf while in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, as well as several new, trending destinations.
The best golf courses in Europe: Top 10 in Spain
The host nation for the 1997 Ryder Cup, Spain is home to some Europe’s premier (and most beautiful) golf courses. Spain’s golfing portfolio is one of the best in continental Europe containing a variety of stunning championship courses that cater to every golfer’s needs.
1. PGA Catalunya, Stadium Course (Costa Brava, Spain)
Carretera N-II km 701. 17455 Caldes de Malavella, Girona
In a relatively short time, the Stadium Course at PGA Catalunya has firmly set itself among Europe’s top 10 golf courses. Located just north of the city of Barcelona, on the beautiful Costa Brava, the Stadium Course has been consistently ranked among the best golf courses in Europe since it was opened in 1999 and was voted #4 in continental Europe and #1 in Spain in 2019. It has also served as the venue for numerous PGA European Tour events.
2. Real Club de Golf El Prat (Costa Brava, Spain)
Plans de Bonvilar, 17, 08227 Terrassa, Barcelona
Real Club El Prat is one of the oldest golf courses in Spain, dating back to 1912, and remains one of only a small number of clubs to have been granted royal status. The club is set among the idyllic Costa Brava landscape and just 30 minutes from Barcelona.
Greg Norman designed 45 holes with a unique approach, as the courses combine comfort, adapting the field to each level and style of play, with beauty, by harmoniously integrating the seven Nature tours
3. Las Colinas Golf & Country Club (Costa Blanca, Spain)
Av. de las Colinas, 2, 03189 Dehesa de Campoamor, Alicante
The Las Colinas Golf & Country Club’s 18-hole layout has a reputation for its perfect combination of year-round Championship-ready conditioning and is widely regarded as one of the best modern golf courses in Europe.
Architect Cabell B. Robinson designed the course for players of all levels, blending naturally into the surrounding landscape of Costa Blanca, running through valleys between the hills and providing views of the nearby coastline.
4. El Valle Golf Club (Costa Blanca, Spain)
Baños y Mendigo, Autovía de Murcia, Km 4, 30155 San Javier, Murcia, Spain
Set in the foreground of the Murcian Mountains and designed by the great Jack Nicklaus, El Valle Golf Club is one of Europe’s most beautiful golf courses. It’s a blend of masterful golf course design and the natural landscape. The American Style resort features a number of trademark Nicklaus ‘risk & reward’ golf holes with vast expanses of sand and water being a feature throughout.
5. Club de Golf Finca Cortesin (Costa del Sol, Spain)
Carretera Casares, s/n, 29690 Casares
Considered among Spain’s finest golf courses, the Club de Golf Finca Cortesin features a harmonious relationship between the natural Mediterranean landscape and the environment on the resort’s world-class 18-hole championship course. The interaction results in an attractive design while benefiting from the year-round excellent weather.
6. Marbella Golf & Country Club (Costa del Sol, Spain)
N-340, Km.188, 29604 Marbella
The Marbella Golf & Country Club was designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones Senior, and is located just a five minute drive from Marbella city center. The course provides one of the best and most challenging golfing experiences on the Costa Del Sol. The surrounding hills, olive groves and magnificent sea views from a pair of shady terraces provide an impressive backdrop for the Clubhouse restaurant, which offers an innovative menu with seasonal ingredients, prepared daily.
7. Chaparral Golf Club (Costa del Sol, Spain)
Urbanización el Chaparral, N-340, 29649 Las Lagunas de Mijas
Located in a privileged and unique environment on the Costa del Sol, between Mijas and Fuengirola, the Chaparral Golf Club is set near the sea, just 700 meters from the beach and surrounded by an immense forest of Canarian pine and indigenous Mediterranean forest. Not an excessively long course at just 5,800 meters, it features a unique mix of par-5’s and par-3’s.
8. Golf Son Gual Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain)
Ma 15 – Palma – Manacor, Km 11,5, 07199 Palma de Mallorca
Measuring a substantial 7,250 yards from the back tees, Son Gual is a challenging test, especially when the fickle Mediterranean breezes stiffen. The whole design is captivating and, with bent grass from tee to green, the whole experience is polished to absolute perfection.
The course features numerous memorable holes, but none more so than the closing hole which is a serious contender for Europe’s best par five and Spain’s most dramatic 18th, Golf Son Gual also hosted the Son Gual Mallorca Senior Open in 2009.
9. Parador de El Saler Golf Course (Valencia, Spain)
Avinguda dels Pinars, 151, 46012 València
The Parador de El Saler golf course is considered one of the best golf courses in the world by professional and amateur players, institutions and the specialized press . Built in 1968 by Javier Arana, who is considered the great architect of Spanish golf and internationally recognized, it is located in the El Saler Natural Park, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
10. Real Valderrama Golf Club (Andalucia, Spain)
Av. los Cortijos, s/n, 11310 Sotogrande, Cádiz
Located in the resort of Sotogrande, San Roque in the Andalucia region of southern Spain, the Real Valderrama Golf Club is one of the best-known golf clubs in the world. There is an 18-hole championship course, along with a 9-hole par three course. Valderrama was constructed in 1974 as “Sotogrande New,” to the designs of leading American golf course architect Robert Trent Jones and in 1999 was named the top ranked course in mainland Europe by Golf World Magazine.
The best golf courses in Europe: Top 5 in Portugal
Located on the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal’s long Atlantic coastline has a longtime, rich seafaring heritage. But today’s Portugal has become renown as a golfing paradise, with some of the best golf courses in Europe.
11. Praia D’El Rey (Silver Coast, Portugal)
Avenida Dom Pedro Primeiro, 2510-452 Vale de Janelas
Sitting on Portugal’s Atlantic seaboard, on what is known as the “Silver Coast”, Praia D’El Rey features one of Continental Europe’s most invigorating sequences of holes. An hour north-west of Lisbon near the coastal town of Peniche. The course is situated between the landscape of the Serra de Montejunto and flawless beaches.
12. Monte Rei Golf & Country Club (Algarve, Portugal)
Sitio Do Pocinho – Sesmarias, 8901-907 Vila Nova de Cacela
Ranking number 30 in Golf World’s Top 100 Best Golf Resorts in Continental Europe, the Monte Rei Golf & Country Club is one of the best in Portugal. Located just 40 minutes from Faro, it is part of the growing number of Eastern Algarve golf courses. Set on a private estate of over 1,000 acres of countryside, the club will appeal to golfers looking for an escape from the busy Portugeuse coastline.
13. Troia Golf (Lisbon, Portugal)
Tróia, 7570-789 GDL
Robert Trent Jones, Sr. put the finishing touches on the 6,914-yard Troia Golf Course after sculpting the tract out of the rolling dunes on a slender outcrop of land just an hour south of Lisbon. The renowned designer frequently stated that the 404-yard par-4, 3rd hole was one of the best 20 holes he’d ever crafter during his career.
14. Espiche Golf Course (Algarve, Portugal)
Sítio dos, R. Matos Brancos 701 – N, 8600-114
One of the more challenging golf courses in the Algarve, the 18 hole, par 72 Espiche Golf Course was designed to complement the distinct landscape of the western Algarve, in the city of Lagos, by embracing an ecological and sustainability ethic approach.
The lakes, streams and native plantations work together to enrich the local biodiversity, while creating a unique game environment for playing golf in the Algarve.
15. Vale do Lobo Ocean Golf Course (Algarve, Portugal)
Vale do Lobo, 8135-864 Faro, Portugal
The Vale do Lobo Golf Resort is home to two exceptional golfing challenges: the Royal and the Ocean golf courses, based on original concepts by the legendary Sir Henry Cotton and re-developed by renowned American golf course architect, Rocky Roquemore. The resort is located about 5 miles (9 kms) away from Vilamoura.
The Best golf courses in Europe: Top 5 in Italy
Golf in Italy is becoming increasingly popular, as it has traditionally been more of an aristocratic sport among the locals. From Rome to Tuscany, the traveling golfer looks for a unique holiday destination, they can find some of the most beautiful golf courses in Europe on the Italian countryside.
16. Verdura Golf Course (Sicily, Italy)
S.S. 115, Km 131, 92019 Sciacca AG, Italy
The 5-star Verdura Resort is situated on the southwest coast of Sicily and the 45-hole golf complex at its centre is one of the best sporting facilities to be found anywhere in the Mediterranean region. Designed by the esteemed American architect Kyle Phillips, the two championship 18-hole layouts, East and West, are the golfing stars of the show at Verdura and they are well supported by a 9-hole par three course, a driving range and practice area.
17. Circolo Golf Villa D’Este (Como, Italy)
Via Cantù, 13, 22030 Montorfano CO
With the magnificent Lake Montorfano as the centerpiece, the Circolo Golf Villa D’Este course winds its way through uniformly arranged Ash and Pine trees making accurate driving the order of the day. With a par 69, and measuring in at a mere 6,391 yards it is easy to think you can take it easy through the round, but its narrow fairways demand constant precision throughout the round, testing even the most talented golfers basic skills.
18. Poggio Dei Medici Golf Course (Florence, Italy)
Via di S. Gavino, 27, 50038 Scarperia e San Piero FI
Nestled among the rolling hills just outside of Tuscany, 33 km from Florence, the Poggio Dei Medici Golf Course is a masterpiece of golf design. The course features an exciting and varied layout that any visiting golfer should endeavour to play. As a testament to its quality, Poggio Dei Medici played host to the Italian Open on the Ladies European Tour from 1999 to 2003.
19. Acquasanta Golf Club (Rome, Italy)
Via Appia Nuova, 716/a, 00178 Roma RM
The Acquasanta Golf Club is considered to be the oldest in Italy and each year is still ranked as one of the country’s finest courses. In time with the era it was created in, the course is by no means long but instead poses golfers with different challenges.
The club was established in 1903 as a 9 holes golf course and became 18 holes in 1913. Situated along Via Appia on the southeast of Rome, and just 3 miles from the Colosseum, the club actually dates back to 1885, founded by a group of British expatriates.
20. Circolo Golf Venezia (Venice, Italy)
Str. Vecchia, 1, 30126 Venezia VE, Italy
The 18 holes, par 72 course Circolo Golf Venezia course stretches 6039 metres from normal standards and 6199 from championship tees. It was built in 1928, and enlarged to 18 holes in 1951 on a spectacular strip of land between the Adriatic Sea and the Lagoon of Venice. It shares several links features and the bora and sirocco winds that often impact play while on the course.
The Best golf courses in Europe: Top 5 in France
Not too long ago, golf in France was a foreign thought. But following the success of the 2018 Ryder Cup’s appearance in the suburbs of Paris, French golf has been on a surge. The French golf identity can be best revealed in a tour of its spectacular array of courses.
21. Golf Blue Green Pleneuf-Val-Andre (Brittany, France)
Rue de la Plage des Vallées, 22370 Pléneuf-Val-André
A sublime, 18-hole course nestled at the top of the Brittany cliffs, The Bluegreen Pléneuf-Val-André is probably the most beautiful golf course in France, and one of the best on Europe. Opened in 1992, the course has been the host of the Brittany Open for 13 years, which brings together the second division of the European tour. Its scenery in the wild mixes moors, ocean, beach and cliff as far as the eye can see.
22. Le Touquet Golf Club (Opal Coast, France)
Avenue du Golf, 62520 Le Touquet-Paris-Plage
Located less than an hour from Eurotunnel’s Calais Terminus, Le Touquet Golf Resort is set on the breathtaking Opal Coast of Northern France. The club offers three courses ranging from a pure fun tract, to a thrilling challenge from the back tees.
23. Les Bordes Golf (The Loire Valley, France)
Les Petits Rondis, 41220 Saint-Laurent-Nouan
The Les Bordes Golf course was designed by Texan, Robert von Hagge and opened for play in 1986. Don’t visit Les Bordes expecting to play to handicap, as this monster layout stretches to 7,062 yards from the back tees, and is really as difficult as its reputation suggests. La Sologne occupies an area of approximately 1,500 sq kilometres and the region offers tranquil walks around lakes and woodland and von Hagge has utilised some of Sologne’s lakes to dramatic effect with island greens and water coming into play on no less than twelve holes.
24. Cannes Mougins Golf Country Club (French Riviera)
175 Avenue du Golf, 06250 Mougins, France
Designed by the acclaimed pair of golf course architects Peter Allis and Dave Thomas in 1977, this exceptional course is set between two beautiful forests and is slightly hilly, it is crossed by a river and there are many water hazards adding another challenge to the course. Mougins is located 14 miles (23 km) from the city of Nice, and about 5 miles (8 km) from Cannes.
25. Fontainebleau Course (Paris, France)
Route d’Orléans, 77300 Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau is one of the largest and most picturesque French forests and is also home to one of France’s most beautiful golf courses — Fontainebleau. The area is steeped in history and royal association and the course is sited within an ancient walled boundary, which adds to the historic ambiance. The course was originally designed in 1909 by Julien Chantepie, while legendary golf architect Tom Simpson was engaged to modify the layout ten years later.
Bonus for golf enthusiasts: the most beautiful golf courses in Northern Europe
The Scandinavian Golf Club, New Course (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Scandinavian Oldvej 3, Farum 3520, Zealand
Located 25 minutes north of Copenhagen, the New Course at the Scandinavian Golf Club demands accuracy from the tees, but the long hitter can really test his skills on some of the holes. One of the best new golf courses in Europe, it was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and opened for play in 2011. Laid out in 200 hectares of forest separated by streams that filter into natural ponds, their natural setting gives both tracks a huge natural advantage over modern contemporaries.
Pärnu Bay Golf Links (Pärnu, Estonia)
Klubi tee 1, Reiu, 86503 Pärnu maakond
The Pärnu Bay Golf Links is a new golf course in Estonia and was recently recognised as the country’s best by the World Golf Awards in 2016 and 2017. The layout is a links course in the truest sense of the word, spread along a coastal stretch of land with sandy soil and fescue grasses.
Bro Hof Slott, Stadium (Stockholm, Sweden)
197 91 Bro
The clubhouse at the Bro Hof Slott is actually a restored white medieval castle, which sits on the hilltop to provide a panoramic view of the course along with a fairytale ambiance to the landscape.
Located just outside of Stockholm, the tract unfurls along Lake Mälaren and provides players with a spectacular backdrop to any round. As a host of the PGA Tour’s Nordea Masters, Bro Hof Slott has two exceptional golf courses both designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. which are laid out on the spectacular grounds of the castle.