What are the best golf resorts in continental Europe where you can also enjoy a beach holiday?
As part of our Golf World Top 100 Best Golf Resorts in Continental Europe ranking, we’ve also ranked the resorts in 12 individual categories, from best resorts for male and female groups to the best for families, couples and value. Here, we take a look at the ten courses from the list that provide the best location to relax on a beach when you’re not on the golf course.
We’ve included their scores from the main ranking so you get an idea of how they rate overall.
As always, we’d love to hear your views on our Top 100s. Please do feed back where you feel we’ve gone wrong – and also if you think we’ve got things right, too. We’d love to hear from you via email, on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Chris Bertram, Golf World Top 100 Editor
How we marked the golf resorts
Course/s (marked out of 40): We largely followed our Top 100 Courses ranking as a guide. We awarded extra marks for resorts with more than one course, which gives the option of never having to leave the resort in search of variety. Even so, those with second (and third) courses do, if anything, may not quite get the extra boost they warrant.
Accommodation (out of 20): Needs little explanation, but worth pointing out two things: range and quantity of accommodation was looked on favourably, rather than just 10 incredible rooms. Given there is a separate category for non-golf amenities, we focused solely on the accommodation rather than facilities.
Setting (out of 20): We have increased the marks here because we feel a beachside, cliff-edge or lakeside location – to name three – do make a difference to the enjoyment of a resort. Peaceful countryside gets 15s and 16s in this category, but those with the ‘wow’ factor gain traction with 17s, 18s and even 19s.
Non-golf amenities (out of 20): We do not want this to be ‘Courses with Rooms’. We have a Continental Courses ranking and a lot of those courses have dormie houses, and we do not want to simply replicate that list here. This list is for golf breaks and holidays, with resorts that will appeal to golfers primarily but also non-golfers too.
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Golf World Top 100: Best Golf Resorts for a Beach Holiday in Continental Europe
Courses 31.8 Accommodation 18.7 Amenities 18.2 Setting 19.2 Total 87.9
Getting there: Palermo is 50 minutes away.
A ‘where did it all go right?’ feeling here. It’s 7th in the overall ranking, but that is very much an anomaly in our eyes, because Verdura would ordinarily be in the top three. However, its courses were ravaged by a freak storm last year and won’t be back to full capacity ‘til next year after a revision by Kyle Phillips.
We were tempted to rank it as the resort we know – two Phillips seaside courses of equal class and a chic Rocco Forte Hotel with bags of leisure facilities, plus a peerless beachside setting. But for a good deal of this ranking’s two-year shelf life, that won’t be the case. Trust us, though, it is still utterly amazing and a must-visit.
Course 27.5 Accommodation 16.6 Amenities 15.9 Setting 17.0 Total 77.0
Getting there: Faro is 20 minutes away.
A new entry into our Top 100 rankings, but this is a relatively low-profile resort in the Algarve that has deserved higher billing. We have long liked Salgados for its playable and scenic course, which makes you glad you are a golfer.
There’s nothing complicated about it, just a terrific location – next to Salgados Beach and Lagoon Nature Reserve – and simple holes on flat land that you relish tackling… with the chance of a nice score. Off the course, Salgados arguably excels at least as much.
It is part of the Nau Hotel group and the options are the Lagoas self-catering villas, five-star beach hotel Salgados Palace and Palm Village apartments and suites. These varied options come with plenty of amenities, not least being yards from the gorgeous white-sand beach. A superb option for a chilled-out golf and beach holiday.
Courses 36.9 Accommodation 16.6 Amenities 16.0 Setting 18.7 Total 88.2
Getting there: Lisbon is 60 mins away.
Miles of golden beach along the whole resort. Add one of the best courses within this list to one of the most distinctive courses in the list, then combine them with a refurbished Marriott hotel and you have a resort of rare class.
With the seaside classic of the same name and outstanding newcomer West Cliffs, this is the highest-class golf offering in the 100. Scores well for location, but brutally loses a little in that category as West Cliffs is a 10-minute drive away.
Courses 30.9 Accommodation 18.4 Amenities 19.3 Setting 16.9 Total 85.5
Getting there: Antalya is 30 mins away.
With three hotels and three courses, Gloria is one of the biggest – and finest – golf resorts in Europe.
None of the courses is in the Golf World Continental Top 100, but both the New and the Old are always strong contenders for it and anyone who has played them would not raise an eyebrow if either of them were.
Then you have three awesome, amenity-packed hotels – Serenity, Verde and Golf – which all have slightly different emphases, so you can find the perfect one for you. All are within a couple of minutes’ drive of the golf clubhouse.
The hotels are ‘typical Belek’…which is extremely high praise; terrific facilities, a wide choice of restaurants and high-class bedrooms. There’s now even an elite-level sports centre, used by Turkey’s football team.
The amenities include the best on-site water park in Belek – one of the reasons we think this is an amazing resort for families.
Courses 34.5 Accommodation 18.6 Amenities 18.7 Setting 16.6 Total 88.4
Getting there: Antalya is 30 minutes away.
Chill out on the cool pier, above the shore. Carya is No.4 in our main lists and would be a very fine No.1. It has two courses within our Continental European Top 100 Courses and a luxury hotel that is less than 10 years old and is packed full of amenities – everything from water slides to a bowling alley and so much in between!
The eponymous on-site course is Belek’s outstanding offering, a Turkish track with hints of the heathland classics in Surrey and Berkshire.
We rank it as the finest in Belek (no mean achievement) and one of the top 35 in the whole of Continental Europe.
Designed by Thomson, Perrett and Lobb, it sits among pines and heather and offers a delightful mix of holes.
The resort now also boasts The National in its portfolio, located a couple of minutes away. It is Belek’s original course and remains one of its best, entering our Continental Top 100 in 2017.
Courses 31.6 Accommodation 16.3 Amenities 14.9 Setting 18.0 Total 80.8
Getting there: Faro is 25 minutes away.
There’s every chance many haven’t heard of this low-profile Algarve resort; it is often drowned out by bigger names. But there’s also every chance of a quietly excellent golf break in an unfussy yet super Robinson hotel, with two fine courses – the seaside Ria and the woodland Cima. Perfect for a barefoot stroll from the hotel.
7. Antalya GC
Courses 33.5 Accommodation 17.6 Amenities 17.5 Setting 15.8 Total 84.4
Getting there: Antalya airport is 30 mins away.
You get two fine courses of differing appeal at Antalya. One is a European Tour venue – the Sultan – while the other is fun and very playable, the Pasha. They are both in immaculate condition and complemented by a choice of two excellent hotels – the Sirene and the uber-luxurious Kempinski are both on the doorstep, the latter with its own superb private beach.
Course 33.1 Accommodation 17.1 Amenities 16.0 Setting 17.9 Total 84.1
Getting there: Lisbon airport is 80 minutes away.
A one-course resort among all these multi-course complexes tells you how highly we rate Troia. The course is fabulous – it’s in the top 10 of our Continental Courses list. It’s a Robert Trent Jones masterpiece by the seaside with springy turf, sea views and atmospheric pines. The five-star hotel has lots of amenities including a spa with offering more than 70 different treatments, kids’ club, two rooftop pools and a casino. Super setting – it’s on a peninsula so there are beaches everywhere.
Courses 31.5 Accommodation 17.8 Amenities 16.7 Setting 16.2 Total 82.2
Getting there: Antalya is 30 mins away.
That Cornelia is only just inside the top 25 of our main list shows how ludicrously good the top end of the list is. It has Nick Faldo-designed loops of nine that are Top 100 calibre, as well as ‘standard’ Belek luxury in the accommodation and its amenities. It ticks all the boxes and you can saunter to the sand in seconds.
Course 25.9 Accommodation 16.0 Amenities 17.0 Setting 17.6 Total 76.5
Getting there: Venice is 80 minutes, Trieste is 40.
Take a holiday resort packed with family-friendly amenities and add in a course set on the edge of a lagoon and you have this uber-fun Italian venue. The course has an Everglades-style setting, so water is so often a threat. Choose to stay in log cabins or marina suites – and which sports to play. You might actually struggle to find time for the beach!