The Clubhouse

Discover Lagos on & off the course: A golf tour review

One of the Algarve’s best and most beautiful locations, we review the wonders of a golf tour to Lagos.

Tom Duncombe
Tom Duncombe
7 mins read
PortugalGolf toursGolf & beachGolf & nightlifeEuropeGolf & city

Having only visited the Vilamoura area on a couple of occasions, I was excited at the prospect of seeing another side of the Algarve - one of our best and most popular golf destinations.

Check out a review of our golf tour to Lagos, which deep dives into everything that is great about the city – both on and off the course.

On the course

There is a great selection of courses to play when visiting Lagos, all situated within 15-20 minutes of the city centre – making it the perfect spot for a golf holiday to Portugal. Palmares is, without doubt, the jewel in the crown of West Algarve, with stunning views overlooking the ocean, whilst Espiche and Boavista are both enjoyable gems in their own right.


There are 27-holes available at Palmares Beach & Golf Resort. We played the original 18-hole design (Alvor and Lagos courses), often ranked within the top 5 courses in Portugal and top 30 courses in Europe.

Palmares Golf Club

The course is stunning, with beautiful panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, dramatic elevation changes and subtle doglegs throughout. Robert Trent Jones Jnr has really maximised the use of land, with a great variation of parkland and links holes to contend with, which is unique to the Algarve.

The Alvor nine combines mature trees and elevation changes which tend to play down towards the ocean, offering a series of picture-perfect views. The Lagos nine brings more water into play and the closing holes resemble some of the links-style holes from the Praia Course (holes 19-27), which are some of the most memorable on the course.

Palmares Golf Club

The all-new clubhouse completes the Palmares experience. It is the perfect 19th hole, with a beautiful patio that includes views over the golf course and Bay of Lagos, and two on-site restaurants. The main restaurant showcases gastronomy from the local region, whilst AL SUD is the resort’s Michelin-Starred eatery for a more refined dining experience. Following our round, we enjoyed a lovely seafood stew and beer, whilst immersing over one of the best views in the Algarve.

Palmares Clubhouse


Espiche Golf Club trades the typical Portuguese characteristics of playing through villas and pines, with playing through vineyards and indigenous plants in an Ecological Reserve, placing real importance on sustainability.

At 6,400 yards, the course may not seem too daunting – but do not let that fool you. It is a very tight, narrow design, with a risk-reward theme throughout all 18-holes. The undulating land means there are plenty of blind tee shots, with any olive, almond or fig trees ready to swallow up any errant shots.

Espiche Golf Club

The front-nine may force you into a false sense of security, but do not become overconfident going into the back-nine as this is one of the toughest inland courses I have played. It requires a great deal of cautious shot-making, particularly as bunkers heavily protect every green.

Like Palmares, the Espiche Golf Club experience begins and ends at the stunning clubhouse. It sits at the highest points of the golf club, with a beautifully set terrace and patio garden that provides panoramic views over the course and surrounding landscape.

Espiche Golf Club


Boavista Golf Club offers a charming design that weaves its way through a range of beautiful villas and apartments, with two opposing nine holes. It is definitely the easiest of the three courses in Lagos and provides a great contrast to the other two.

The front-nine is a classic Algarve parkland that works its way up to the highest point of the resort, offering views over Lagos. The back-nine then meanders back down towards the clubhouse with plenty of lakes and streams to contend with – the more picturesque and difficult of the two nines.

Boavista Golf Club

Holes six and seven are a great run of holes. The sixth is a long par-3 over a deep ravine to a downward sloping green, whilst the seventh is a delightful par-4 that offers views of the Atlantic and Monchique mountains. There is also a great array of par-5s which tempt you into risk/reward shot-making.

There is a modern restaurant with outdoor seating overlooking the 18th green, a great way to enjoy a drink following an enjoyable round of golf. The a la carte menu ranges from classic grill food to more bespoke Portuguese dishes… my personal recommendation would be the Boavista Prawn Curry.

Boavista Golf Club

Off the course

As one of the oldest cities in the Algarve, Lagos offers a fantastic blend of charming, cobbled streets, classic restaurants, picturesque local beaches, and surprisingly good nightlife. Plus, it stays open throughout the winter due to its high population of locals, which makes it perfect for a getaway between November and March.

Lagos beach

When you’re not on the golf course, both the city centre and surrounding area offer a multitude of things to enjoy. From wakeboarding to vineyard tours to general sightseeing, I loved the variation Lagos offered for such a small destination.

And whilst it may not have the tourist reputation of Vilamoura and Albufeira, it provides a great alternative for British holidaymakers, as well as a more relaxed environment and authentic Portuguese experience.

Tivoli Lagos

Tivoli offers a lovely four-star hotel just a 10-minute walk from the city centre and marina, offering a very enjoyable stay. There is a comprehensive list of amenities you’d expect from an accommodation of this standard, including two restaurants, a bar, gym, indoor pool and sauna, and an outdoor pool and bar which is where I spent most of my time.

The main restaurant is perfect for breakfast, with a full buffet, whilst Pateo Velho is a classic grill restaurant with Portuguese interior. Here, we had a five-course menu for dinner which included delectable Octopus and Beef. The hotel also offers a transfer service to and from Duna Beach, which is a classic beach bar overlooking Meia Praia.

Tivoli Lagos

Bars & restaurants

Lagos is littered with a myriad of bars and restaurants, ensuring that you’re never struggling for somewhere to eat or drink. The restaurants were fantastic, and I didn’t feel like there were many tourist traps around, which are very common in busy tourist cities.


Don Sebastião was certainly the standout experience. A real, authentic Portuguese restaurant, with a Michelin star to match, the food here was sensational with great accompanying wines. There is a fantastic wine cellar as well, which is a great experience if you ever get a chance to look around it.

Dom Henrique was another excellent restaurant located in the city centre. Here, we had a great assortment of cakes for dessert, as well as a beautiful seafood broth for my main. To add to Dom Henrique’s allure, the on-site DH Café is perfect for an after-dinner drink on the terrace. We found ourselves here most nights – a great spot!

Adega da Marina is another great option, particularly for larger groups. A large Mediterranean restaurant situated on the Marina, this is perfect if you’re looking to sample a variety of seafood or meats, particularly pork which is their specialty.

Sightseeing & activities

Lagos is rich in history, with lots of historical monuments such as Europe’s first slave market (Mercado de Escravos), San Antonio church, and the 17th century Bendeira Fort. There are also a couple of small beaches south of the city, and then the famous Meia Praia is situated to the north. Just as I did, it is worth spending 2/3 hours enjoying the local sights within walking distance and strolling around the historic streets.

San Antonio church

Ponta da Piedade is perhaps the most photographed spot in Portugal, located 10 minutes south from the city centre. This is a stunning coastal rock formation which epitomises the rugged shoreline for which the Algarve has become so famous for. Boat/kayak tours and hikes are available for visitors who are really looking to explore this natural wonder.

Ponta da Piedade

We also travelled to a beautiful local vineyard named Monte da Casteleja, where we had a tour and sampled a selection of white and red wines, with accompanying tapas. We received brilliant hospitality and the winery is conveniently situated just 15-minutes inland of Lagos. Lagos Wakepark is also an enjoyable alternative activity to do. Here, you can enjoy wakeboarding and the on-site bar whilst watching others enjoy the activity.

Monte da Casteleja

Final thoughts...?

A beautiful location for a golf holiday and one I plan on visiting again soon. I really enjoyed the variation between the three golf courses and even more importantly, I thought the city was one of the best places I have visited in the Algarve.

Lagos is definitely worth remembering for your next trip, particularly if you’re looking for some winter sun or travelling in smaller groups.

Feeling inspired?
For an authentic Portuguese golf experience, take a chance on the beautiful, historic city of Lagos.


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Tom Duncombe

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