Golfers often ask us: “what are the best golf courses in Europe?” and with so many great courses across the continent, it can be difficult to decide where to go. That’s why we’ve created this “Quick 9” of European golf courses that our customers love playing year in, year out. From the world-renowned PGA Catalunya, to the stunning setting of Thracian Cliffs, these handpicked courses are some of the best golf courses in Europe.
Consistently ranked as the number one course in Spain, the Stadium Course at PGA Catalunya is both spectacular and imposing. Trees press onto fairways, bunkers are strategically placed and lakes come into play on seven of the toughest holes, all of which are looking to catch golfers out. However, you may not realise the difficulty of this course thanks to its beautiful setting. It is no wonder quality players return time and time again.
Located in the Fontainebleau forest, in close proximity to the town on the ancient imperial hunting grounds, this course’s narrow fairways are bordered by numerous species of trees to create a testing but enjoyable round of golf. To make the course both attractive and difficult, dense outcrops of brooms, lilacs, ferns and jennets come into play on the majority of holes, as well as fine sand bunkers. It is easy to understand why this course is regularly ranked as one of the best golf courses in France.
As Gary Player once said: “You will not find a golf course like this anywhere else on the planet,” when talking about The Signature Course at Thracian Cliffs. Framed by rugged coastal cliffs and the vast blue of the Black Sea, the backdrop to this course is simply sensational. The holes are perfectly sculpted into natural layout of the land and, as one of the most dramatic golf courses in the world, it is no wonder it is among the best golf courses in Europe.
Every single hole at Monte Rei is designed to blend effortlessly into the natural canvas of the landscape, making every hole as extraordinary as the next. Water comes into play on 11 of the 18 holes, with ingeniously shaped and sculpted bunkers adding to the impressive presentation of this course. When visiting the East Algarve, this 7,224-yard course, which offers unrivalled views of the Serra do Caldeirão mountains, should be at the top of your list.
The world-famous European Tour venue that is Real Club Valderrama is one of Robert Trent Jones Snr’s greatest designs. The course has played host to the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, as well as the Ryder Cup in 1997, and its immaculate condition provides a challenging round every single time you play it. The 17th is the standout hole here as the green slopes towards an emerald lake, but bunkers behind the green mean anyone that flies the green will face one of the most testing bunker shots in golf.
Day and night, you can enjoy Carya Golf Club. That’s right, the 18 holes here have recently seen a major reinvestment to install floodlights, meaning you can play golf at night, with the comfort of daylight. This, in turn, makes it the first full-lighted golf course in Europe. Situated in the Belek region of Turkey, the course is inspired by traditional heathland courses, similar to the likes you find in Surrey. While it has been designed to test the best of golfers, that is not to say it is not an enjoyable test for higher handicaps, and one you won’t forget in a hurry.
Winding its way through chestnut, ash and pine trees, Villa d’Este offers golfers a picturesque challenge, with spectacular views of Lake Montorfano on several of the holes. It is Peter Gannon’s winding design that has led golfers to consider this as the most challenging and difficult par-69s in the whole of Europe. One thing is for sure, golf in Italy does not get much better than this.
Despite only opening in June 2017, West Cliffs Golf Links has quickly become one of the best golf courses in Europe and is regarded by many to become the number one golf course in Europe. The Cynthia Dye design is an exceptional creation that disturbed the natural terrain as little as possible, offering golfers holes that are just as unique and remarkable as the last. Running alongside the silver coast, featuring rolling sand dunes and coastal vegetation, this course really is a must-play.
Lofoten Links is a relatively new golf course, having only opened in 2015, but is absolutely spectacular. Situated on the island of Gimsøya, the course sees the ocean act as a water hazard on several of the holes, and sandy beaches act as natural bunkers. Incredibly, the sun never sets on Lofoten Links between the end of May and the end of July, meaning 24-hour golf is possible. Furthermore, you can experience the Northern Lights from the end of August to mid-October.