Algarve top of the world

Penina Championship Course

It’s hard to imagine the Algarve without thinking of golf, yet golf wasn’t playable on this coastal area until 1966, when Henry Cotton first laid out the Championship course at Penina.

Fast-forward half a century and the region has not only become one of Europe’s premier holiday spots, but also an award-winning golf destination.

2020 Golf Destination of the Year

The Algarve is officially on top of the world after it was named as IAGTO Golf Destination of the Year for 2020

The golfing hotspot of southern Portugal has beaten an array of world-class golf destinations around the globe to scoop the prestigious title, bestowed by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) – the global trade association of the golf tourism industry.

Votes were recorded from more than 700 golf tour operators among the IAGTO members, who know the industry inside out, with from more than 60 countries represented to reach their verdict as the Algarve took number one spot in the world rankings.

The accolade was announced at the IAGTO Awards gala dinner, which took place in Marrakech on the final night of the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), October 17.

Wide selection of courses and accommodation

The Algarve continues to provide a superb selection of world-class layouts and there is also real value for money and huge variety with 43 outstanding courses stretching along its stunning coastline. It’s also a destination which is within easy reach for golf tourists with frequent flight connections to Faro airport. With a broad selection of accommodation options, year-round sunshine and an array of additional attractions for families, couples and golfers alike, it’s a destination which delivers on all fronts.

João Fernandes, the president of Algarve Tourism, said: “I’m very proud to accept this award, on behalf of everybody working within the golf tourism industry in the Algarve and we would like to offer our thanks to IAGTO and the golf tour operators who voted for us. 

“We believe the Algarve has so many reasons for visiting us: the weather, the people, the beaches, accommodation choice and of course, the golf. But even if all the ingredients are present, it still needs dedicated, passionate and highly-skilled people to serve it up correctly. And that’s what the people who work in the Algarve have done, not just this year, but in previous years and will do for many years to come. 

“We should also show our appreciation to the tour operators who work so hard to bring people to the region and thank them for their efforts and their continued faith in the Algarve.  We hope to welcome you to our wonderful region again very soon.”

Peter Walton, IAGTO chief executive, said: “In celebration of our 20th IAGTO Golf Tourism Awards, our 700+ golf tour operators in 64 countries were asked to vote for the destination that delivered the best experience for their golf traveller customers this year. 

“The Algarve has consistently put the golf visitors’ experience at the top of their agenda and I would like to congratulate all of the golf courses, hotels and golf tourism suppliers in the region for this outstanding achievement.”

With a staggering 43 nine or 18-hole layouts that can be played all-year-round, it’s no wonder the Algarve draws hundreds of thousands of golfers to its fairways each year.

The Algarve is the southernmost region of mainland Portugal, and more than half of its courses decorate the 150-mile coastline, which also boasts spectacular beaches, picturesque rocky coves, quaint fishing villages and a rich cultural heritage.

The Algarve is the perfect destination for golfers of all ages and abilities, with something to suit every taste and budget.

For more information on golf courses in the region visit and for information of rental holiday homes visit

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