El Prat Golf Club, Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona – The unknown golf destination

You flew into Barcelona. You played golf. But did you really play golf in Barcelona? You may think you did, but you could be wrong.

When asked if they have been to Barcelona to play golf, many golfers say, “Yes, I played PGA Catalunya.” While PGA Catalunya (now Camiral) is a fine course, it is not located in Barcelona but in Girona, an hour north of Barcelona. That may seem like splitting hairs, but it is an essential distinction to our hosts at El Prat.

You’d be surprised to find that the City of Barcelona is surrounded by more than a dozen nearby golf clubs. Six of them have banded together to form Barcelona Golf Destination; we will try a few on this trip.

Easy to reach

Barcelona is a major European city and hub with a well-served international airport. Good flight connections are easy to find, and you can easily get there in time to play your first round of golf on arrival day and play three or four courses on a weekend trip.

However, we decided to take a more leisurely approach and adapt to the Spanish way of life, which is about so much more than golf. Good food and long meals in the company of friends are among those things.

After arriving, we made the short trip to our first stop, Real Club de Golf El Prat, where our hosts met us for a long, Spanish-style lunch with lots of great food. We were already getting into the spirit.

El Prat is primarily a members’ club, but visitors are, of course, welcome. It is also an important hub for the Barcelona business and social elite. As such, it has an impressive clubhouse with all the facilities you could ask for, all in tip-top shape. This goes for the golf course as well.


To round out our first day, we made our way to the nearby town of Terrassa. Terrassa is the fourth largest city in Catalonia, and the area has been inhabited since pre-historic times, with stone tools found dating back 800,000 years. The town itself was founded by the Romans around the year 70. Hence, there is much culture to explore.

Churches of Egara, Terrassa, Spain
Churches of Egara

We took a walking tour, starting with the ancient churches of Egara, which date back to the 6th century. Most of the construction was finished in the 12th.

We then strolled through the city, taking in the atmosphere and feeling more and more Spanish as we passed the many streetside cafes. To get an overview of the town, we climbed the Palau Tower, next to the visitor center. After a not-too-challenging climb, we were treated to a magnificent sunset view of Terrassa you don’t want to miss.

View from the top of the Palau Tower

To finish, we visited Parc the Sant Jordi, which has the stunning Masia Freixa modernist building. Here, you can definitely feel the Gaudi vibes.

Masia Freixa

If you time it just right, you can also enjoy the Terrassa Jazz Festival, usually in April.

After a nice dinner at Hotel Don Cándido in Terrassa, we returned to El Prat and our hotel for the night, Campus La Mola Hotel, right by the golf course.

La Mola turned out to be the perfect hotel for a golf group like ours. In addition to first-class rooms and an excellent breakfast buffet, the hotel also had an open, self-serve bar with all drinks included with your stay and lots of ways to entertain a group, such as pool and ping-pong tables, to name a few. All in a playful style with a touch of quirkiness. We highly recommend the hotel as a base for a golf trip if you want to stay outside the center of Barcelona.

Time for golf

El Prat has a long history, having changed locations several times since its founding in 1912. It started in the center of Barcelona but needed more space and moved to the outskirts. When the airport needed to expand in 1997, the club was forced to move again and settled in its current location on 220 hectares of land in the Sant Llorenç del Munt natural park.

Greg Norman Design was enlisted to design the current layout, which has 45 holes, two 18-hole courses, and a nine-hole course. The two main courses are the Yellow and Pink, with the Yellow being longer, flatter, and recently re-bunkered, and the Pink laid out on more challenging terrain and a bit more interesting.

We played the Pink course, par 72 and 6453 m from the back tees, but a more moderate 5884 m from the club tees we chose. The course starts with a nice and wide par 5 with a stunning view of the mountains but then quickly narrows with many tree-lined fairways to follow. Accuracy is key on the front nine. We found the fairways in good condition, and the greens were excellent despite the very challenging drought period this year.

Notable holes on the front nine were the 6th and the 8th. The 6th is a medium-length par-3, with the elevated green wholly surrounded by an expansive waste area. It is a challenging tee shot where any shot that misses the green tends to take wicked bounces. The 8th is a long, narrow par-4 lined by trees on both sides and well bunkered, requiring long and accurate golf shots.

The 9th ends at the clubhouse before you set out on back nine in a more open, undulated landscape. Trees are less of a problem here, but ravines and waste areas force you to play more recovery shots. You get your first taste of this on the par-3 11th, hitting over a waste area far below to a narrow green surrounded by four sand traps. Tricky. The 12th continues similarly, hitting from a low tee over a waste area to a fairway sloping uphill with ten sand traps. A few more tree-lined holes follow before you reach the par-4 17th, which may be the most challenging hole on the course. The uphill tee shot is critical to a good score here, with the second shot being semi-blind to a green surrounded by bunkers.

Overall, we were impressed by the layout and condition of the course. We look forward to returning to it.

Time for wine

After yet another tasteful lunch on the clubhouse terrace, we set out for another favorite activity of many golfers; wine tasting. You may not think of Barcelona as a wine district. Still, a surprising number of excellent varieties of wine and cava originate here in the slightly more challenging climate in the hills around Barcelona. The area has five different designations of origin. We went to the Alella region and the Bouquet d’Alella winery.

The winery is located on a hillside overlooking the village of Alella and the sea, surrounded by vineyards. It has been family-owned for five centuries.

After a welcome drink, we took a tour of the vineyard, where our charming and knowledgeable guide told us all about the challenges of wine-making on the dry hillsides of Catalonia. This year was particularly tough with a severe drought, but sometimes, the few grapes that survive make an ever-better wine. We’ll know in a few years.

After a tour of the wine cellar, we settled on the outside terrace for some wine tasting. It was a perfect ending in the afternoon sunshine, enjoying some excellent wines in the company of friends. I was feeling more Spanish by the minute.

Beach life

Our second night was at Athena beach hotel in Mataro, in the Maresme region just north of Barcelona. Maresme is famous for its 54 beaches, stretching as far as the eye can see and then some. Unfortunately, on this trip, we didn’t have the time to enjoy the beaches, but if you are into beach life or any of the many watersports offered, make sure to check out the area. Find all the information at turismemaresme.cat.

Llavaneras Golf Club

It was a short ride up the hillside from our beachside hotel to Club de Golf Llavaneras. The first thing that strikes you when you walk out on the clubhouse terrace is the view. You see the entire coastline of Maresme along the deep blue Mediterranean Sea, which is absolutely stunning.

Llavaneras is one of the older courses in the area. It started in 1945 as a small 3-hole course, but it has expanded over the years, first to a 9-hole course and then finally, in the 1980s, to a full 18-hole track. Still, land is at a premium along the hillside, and the entire course fits in only just over 40 hectares, making for a tight layout. It is a short course, only 5024 m from the back tees, with many holes running parallel to the hillside, making for some great views.

However, just because it is short doesn’t make it easy, something that is evident right from the start. The first hole, a par-4, is definitely driveable at only 250 m, but attempting to do so comes at great risk, with anything too far left disappearing down the hillside.

And so it continues. Great views, tight holes, and small greens. It pays to be conservative and play strategically rather than trying to be a hero and drive the greens on the many short par-4s.

While many of the holes are beautiful, none really stand out until you get to the 17th. At this par-4, you hit from far up, looking straight out over the Mediterranean. Again, you are tempted to just go for it and hit the green with your tee shot. This is how the course gets you.

The 18th is a short, uphill par-3 with the green just below the clubhouse and the restaurant. If you are part of a group, the players ahead of you can (hopefully) admire your finishing shots, beer in hand.

Lunch with a view

Now for the best part: lunch on the clubhouse terrace. Not only can you bask in the sun and admire the view of the Med, but you can also enjoy an excellent three-course lunch, drinks included, for a mere 26 euros.

We really enjoyed Llavaneras. It has stunning views, a short but tricky layout, and excellent food. We definitely recommend Llavaneras for a relaxing morning round of golf.

La Roca Village

In the afternoon, we switched from wine therapy to retail therapy. We stopped at La Roca Village, one of Europe’s largest luxury shopping villages with over 150 name brands, everything from Armani to Zegna. La Roca opened in 1998 and was designed as an open-air village inspired by Gaudi. You walk along narrow streets and three-shaded squares in a maze of shops.

Relaxed atmosphere at La Roca shopping village

While not strictly an outlet mall, La Roca offers lots of discounts. The overall ambiance is that of a luxury shopping center mixed with cafes and restaurants on every corner. If you enjoy shopping, spending an entire day here is easy. Or just drop off your shopaholic significant other and go play golf.

Barcelona Golf Club

We spent our third night at the four-star Hotel Barcelona Golf, conveniently located right next to the clubhouse of the final course on this trip, Barcelona Golf Club, formerly Masia. We found the hotel very comfortable, with everything we could ask for, including a gym, a spa, and a full-size outdoor swimming pool.

Luckily, we were already well into the fall season, so we didn’t have to get up too early to enjoy the beautiful sunrise over the Montserrat mountains. The sun rose over the hill just as we teed off on the Jose Maria Olazabal-designed course.

The first hole on this par-72, 6184 m track, a downhill par-5 with only a couple of bunkers, was relatively easy, but once we came to the second hole, we got a whiff of what was to come. It was a medium-long par-3 but with the tee on one side of a ravine and the small green on the other, with a steep mountainside right behind it. Steep ravines were to feature on many of the upcoming holes.

The next hole featured another trademark of several holes; blind tee shots. Here, we hit uphill, and if you hit your drive reasonably far, your ball would land out of sight in unknown territory.

And so it continued. It was really difficult to know where to aim on many of the tee shots and even on some approaches as the holes meandered along the hillsides and sometimes into the ravines. Don’t get me wrong; many of the holes were good; it was just very hard to navigate the first time around the course. The views were impressive, but the choices were hard to make without local knowledge.

The most beautiful hole on the course was hole 8, a par-4 along the Torrent de Can Llopard, with the green protected by a large body of water.

The course was difficult for the reasons listed above, but once you have played it a few times and gotten to know the layout, I think it could be quite enjoyable. Need I mention that we recommend renting a buggy?

One last stop

With our trip nearing its conclusion, we had only one more stop to make: some more wine therapy. Today, we chose Finca Ca n’Estella, a family-owned winery. Here, we were greeted as a family, and after a tour of the winemaking facilities and wine cellar, we were given a rare tour of the family’s private living areas (sorry, no photography allowed). It was fascinating to see their beautiful dining and living rooms, all done in a very traditional Spanish style and without any modern electronics or screens. All of this is to promote family togetherness, something we could all use more of these days.

After the informative tour, we enjoyed a tapas lunch and, of course, a wine tasting on the covered veranda overlooking the courtyard.

Why you should play golf in Barcelona

You may not consider Barcelona a golf destination, but you should consider it for your next trip. After all, golf usually occupies only half of your day, and Barcelona has so much to offer after golf. And if you travel with family or friends who don’t play, there is so much for them to do in and around Barcelona. City tours, beach life, water sports, hiking—the list is endless. Did I mention Gaudi?

We found that taking a little extra time to get into the Spanish rhythm was really enjoyable. It may even have improved our golf game a bit. Maybe it could improve yours, too.


Barcelona Golf Destination

Barcelona Golf Destination is a collaboration between six golf courses in Barcelona. You can book a golf pass for 3, 4, or 5 rounds, starting at 263 euros.

The alliance includes Terramar, Vallromanes, and Golf Montanya, in addition to the three courses mentioned in the text.

For further info please check: www.bcngolfdestination.com

How to get there

It is easy to find flights to Barcelona from pretty much anywhere in Europe or the world. If you plan to play different golf courses every day and do not want to stay in Barcelona, renting a car is best.

Where to stay

If you enjoy city nightlife or haven’t been before, you could stay in Barcelona. We chose to stay near each golf club we played so that we could get an early tee time and still have the rest of the day for other activities.

Our favorite hotel for a golf group was La Mola. It is a perfect base for a golf trip.

If you or your family/friends are interested in watersports or beach life, the Marese coast is ideal. We chose the Athena and were pleased with it.

Useful links

Real Club de Golf El Prat: www.realclubdegolfelprat.com

Club de Golf LLavaneras: www.golfllavaneras.com

Club de Golf Barcelona: www.golfbarcelona.com

Club de Golf Montanyà: www.golfmontanya.com

Club de Golf Vallromanes: www.golfvallromanes.com

Club de Golf Terramar: www.golfterramar.com

Text & photos by Bo Sjosten


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