Camiral Golf & Wellness | Catalonia | Spain | Review

Between the French Pyrenees and Barcelona, on Spain’s Costa Brava, is Camiral Golf & Wellness – a luxury retreat with a world-class golf course.

Camiral, formerly known as PGA Golf de Catalunya, is located 15 minutes’ drive from the historic city of Girona and five miles from Girona Barcelona airport.

It’s the main reason to choose Catalonia in northeastern Spain ahead of the sun-drenched Costa del Sol, the Costa de la Luz, or the islands of Tenerife and Mallorca, for a Spanish golf holiday.

There are two outstanding golf courses set in lush, rolling countryside near the sedate town of Caldes de Malvella. Between pine, bent cork and oak forests you’ll find the Stadium and Tour courses.

The Stadium Course has hosted The Spanish Open and Gene Sarazen World Open on the DP World Tour (formerly The European Tour) and was a long-time venue for its end-of-season Qualifying School.

It was originally built to be Europe’s answer to TPC Sawgrass, Pete Dye’s diabolically difficult Florida layout that stages The Players Championship. I first visited the resort when it was PGA Catalunya, staying at the four-star Melia Golf Vichy Catalan hotel, and playing rounds on the Verde (Green) and Rojo (Red) courses.

In the years since that visit, Camiral has been reimagined and relaunched. Luxury private homes and villas border the golf courses and the blocky, Scandi-style frontage of the former hotel is now a sweeping glass crescent, with natural stone, vast windows and views across a stunning outdoor pool and terrace.

The focus and feel of the resort has shifted to a more holistic appreciation of nature, wellness and relaxation with golf an integral part of that experience.

Where to Stay

Guests at the Camiral resort can stay at the five-star Hotel Camiral, design-led Hotel Lavida or in a private luxury villa, apartment or townhouse.

Hotel Camiral has 138 rooms and suites called living spaces because of the way they combine natural materials, comfort, elegant décor and luxury. The smaller Hotel Lavida has 50-rooms and is focused on leisure, with a number of features that make it an ideal base for golf groups. Each room has twin beds, a balcony with views over the course, smart-ready TV, super-fast Wi-Fi and specially designed golf storage areas. There are also bright communal spaces and a tech hub for anyone needing to check in at work.

Where to play

The Stadium is among the best golf courses in Spain and should be the first tee time you book while staying at Camiral.

It opened in 1998 and was built on land originally earmarked to be a Formula One racing track. Course designers Neil Coles and Angel Gallardo combined 25-years of European Tour experience in the development of The Stadium Course.

The result is a layout that has topped the Spain listings on Top-100 Golf Courses and has been a mainstay in Europe’s Top-100, across several rankings and media lists, every year since it opened. While rankings are subjective and personal opinion plays a major part in the decision of panels and individual reviewers, there is no denying The Stadium Course’s quality – it’s right there alongside Valderamma, El Saler and Real Sotogrande.

The elevated tee of the first hole offers a breathtaking view and is the first of nine downhill tee-shots. This heart-pumping par-four is an early indication of what is to come. The Stadium at Camiral was built to test the world’s best players and demands your focus on every shot if you are to score well.

The 486-metre par-five third has a feel of the 11th at Augusta National, and is the first introduction to the impressive lakes that dominate the centre of the course layout.

Two large lakes between the 3rd and the 5th and 11th and 13th provide a focal point for the course and create the viewing spots and dramatic play intended for tournament crowds.

Stadium Course Camiral Golf & Wellness
View down the 13th, Stadium Course, Camiral

The green complex at 13 is a joy to look upon and even more fun to hit into.

The area around Caldes de Malvella is known as the “Jungle” for its lush vegetation and proliferation of cork trees – cork is one of the area’s major industries – and Camiral benefits from the green firs, scrub, heather and natural vegetation that frame the holes.

The green complexes are innovatively designed and no two are shaped the same. Well-devised bunkering poses a constant challenge when trying to find the best way to approach each flag and while the course is beautiful, it’s unrelenting and difficult.

Camiral cleverly offers multiple teeing grounds on each hole, giving you the option to choose how difficult you want the challenge to be, based on how far you hit the ball, your skill level and the amount of Rioja enjoyed at the previous evening’s dinner.

The Tour Course

For those who prefer an easier challenge, The Tour course at Camiral is more generous in the size of its greens and width of the fairways.

During summer its greens are firm and fast and can be equally as difficult to score on as those of the Stadium. The firm, fast, contoured greens reach high speeds and were a major reason for its selection by the European Tour Qualifying School.

The Tour poses a similar challenge to the Stadium but is less penal and more playable for a wider variety of golfers. Many fairways are lined by the Scots and Aleppo pines that are prevalent in the region, and there expertly placed bunkers – such as at the par-five 5th.

The par-four third is a memorable hole with the approach played across a lake to a green nestled among pines.

Being the second course at Camiral certainly didn’t display a lack of care or attention. The fine turf, fairways, greens and aprons were every bit as well-conditioned as at The Stadium when we played it.

Together, the 36 holes at Camiral have enough character, challenge and beauty to create the desire to want to play again; a trait which sets the best golf resorts and destinations apart.

What to see and do

Off-course, historic Girona has a rich cultural, artistic and religious heritage that make it a brilliant place to explore on a rest day from playing golf.

Meander through the cobbled streets of its Call, one of Europe’s best-preserved Jewish quarters and site of the world’s first Kabbalah school. It was also a filming location for Season 6 of HBO fantasy epic Game of Thrones, with the Old Town used for scenes set in King’s Landing and Braavos. For Thrones fans, guided tours are available to take you around every shoot location from seven different episodes.

You’ll discover Girona’s Gothic Style Cathedral at the heart of Força Vella. It has the widest knave of any ecclesiastical building in the world and is a showcase of architectural styles spanning the 11th to 18th centuries.

Photo by <a href="">Joshua Kettle</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>
Girona Cathedral. Credit: Joshua Kettle @Unsplash
Girona Cathedral and city walls
Photo by David Vives on Unsplash

Giriona has been the envy of Empires and powerful people throughout history. The Romans fortified it by constructing large stone walls, which are excellently preserved as part of the Via Augustus, the road from Rome to Cadiz in Southern Spain.

Napoleon’s troops sacked the city in 1808, and the city authorities held a festival of celebrations in 2008 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the French military occupation.

If you visit Girona in May, don’t miss the Time of Flowers festival.

The streets of are filled with beautiful, blooming flowers unique to this region of Catalonia.

How to get there

Camiral is well served by two airports within an hour’s drive.

Ryanair, the world’s most popular low-budget airline, services Girona Barcelona Airport from hubs across Europe.

It is important to note that Ryanair does charge to transport clubs, at the time of writing this article it’s £30 per set of clubs, per one-way flight, if you book when you purchase your flight online.

If you pay in-person at check-in, that fee rises to £40 and the weight limit is a maximum of 20kg.

If no-frills flying isn’t for you, then both British Airways and Iberia Air fly into El Prat Airport, Barcelona, which is around a 50-minute transfer to Camiral.

Where to eat

There are five different dining options at Camiral, meaning you can eat exceptionally well without having to leave the resort. The 1477 restaurant is your refined option, showing the best local artisan food producers with a Catalan twist.

Bella’s is the place to enjoy a rustic Italian pizza in a relaxed Mediterranean setting.

Venture out from the resort and you’ll find that Catalonia, and specifically the area around Girona, to be renowned for its gastronomy. Around a quarter of all Spain’s Michelin-starred restaurants be found in Catalonia, in Barcelona, Girona, but also on the Costa Brava and Costa Daurada.

Our recommendation would be Els Tinars, set in a beautiful ivy-clad Masia building, within easy driving distance of Camiral.

This family-run eaterie is now in the care of the third generation of the Gascons-Lloveres family, and has a La Carta menu serving delights like Galician clams and shoulder of kid goat; as well as a degustation menu and wine pairings.

Els Tinars

Carretera de Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Llagostera, 17240, Spain


Hotel Camiral

Camiral Golf & Wellness
Carretera N-II km 701. 17455 Caldes de Malavella,
Girona, Spain.

5* Hotel Camiral is a member of The Leading Hotels of World and Lavida Hotel

Reservations:     +34 972 472 249

Hotel:         +34 972 181 020



Stadium and Tour Courses

Tel: +34 972 472 577


Stadium Course

Length: 6588 meters

Par: 72

Designed by: Neil Coles and Angel Gallardo

Green Fees: From EUR 125 in low season to EUR 177 in high season, discounts available for golfers that share a buggy. Tour operator packages may work out cheaper depending on length of stay at Hotel Camiral.

Book online here

A range of golf packages and special offers can be viewed here

Description: A magnificent, rolling championship layout set amid pine, bent cork and oak forests, with spectacular views over the Pyrenees.

Tour Course

Length: 5901-yards

Par: 72

Designed by: Neil Coles and Angel Gallardo

Green Fees:  EURO 67 to EURO 94 dependent on season

Description: The Tour course is a shorter, gentler test compared to its famous older brother, and offers wide, generous fairways and larger greens to hit at. Despite its less demanding layout, the course is cleverly designed and makes great use of changes in elevation and sloping contours.


Fly into Girona Barcelona Airport from multiple European destinations. The airport is only 15 minutes drive from Camiral.


British Airways/ Iberia Air
Both airlines service Barcelona International Airport (BCN) or El Prat, as the locals call it. El Prat is 50-minute drive from Camiral.

British Airways


Catalan Culture

Blend of ancient and modern

Catalonia is Spain but different.

Like the Basque Country, at the western end of the Pyrenees mountain range, Catalonia is an autonomous community with its own police force, judicial system and language.

Catalans are fiercely independent with proud traditions, like building Castells (human pyramids) and cooking rustic hearty food.

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