Europe's largest one loft race - the Algarve Golden Race

From modest beginnings, the Algarve Golden Race in Monte Gordo, Portugal has grown to be the largest one loft race in Europe. Last year over five thousand pigeons participated and, as in previous years, more than fifty percent of these made it to the final race.

Aerial view of the Algarve Golden Race lofts

The impressive lofts have the capacity to house six thousand pigeons in state of the art luxury and the birds are trained and raced using a top class transporter.

Algarve Golden Race transporter

In 2017 pigeons from thirty-two countries from around the world participated in the race, sent by one thousand, five hundred competitors and in 2018 the organisers hope to beat this record once more. All the top fanciers send their birds to the Algarve with names such as Gaby Vandenabeele, Gerard Koopman, Alfons Klaas, Hardy Kruger, Florea Sorin, Mike Ganus, Leo Harmans, Mark Gilbert and Jos Reilly amongst those vying to win the €120,000 first prize in the final race. Of course there are other prizes available in the hotspot race, with €10,000 or a new car available for this and the winning ace pigeon.

Crowds awaiting their pigeons on final race day (photo courtesy of Chris Sutton)

On the final race day, hundred of fanciers attend to await the arrival of their birds and there is a fantastic atmosphere at the loft. With Monte Gordo and the Algarve being a beautiful part of the world many of the visitors spend a few days relaxing on the beaches, staying in excellent hotels and making the most of the food and atmosphere of the region before the final race day comes around and the eagerly awaited first pigeons descend on the loft. To watch a video of the 2017 final race please click here...

The 2017 winning pigeon (photo courtesy of Chris Sutton)

Claudia Schwarm - 2018 winner

The 2017 winner of €100,000 was Claudia Schwarm from Germany. Recep-Emin Bayramoglu from Turkey was the victor in 2016 and in 2015 it was Meinholf Buser, again from Germany.


In 2018 the final race will be held on the 29th September over 500kms. You can see the full race schedule here...

Fanciers wishing to enter pigeons in the Algarve Golden Race can do so via the race agent in their respective countries. A full list of agents can be found here...

Pigeons can be delivered to the loft up to the middle of May 2018, but exact dates will depend on each agent's schedule.

So, that is the Algarve Golden Race - the largest one loft race in Europe and possibly in the world.