The Ultimate Guide to visiting Benagil Cave Portugal
Is it worth visiting the famous Benagil Cave in Portugal? Absolutely. Benagil Cave Algarve is a particularly stunning part of the Algarve. My trip to Benagil Cave Portugal was my favourite thing I did while I was in the Algarve. There are a lot of beautiful beaches near Lagos but the Benagil Sea Cave is the highlight of the Algarve.
Algar de Benagil, its Portuguese name, is spectacular inside the cave with the sunlight streaming through the roof and the golden sand and beautiful azure waters. It is a natural wonder of the world and pure travel inspiration for those who have not been. This part of the world has a lot of rock formations along the coast.
Where is Benagil Beach Cave – Benagil Sea Cave Location?
Benagil Cave is located along the coast next to Benagil Beach (Praia de Benagil), in the Algarve Portugal. The closest cities are is Portimao, Albufeira, Carvoeiro and Lagoa. Benagil Cave is about a 40 minute drive east of Lagos or as the map shows a 15 minute drive from Lagoa. See the map below for the exact location.
How can you get to the Benagil Cave Algarve Portugal?
Swim – from Benagil Beach you can swim approximately 200 metres to the Benagil Cave. You must be a strong swimmer to reach the cave. The tides and current change quickly here and I recommend a life jacket or lido to make it there. I actually do not recommend swimming here but I have seen some people do this.
Drive – you can actually drive to Benagil Cave. You will only be able to view the cave from above and look down at the beach. You can walk up to the hole in the ceiling of the cave and see it from above, but there is no way to get to the cave itself on foot. It is cool to see the cave from above and if you are visiting the beach it is worth a look. Then you can take one of the Benagil Cave Tours to go into the cave from below.
Kayak or Paddle board – You can rent Kayaks or Paddle boards for about the same price as a sea boat tour if you want. Its a cool idea but I think for the price it is so much better to take the tour as you will see more of the Algarve coastline.
Take one of the Benagil Cave Boat Tours. This is the best way to visit the Benagil Caves. It is the safest and best option as you will visit other caves in the area on the boat trips.
What’s the best way to see the Benagil Sea Cave Portugal – Take a Benagil Cave Tour!
Most people will leave from Benagil Beach or one of the surrounding cities in the Algarve to visit the caves. It is right next to the beach if you are looking for a direct boat tour to the caves.
I highly recommend taking one of the Benagil Cave Tours to visit the Benagil Beach Cave. These tours leave from Benagil Beach, last 2-3 hours and cost anywhere from 30-40 Euro.
I cannot recommend one company over another as they are all the same. You can ask at your hotel which one is best for the activities you want to do. Remember these tours are not just to Benagil Cave, that is the icing on the cake, but they are along the coast where you will see lots of different caves.
There are many different tour companies offering trips to the sea caves. My suggestion is to go early as it gets quite crowded later in the day. You will be amazed how many more boats you will see the closer you get to the cave.
You will want to take one of the smaller boats as this means there will be less people on the boat and they are also faster. So less time in the boat with fewer people and more time in the cave!
Some of the tours combine the sea caves along with dolphin watching which is well worth it as well.
My experience getting to the Sea Cave in Algarve
I flew into Lisbon and spent a few days there before taking a bus to Lagoa (not Lagos). The bus takes three hours and costs around 30€. You can also take the train but this takes the same amount of time and costs a little bit more. From Lagoa you can take a 15 minute taxi ride for 10€.
I then took a boat tour from Benagil Beach to the sea caves. Please note the tours also leave from Lagos, Portimão, Albufeira and Vilamoura.
My tour lasted about two and a half hours. I mentioned before that some parts of the boat ride were quite rough but it was never scary or dangerous.
I went first thing in the morning and we were one of the first boats to the sea cave. Once inside it was absolutely beautiful. I took a few pictures and it was time to go again.
When we were leaving the cave there were quite a few boats lined up to come inside. As the entrance is quite narrow and the cave is not huge it gets quite congested waiting for boats to leave so others can get in because it is just not big enough for all the boats.
This is also why I think some boats do not allow you to get out of the boat once inside. It is a timing thing where they want everyone to be able to go inside.
After the cave we spent our time going along the coast checking out the beautiful coastline.
Things to know about Benagil Algarve Portugal
The views inside the cave are absolutely beautiful – even with all the people there. There is some conflicting information about whether or not you can actually get off the boat when you get inside the cave.
I was able to get off the boat in 2018 and I have heard of quite a few people who went in 2017 and were able to get off the boat and go to the beach inside of the cave. I have read recently that this is no longer possible.
I am wondering if this is being left up to the boat tours? Are they trying to get in, let you click, click and then want to leave again so that more boats can get in? As there was quite a line of boats waiting to get in this made me wonder if it is because of the sheer number of people going.
You will definitely have a better chance of stepping foot on the beach in the off season compared to the middle of summer when everyone is on holiday in the Algarve. Something to think about when you go.
Practical Information about Benagil Beach Algarve and Benagil Sea Cave
You will want to go early in the morning to the Benagil Sea cave to avoid the crowds. The boat tours take 2-3 hours and are cheaper in the off season.
You can go out for the morning on the boat tour and then spend the afternoon at Benagil Beach and pack a picnic to make a day of it. To get to the beach you need to go down a steep walkway to get down to the sand.
The sea can be quite rough which makes the boat ride quite bumpy. As it is such a short ride to the caves I would say it is worth it. Also, it is only rough in certain places and the driver can always take breaks as well.
My driver liked to turn and spin the boat and get us wet. No problems with that I brought my wet seal for my camera so it was well protected. I use a mirrorless camera so I wanted to protect it. I wish I had taken my gopro to use as that is water safe.
Ensure you wear sunscreen and apply it before you even arrive at the beach. Also pack plenty of water and snacks. I actually wore my swimsuit under my clothes and brought my towel as well as we were able to swim along the coast.
Restaurants near Benagil Beach
There are many restaurants located along the coast if you want to stop for lunch or a snack. Most of the restaurants have beautiful sea views and fresh seafood.
Casa de Pasto “Brisa do Mar” Praia de Benagil – Great food at a great price
Restaurante O ALGAR Praia de Benagil – Great atmosphere, good food and brilliant service
O Pescador Benagil Estr. de Benagil – Wonderful place with great food just up from Benagil Beach
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