Algarve Caves

Algarve Caves: The 5 best caves

Algarve Caves: Top 5

If you’re planning your holidays to Portugal, more specifically to the Algarve, you’ve most likely already heard of the Algarve caves. 

In fact, the coast of Portugal is known for its impressive caves and rock formations. In this article, we’ll share the TOP 5 Algarve caves you can’t miss.

Therefore to write this article, we’ve spoken to some of our partners who know the Portuguese coastline like no other.

Local fisherman and skippers of the popular cave boat tours are experts on the caves of Portugal. Most importantly, they were proud to share their knowledge about the caves in the Algarve for instance.

In other words, we have experienced many cave tours along the Algarve, the caves are a must on your next holiday.

The top 5 ocean caves of Algarve you can’t miss are:

  1. “Algar de Benagil” – The Benagil Cave

The Benagil cave is the highlight of most cave tours in the Algarve

The Benagil cave is the highlight of most cave tours in the Algarve

The worldwide known ocean cave of Benagil is originally named “Algar de Benagil”. The cave of Benagil in Portugal is one of the most remarkable sea caves in the world.

In 2014, this popular ocean cave of Portugal was listed in the world’s “Top 10 Coolest Caves” by American magazine The Huffington Post.

Well, if this is a worldwide know cave, it surely is one of the best of the Algarve’s caves!

Where and how to get to the caves of Benagil?

The cave of Benagil is located in the Algarve, on the south coast of Portugal. Just next to Benagil beach.

The nearest city to this grotto is called Lagoa. Benagil itself is a small village mostly dedicated to fishing. The Benagil cave is located just next to Praia de Benagil.

The amazing Benagil sea cave is not easy to access. The caves and grottoes are only accessible by boat, kayak, SUP or if you’re a good swimmer, swimming.

However, if you like adventure and would like to swim to the Benagil cave, make sure the ocean is very calm. As entering the caves by boat is already a great adventure.

The safest way to reach the grottoes is by boat and this is suitable for all ages. Boat tours to Benagil depart daily from the Carvoeiro beach, Lagos, Portimão, Alvor, Albufeira, Faro or Armação de Pêra.

  1. “Zorreira” – The Zorreira Cave

The boat reaches the caves very closely

The boat reaches the caves very closely

The cave of Zorreira is another cave in Portugal you shouldn’t miss. It’s located in the area of the cave of Benagil. By going on a boat tour to the cave of Benagil, most likely you’ll also visit this cave.

Out of the about 20 caves that are part of the boat tours to the Benagil cave, the cave of Zorreira cave is definitely one of the most impressive one.

  1. “Arcos de Marinha” – The arches of Marinha

Arcos da Marinha

Arcos da Marinha

The beach of Marinha is one of the most emblematic beaches of Portugal. This beach is also located in the region of Lagoa. Thus this beach is certainly a beach you should visit on your holidays in Portugal.

The Michelin Guide considered “Praia da Marinha” as one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in Europe and as one of the 100 most beautiful beaches in the world.

Marinha Beach is very popular for its stunning rock formations and crystal clear waters. As the ocean is generally very calm here, it’s a great spot for snorkelling.

The wide range of rock formations are a preferred habitat by local marine flora and fauna.

The rock formations around the Marinha Beach have two arches. The arches of Marinha are one of the known symbols of the Algarve.

Therefore, local fishermen and skippers consider these arches as a place of Portugal you should not miss.

We conclude, the best way to explore the two arches of the Marina beach is by boat. Most boat tours to the Benagil cave mentioned above also pass by these breath-taking arches.

  1. “Gruta do Capitão” – Captain’s Cave

Captain's cave Algarve Portugal

Algarve caves – Captain’s cave

The Captain’s cave as locals call this impressive cave in the Algarve is also one of our favorites. This cave is located in between Carvoeiro and Armação de Pêra. Next to Praia da Estaquinha and Praia do Barraquinho.

This cave is very difficult to access. In fact, it’s a privilege to be able to access this Algarve cave as you cannot reach it by for or swimming, only by boat. Even by boat, this cave is hard to access.

Zorreira cave can only be seen closely if the ocean conditions are perfect. Low tide and no waves are the perfect conditions required to visit the Captain’s Cave in the Algarve.

A visit to this Algarve cave is part of the Caves & Dolphins boat tour which departs from the Marina of Albufeira.

This boat tour is one of the most popular boat tours of the Algarve, as it combines two things: dolphin watching and visits to the stunning caves of the Algarve. Most of the cave tours in the Algarve visit this cave in small fishing boats.

  1. “Elefante” – Elephant

Elefant cave Portugal

Algarve caves – Elefant cave

The cave called “Elefante” is located in the area of Ponta da Piedade, Lagos. Lagos is a picturesque fishermen village (or city). When visiting Lagos, the “Elefante” ocean cave is the one you should not miss.

The local fishermen and skippers of the boat tours in Lagos are sure that the “Elefante” is one of the most impressive ocean caves of Portugal.

So, when you’re visiting the Western Algarve, you should go to Ponta da Piedade.

What, where and how to get to Ponta da Piedade?

Ponta da Piedade is not a beach as there’s no sand to lay on. Instead, Ponta da Piedade is a magical place where high rock cliffs reach from the blue sky into the deep blue ocean.

Around Ponta da Piedade you can find many grottoes you can visit on a boat tour, kayak tour or standup paddle tour.

The “Elefante” rock formation in Lagos is a cave of Portugal you should not miss, because it’s included in the most beautiful set of caves.

Kids love to recognize these figures in the rock formations and the “Elefante” is with no doubt a favourite!

For example, looking for figures in the rock formations of Lagos is like looking for figures in the clouds. A fun game for the little ones.

As mentioned before, according to the local experts, “Elefante” is the cave of Portugal you can’t miss.

Algarve caves

The coastline

The best holiday with the best cave tours

There are many places where you can take a cave boat tour from, most of the locations have easy and free car park. However, in the summer season, the cave boat trips get very busy, thus book in advance to avoid any disappointments.

In conclusion, there are many more amazing caves, which we would love to share with you. We wish you a beautiful adventure to discover the best sea caves of Algarve, Portugal. If you’ve got any suggestions or questions, please feel free to contact us.

SUP Benagil

SUP vs Kayak to Benagil

How to choose: SUP or kayak to Benagil

The Benagil cave is one of the most famous sea caves in the Algarve. You can visit it by boat, SUP or kayak. If you’re with an active group of people looking to visit the Benagil cave, a kayak or SUP tour should be on top of your list. Both tours allow you to get off in the Benagil cave, while on a boat tour, you stay in the boat.

But what is the best choice for you to visit Benagil cave? Let us show you by comparing SUP vs Kayak to Benagil

SUP or kayak to Benagil

The epic Benagil cave is just one of the many caves of the region

SUP to Benagil

Joining a SUP Tour to visit Benagil is a super fun way to visit the famous caves. Have you ever tried SUP before? It’s short for Stand-Up Paddleboarding, and it’s very easy to learn. You stand or knee on one of the big SUP Boards and use a paddle to move in the water.

Even if you have never done SUP before, it’s no problem. The SUP guides will always give you a little introduction at the beach about what you need to know. After that, it’s just up to you to grab your board and start paddling.

A Tour to do SUP to Benagil is perfect because you can really access the cave. By going by SUP to Benagil, you can explore also the region just around the Benagil cave with its beautiful beaches. SUP to Benagil also allows us to get really close the Algarve coast.

During a SUP Tour to Benagil, we can even paddle through some arches and grottos! It’s a real adventure. And the best thing is that you also stay very fit while doing SUP – it’s a great exercise for core, legs and arms. Whenever it gets too hot, just jump in the water and after you can easily climb on the board again!

SUP to Benagil is a great choice for people looking for a new challenge or even all SUP-lovers out there. The SUP Tours to Benagil are only done as long as the sea conditions are nice and calm, so you don’t have to worry about the waves. With the Stand-Up paddling, you can also go to the little beach inside the Benagil cave. 

You can join the Stand-Up Paddle tour to Benagil in the morning or in the afternoon. We even have a sunrise SUP Tour to Benagil, which is the perfect way to visit the caves. Early in the morning, you can admire the cave without the masses of tourists and boats.

Kayak to Benagil

Choosing a Kayak tour to Benagil is also a great way to visit the cave. Going by Kayak to Benagil is a lot of fun for the whole family. On our kayak tours to Benagil, there is always a support boat next to it. This makes it a great choice for groups where some might not want to kayak and prefer staying on the boat.

Kayaking is very easy and you don’t need any previous experience for it. You sit comfortably in the sea kayak together with one more person usually and paddle together to explore the Algarve coastline. Admire the beautiful caves around Benagil beach.

Each kayak takes 2 people

Each kayak takes 2 people

On our boat and kayak tour to Benagil, the biggest part of the tour is done by boat. Once you get closer to Benagil, you can switch over to the kayak and get really close to the caves and grottos.

Let the guide show you secret passages in the rock formations and take you to hidden caves and grottos. With the kayak, you can also access the beach inside the Benagil cave! That’s why it’s a great choice to visit the famous Benagil cave by kayak! And of course, you also stay fit and get a nice tan during the kayak to Benagil. 

Benagil boat tour in Algarve

The Benagil Cathedral is just one of the many impressive caves of the area

SUP vs Kayak to Benagil

Alright, as you can see, both a SUP or Kayak Tours to Benagil have a lot of great arguments for it. But what should you choose? A tour to do SUP or Kayak to Benagil

It really depends on the type of person you are and the group of people you are looking to do the tour with! If you are looking to visit Benagil cave with a group or family, that is generally quite active and love sporty adventures, we can highly recommend choosing the SUP to Benagil cave.

However, if somebody on your group doesn’t want to do something too tiring or even if you are travelling with little kids, then kayak to Benagil is the perfect choice for you. There you always have the option to get back to the boat or just stay on board while the ones who want go out exploring the coastline!

But in the end, both SUP and Kayak to Benagil promise to be a lot of fun and a great experience during your holidays in the Algarve! If you need more help making up your mind, just send us an e-mail to [email protected]!

Benagil Caves Tour

We visited the Benagil caves with the family

By Bo, co-founder of SeaBookings, working from Lisbon:

We were on holiday in Carvoeiro, a small fishing village in the Algarve, with my boyfriends’ family, this year. We had 4 kids in the group, from 1 to 6 years old. The kids just love the beach, so most of the days, we spent the mornings on the beach and the afternoon by the pool. Praia Vale Centeanes and Praia do Carvoeiro are our favorite beautiful beaches.

Praia Vale Centeanes is very nice for the kids to play

Praia Vale Centeanes is very nice for the kids to play

As we were staying in Carvoeiro and given that “I work with boat trips”, of course, I had to invite the family for a boat tour to the Benagil caves. We decided to go on the one-hour cave tour from Carvoeiro beach to the Benagil caves. One hour would be more than enough for Zé, Lu and Graça (6, 5 and 4 years old), while Inês would stay on land with the youngest, Teresa of 1 year and 3 months. Teresa could also join the tour but Inês prefered to stay on land with her.

We were lucky to be able to walk to the beach where we’d depart from, Praia do Carvoeiro. We took the 10AM tour, like Teresa from the tour operator recommended, so it would not be too hot. After putting on some sunscreen and a hat on the kids, we were ready to put on lifejackets. Lifejackets are mandatory on this Benagil cave boat tour. The kids were super excited with their colorful children-life jackets.

The rock formations of the Algarve are truly unique

The rock formations of the Algarve are truly unique

To board the boat, you’d take your shoes off and step onto the boat from the edge of the beach, where the water starts. Then, once we were all in the boat, the guys on the beach pushed us deeper and the skipper turned on the engine. As we were a group of 7, we only had one other couple on board. There was plenty of space and of course, the youngest ones wanted to venture to the front-seats of the boat.

You'll enjoy the coast from a different perspective

You’ll enjoy the coast from a different perspective

We immediately turned left, in Eastern direction, toward Benagil. Our skipper and guide presented himself and told us about the boat ride we were going to do. As soon as we moved away from the shore, we could appreciate a unique point of view over the stunning coastline of the Algarve. The red-brownish colors of the cliffs contrasted nicely against the blues of the sea and the sky. The skipper started telling us about the rock formations we were cruising by. As a local, he knew all the names of the sea caves and rock formations and gave us some tips about the things we could do in the region.

We even ventured into some very dark caves!

We even ventured into some very dark caves!

It was very nice to cruise by the beaches we had visited before and see them from a different perspective. We were impressed about how the whole thing about the Benagil cave tours is always about Benagil. In fact, it should not be Benagil cave but Benagil caves. Plural. Because there are so many caves in the region of Benagil! Some of the caves we visited before reaching the Benagil cave were even more dreamy than the Benagil sea cave. There was one cave that was truly unique. It had water falling from its eye in its ceiling and the sun shining through. It was incredible!

The contrast of the colors is amazing

The contrast of the colors is amazing

The guide quickly understood that the kids loved the moments of acceleration, so he started to do some speedy curved when we’d exit a cave. The kids loved it. The smiles on their faces were priceless. Another moment we will never forget, was when we got into a very dark cave. You could see a feeling of admiration and a slight fear in their eyes. It’s really nice to be guided by a local guide as he’ll tell you the names of some of the caves and rock formations and some of the history (or stories) behind them. The kids just loved the “pirate cave”, the “love cave” and the “turtle cave”.

The epic Benagil cave is just one of the many caves of the region

The epic Benagil cave is just one of the many caves of the region

Yes, there are many hidden caves to explore around Benagil. That’s why departing from Carvoeiro is a big plus. You get to see a lot of the Algarve caves in between Carvoeiro and Benagil. After seeing the imposing Benagil cave, it was time to turn around and head back to Carvoeiro. We do so, by moving away from shore and then: speed! We had a blast on our way back. The wind in our faces tasted just great!

The whole coastline is unique and impressive, so a boat tour is worth it!

The whole coastline is unique and impressive, so a boat tour is worth it!

We’d like to thank the whole team at Carvoeiro beach for this amazing experience with the family. The children loved it, but of course the adults too. We were all very surprised by the number of caves the Algarve coastline offers and impressed by the driving skills of our skipper! This tour is highly recommended if you want to visit the Algar de Benagil and for you, one hour on a boat is enough 😉 If you’d like to go up to the arches of Marinha, you can join this 1,5-hour tour from Carvoeiro to Praia da Marinha.

How to get from Faro to Benagil cave

How to get from Faro to Benagil cave

Let us help you to get from Faro to Benagil cave

Benagil, Benagil, Benagil – everybody wants to visit Benagil! Benagil is one of the most famous sea caves in Portugal. It is a very impressive rock formation, and a visit there is a Must-Do during your holidays in the Algarve.

The rock formations of Algar de Benagil can be found close to Lagoa. It is located close to the small fisherman village with the same name. So if you are on holidays anywhere else in the Algarve, you might not know how to get to Benagil cave. That’s why we want to help you find out how to get from Faro to Benagil cave.

We also have a post about how to get from Lisbon to Benagil and one about how to get around in the Algarve in general. So if you need some other information, feel free to have a look at those as well! However, remember that boat tours from Benagil have many departure points (from Lagos to Vilamoura), which might be easier to reach than the Benagil Beach itself.

Benagil boat tour in Algarve

The Benagil Cathedral is just one of the many impressive caves of the area

Faro is located further East in the Algarve. Since Faro has the only airport in the Algarve, it is quite likely that most of you land in Faro. And if you stay around that region for your stay, this doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on visiting Benagil cave.

Let’s see how to get from Faro to Benagil cave, shall we?

Personally, we really like to discover the Algarve by train

Personally, we really like to discover the Algarve by train

  1. Bus or Train from Faro to Lagoa

To get from Faro to Benagil cave by public transport, you can go by bus or train to Lagoa. To go by bus, the easiest option is to get the Eva bus. The bus ride takes about 1h30 and costs around 6€ one way. The bus from Faro leaves from the Terminal Rodoviário, which is close to the Museum, so very central.

To go from Faro to Benagil cave by train, you take the train from Faro to the station Estombar-Lagoa. Again, this takes about 1h30 and costs around 6€ one way. You see, it is not very different from the bus. Faro Train Station is just next to the bus station, so just as central.

Once you get to the station of Lagoa, you can get a taxi from Lagoa to Benagil. This costs about 10€. Alternatively, you also have the option to get on the Bus Line 38 from Lagoa to Benagil. However, this bus doesn’t run very often so if you like to be flexible, it might be easier to just get a taxi to Benagil.

The boat tours from Benagil have many departure points, which might be easier to reach than the Benagil Beach itself.

The boat tours from Benagil have many departure points, which might be easier to reach than the Benagil Beach itself.

  1. Rent a car from Faro Airport

The easiest way to get from Faro to Benagil sea cave is by just renting a car. In Faro, you have many different options thanks to the airport. There are a lot of car rentals at the airport, so you can choose the best one for you.

Prices can vary from 15€ in low season to around 50€ in high season per day, just depends on what you’re looking for. Just be aware that most car rentals require a security deposit of around 1500€ and you need a Credit Card to rent a car in Faro.

To get from Faro to Benagil cave by car, you can either go on the National Route N125 or the Freeway A22. On the N125 you just stay until you reach Porches and from there you have all the signs already. This takes about 1 hour. The drive on the A22 is faster, however here you pay some fees (around 5€ each way). Also, you don’t actually save much time. So we suggest you take the “scenic route” along the N125 and save the toll fees for some ice cream.

From Carvoeiro, for example, we have hourly departures to Benagil, all year round!

From Carvoeiro, for example, we have hourly departures to Benagil, all year round!

  1. Boat tour to Benagil from Vilamoura

The easiest way of how to get from Faro to Benagil cave for us is definitely to join a boat tour from Vilamoura. Vilamoura is just around the corner from Faro. From Faro, you can get on a bus to Vilamoura Marina which takes about 45 minutes. Once you’re in Vilamoura, you can join one of the boat tours to Benagil.

To visit Benagil from Vilamoura by boat is also the best way because you actually get to see many other caves and grottos along the way. Benagil isn’t the only sea cave in the Algarve. The entire Algarve coastline is full of it. And on a boat trip from Vilamoura to Benagil, you can see all of them between Vilamoura and Benagil, like Praia da Marinha.

The whole coastline is unique and impressive, so a boat tour is worth it!

The whole coastline is unique and impressive, so a boat tour is worth it!

Therefore, in order to get the most of your experience and to get to know the region, the best way to get from Faro to Benagil cave is on a boat. And on top of exploring the coastline, you can also just relax on board and even get a nice tan.

If you join a boat tour to Benagil, you can even use a paddle board. This allows you to really enter the caves of Benagil and the region around it.

We hope we could help you to find out how to get from Faro to Benagil cave. If you have any other questions, just send us an email!

Benagil boat tour in Algarve

How to choose a Benagil boat tour in Algarve

How to choose the Benagil boat tour in Algarve that suits you most? If you’re in the Algarve, a visit to the incredible Benagil cave is a true must. I think we know this by now 🙂 However, there are so many boat tours to Benagil. On SeaBookings, we have more than 30 experiences that involve visiting the cave of Benagil. 

There are so many rock formations and caves to see!

There are so many rock formations and caves to see!

We recommend choosing your Benagil tour based on the following criteria:

First of all, we should consider the departure point of your Benagil tour in Algarve.

On almost all cave tours, the departure point is the same as the endpoint. So, you can base your choice on where you’ll be staying. There are tours to the Benagil cave from Lagos, Portimão, Ferragudo, Carvoeiro, Albufeira and Vilamoura. The most Eastern location where the cave tours depart from is Vilamoura (closest) to the airport of Faro. The most Western departure point for the Benagil grotto tours is Lagos (closest to Sagres).

 
From Lagos, you'll go on a rigid inflatable boat.

From Lagos, you’ll go on a rigid inflatable boat.

Then, once you’ve chosen where you’d like to depart from, you should consider the duration of your boat tour.

Of course the duration of the Benagil boat tour in Algarve is directly related to price. The shortest Benagil grotto tours are one-hour trips and start at 25€ per person. The longest Benagil boat tour in Algarve are full-day tours of 6-7 hours. Most of the full-day tours to Benagil include a BBQ lunch on a secluded beach. The prices for these day-trips range from 45 to 60€.

BBQ cruise in Vilamoura to Benagil

From Vilamoura, we have catamarans for up to 42 pax

When choosing your Benagil cave trip, it’s also important to be aware that there are different types of vessels that do these trips.

The most commonly used boats are the typical “cave-boats”. These boats take 9 to 11 passengers and one boat driver. There are also a bit larger versions of these boats, up to 18 passengers, departing from Portimão. These Benagil boat tours are ideal because they are small enough to enter the smallest caves and manoeuvre through the most narrow rock formations. Taking into account this perspective, of course, the smaller the boat, the better.

Then, we have rigid inflatable passenger boats. These boats are smart if you depart from a Marina that’s a bit further from the Benagil cave, like Lagos, for example.

In fact, the RIBs are very fast, being able to cover a larger distance in less time. Another alternative is a more traditional boat. From Portimão, we have a very charming Portuguese traditional boat that does go to the famous cave.

sunset cruise in Lagos Private Boat Tour to Benagil from Lagos

Feel the luxury on a yacht!

For a more comfortable and luxurious experience, we recommend the luxury yachts that we have in Portimão and Lagos. These motor yachts have a closed cabin, as well as a nice sundeck. In Lagos, this boat even carries along a SUP board, so you can get closer to the caves by SUP.

If you like sailing, you can join a full-day sailing tour from Portimão or Albufeira to visit the Benagil cave. The sailing yacht will carry along a dinghy to be able to access the Benagil and other caves.

On the full-day BBQ tours, from Portimão, Albufeira and Vilamoura, you’ll also visit Benagil. As the boats used for these tours are very big, most of the tours have the possibility to step over to a smaller boat to get into the caves.

Another thing you should consider is if you’d like to go on a private Benagil boat tour, only for your group.

Chartering a boat is very nice if you’re looking for a more intimate experience. You’ll have the boat just for yourself and your friends, family or partner. Private charters are ideal for special occasions like wedding proposals, birthdays and bachelor parties.

Being able to stop for a drive when and where you want (subject to the sea conditions, of course), is a big plus of a private charter. And on most boats, if you rent it privately, you can play your own music and bring your own drinks and snacks. Private charters to the Benagil cave start at 200€ for a motorboat up to 5 people (and a skipper).

Benagil Grottenfahrt

The famous rock formations of Marinha are very near Benagil

Once again, we’d like to remind you that swimming to the Benagil cave can be dangerous. Believe us, it can really be dangerous. Accidents are, unfortunately quite frequent.

There are a lot of boats going in and out the Benagil cave and swimmers may be overseen. In addition, there may be unforeseen currents that even the better swimmers can’t deal with.

Another reminder is that local regulations don’t allow passengers to disembark off the boats in the Benagil cave. This means that, by boat, you won’t be able to get off the boat and stand on the sand in the Benagil Cave.

However, all boats will enter the cave as much as possible (subject to the sea conditions) and stay there a few minutes so you can calmly admire the impressive cave and take some amazing pictures.

SUP is a great choice if you want to get into the cave

SUP is a great choice if you want to get into the cave

If you really want to get off in the cave of Benagil, we suggest a kayak or SUP tour, to safely do so.

We hope we managed to help you choose the Benagil boat tours in Algarve that suits you most. Feel free to book online or let us know if we can help any further. Specially in high season, we recommend booking a few days ahead to guarantee your seats. Enjoy Benagil!

Benagil caves tour from Portimão

We went on a Benagil caves tour from Portimão

We went on a Benagil caves tour from Portimão

The SeaBookings team went on a Benagil caves tour. There are many tours that can take you to this impressive cave. Here’s our personal testimonial about this unique Benagil caves tour from Portimão or Ferragudo.

You can start the tour in Portimão or Ferragudo

You can start the tour in Portimão or Ferragudo

Lianne’s experience:

Wow! I didn’t know that it was possible to visit so many beautiful caves along the Algarve coastline between Portimão and Marinha. Departing from Clube Naval de Portimão, we were all provided with a life jacket before starting our boat ride to pick up a few more people in Ferragudo. Ferragudo is literally in front of Portimão. By boat, it took us approximately 5/10 minutes to reach this cute and authentic fishermen’s village.

There are so many rock formations and caves to see!

There are so many rock formations and caves to see!

Once everyone found their place to sit, we sailed along the most impressive rock formations of the Algarve where we passed by the most impressive caves I have ever seen. Really, if I think about it, we saw between 15 – 20 caves along the way, including the famous Benagil cave.

Many may wonder how you would get to the Benagil caves? With a Benagil caves tour of course! Now I know for sure, the safest and most fun way to explore the Benagil sea cave is by boat! But not only Benagil with its golden sands is worth a visit. The skipper knows exactly which caves are worth taking you besides Benagil. Believe me, you will see many more impressive caves and maybe Benagil is not even the most beautiful one! I was super impressed by the bright purple colors we saw when entering the caves. Most caves have two names, one Portuguese name and one touristic name. The skipper knows them all and is more than happy to show you to which they owe their name.

Abílio, our fun and knowledgable skipper

Abílio, our fun and knowledgable skipper

Bo’s experience:

Yes! We finally did a Benagil caves tour with our team! This time, we decided to join a tour to Benagil and Marinha. The boat tour had two starting points. You could board either in Portimão, at the Clube Naval, or in Ferragudo. This is great because you can choose what suits you best. We decided to start the tour in Portimão. Near the Clube Naval, there are many free parking spots, so this was ideal as we arrived to Portimão by car.

The arches of Marinha are worth a visit

The arches of Marinha are worth a visit

At the Clube Naval, the meeting point for this cave tour to Marinha is at the gate in front of the Museum. It’s very easy to find. Just look for Abílio, the skipper and he’ll take you to the boat. Abílio is a super friendly local who has spent almost all his life “in” the sea. He once was a fisherman and a few years ago started to take travellers to enjoy the stunning coastline and caves in between Portimão and Benagil.

You'll cruise by Carvoeiro

You’ll cruise by Carvoeiro

It’s a true family business. Marisa, Abílio’s wife, does the sales. You can find her friendly smile on their ticket stand in Ferragudo. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll meet Mariana, their daughter. Mariana and Abílio are great guides as they know the rock formations and other curiosities about the region like no other. They’re proud locals who are happy to share some interesting facts with you. Both guides speak French, along with Portuguese and English.

The "Devil's Eyes"

The “Devil’s Eyes”

We can highly recommend this Benagil caves tour. We were all impressed by Abílio’s skills to manoeuvre his 12-seats boat in the smallest caves and rock-formed alleys. Abílio has a great sense of humor and most likely, you’ll so now and then we surprised with some sudden accelerations! Another reason why we recommend this trip is that, because you depart from Portimão, you also get to see the caves in between Portimão and Benagil. Other boat trips to Benagil are more focussed on the caves around Benagil and Marinha. But this tour will take you to uncover many caves and rock formations that are less crowded and almost as impressive as the famous Benagil Cathedral. Don’t forget to wear a hat, sunscreen and just enjoy! It’s recommended to book ahead to assure your seats.

The Benagil Cathedral is just one of the many impressive caves of the area

The Benagil Cathedral is just one of the many impressive caves of the area

Do you also want to visit the Benagil caves? Please check all our Benagil tours here. Whether you prefer to go on a luxury yacht or a small boat, all our sea caves tours will show you the best of the Algarve coast with its beautiful beaches. From many different locations, you can visit Benagil beach and the Benagil cave. Did you know that if the sea conditions are good enough, you probably can enter Benagil during your Benagil cave boat tour? And for all nature-lovers out there, besides visiting the caves, don’t forget to join a dolphin watching tour from Portimão!

Algarve Caves

How to get into Benagil Cave

Do you want to know how to get into Benagil cave? You can walk, swim, or join a boat, kayak or SUP Tour.

The Benagil cave is probably the most famous sea cave in Portugal. So if you are on holidays in the Algarve, make sure you visit it! The region around Benagil is also worth a visit, so why not combine it with a tour along the Algarve coastline or a day trip to the nearby village Carvoeiro?

What is the Benagil cave?

The Benagil cave is a fascinating rock formation with a big eye in the middle. It’s the most famous sea cave in the Algarve.

The hole in the ceiling of the cave allows the sun to shine at the little beach inside the cave. Its beauty is hard to describe and the best way to understand it is to go there and see for yourselves! The colours of the cave are, just like the entire coastline around it, unique and typical for the Algarve. And to see the clear blue sky through the eye of the cave is simply beautiful!

get into Benagil Cave

The arches of Marinha are very impressive too

Where is the cave?

The Benagil cave is located in Lagoa, in the Algarve in Portugal. The grotto can be found just between Praia do Benagil and Praia da Marinha.

Close to cave, there are also some other towns that are worth a visit. Carvoeiro is one of the most popular destinations in the Algarve for tourists from all over the world. Here you can stroll around the streets, enjoy an ice cream or a nice lunch or dinner after visiting the cave!

How to get to the Benagil cave?

To get to the Benagil cave, you can go by train, bus or car to any of the departure points of the Benagil tours. The Benagil cave tours depart from Albufeira, Portimão, Lagos, Vilamoura, Armação de Pêra, Ferragudo, or Alvor.

To go to the beach, next to the small fishing village, the easiest way is to drive there by car. If you want to go to the beach by public transport, you need to go by train or bus to Lagoa. From there you can get a taxi, which costs about 10€ to Benagil.

You can walk to the top of the Benagil cave which is impressive too

You can walk to the top of the Benagil cave which is impressive too

Can you walk to the cave?

Yes, you can walk to Benagil cave. However, this way you can only see the beach and cave from above. It’s also very beautiful. But seeing the famous cave from the cliffs is not nearly as impressive as seeing it from the sea. So even though you can walk there, it’s not the “real”  experience. And of course, you won’t get to take those amazing pictures.

Can you swim to the cave?

Yes, you can swim to the Benagil cave, but it’s very dangerous. Benagil is one of the most popular caves in the Algarve. There are many boats going in and out of the cave at the same time, especially at high season. Unfortunately, swimmers can be overseen

The sea conditions can make it very risky to swim to the cave. So while some bloggers suggest the best way to get to the cave is by swimming, let us tell you that this is very dangerous. Especially people who are not familiar with the sea and not very good swimmers should definitely not swim.

On a boat ride along the coast, you get to see many caves

On a boat ride along the coast, you get to see many caves

What is the best way to see Benagil cave?

The best way to see Benagil cave is by boat, kayak or SUP. This way you can get into the Benagil cave ad actually stand on the sand in the cave.

If you want to visit Benagil without too much effort, the best way is on a boat tour. People who are not comfortable in the sea can feel safe in a boat. All boat tours include life jackets.  More active people might prefer a Kayak or SUP tour to Benagil. The advantage is that with kayak or SUP, you can get really inside the Benagil cave beach.

But why only visit Benagil sea cave?

Did you know that the entire region around it is full of similar caves, and all of them a lot less frequented by tourists? Sure, the cave is very impressive and a famous tourist attraction of the Algarve, but actually the caves in the entire Algarve coast around it are equally beautiful! There are also many beautiful beaches. 

If you get on a boat trip from Lagos, Portimão or Ferragudo for example, you will see about 15-20 caves before actually arriving to Benagil. Depending on the tides, your skipper will take you through tunnels and into completely dark caves. By the time you get to the sea cave, you might not even be so impressed anymore since you already saw how beautiful the region around it is!

So to make sure you don’t miss out on some other impressive caves of the Algarve, a guided boat, kayak or SUP Tour is the best way to see the cave!

High season is between June and September, so make sure to book in advance to guarantee your seats on a tour to visit the Benagil cave.

Benagil Tour von Portimo How to get from Lisbon to Benagil Bootstour nach Benagil von Lagos

The Ultimate guide about the Benagil cave

The Benagil cave is the most impressive sea cave in Portugal. As a result, it has been the most popular one to visit in the Algarve.

In fact, the Benagil sea cave in Portugal was listed in the world’s “Top 10 Coolest Caves” published by American online newspaper The Huffington Post in 2014. And since then, featured in many blog posts all across the internet, it has became a very popular place to visit.

The south coast of Portugal is called the Algarve. The Algarve coast is the most popular tourist destination in Portugal. It’s known for amazing summers, impressive coastline, and idyllic beaches.

The Algarve coastline has many imposing grottoes, cliffs, rock formations, and white beaches.

There are a lot of factors that need to be considered if you want to go to the Benagil cave. The famous grotto is just one of the many, that stand out and is a “must see” on your next holidays in Portugal.

Where?

The caves of Benagil are very photogenic ;)

beautiful spots

Benagil is not just about a famous cave, in fact it’s a small fishing village, located on the south coast of Portugal, the Algarve.

It’s a traditional village, with fishing facilities, restaurants, and a beautiful beach. The village can be found between Praia do Carvoeiro and Armação de Pêra. The closest city is Lagoa.

The grottoes are situated 150 meters east to the beach, Praia de Benagil. They are located in the so-called “Algar de Benagil”.

How to get into the cave

There are many ways to get into the cave, by boat, by SUP, by kayak and swimming (not recommended). The sea cave is only accessible by water.

To go into the caves you have several options:

  1. Boat trips – There is a suitable boat tour for everyone. There are also a lot of variety of boats.
  2. SUP tours – For the more sporty holiday makers, this is the way to discover the amazing coastline. Paddleboarding along the coastline is refreshing, sporty, and makes you feel healthy and happy. The SUP tours allow you to get into the cave beach.
  3. kayak tours – How much fun to share a kayak with your partner, while enjoying the amazing weather, coast, and beaches. You can also rent a kayak, but we recommend the tours for all comfort. The kayak tours take you to beaches with golden sand, where you can refill your energy for some more golden coastline.

As these tours are very popular, we require you to book in advance.  If you want to join one of the kayak or SUP tour, make sure you have enough swimming experience.
As you also need to make sure that you know how to go to the departure location of those tours, by booking online, you will receive an email with exact location. 

Can you swim to the cave?

Yes, you can swim to the cave, but swimming there is not recommendable. The tides may get high and you may not be able to swim back safely and you never know what kind of currents there are below the calm water surface.

Besides the many boats that continuously come along, may lead to dangerous situations. Many accidents have happened along the last years.

After all the best way to get inside of the grottoes, are the boat tours.

During the Summer season there are many daily departures and during the Winter season frequency may be a bit lower, but the boat tours run all year round.

The duration of the boat tours vary from 1h to 7h. You can go on a small fisherman boat or on a big catamaran, among other vessels.

The coastline around Lagoa has many more amazing grottoes. On a boat tour, you can see around 10-15 grottoes.

An important component of the boat tours, are the small beaches, that can only be visited or seen by sea.

If you’d like to see more of the coastline beside the most famous ones, we recommend Ponta da Piedade. Ponta da Piedade are a set of incredible rock formations near Lagos.

Basically, the only way you can visit both places on the same tour is by renting a motorboat (with or without skipper), from Portimão.

Ultimately we recommend to do the boat tours in the early morning, as wind is calm and normally less movement around.

Join us on a boat tour to Benagil!

Join us on a boat tour

How to get to famous beach

Benagil beach is easily accessible. We recommend reaching the beach by car as public transport is not easy. In fact, the journey to the beach is already an adventure itself.

You might feel lost on the tight back roads of Lagoa, with a lot of curves and ups and downs. Thus, on the GPS, the best is to select “Praia de Benagil”. You will get there, no worries 😉

If you have not got a GPS, on the national road EN125, turn south nearby the Escola Internacional do Algarve (the International School of the Algarve, in Porches), and follow the signs to the beach.

The parking for the beach is very limited. If the official car park is full, you can leave your car along the main road.

The boat tours

Lagos Benagil SeaBookings (3)

truly impressive

We provide over 30 Benagil boat tours, all tours provide lifejackets.
There are several kinds of boat tours that go allong the coastline. There are big catamarans but also small fishermen boats. What’s best depends on your own preferences.

The most traditional tour depart from Carvoeiro, a fisherman town next to the beach:

  • 1h boat tour: This one hour boat tour will take you into the cave and show you around 10 other grottoes of the region on a small boat that can truly access into the grottoes.
  • 1,5h tour: This is the perfect boat tour to enjoy the epic coastline and go a bit further up to the famous rock formations of Praia da Marinha. You’ll be able to make impressive pictures.

The boat tours to the Benagil cave depart daily from:

If it’s the first time that you want to visit the coastline, have a look at the many activities we provide along the coast and choose the best option for you.

How much does it cost to do the tours?

Lifejackets are required and included in all boat tours. The use of lifejackets on touristic boat tours is mandatory in Portugal.

On all boat tours, you will go in and out of the most amazing grottoes. Besides the amazing views, you will hear and smell the ocean closely.

As you get into a grottoe, the sun illuminates the water, creating amazing effects.

You will love it. Inside of the most impressive grottoes, the captain will shut down the boat’s engine such that you can admire calmly with no noise.

The famous rock formations of Marinha

The famous rock formations of Marinha

On most tours, you will enter the grottoes for about 2 minutes to give you time to take the best pictures of your holidays or simply enjoy it quietly.

These boat trips allow you to enjoy the “golden” coast. The cliffs and beautiful beaches of the Algarve coastline have amazing colors.

Cave & dolphin watching Albufeira - From Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal

dolphin watching Albufeira

From Albufeira, there is a boat ride that combines the two best things to do in the Algarve: cave tours and dolphin watching.

These tours cost €35 per person and there are several types of boats available.

Can you walk to cave?

Benagil cave is located just 150 meters next to beach, the inside can only be reached via the boat, kayak, sup or swimming.

Thus, you can walk up to the hole of the cave and see it from above, but you can’t walk to the inside.

Can we disembark inside?

New local regulations don’t allow boats to disembark passengers into the cave.

The only tours that allow you to get inside of the grotto are the SUP tours (stand-up paddle) and kayak tours. These tours have a very high demand so we recommend to book on time.

Booking a boat tour

In summer, the Algarve is very popular. The majority of the boat tours will be fully booked for the next few days.

Especially this boat tour can become fully booked for days as it’s one of the most popular tours of the Algarve.

As a result, we strongly recommend you to book in advance to avoid disappointment. By booking your tour online, you can guarantee your seat a few days ahead.

Benagil cave

Coastline

The grottoes are a must for anyone visiting the Algarve. There are so many ways to discover this area, there is always a way suitable for everyone, any age or restriction.

We wish you a beautiful adventure to discover the Algarve coastline. If you’ve got any suggestions or questions, please feel free to contact us.

Benagil cave tour from Portimão

We went on a Benagil cave tour from Portimão

By Cláuda and Zé, friends of SeaBookings, who were very curious about our new Benagil cave tour from Portimão:

Benagil tour from Portimão

The whole family will have fun on this Benagil tour from Portimão

The Algarve is a must-visit destination in Portugal for its beautiful beaches and sunny days. While it is an amazing place for sunbathing, it is also full of stunning views and secret beaches along the coastline. You’ll only discover these places on a boat trip.  

During my summer holidays, I was staying in Lagoa with my boyfriend and we wanted to enjoy the beautiful coast of this region, so we chose SeaBookings to help us find the perfect experience.

Explore the unique rock formations

Explore the unique rock formations

We went on a Benagil cave tour from Portimão, which is quite close to Lagoa and it was also a good excuse to visit that city. We had to check-in at Clube Naval de Portimão 10 minutes before the departure time. After parking the car for free, near the check-in point, we were welcomed by the friendly staff. They provided us with bottles of fresh water for the trip.

Benagil tour from Portimão 2

The boats take 18 people

The tour departs from Portimão in direction of Ferragudo, where we have a very cool view of Marina of Portimão and all the beaches nearby. As we leave Portimão, we start discovering the magic coastline and its amazing sea caves. The boat enters in some of these grottoes and we can appreciate the thrilling rock formations that look like something out of a pirate movie. The “Algares”, the openings to the sky are unique, being the “Algar of Benagil” the most famous in this region.

Discover the "Algares" from a unique perspective!

Discover the “Algares” from a unique perspective!

The trip continues all the way to Praia da Marinha, and until there we can also appreciate some must go beaches of this region, such as Praia do Carvoeiro, Praia de Vale Centeanes, Praia do Carvalho and Benagil.

Get your camera ready!

Get your camera ready!

Once we arrive at Praia de Marinha, the staff dared us to dive into the amazing and refreshing blue sea. This was definitely the cherry on top of this already wonderful experience. Being able to take a refreshing dive during this Benagil cave tour from Portimão is a big plus compared to other similar toursAs the tour finishes, we had a very exciting way back journey at a thrilling but safe higher speed!

Great boarding facilities and free parking in Portimão

Great boarding facilities and free parking in Portimão

We would definitely recommend this experience to anyone: our group had families with both children and disabled people (wheelchair) and we all had an amazing time!

Benagil or Ponta da Piedade

Benagil or Ponta da Piedade: Your best choice

Benagil or Ponta da Piedade?  What’s this about?

The Algarve is probably one of the most beautiful regions to visit during your summer holidays in the whole of Europe! At least we at SeaBookings are in love with the white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters and cute little villages all along the coast from Tavira over Faro and Albufeira to the wild cliffs of Sagres. No wonder that the Algarve won the award for Europe’s Leading Beach Destination in 2017!

One thing the Algarve is especially famous for is the stunning rock formations. In the south of Portugal, you can admire some of the most impressive sea caves and grottos in the whole of Europe and actually the whole world. The two most famous caves are Benagil and Ponta da Piedade in Lagos.

Bootstour nach Ponta da Piedade

Stunning Ponta da Piedade in Lagos (by João Coelho)

The Benagil caves are really famous and are one of the top tourist attractions in Portugal. Even the famous paper The Huffington Post included the Benagil sea cave in their list of the 10 coolest caves around the world. But also the Ponta da Piedade in Lagos is one of the Must-Dos during your holidays in the Algarve! The beautiful rock formations at this spot will amaze you, we guarantee it! So, the question is: Benagil or Ponta da Piedade?

Luckily, the Algarve is not too big. So if you’re on holidays in the Algarve, you can actually visit both of the famous caves in Portugal. The best and quickest way to visit both is with a full day private boat tour, that will take you first to Benagil and then all the way to Lagos to see the Ponta da Piedade as well as all the other cute bays of the region. Our Private Boat tour to Benagil and Ponta da Piedade is probably the best option for you and your family or group of friends!

The caves of Benagil are very photogenic ;)

The caves of Benagil are very photogenic 😉

If you only want to visit one, Benagil or Ponta da Piedade, and need some help in deciding which one, let us help you! Benagil or Ponta da Piedade – we will help you make your best choice!

  1. Benagil caves

So as we already know, the Benagil caves are absolutely amazing! They are the top attraction of the Algarve by far. The natural beauty that was created by the pure force of the sea is just impressive. No wonder that so many people are attracted by this unique piece of art created by mother nature herself.

Benagil Tour von Portimo How to get from Lisbon to Benagil Bootstour nach Benagil von Lagos

Benagil is one of the most impressive caves of Europe (be aware that getting off the boat is not permitted on most tours)

The caves of Benagil are located near the town of Lagoa. The Benagil caves are great to visit especially if you’re staying around the area of Vilamoura, AlbufeiraCarvoeiro and Lagos, as they are located not even an hour away by car. Portimão is the nearest harbour to the Benagil cave. We actually have quite a lot of different boat tours from these destinations all going to Benagil. However, be aware that due to local regulations passengers are not allowed to get off the boat to walk around the beach of Benagil.

On a SUP tour you can explore the inside of the cave

On a SUP tour, you can explore the inside of the cave

If you actually want to walk around inside of the cave, the best ways to do so if with a Kayak tour or even with a Stand-Up Paddle tour! That way you can get really close to the fascinating rock formations and actually walk inside of the cave. Here you can also take the most beautiful pictures to show back home! Most tours to Benagil, be it by boat, kayak or SUP will take you to many different caves and rock formations. The arches of Praia da Marinha are also a highlight!

Benagil Grottenfahrt

The famous rock formations of Marinha are very near Benagil

The best time to visit the Benagil caves is actually after midday because that’s when the sun shines her light inside of the cave, creating a wonderful scenery. However, in the morning it can be better as there’s usually less wind and waves. During summer, it can get quite busy around the cave because it is so popular. But don’t worry, it is still absolutely fascinating and you will not be disappointed!

  1. Ponta da Piedade

The beautiful rock formations of Ponta da Piedade are just outside the centre of the authentic Portuguese little town called Lagos, a little further west than Benagil. The cute little beaches with the high cliffs and amazing rocks are characteristic of Lagos. Ponta da Piedade is the highlight of this scenery, with its impressive cliffs and caves.

kayak tours lagos - kayaktour

If you like to stay active during your holidays, we recommend this kayak tour

You can walk along the small paths all along the cliffs along Praia Dona Ana, Praia do Camilo and Praia do Pinhão and stand on top of the edge of Ponta da Piedade looking out on the sea. But the best way to explore this natural beauty is from below, from the sea looking up! That’s when you really feel the power of nature!

Boat tours are definitely the most relaxed way to see the Ponta da Piedade and all the amazing region around it from up close. If you want to do something more sporty, we really recommend a kayak tour or even a Stand-Up Paddle tour. Especially the early morning SUP Grotto Tours in Lagos are amazing because you get to admire Ponta da Piedade while everybody else is still asleep!

boat tour to Benagil and Ponta da Piedade How to get around in the Algarve pic by João Coelho

You can walk to Ponta da Piedade or go by sea

So for all those staying further in the west end of the Algarve, Ponta da Piedade is geographically closer. But you can actually also get on a boat tour from Lagos to Benagil! So in this case – no more excuses, you just really should visit both caves during your holidays in the Algarve 😉

12