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.
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:
- Boat trips – There is a suitable boat tour for everyone. There are also a lot of variety of boats.
- 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.
- 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.
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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.
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
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?
Prices of the tours vary between 20€ for a simple cave tour in a traditional boat up to luxury boat charters.
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.
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.
From Albufeira, there is a boat ride that combines the two best things to do in the Algarve Portugal: cave tours and dolphin watching.
Dolphin watching in the Algarve is also one of the must do. It gives an amazing feeling seeing dolphins swimming in their natural habitat.
These dolphin watching tours cost €35 per person and there are several types of boats available.
The dolphin watching sightseeing departs from almost all marina’s in the Algarve. We do recommend to book in advance.
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.
COVID-19 Update: Many families prefer to book a private boat to enjoy the coastline on a safe way. The private boats start at only 150€, thus def. worth contacting us for the best option for you.
All tour operators have implemented all hygiene messures and even where recognized by a “Safe & clean” certificate.
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.