My name’s Bo, I’m one of the cofounders of SeaBookings, and I need to share something with you: visit the Algarve. Now. I’d like to share why, for good and bad reasons. Let’s start with the bad.
I went to Lagos for a few days last weekend and I had the best time ever. I usually stay at my parents’ in the countryside, so at first, I did not notice much changed now during the “new normal”. But when I drove into the city of Lagos and found the main avenue empty with no cars parked along it, I felt my heart squeeze. I literally had tears in my eyes. I mean, at SeaBookings, of course, we noticed a tremendous decrease in demand, but I could never imagine Lagos so empty. I could never imagine the Algarve so empty. Or even Portugal as a whole.
Tourism is huge here and we need you. We need you on our boats, but also in our restaurants, our hotels, AirBnBs and shops, of course. In Lagos, maybe one-third of the cute little local shops and cafés are still closed because there’s simply not enough demand to stay open. This needs to change urgently. So, please, please come and visit the Algarve!
At the same time, you may ask why I had the best time ever. Well, simple. It hurts to say but the Algarve with no tourists is a true paradise. If with tourists the Algarve is stunning, now imagine the beaches and roads just for yourself!
And we enjoyed the sea, of course, on a kayak tour in Lagos! I had visited the famous Ponta da Piedade by sea before, by kayak, SUP and boat, but this time was far the best ever! Besides the fact that the sea was very calm and the light perfect, not having many other boats or paddlers around gave us a very special experience. So calm and relaxing.
So, you better visit the Algarve soon before the other tourists, to have the sea for “yourself”. And also the beaches, the restaurants, the shops, what not! Now is the time to enjoy the beauty of the Algarve peacefully.
And last but not least, I’d like to share my concern about the negative news out there about the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Portugal. Please note that these cases all very much concentrated in the suburbs of Lisbon. And yes, special measures are being applied, but I promise, for now, as a tourist, and even in Lisbon, you won’t even notice them. And about these cases, I truly believe that, if we would consider these cases proportional to the number of tests done, the number would be rather low when compared to other countries. In fact, Portugal is one of the countries of the WORLD with the most tests done per 1000 inhabitants.
So, what are you waiting for? Come and visit the Algarve!
A panel of travel experts at Clickstay.com has voted the Algarve as the best destination for British tourists this summer.
52% of the in-house travel pros voted in favour of the Algarve, the South of Portugal, citing successful control of Coronavirus as one of the key factors.
“Local government has done fantastic work in limiting the spread of the virus and put in sensible measures to ensure people can enjoy their holiday safely”, said Tom Hughes, founder and MD at Clickstay.
“Their use of technology, such as the Info Praia app where tourists can real-time information about the level of occupancy of the beach, is a great example of how the government is being innovative in its approach”, he added.
The article about this study mentions that Portugal recorded a considerably lower number of Covid-19 cases than the UK, so is considered low risk by the UK government. On the other hand, the Portuguese government considers that the UK has got the virus ‘under control’ and is calling for a so-called ‘air bridge’ between the two countries, which would allow British tourists to go on holiday to the Algarve, and the rest of Portugal, without having to quarantine on arrival.
According to these travel experts, there’s a wide range of activities which you can enjoy safely, making the Algarve is the best holiday destination this summer, above other destinations in Europe.
“I usually go on a beach holiday during the summer but was a little anxious having seen some photos of very crowded beaches in the UK,” said one of Clickstay’s holidaymakers, “If social distancing is properly enforced on the beaches in the Algarve, I will definitely consider making the trip”.
Outdoor activities like swimming, kayak tours, SUP tours, and surfing are permitted and most boat tours are already running, all with hygiene andsafety protocols in place. In fact, these tours and activities are all recognized by the Portuguese “Safe & Clean” seal. This is surely another big boost for the region’s tourism prospects. According to Tom Hughes, “Many of our customers love to go surfing in their summer holidays, so being able to do that in a safe environment would be a massive attraction’.
For those looking for a more cultural experience, restaurants, hotels, museums and galleries are also already open, with social distancing protocols in place. So yes, you can enjoy some of the local fresh seafood and terraces in under the blue sky are abundant for a safe food-experience.
The research shows that the geography of the Algarve has also been a factor. In the Algarve, there are many relatively quiet places to rent a villa compared with the busier coastlines of France and Spain, which make it a good destination for those wishing to keep their distance and enjoy a relaxed holiday.
What do you think? Would you consider the Algarve for your holidays this summer?
The Algarve is a holiday haven, packed full of character. With almost year-round sunshine, golden beaches and fresh local delicacies, the Algarve is a location which will likely entice you back again and again.
Each visit to this area of Portugal can be different from the last, as there is so much to see and do and the Algarve is one of the most unique holiday locations in the world. With a coastline stretching almost 100 miles, UNESCO protected parks and nature lands, this region of Portugal offers one of the best tourism experiences in Europe.
However, if you’re looking for travel experiences which are slightly different from the usual holiday offerings, then the Algarve has plenty to offer. Here is an alternative guide to visiting the Algarve.
Things To Do in the Algarve
Underground Wine Tasting
8 meters underground, the Cave de Vinhos wine cellar is over 150 years old and holds 11,000 bottles of wine, from a number of different regions in Portugal and locations across the world. The Algarve is home to endless vineyards and wine regions, meaning that wine tastings and experiences are plenty.
If you want a wine tasting experience which is unique and memorable, then a visit to the Cave de Vinhos is a must. As well as wine tasting, the cellar also hosts private dinners for up to 12 guests and cheese and wine tastings throughout the day.
The Chapel of Bones
Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) is in the village of Alcantarilha and is perhaps one of the spookiest, yet most intriguing, buildings you will ever see. At first glance, you might think that the chapel is merely just decorated with bones, but actually the walls are constructed from femurs mixed with mortar. The bones in this chapel are the remains of 1,245 monks, whose bones were displaced during the building of the chapel.
Fresh Oyster Tasting
The Algarve is renowned for its seafood dishes and sure you can order oysters at a seafood restaurant, but why not go on a fresh oyster tasting trip? On this excursion, you can eat oysters which have been plucked straight from the ocean and opened right before your eyes.
There are numerous food tours and oyster tasting experiences which leave from Ilha de Culatra in Ria Formosa, where you will learn all about oysters from a local producer, try fresh oysters and enjoy a crisp, cold glass of white wine, all by the ocean.
Norvacortica Cork Factory Tour
Something which many people don’t know about the Algarve is that it is famous for quality cork, which is used by global brands such as Rolls Royce, NASA and Moet Chandon. Cork oaks line much of the Algarve countryside and tours around cork farms and factories are a great way to learn more about the history and get an insight into the cork industry and the Norvacortica factory is one of the most popular.
Places to Stay in the Algarve
Depending on the amenities you want nearby and who you are travelling with, there are plenty of places to stay in the Algarve which are popular with tourists.
If you are looking for a fun-packed holiday with plenty of family-friendly activities, then Albufeira is the destination for you. Albufeira is perhaps the largest and liveliest town in the Algarve and has something to offer everyone. You’ve got a charming historic centre at the heart of the town, whilst “The Strip” is just a stone’s throw away and is full of late-night clubs and bars.
Albufeira beach is one of the best in the region and with beautiful water and sand stretching along the length of the town. Albufeira is an extremely popular holiday destination and has almost completely handed over to tourism, so if you are looking for traditional Portuguese culture, other destinations may be best.
Vilamoura is a sprawling resort with 4 golf courses, a large marina and beautiful sandy beaches. The town is well known for its luxury and sophistication and is one of the pricier destinations in the Algarve. Vilamoura has a mature atmosphere and is more catered towards older people, golfing enthusiasts or those looking for a little extra luxury.
Vale do Lobo
Vale do Lobo is a luxurious and self-contained resort and is unique to Portugal. Vale do Lobo was the first major development in the Algarve and today is the largest luxury resort of its kind in Portugal. With endless facilities and services, all located in a unique area, Vale do Lobo is a must-visit if luxury is at the top of your holiday list. There are two highly accredited golf courses – the Royal and the Ocean – in Vale do Lobo, which are perhaps the biggest attractions.
Famous for its markets and laid back atmosphere, Loulé is located in the middle of the Algarve. This historic market town is steeped in history and even has a 13th-century castle. The traditional cobbled streets are lined with bars, restaurants and cafes and there are plenty of charming shops packed with pottery and handcrafted goods all from within the local area. For a true taste of Portuguese culture, a visit to Loule is a must.
There is also the Loule Carnival, which is one of the biggest highlights of the year in the Algarve’s calendar. This colourful carnival takes place in February over three days, usually starting on the Sunday before Shrove Tuesday, and has been said to rival Brazil’s world-famous Rio Carnival with its dancing and costumes.
Traditional Dishes to Try in the Algarve
Portuguese food is heavily influenced by Mediterranean cuisines and relies heavily on fresh seafood, which it has in abundance and spices and olive oil. A visit to Portugal, and the Algarve in particular, will bring you a whole host of tasty traditional dishes to try.
Cataplana de Marisco
Cataplana de Marisco is a dish which originates in the Algarve and is a true seafood feast. This dish gets its name from the copper pan in which it is cooked – a cataplana, which is a dish with rounded sides and is connected by a hinge which opens and closes like a clam would. Onions, tomatoes and garlic are stewed with white wine, chorizo, clams and prawns.
Cozido à Portuguesa
Cozido à Portuguesa is a dish which is often referred to as a Portuguese boiled dinner, but is better known as a traditional stew. Whilst the ingredients sometimes change, depending on where in Portugal it is prepared, it is essentially a platter of slow-boiled meats, sausages and vegetables. In the Algarve, you’ll traditionally find it made with a mixture of potato, lamb, chicken and fresh mint.
Pastéis de Nata
Pastéis de Natas is perhaps Portugal’s most known, and most loved, dish. These palm-sized desserts are made from puff pastry which is filled with a yellow custard, made by whisking egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and cream which are then baked until golden. Whether you choose yours topped with powdered sugar or cinnamon, they are traditionally eaten for breakfast, as a snack or for an evening dessert.
Natalie Wilson is a freelance writer in the travel niche, and can provide advice on anything from hidden gems to the best Algarve villa accommodation. When not writing, Natalie can be found reading a good book with a cup of tea or planning her next travel destination – the Amalfi Coast is next on the list. You can connect with her on Twitter @NatWilson976.
2019 was a busy year on our blog and the top 10 of our most-read blog posts were all about Portugal! Traveling to Portugal soon? Don’t miss out on our top 10 blog posts about Portugal. Within Portugal, some of the most-read blog posts were about the Algarve while others about Madeira. And, no surprise! Blog posts about Benagil are very popular.
One of SeaBookings’s founders, Femke, has been living in Lagos for more than 20 years now. Living in Lagos is lovely and the beaches in Lagos continue to surprise every single day. Lagos is worldwide known for its stunning beaches. Femke shares her top 6 of beaches around Lagos. The beaches in Lagos are all stunning and all different.
Her favorite 6 are Porto de Mós, Praia da Batata, Meia Praia, Praia do Pinhão, Praia Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo. But it is hard to choose and herself usually goes to quieter beaches that are a bit further away from town.
The Benagil caves are the most impressive sea caves in Portugal. As a result, the cave has been the most popular cave to visit in the Algarve. There are several ways to visit this cave. In this blog post, we tell you some of the possibilities and the pros and cons of each.
Traveling to Lisbon and dreaming about visiting the famous Benagil sea caves in the South of Portugal? How to get from Lisbon to Benagil is one of the most frequent questions our customer support gets. This is why we decided to make a blog post about how to get from Lisbon to Benagil!
It is possible to visit Benagil from Lisbon on a day tour. However, if you can spare one night, it is much more relaxed if you take your time and make it at least a two-day trip. But that’s just a suggestion.
And another “how to get from A to B” blog post in our top. If you’re visiting Lisbon, you have many possibilities for fun day trips to discover more of Portugal! One of the day trips we recommend is Sesimbra!
We love going to Sesimbra so now and then and think you should too, so we decided to make a post about how to get from Lisbon to Sesimbra! The easiest way to get from Lisbon to Sesimbra are our transfers, which start at 25€ per person and pick you up and drop you off at your accommodation in Lisbon. But of course, there are more options.
If you are on holidays in the Algarve, you might be looking for some tips about how to get to the famous Benagil cave. That’s why we want to help you find out how to get from Faro to Benagil cave. Remember that there are boat tours to Benagil with many different departure points in the Algarve (from Lagos to Vilamoura), which might be easier to reach than the Benagil Beach itself, by land.
Ponta de Piedade is another popular landmark of the Algarve. It’s a must place for nature lovers and photographers thanks to the beautiful colours of the setting which make an incredible postcard portrait.
For the most sporty ones and if you dare climbing up 182 steps to the top of the lighthouse, you’ll have a view of the Ponta da Piedade promontory, which marks the limit between land and sea. This lighthouse can also be reached by car or foot from Lagos. Of course, we are a fan of the kayak, SUP and boat tours to Ponta da Piedade. To discover the best way to discover this area for you, read further.
We’ve been writing quite some blog posts about things to do in Albufeira because it’s one of the Algarve’s most popular holiday destinations. Albufeira has long been one of Portugal’s most popular resorts because it combines an interesting cultural heritage, stunning beaches and there are many things to do in Albufeira for all age groups.
We hope you liked our list of most-read blog posts. Let’s see if next year, we get some articles about our other destinations in this top 10! Happy 2020!
Is it the first time you are planning to go to the Algarve and would you like to know where the most romantic spots are? Carry on reading, because in this article we listed the most romantic things to do in the Algarve.
When you are in Portugal, there is so much to see and do. The South of Portugal is famous for its golden sand beaches with spectacular sandstone rock formations, cliffs and caves. By renting a car you can drive easily to some nice places and admire the beautiful beaches and impressive rock formations while standing on the top.
At SeaBookings, if you’re looking for something special for the two of you, we, of course, recommend taking a romantic boat trip to see all the beauty of the Algarve from the sea.
Check out some of the most romantic things to do in the Algarve
#1 Admire the impressive rock formations of Ponta da Piedade
One of the places you can’t miss when you are in the Algarve is Ponta da Piedade, situated in the western Algarve. You will find these beautiful rock formations inLagos.
Ponta de Piedade has very capricious shapes due to erosion and weather influences. The coast between Lagos and Albufeira has several stretches of coastline with huge limestone rock formations but those of Ponta da Piedade is very special, especially during sunset.
The coast of Lagos lends itself very well for beautiful walks, just like the rest of the Algarve coast by the way. You can easily park your car on the large parking lot (free of charge) at the lighthouse, from where you can look down along the steep cliffs within a few minutes.
A very original and romantic things to do in the Algarve is to admire the impressive Ponta da Piedade is during achampagne sunset cruise in Lagos where you will have spectacular views from a unique perspective: the Atlantic Ocean.
#2 Explore the natural park of Ria Formosa
Do you want to escape the busy touristic places in the Algarve? Then you should definitely go to the nature reserve of Ria Formosa. When you arrive at the airport of Faro, you can already see the blue lagoons, white-sanded beaches and the green little islands.
You can visit Ria Formosa from different places. In Olhão we have for example this romantic private yacht island tour where you can discover Ilha do Farol, Ilha da Culatra up to Ponta Culatra together with your beloved one.
It is even possible to stop at a picturesque fishing village on one of the islands to eat some fresh fish for lunch. Or what do you think of a Ria Formosa boat tour on a cute little boat for an intimate and super romantic thing to do departing from Tavira?
#3 Visit Praia da Rocha
Portimão is one of the bigger towns on the Algarve coast about one hour’s drive from Faro. The beach area of Portugal is known for its beautiful red coloured cliffs. It is nice and warm in the summer and Praia da Rocha is definitely worth a visit.
At the top of the beach, there are some nice restaurants and bars where you enjoy Portuguese cuisine. You can taste the best fish dishes or just relax in the shade. On the beach of Praia da Rocha, you can rent sunbeds, so you do not have to carry them yourself.
It is also possible to see this beautiful beach from your own private sailing boat. The crew will serve you a delicious glass of champagne and you can enjoy your time together while seeing how the sun sets slowly in the Atlantic Ocean.
#4 Discover Benagil
You’ve probably heard many good stories about Benagil. This unique sea cave is the most famous marine cave of Portugal. Why? Benagil has an impressive skylight from above and a beautiful beach contained within.
During sunrise and sunset, the cave is bathed in sunlight which pours in from the top, this makes the rocks turn red and yellow. Doing asunrise SUP tour to the Benagil Cave does not only gives you the opportunity to see this beautiful light entering the cave, but you will also have some quality time with your beloved one before it gets really busy around the cave.
Do you have something special in mind and would you like us to help you organize the best boat tour or water sport activity in the Algarve? Feel free to contact us at any time by mailing to [email protected] and we will send you the best suitable and romantic things to do in the Algarve. For options in Potugal as a whole, check out this article. Enjoy your days in the Algarve!
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
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
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
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!
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 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
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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€.
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.
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).
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
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!
Are you planning to go on holidays in the Algarve and searching for a way to minimize your footprint while adventuring abroad? Look no further – Lianne, customer support and content/translations at SeaBookings, listed the best eco tours in the Algarve!
“I highly recommend coasteering for true ocean lovers as being closer to the ocean and nature in general, is impossible!” (Bo)
Coasteering is a very original, exciting and sustainable way to explore the Algarve. And that’s why this experience is on our list of eco tours in the Algarve. If you are looking for some adventure, then this sustainable tour to explore the Algarve coastline is the perfect activity to do.
Coasteering involves swimming, walking and jumping from cliffs, so you can imagine it is a very intimate way to explore the coastline! Would you like to know what our experience with this lovely sustainable tour was? Last summer we experienced ourselves how amazing coasteering is! You can read our experience here.
A solar boat is a great choice if you’d like to minimize your “travel footprint”
Yes, you read it right. We now have a boat tour departing from Faro that is fully powered by solar energy! This solar boat tour is one of the eco tours in the Algarve. And besides that, the boat is super quiet without the noise of an engine what makes it possible to approach animals without disturbing their peace. So, do you want to be part of the future, and enjoy a sustainable tour in Ria Formosa? This eco-friendly sustainable tour on a solar boat in Ria Formosa is an amazing way to explore the natural beauty of Ria Formosa without polluting nature!
Stand-up paddle is a favorite for environmentally-conscious travelers
Stand-up paddle tours are one of our favorite eco tours in the Algarve. A very peaceful way to start your day during your holidays in the Algarve is by doing this SUP grotto tour in Lagos.
Stand-up paddle is rather easy to learn and a great way to enjoy the sea. Before the busy tourism starts you will get the opportunity to discover the calm waters around the coast of Lagos. And we can promise you that hearing the sound of lapping water while standing on your SUP board is very nice and calming! Our dear colleague Nathalie did this sustainable tour in Lagos together with her dad. If you want, you can read her experience here.
“The light at this time of the day is just absolutely magical. Praia Dona Ana, usually a busy beach full of people, is a true paradise this early in the morning. Peaceful and quiet, with the calm and clean Atlantic Ocean in front of it. Only for this view of another beautiful day starting in Lagos it was already worth getting up so early.” (Nathalie)
Kayaking is great for families as each kayak takes 1, 2 or 3 people
This kayak tour in Vilamoura is on the list of eco tours in the Algarve because it’s a nice sustainable tour to do with the whole family! During two hours you will get the opportunity to explore the pretty coastline of Portugal and our experienced guides know exactly where to take you!
By kayak, YOU will be the engine! Do you like to kayak alone, with one other person or even three in total, it’s up to you! This sustainable tour in Vilamoura has single, double and triple kayaks. That way you can choose how you would like to explore the coastline.
We already mentioned that stand-up paddle tours are our favorite sustainable tours in the Algarve and this SUP tour in Benagil will definitely be the highlight of your holiday! Did you know that this tour allows you to enter the Benagil cave and admire the cave from inside while standing on the sand?
The experienced guide Bruno knows the area around Benagil very well and he is happy to share his passion for the nature of this region with you! I did this sustainable tour in Benagil together with my boyfriend. If you like, you can read more about my experience here.
Do you have more questions after reading this article or are you looking for more tips to discover the beautiful Algarve in a sustainable way? Please let us know by sending an email to [email protected]!
This is a guest post by Peter Jenkins, Owner and Luxury Villa Specialist, Sun-hat Villas and Resorts.
There’s something magical about The Algarve. From the instant you step off the plane, you are transported to a holiday haven and can feel an indescribable buzz; not just from the delightful climate, but also from the friendly locals, and let’s not forget the cuisine.
The region has become a hot spot amongst jetsetters who like a touch of elegance with their evening cocktails when overlooking the stunning beaches and enjoying the tranquility of the peaceful fishing villages. The area is also a firm favourite of chilled out surfers, hoping to catch some wonderful waves on Portugal’s widest swell. With such a wide offering, we have gathered a list of our top recommendations, ideal for a short weekend or spread out over a long relaxing trip.
The striking cliffs, impressive cliff-top fortress (and the most powerful lighthouse in Europe) can all be found in the glorious Sagres, which is one of the places to catch some waves – or at least watch some the cool surfers show you how it’s done! Check out Magic Seaweed’s handpicked guide for what to expect when out on the water.
After hitting the beach, Sagres is a fabulous place to spend your morning. With its joyful cafes this is a great spot to grab some breakfast (or brunch if you want a lazy lie-in). Terra is a great venue to head for breakfast. A glass of delicious fresh juice or a cup of roasting hot coffee teamed with either a nutella or peach filled croissant, can be one of the best ways to start the day. It is also a good option for vegetarians and vegans.
After an extremely active and revitalising morning, you may be tempted to treat yourself to a slightly more laid back afternoon. On the exciting drive to Alcoutim, you will be able to discover the picturesque countryside views and see the sights of its warm riverside beach. This is a cool place to rest and watch the cheeky fish occasionally jump in and out of the water.
After bathing at the beach, take a stroll in the cultural and historical town, steeped in culture with a Moorish castle, 14th Century castle remains and 17th Century fort.
Sunset: From surf to turf
One of the places we love to dine at is Almancil’s hilltop restaurant Parilla Natural. This stunning eatery features its own wine cave and offers visitors an outside dining experience amongst tall trees and charming candlelight. If you’re feeling chilly, fear not as there’s an inside eating area too! From the menu, we particularly like Surf and Turf paired with Batatas Fritas Caseiras (hand cut potato fries), and for drinks, be sure to try the Lemon Cheesecake Martini.
Climb the mountains
Foia – Highest Mountain in Algarve
The magnificent Foia Mountain, also known as Monchique, is the highest in the Algarve. Adventurists, who want to partake in the challenge of making it to the top, will be able to walk around the area with a local guide and come face to face with cooling water springs and views of the coastline scattered with attractive little villages. Be sure to pack a tasty picnic breakfast, whilst you enjoy the view from the top.
An afternoon in Albufeira
The old town of Albufeira is exceptionally captivating and is surrounded by a whole array of delightful restaurants and bars offering everything you could possibly imagine; from the imaginatively presented and tongue tantalising gourmet dining experience at Al Quimia, (some of the food is dished up in a goldfish bowl), to much loved authentic and inexpensive take-aways such as the Albufeira Gourmet Churrasqueira Take-Away, which serves mouth-wateringly good ribs and skinny fries.
The main square bursts into life in the evening with locals and revelers and the maze of cobbled side streets hold interesting hidden finds; it’s also great for finding a souvenir or too!
Sunset at Sea
Watch the sun as it comes down, whilst you’re cruising through the sea on a sunset boat tour. You’ll be able to witness all of the pretty colours of The Algarvian sun, whilst also visiting the moonlit caves, dancing under the stars, relaxing on the deck and taking a cooling night time dip in the ocean. Guests will be treated to one complimentary drink, and there’s also a bar on board for you to sample the local wines and beers. The tours depart from different locations like Vilamoura or Albufeira.
Book your accommodation on time
If you’re feeling tempted and want to plan your next Portuguese adventure, take a peek at the luxury villas in Vale do Lobo, and the rest of the Algarve, that Sun-hat Villas have available.