Known for its beautiful beaches, golf resorts and historic fishing villages, the Algarve is one of Portugal’s most visited regions. And one of the Algarve’s most famous and busiest attractions is the jaw-dropping Benagil Cave! So if you’re planning a trip to the Algarve or are simply just looking for some new travel inspiration, here are five great reasons why you need to visit Benagil Cave, Portugal.
This is a guest post written by Danny of Danny Explores.
What is Benagil Cave?
Carved by the rough seas, Portugal’s southern coastline is lined with jagged cliffs which attract surfers from far and wide. The waves have also produced some amazing caverns. The most famous of these is Benagil Cave. One of the best places to visit in Portugal, this natural wonder features an iconic light-filled dome that encloses an intimate beach within its layered walls.
Where is Benagil Cave located in Portugal?
Benagil Cave is, unsurprisingly, located in Benagil, a small fishing village in the Algarve that has become a tourist hotspot thanks to its small but beautiful beach and the caves and rocks that surround it. But Benagil Cave isn’t the only thing to see here! You’ll also find narrow streets lined with quaint houses and small cafes and restaurants.
There are many different ways that you can easily get to Benagil Cave! If you are lucky enough to have a car or moped at your disposal, you can day trip from nearby cities, such as Faro, Lagos and Albufeira. The closest major city to Benagil Cave is Lagoa at just over 7km away. However, you can easily access Benagil Cave from anywhere along the Algarve coast too. With so many tiny fishing villages and miles of beautiful unspoiled coastline to explore, I recommend exploring the Algarve by car.
Public transport around the region isn’t too great, so having a car gives you the freedom to hop from beach to beach and explore at your own pace. But if you don’t have your own transportation, you will need to be in one of the larger cities to visit Benagil Cave. Catch a train to Estombar-Lagoa, then get a 15-minute taxi down to the beach.
5 Reasons to Visit Benagil Cave, Portugal
1. Benagil Cave is super easy to access
Once you’ve arrived in Benagil, the beach itself is a short walk down the hill. Just follow the crowds! From here you’ll have a view out into the ocean, and the caves themselves are tucked just around the left-hand side of the cove. There are three main ways to access the cave:
There are plenty of tours offered all along the coast. You’ll find companies offering trips along the shoreline in Faro and Albuferia and also at the beach itself. This is perfect for the older generations and people travelling with younger children. This is probably one of the most popular options, but you won’t be able to get off the boat. Plus, in bad weather, boats often cannot enter the caves for safety reasons.
Stand up paddleboard or kayak
The best way to experience the cave is to stand up paddleboard or kayak! Visit one of the stands on the beach offering paddleboards and kayaks for hire. Don’t worry if you’ve never done it before because I hadn’t either. It’s pretty easy to get the hang of. Make sure you get to the beach early, so you don’t miss out!
Once you’re on your board or in your kayak, you’ll have a 10-15-minute paddle around the corner of the rocks to get into the caves. Be prepared to jump off on your approach to the beach otherwise, you may get washed up as we did!
Not recommended for weak swimmers especially if the weather isn’t great. The waves can get choppy and make the swim quite dangerous. If you decide to swim in the caves it should take you about 10 minutes and you’ll have the leisure of staying as long as you please. Make sure you look out for boats coming in and out of the caves and try to stay away from the cave walls when the water is rough.
2. You’ll get a great adrenaline rush
Whether you’re leaning over the top of the cave for a peek inside or paddling through the waves to get inside the cave. it’s full of exciting experiences and opportunities. The short hike to the top of the cave will take you along the cliff’s edge and offer some stunning views of the bays below. Take a peek down into the cave and see how many people you can count!
You might even spot cliff divers along the coast. People gather here and climb the cliff faces along the beachfront only to jump into the crashing waves below. Take care and only try this if you’re a confident swimmer and hiker!
3. It’s a photographer’s dream
Visiting earlier in the day means you’ll get some fantastic photo opportunities. The sunlight pours through the open ceiling of the cave and lights up the rocks and seabed below. Professional and amateur photographers alike would be foolish to pass on such an opportunity whilst visiting the Algarve region. My own photo was actually featured by Hostelworld on their Instagram!
After you’ve been inside the caves, don’t forget to talk a stroll along the cliff edge. Here you’ll find the opening of the cave and you’ll be able to admire it in all its beauty. Make sure you bring suitable protection for your camera. The sea can get a bit choppy and we got thrown off our paddleboard.
4. Enjoy the sunshine
A trip to the Algarve isn’t complete without a matching tan, right? Take some time out after exploring the caves to relax on Praia de Benagil (Benagil beach). There’s a small cafe which serves refreshments and plenty of space for relaxing and taking a dip. Cool off and paddle in the sea. Ahhhhh!
In the summer months, you can expect temperatures to reach 30 degrees centigrade or more. If its sunshine and fun you’re after, then the Algarve coast has got you covered. Depending on the time of year and day you might even get the chance to catch a few rays inside the cave itself. Don’t forget your sun cream!
5. There’s so much to see and do in the surrounding areas
Whether you’re a foodie looking for some traditional Portuguese Piri-Piri chicken or you just want to know more about the history of the Algarve, there’s plenty to do in the areas which surround Benagil. Take a stroll around the town and try some local food, there are a few small restaurants near the main car park.
To the west of Benagil, you’ll find Lagos (Lagoa region). Here you’ll find more beautiful beaches shaped by the ocean, a castle and a large harbour with yachts and small boats. There are plenty of tour companies operating out of Lagoa if you wish to pay the caves a visit by boat.
A short drive eastward down the coast and you’ll find yourself in the small town of Albufeira popular with tourists looking for a party and late-night cocktail. The town has hundreds of restaurants, pubs, and bars and it’s a great place to stay when visiting the region. There’s a long strip of bars and clubs open until the early hours that offer relaxed casual drinking and others that let you dance the night away!
There are also plenty of old churches and historical fishing villages dotted along the coastline.
So have you ever visited Benagil Cave in Portugal? If not, I hope this article has persuaded you to visit! It’s definitely gone straight up to the top of my bucket list.