Visit the Benagil Caves, Algarve | Everything you need to know

Everything you need to know about your visit to the Benagil Caves in the Algarve, Portugal

Nestled along the rugged coastline of the Algarve in Portugal, the Benagil Caves stand as a testament to nature’s breathtaking beauty. This popular sight, also known as the Algar de Benagil, has become a must-visit destination for travellers seeking a unique and mesmerising experience. In this travel guide, I’ll explain to you everything you need to know when you want to visit the Benagil Caves and uncover the magic that lies beneath the cliffs of Portugal’s southern coast. Also, read my full 3-day Algarve Itinerary here.

Where to stay in the Algarve: The Benagil caves can be reached easily from many locations in the Algarve. Some great options to stay are Casa Beny 1897 Guesthouse in Loule (~€75), Zenit Luxury Marina Village Apartment in Olhao (~€140 for 4 persons), Colina da Lapa & Villas near Carvoeiro (~€75 for 4 persons), Apartamentos Pinhao near Lagos (~€92), Velamar Boutique Hotel near Albufeira (~€65).

How to get to the Benagil caves?

There are multiple ways to get to the Benagil Caves. Generally, your adventure will begin in the charming coastal town of Benagil. Easily accessible by car (however, get there early), this cute village sets the perfect tone for your exploration of the caves. From Benagil, visitors can choose from various ways to explore the caves, including boat tours, hiking along the cliffs, renting a canoe, or even taking a swim in the refreshing waters.

However, there are also boat tours available that start for example in Portimao. As we were staying in Portimao during our time in the Algarve, this could be a great option too.

Visit the Benagil Caves in the Algarve, Portugal. All you need to know

Visit the Benagil caves with a boat tour

Opting for a boat tour, we embarked on a beautiful ride along the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The boat navigated through the sea arches and along the beautiful cliffs that make the Algarve coastline so stunning. As we approached the Benagil Caves, the canoes on the boat were released and we embarked on a canoe adventure into the cave’s entrance, where we had about 30 minutes to explore the cave and shoot some pictures. Some example boat tours to book are through SeaSiren or book your adventure through Get Your Guide such as with these excursions: Sunset Tour or a Kayak Tour.

Renting a canoe

For those seeking a more intimate experience, renting a canoe is a fantastic option. Paddling your way towards the caves allows for a slower, more contemplative exploration. The benefits include a sense of independence, the ability to stop and admire the scenery at your own pace, and the opportunity for a more private experience. However, it’s important to note that navigating the waters and currents can be challenging, and weather conditions should be considered. Canoe rentals are available at the beach in Benagil, and a sense of adventure is a must for this option.

Swimming (but you better don't)

While the azure waters might beckon you to take a dip, it’s crucial to emphasize that swimming directly to the Benagil Caves is not recommended. The strong currents and unpredictable sea conditions pose potential risks. It’s safer to enjoy the caves from a boat or explore them on foot. Always prioritize safety and adhere to the guidelines provided by local authorities.
Benagil Caves in the Algarve, Portugal
How to visit the Benagil Caves in the Algarve, Portugal

Hiking the cliffs

For the more adventurous souls, exploring the Benagil Caves on foot provides a different perspective. A cliffside trail called the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail (read more here), offers breathtaking views of the coastline, and along the way, you can discover hidden coves and lesser-known caves and enjoy the beautiful views and beaches. The rugged terrain and fresh sea breeze make the hike a rewarding experience for nature enthusiasts.

Canoe Trip around the Algarve to the Benagil Caves
Benagil Caves from above while hiking the cliffs, Algarve

Tips for visiting the Benagil Caves

  1. Timing is Everything: Visit during the early morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds and witness the cave in its full glory with optimal lighting.
  2. Photography: Even though the cave gets busy, it is still possible to find some angles for good shots. Use the rocks in the cave for new perspectives and to eliminate other visitors from your pictures.
  3. Boat Tours: Book a boat tour in advance to secure your spot, and consider choosing a smaller boat for a more intimate experience.
  4. Renting a Canoe: If opting for a canoe, be aware of weather conditions and your own paddling abilities.
  5. Swimming: While tempting, it’s safer to enjoy the caves from a boat or explore on foot. Follow local guidelines and prioritize safety.
How to visit the Benagil Caves in the Algarve, Portugal

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Visit the Benagil Caves in the Algarve, Portugal - All you need to know


Visit the Benagil Caves in the Algarve, Portugal - All you need to know