Benagil Caves Portugal, The Ultimate Guide


Welcome to the ultimate guide to the awe-inspiring Benagil Caves Portugal. Tucked away along the beautiful coastline of the Algarve, this natural treasure has captured the hearts of travelers from around the globe. Benagil is a must-see destination for anyone seeking a magical experience, from the captivating rock formations to the shimmering turquoise waters.

In this complete guide, we’ll dive deep into everything you need to know to make the most of your visit—from when to go, how to get there, and insider tips to create unforgettable memories.

So, let’s embark on a journey to explore the most famous sea cave in Portugal.


Why Not Take a Tour?

One of the easiest and most hassle-free ways of visiting the Benagil Caves is with a tour, like this Private Benagil Cave Eco SUP Tour from Carveiro or this Benagil Cave & Beach BBQ departing from Vilamoura.

Benagil Cave Update: 2024

Recent regulations have changed the way visitors can experience this natural wonder. As of September 2023, swimming into the caves or using kayaks and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) to enter the caves is no longer permitted due to safety concerns. This is a temporary directive from the Maritime Authority.

However, boat tours are still available, offering a close-up view of the caves’ stunning interiors. On these tours, disembarking from the boat inside the cave is not allowed. It’s essential to check with tour operators for the latest updates and options for exploring the Benagil caves​.

Are these entry restrictions permanent?

It seems that the restrictions on entering the Benagil Cave might be temporary, but there’s no clear indication of when they might be lifted. The good news is that boat tours are still an option. For a more intimate experience, consider a smaller boat tour, as they can maneuver more easily inside the cave, offering a closer view of its stunning features.

⭐️ Keep an eye on updates for any changes in access rules right here.

Where are The Benagil Caves Portugal?

The famous Benagil cave, also known as Algar de Benagil, is located in the Algarve region of southern Portugal along the Atlantic coast. The caves are close to several popular Algarve destinations, including Lagos (45 minutes away), Albufeira (30 minutes away), and Portimão (45 minutes away). 

The Algarve caves themselves are situated on Portugal’s southern coastline. The nearby towns of Carvoeiro, Lagos, and Armação de Pêra are also worth visiting, as they offer a range of dining, shopping, and entertainment options, as well as access to some of the Algarve’s most beautiful beaches.

In addition to the nearby towns and cities, the Benagil Caves are located near several other natural attractions, including the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, Ria Formosa Natural Park, Praia da Rocha, Praia da Marinha (Marina Beach), and the Algar Seco rock formations, making the area a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

How Can you Get To the Benagil Caves?

This beautiful cave in the Algarve region of Portugal is a must-see natural wonder. There are several different ways to reach the grutas de Benagil, each offering a different experience. Here are some of the best options:

Traveling by Car or Bus

For those who prefer a more independent approach, it is possible to take public transportation to the Benagil Caves. From major cities like Faro, Lagos, or Albufeira, you can take a bus to the nearby town of Lagoa. From Lagoa, you can catch another bus to Praia de Benagil, a beautiful beach located just a short swim from the caves.

If you do come by car, please be aware that parking, in general, can get crazy, especially during the high season. But, a big plus is parking is free (if you can find a spot). Parking is at the top of the cliff, and once you park, you will have to walk downhill to the small beach.

If you plan on coming by car, make sure to come early. Remember that the Benagil caves are an extremely popular spot. The tours start arriving at 9 am, usually when the kayak and SUP rental kiosks open. Come a little bit early to avoid all the madness.

Benagil Cave Tours

The most popular way to visit the Benagil Caves is by booking a guided tour. Tours typically depart from nearby cities like Lagos, Albufeira, and Portimão. This is the best option for those who prefer a guided experience, as a knowledgeable tour guide will not only take you to the caves but also to the surrounding area.

How Far Is Benagil Cave From Lisbon 

The Benagil Caves are approximately 170 miles (275 km) from Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. By car, the journey takes around 2.5 to 3 hours via the A2 and A22 highways.

 🚗 If you’d like to explore the Algarve, why not rent a car? It is the easiest way to get around and explore the region. Our recommendation is to use a comparison website like Rentalcars or Discovercars to see what’s available and compare prices between rental companies.

Alternatively, you can take a train or a bus. The train ride from Lisbon to the Algarve region takes about 3 hours, with the closest train station to the caves being Tunes or Albufeira. From there, you can hire a taxi or use a rideshare service to reach Benagil. Buses are also available, taking around 4 hours to reach the area, with the closest bus stop in Lagoa. From Lagoa, it’s a short drive, taxi, rideshare trip, or bus to Benagil.

Benagil Caves Portugal

What is the Best Time To Go

The best time of year to visit is during the fall and spring seasons when there are fewer people around. The shoulder seasons are between April and June or September and October. The weather conditions are nice during these months, with warm temperatures that aren’t too hot.

In spring, you can expect an average temperature of around 64°F (18°C), while in fall, it’s about 68°F (20°C). Make sure to pack a light jacket for cooler evenings. Good weather and fewer crowds are a good reason to come and visit during these months. It is also possible to visit the cave during the winter season (or low season), but we’d recommend only doing a boat tour as the weather can be chilly.

If you plan to visit during the busy summer months, which are between July and August, there are a few ways to avoid crowds. First, book your tour early and choose the earliest time available. Mornings are a better time to visit because it’s less crowded, and the caves look amazing in the morning light. Also, try to visit on a weekday instead of a weekend. Also, opt for low tide as the beach is much bigger inside the cave during low tide.

Things to Know Before You Go

There are a couple of key things that you should know before you go to the Benagil sea cave:

There isn’t much around

So to get to the Benagil Caves, you must first get to Benagil beach. Once you get to the location, the parking lot is on top of the cliff, and then there is a small one-way main road that makes a U-loop from the top down to the beach and back again to the top. The road down to the beach is steep and usually filled with cars trying to find a parking space. It’s chaos.

There are no hotels nearby, and only two restaurants, O Pescador and Dumar d’Benagil. If you plan on staying for lunch or dinner, reserve a spot.

The beach itself is small and not the ideal beach for lounging. At the entrance, there are several kiosks renting kayaks and SUPs by the hour. Along with a kayak/SUP, you’ll get a waterproof bag for your valuables. The beach also has a bathroom and a small snack kiosk.

It can get really crowded

If you Google the top things to do in Portugal, the Benagil caves will probably pop up. The caves are magical, but because of their popularity, they are overrun with tourists, especially during the peak season. During the summer, it is common that are no kayaks or SUPs available for rental due to the high demand.

If you plan on visiting the caves during the high season, the option is to either book a tour or arrive early (7h00-8h00) to avoid all the crowds.

The caves are right next to the beach

Yes, you heard right. The beach is just outside of the cave. Although previously you were able to kayak, SUP, or swim to the saves, this is no longer allowed.

You can’t really see the cave from above

If you want to see the top of the cave, you can do it yourself. It is a short hike from the parking lot. All you need to do is walk along the cliff going east, and you’ll happen upon the opening to the cave.

Be aware that there are fences all around the opening, which limit your ability to actually see the beach below. Many people hop the fences for a better view, but this is not recommended for obvious safety reasons. 

The Benagil Caves Portugal
(Photo: Algarve Addicts)

A tour is really the best way to experience the caves

Trust me when I say there’s no better way to experience the stunning Benagil Cathedral Cave in Portugal than by taking a guided tour. Imagine you and your pals taking a boat ride, cruising through the turquoise waves, and marveling at the majestic cliffs and golden sands of the Algarve coastline.

An expert local guide will not only navigate the waters for you but also share fascinating stories about the cave’s history and formation, giving you a richer understanding of this natural wonder. If you get on a boat trip from Lagos, Portimão, or Ferragudo, for example, you will see about 15-20 sea caves (along with the main attraction) and visit nearby beaches. Depending on the tides, your skipper will take you through tunnels and into completely dark caves.

This is just one of the reasons why a tour is the best way to see the caves and the surrounding region. And there are many different tour companies departing for all major Algarve cities, including Lagos, Portimao, and Albufeira.

5 Best Benagil Cave Tours

Did you know that the entire region around Benagil is full of similar caves and grottoes, and all of them are a lot less frequented by tourists? This is one of the main reasons why a tour of the Benagil Cave Algarve is a good idea, specifically if you also want to see the most popular places in the area.

Here are a couple of the best Benagil cave tours and the cities that they depart from.

1. Lagos: Swim and Chill at Benagil

Benagil Caves Portugal: Swim and Chill at Benagil

⭐️ Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour time: 5 hours |  🤿 Check rates and availability

Experience the magic of Benagil Cave in a unique and adventurous way by swimming there instead of taking the usual boat ride. This one-of-a-kind tour not only allows you to admire the cave from a distance but also takes you right inside to feel the sand between your toes.

Your adventure begins with a lively 40-minute van transfer from Lagos, complete with great music and refreshing drinks like beer and sangria. Upon arrival at the beach, gear up for a 60-meter swim to the majestic Benagil Cave, with life jackets, boards, and inflatables provided for your convenience.

Had the most incredible time, and felt safe and secure swimming to the cave. The cave was so beautiful! 10/10 recommend


After the swim, enjoy a delectable lunch with vegetarian options, and cap off your day with a stunning clifftop view of the cave. If you prefer, stand-up paddleboards and kayaks are available for rent on the day. You’ll return to Lagos around 6:30/7 pm.

2. Vilamoura: Benagil Cave & Beach BBQ

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour time: 7 hours |  🍖 Check rates and availability

Discover the breathtaking Algarve coast and indulge in a mouthwatering barbecue on a secluded beach on this boat trip that combines the best of both worlds.

While you journey along the picturesque coastline, marvel at the stunning beaches and prepare for a visit to the iconic Benagil Cave, one of the region’s top attractions.

I had so much fun on this trip. The beach bbq was one of the best meals that I had in Portugal.


After exploring the cave, savor a delicious barbecue at Praia da Galé, prepared with fresh local produce. Vegetarian options are available upon request. Keep the excitement going with kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkels provided to explore nearby beaches and crystal-clear waters. You might even catch a glimpse of playful dolphins during your adventure!

3. Portimão: benagil cave boat tour with Sunset Option

⭐️ Rating: 4.9 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour time: 2 hours |  🌅 Check rates and availability

Join an unforgettable journey along the Algarve coast, where you’ll explore dramatic caves, admire impressive cliffs, and maybe even spot playful dolphins.

Begin your adventure at the pier in Portimão, where you’ll meet your guide and receive a safety briefing before boarding the RIB speedboat. As you cruise along the coast, listen to fascinating stories about the Arade River and the Algarve region while taking in views of the Fort of Santa Catarina, Ferragudo Castle, and charming fishing villages.

Your journey will take you inside the remarkable Benagil Cave, where you can marvel at the sunlight streaming through the natural hole above, illuminating the sandy beach below.

This experience was better than any of us imagined. The scenes of the coast and the caves were breathtaking, truly magical


On your return trip, enjoy a brief swimming stop at the picturesque Corredoura beach. If you choose the sunset option, you’ll be captivated by the vibrant colors painting the horizon as the sun sets, concluding a truly magical day on the water.

4. Albufeira: 2.5-Hour Caves & Dolphin Watching Boat Tour

Benagil Caves Portugal: 2.5-Hour Caves & Dolphin Watching Boat Tour

⭐️ Rating: 4.4 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour time: 2.5 hours |  🐬 Check rates and availability

Embark on a thrilling half-day dolphin watching cruise from Albufeira and uncover the Algarve’s hidden caves, while basking in the region’s stunning coastal beauty. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit and towel, as you’ll have the opportunity to take a refreshing swim in the azure waters.

It was really cool seeing the coastline from the perspective from a boat. The staff was super friendly and accommodating.


As you glide along the picturesque south coast of Portugal, keep an eye out for playful dolphins, guided by the expertise of an onboard marine biologist. They’ll share fascinating insights into these magnificent creatures, enriching your experience.

The journey takes you past the dramatic rocky coastlines and popular resorts of Albufeira and Carvoeiro. Discover secluded areas only accessible to smaller boats, offering a truly unique perspective of the region’s natural wonders.

Get ready for an unforgettable adventure that combines wildlife, natural beauty, and unforgettable memories!

5. Carvoeiro: Private Benagil Cave Eco SUP Tour

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour time: 2.5 hours |  ⛵️ Check rates and availability

For a private and intimate experience exploring the stunning caves of the Algarve, choose this personalized tour that offers a more exclusive adventure.

Your journey begins at the beautiful Carvalho beach, a secluded haven surrounded and protected by limestone cliffs, accessible through a tunnel. Led by an experienced guide, you’ll discover breathtaking caves, algars, and natural formations.

From arrival to the end of the tour we were looked after brilliantly. The team are efficient, friendly and extremely knowledgable.


During the 2-hour-and-30-minute expedition, you’ll have ample time to rest, take photos, and soak in the beauty of Portugal’s most famous cave. Escape the high-season crowds and enjoy a more serene route, showcasing hidden gems that most visitors never get to see.

This personalized experience offers the perfect blend of adventure, tranquility, and awe-inspiring natural beauty.

Benagil Cave Portugal: FAQs

Benagil beach

Are Benagil Caves Worth It?

Absolutely! The Benagil Caves are a must-visit destination on the Algarve coast of Portugal. This breathtaking natural wonder features stunning rock formations, turquoise waters, and a hidden beach that will leave you in awe.

A visit to the caves offers a unique and memorable experience, whether you opt for a guided boat tour, kayak, or paddleboard adventure. It’s an incredible sight that showcases the beauty of nature and should not be missed during your trip to the region.

Why Is The Benagil Cave Famous?

Benagil Cave is famous for its remarkable beauty and unique features.

Known as Algar de Benagil, this striking sea cave boasts a captivating dome-shaped chamber with a skylight, allowing sunlight to pour in and illuminate the golden sandy beach within. The intricate patterns and textures of the limestone walls, combined with the turquoise waters, make it a breathtaking sight.

Can You Walk Into The Benagil Cave?

Technically, it is not possible to walk into the Benagil Cave directly from the mainland, as the cave entrance faces the sea and is surrounded by water

The most popular ways to access the cave are by joining a guided boat tour, renting a kayak/SUP or swimming to the cave from the main beach.

Is it safe to kayak to the Benagil cave?

Technically, it is not possible to walk into the Benagil Cave directly from the mainland, as the cave entrance faces the sea and is surrounded by water

Kayaking can be a safe and enjoyable experience when done responsibly. Keep a few precautions in mind: check weather and sea conditions beforehand, ensure you’re familiar with kayaking, wear a life jacket, and follow local guidelines.

If you’re inexperienced or uncertain, it’s best to join a guided kayak tour, where professionals can provide the necessary equipment and guidance to make your adventure to the Benagil Cave both safe and memorable.

My husband, done and I decided to rent a kayak to go to the Cave – this was before it was

Can you swim into Benagil cave?

Yes, it is possible to swim into the Benagil Cave, as the entrance is accessible from the sea. However, swimming is not recommended for most visitors due to potential risks, such as changing sea conditions, rough seas, strong currents, and boat traffic near the cave.

If you’re an experienced swimmer and still choose to swim, exercise extreme caution and follow local guidelines to ensure your safety.

Final Thoughts: Benagil Caves Portugal

The Benagil Caves in Portugal offer an unparalleled experience that combines natural beauty, adventure, and wonder.

As one of the Algarve’s most captivating attractions, these caves provide visitors with unforgettable memories, whether they choose to explore by boat, swim, kayak or SUP. With a range of tour options catering to different preferences, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

From the iconic “Algar” of Benagil to the hidden gems along the coast, the mesmerizing scenery and enchanting caves leave a lasting impression on all who visit. So, if you’re planning a trip to Portugal, make sure to include the Benagil Caves in your itinerary for an extraordinary adventure you’ll treasure for years to come.

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