Benagil Cave in the Algarve region of Portugal is an amazing natural sea cave, with a hole in the ceiling, and two entry ways opening up right to the ocean. This is an idyllic spot in the Algarve that at first glance looks like it should be extremely remote. However, the Benagil Cave is actually shockingly easy to get to.
Also to my surprise, when we reached the cave is was quiet, calm, and only a few others inside at the time. This experience definitely exceeded my expectations, and actually lived up to the epic photos I saw beforehand.
You should definitely add this spot to your Algarve itinerary, no matter what activity or comfort level you have with the water. I’m going to share my recommendation for visiting the cave as well as break down all the different ways that you can reach the Benagil Cave based on your comfort level!
In this post I’m going to break down the different ways to get to the Benagil Cave, and the pros and cons of each!
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- Where is the Benagil Cave?
- How to Get to the Benagil Cave in Algarve?
- Best Time to Visit the Benagil Cave in Algarve?
- Benagil Cave FAQs
Where is the Benagil Cave?
When I first saw pictures of the Benagil Cave, I imagined that it was remote and really hard to get to. To my surprise, it is very EASY to reach the cave. The Benagil Cave is located 200 meters from Benagil Beach along the Algarve Coast between the towns of Carvoeiro and Lagoa.
On the map, I have starred for you the Benagil Beach, the Benagil Cave, approximately where the free parking area for the beach is, and the tour company that we used. You can simply star this map, and the locations will be added to your google Maps!
How to Get to the Benagil Cave in Algarve?
There are multiple different ways to see the inside of the Benagil Cave, including swimming, kayaking, stand up paddling (SUP) or by boat. However, the only way to walk around inside the Algar de Benagil Cave is to enter by paddling, SUP or swimming.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the boat tours are no longer allowed to dock and let people off of the boat tours inside of the cave. The tour boats will enter one of the cave openings for about 30 second – 1 minute and then need to leave.
Below I have detailed my personal experience getting to the Benagil Caves, and provided alternative options based on different preferences.
Kayaking to the Benagil Cave – My Recommendation
To get to the Benagil Cave we rented a double-kayak from Taruga Tours and self-paddled to the cave. We walked right up to the Benagil Beach at 10am to the Taruga Tours stand where you can rent kayaks on the spot (based on availability). You can also reserve a single/double kayak, SUP, or a boat tour with Targua in advance on their website – Taruga Tours.
Taruga Tours charged 15 EUR per person for a 90 minute kayak rental. This gives you enough time to paddle out to Benagil Cave, explore the Benagil Cave for about 30 minutes, and then paddle further down the coast to see the smaller caves before returning back to Benagil Beach.
We had an amazing experience renting from Taruga and from doing some research, they are also the cheapest (and closest) option in the area. They are by far my recommendation on THE rental company to use in Algarve!
How Long Does it Take to Kayak to Benagil Cave?
We reached the Benagil Cave in about 5 minutes kayaking from Benagil Beach. We went in the morning on a very calm and sunny day so we did not encounter any waves or rough water.
The best time to self-kayak to the Benagil Cave would be right at 10am when the kayak companies start operating.
Was it Easy to Kayak to Benagil Cave without a Tour?
Yes! The location is extremely easy to get to starting from Benagil Beach, and on a calm morning, paddling was easy to moderate in effort. Once you depart from Benagil Beach, head towards the East and hug the coast line and you will reach the cave in 200 meters or about 5 minutes.
I would say that the hardest part was getting back into your kayak after you have explored the cave and not tipping over!
Bengail Cave Kayaking Tours
Even though we didn’t take a guided tour, I would suggest taking a kayaking tour if you want the extra knowledge that a guide can provide about the caves history and other interesting facts you wouldn’t otherwise get.
In addition, having a tour guide would be an advantage when you’re trying to get back into your kayak and start paddling again. They can help with the little extra push that we needed getting back started!
Below are some of the highest rated tours, ranging from $20 – $50 per person, and all have a 24-hour cancellation policy for a full refund!
Benagil: Benagil Caves Kayaking Experience – This is one of the most popular and highly rated kayaking tours available. Beginning at Benagil Beach, this tour lasts about 2 hours and takes you through not only Benagil Cave, but other smaller caves along the Algarve coast as well.
From Albufeira: Benagil Hidden Caves Tour by Kayak or SUP – If you are staying in Albufeira during your time in the Algarve, then this highly-rated tour would be a great option for you as the tour includes a 40-min boat ride to the kayaking spot.
Algarve: Benagil Sea Cave Sunrise or Sunset Kayak Experience – If you want to be the first in the cave to beat the crowds, why not book a sunrise kayaking tour to the Benagil Cave? I will caution that since it will be sunrise, there won’t be a lot of light coming through the hole in the ceiling. This will make taking pictures in the already dark cave a little tricker.
Portimão: Kayak Tour of Benagil Caves – If you are staying in Portimão during your time in the Algarve, then this highly-rated tour would be a great option for you as the tour includes boat transportation to Albandeira Beach where you will start paddling to the caves.
Stand Up Paddling (SUP) Tour to Bengail Cave
If you prefer to join a stand up paddling (SUP) tour, I have included some highly-rated tour options below!
Benagil: 2.5-Hour Stand-up Paddle Boarding Tour – This tour includes a SUP-certified instructor that will give you all the basic techniques before you head into the ocean. Your knowledgeable tour guide will also take you to some hidden areas which will provide you a new vision of the Algarve Coast you wouldn’t otherwise get.
Benagil Beach: Kayak or SUP Coastline Caves Tour – another highly-rate SUP tour that not only guides you to the Benagil Cave with local knowledge from the guide, but also hidden gems along the coast of Algarve.
Benagil Cave Boat Tour
If you do not feel comfortable in a kayak or SUP, I would suggest you to book a boat tour to see the Benagil Cave. This way you get the advantages of a local guide with knowledge, and you don’t have to do any of the rowing!
The biggest downside of this option is that you are not allowed out of the boat inside the cave. Your boat will only drive into the entrance for less than a minute and need to leave.
Albufeira: 2.5-Hour Caves & Dolphin Watching Boat Tour – This boat tour leaves from Albufeira, and takes you on a 2 and a half hour ride looking for dolphins and hidden caves on a cruise of the Algarve coast. The boat even stops to let you out for a swim, so bring your swimsuit!
Algarve 3-Hour Caves and Coastline Boat Trip – This tour departs from the Albufeira marina towards Carvoeiro area on a catamaran. You will see some caves, including the Benagil Cave and other rock formations. There is a swimming stop during the cruise, so make sure to bring you suit.
Portimão: Benagil Caves and Praia de Marinha Boat Tour – This boat tour starts at Cais Vacco da Gama in Portimão and passes by Fort of Santa Catarina, the Ferragudo Castle, and the small fishing village of Ferragudo before reaching the Benagil Cave. You will also make a stop at the world’s most exotic beaches, Praia da Marinha, to go swimming.
From Lagos: 2-Hour Boat Trip to the Benagil Caves – If you are staying near Lagos, you might enjoy this 2 hour boat tour to the Benagil Caves and other sea caves that can only be accessed by boat.
Can you Swim to Benagil Cave?
Yes! From Benagil Beach, you can reach the Benagil Cave by swimming 200 meters (about 5 minutes) East along the coast. Swimming does not require a fee, booking a tour, or renting any gear to reach the Benagil Cave.
However, I would suggest that you are a pretty experienced swimmer and don’t attempt the swim with rough waves as you could get nocked around towards the rocks.
The best time to swim to the cave would be in the early morning before the rental companies and boat tours have begun for the day!
Visiting the Benagil Cave by Foot
You will not be able to visit the inside of the Benagil Cave by foot, however, if you want to view the cave from the top, you can hike to the roof of the cave! There are walking/hiking paths all along the Coast of Algarve.
From here, you can access the top dome of the Benagil Cave and carefully peek through the hole. We did not hike to the top since we already saw the inside, however I have heard there is a fence around the hole to ensure you don’t get too close.
Best Time to Visit the Benagil Cave in Algarve?
We visited the Benagil Cave on our trip to Algarve in November. The temperature of the water is consistent all year round (ranging between 60 – 70 degrees), so you can access the cave all year round.
We visited the cave around 10:15AM and found that it was extremely peaceful and not yet crowded. However, when we were returning to our car around noon, we saw large lines at the rental companies indicating that the cave was getting more and more crowded.
In order to get to the cave prior to 10am (when all the rental companies open for the day), you can book one of the sunrise kayak tours discussed above, swim, or rent a kayak for multiple days.
I do caution that visiting really early in the morning, you will experience low light levels inside the cave which will make photography more of a challenge.
Benagil Cave FAQs
Here are some quick tips for visiting the Benagil Cave in Algarve Portugal.
What is the best way to visit the Benagil Cave?
The best way to visit the caves depends on your personal situation or comfort level, however in my opinion self-kayaking to the cave was the best option. By renting a kayak, we were able to visit the Benagil Cave on our own timeline, spend as much or as little time as we wanted at the cave, and go whenever fit our itinerary best.
Can you visit the Benagil Cave without a tour?
Yes! You can either swim to the Benagil Cave from the Benagil Beach, or rent a kayak or SUP board to self-paddle to the cave. Rental are usually for a 90 minute time frame which is enough time to visit the Benagil Cave and a couple smaller caves along the Algarve Coast.
When is the best time to go to the Benagil Cave?
The best time to visit the Benagil Cave is when the waves are calm enough to get there safely. Otherwise the cave can be visited all year round.
When is the Benagil Cave open?
The Benagil Cave is open 24-hours every day and there is no fee to enter the cave.
Is Visiting the Benagil Caves worth it?
The Benagil Cave is absolutely worth adding to your Algarve Portugal itinerary!
How long should you spend in the Benagil Cave?
People typically spend 30 – 45 minutes in the cave looking around and taking photos from different angles.
I hope that you now have all the tools you need to plan the perfect adventure to the Benagil Caves. If you are currently planning a trip to Portugal and have any questions, drop them in the comments below. For more travel inspiration and tips, follow me on Instagram for current updates.
Looking for more Portugal inspiration? You may also enjoy my other Portugal related posts:
- The Perfect 3-Day Lisbon Itinerary
- Sintra Day Trip from Lisbon
- The Ultimate 3 Days in Porto Itinerary
- 8 Best Day Trips from Porto, Portugal
- 7 Best Viewpoints in Porto, Portugal