Full Guide to Benagil Beach & Cave – How to Get there, Tours & Tips

Benagil Cave (Gruta de Benagil) is one of the most emblematic and famous places in the Algarve.

Algar de Benagil has gained popularity over recent years, especially because of social media. Now, nature lovers and Instagrammers from all over the world come to marvel at one of the most incredible and unique places in the world.

This remarkable cave has been listed in several travel guides and is considered one of the most beautiful caves in the world by Condé Nast Traveller magazine. Huffington Post has also recognised it as one of the top 10 coolest caves around the world.

I wanted to visit Benagil since the first time I saw a picture of it. In 2018, I finally had the opportunity to see it. When I entered the cave, I was completely amazed!

Since then, I’ve returned several times and it’s the reason I decided to write this guide with all the information you need to plan your visit.

How to get there and choose the best Benagil Cave tour for you. Prices, how to see it by yourself, other attractions in the area, the best time to visit it, and many other tips.

Some people and kayaks inside Benagil, a sea cave in Portugal that has golden walls, round ceiling with a hole in the middle and two archways
Are you ready to visit one of the most incredible places in the Algarve?

Benagil Beach and its Iconic Cave

Praia de Benagil is a small beach surrounded by ochre limestone cliffs, with golden soft sand and crystalline blue-green water.

It would be just one more hidden beach in Algarve if it wasn’t for Algar de Benagil, a stunning cave just around the corner to the left side of Benagil Beach.

People sunbathing on the  towels and underneath umbrellas of different colours on Benagil Beach, Portugal, which is enveloped by orange-yellowish limestone cliffs and has crystal-clear blue water
The beautiful Benagil Beach

What makes Benagil Beach Sea Cave special is the perfect combination of golden-coloured walls with a round skylight in the ceiling and two beautiful archways.

Inside this spectacular cave, you’ll see the sunlight streaming through the roof and reflecting off the golden sand and the blue water that enters the cave through the arches.

You can walk inside the “Cathedral Cave”, swim in its crystal-clear water, take impressive pictures for your social accounts and sunbathe.

The cave is as beautiful as you see in pictures and a natural wonder of nature that shouldn’t be missed while visiting the Algarve.

I’ve been to Benagil numerous times, and it doesn’t cease to amaze me.

Some kayaks and people walking inside Benagil Cave, Portugal, that has golden-cloured walls and a round hole in the ceiling

Tip: There are several sea caves and grottoes along the stunning Algarvian coast and the greatest way to see some of them is by booking a tour. Here are some of the top-rated ones.

Benagil Sea Cave Location

Benagil Sea Cave is located in the fishing village of Benagil, Lagoa’s municipality, along the Atlantic coast between Albufeira and Portimão, in the Algarve, Portugal.

It’s 30min walk from Praia da Marinha, an acclaimed Algarvian beach, and an approximately 50min drive from Faro Airport.

How to Get to Benagil Cave

You can get to the cave from any city that offers a Benagil Cave Tour. Tours are departing from Vilamoura, Albufeira, Armação de Pêra, Carvoeiro, Ferragudo, Portimão and Lagos.

But you can only get inside the cave by small boat, kayak, SUP or swimming for around 200m. Although, I don’t recommend that you go swimming to Benagil Cave because of the marine traffic and current.

If you want to go to Benagil Beach, from where you can also join a tour or rent a kayak/SUP to visit the cave by yourself, you can get there by car, bus, train and even on foot.

From Lisbon

Benagil Cave is 270Km (169 mi) away from Lisbon and takes a 2h30min drive to get there. Alternatively, you can take a train or bus to Lagoa, it’s between 3-4h and costs approximately €20.

From Lagoa, you need to take a bus from Lagoa Bus Terminal, #77, or a taxi/Uber to Benagil Beach (€7).

Within the Algarve – By Car

From Albufeira

You can drive from Albufeira to Benagil Beach Parking, 25Km (16mi), via the N395, followed by the A22 (Algarve’s principal motorway) until Via do Infante de Sagres in the village of Porches (around a 17min drive).

If you don’t want to pay the A22 toll, you can take the M526-1 towards Guia (15min drive).

From there, you need to take the N125, and then the M1154 (Estrada da Caramujeira) until you get to Estrada de Benagil. The parking is just before the end of this road and a 5min walk from the beach.

Both options take the same time, 30min, in normal traffic conditions, and once you arrive in Caramujeira you’ll see several signs to Benagil.

Some signs on the corner of a street showing how to get to Marinha Beach, Carvoeiro, Benagil and Albandeira, a white house and trees in the background

From Portimão

Praia de Benagil is 16Km (10mi) from Portimão and it should not take more than 25min drive.

The fastest way is to leave the city through the Old Bridge and drive on the N125 until Lagoa (around 17min), followed by Rua do Parque Empresarial do Algarve, Estrada da Caramujeira and Estrada de Benagil.

From Lagos

Lagos is 43.7Km (27mi) away from Benagil Beach Parking, and the fastest way to get there is via the M535-1 followed by the A22 until Via do Infante de Sagres. From there, you can follow the steps mentioned above.

If you don’t want to pay the A22 toll, you can drive to Portimão via N125.

From Faro

Algarve’s capital is located 60Km (37mi) from Benagil Beach, and the best way to get there is via the A22 until Porches, followed by the N125, M1154 (Estrada da Caramujeira) and Estrada de Benagil.

By bus

To get to Praia de Benagil by bus you need to take a bus to Lagoa Bus Terminal and then another, #77, to Benagil. From the terminal to the beach takes 25min.

You can check the timetables and current prices on the bus company website.

By train

To get to Benagil Beach by train, you need to get off at Estombar-Lagoa station, then take a bus towards Albufeira, #13, until the Bus Terminal, and change to bus #77 to Benagil.

You can check the timetables and current prices on the Comboios Portugal website.

PS.: The public transport in the Algarve isn’t good, and I do suggest that you hire a car.

On foot

You can walk from the nearby beaches, Carvalho and Marinha, to Praia de Benagil following an oceanfront path. It takes approximately 11min and 35min, respectively.

Can You Walk to Benagil Cave?

You can walk to Benagil Cave from Benagil Beach Parking or via the trail that connects Praia da Marinha to Benagil. But you cannot get inside the cave on foot, only see it from above.

A boat and some kayaks inside Benagil Cave, Algarve, Portugal

Best Time to Visit Benagil

You can visit Algar de Benagil all year round, but the best time to visit it is from May to June and Mid-September to October.

Praia de Benagil gets overcrowded in August and the traffic is heavy, on the roads and the water, there are queues to hire a kayak/SUP, order food at the restaurants, book a tour, and the parking gets filled quickly.

Some cars at Benagil Beach Parking
Benagil Beach Parking is huge, but in the summer it can be challenging to park there

Facilities at Praia de Benagil

  • Parking lot
  • Restaurants with outdoor seating area
  • Toilets
  • Changing rooms
  • Lifeguards on duty
  • Kayak and SUP Rentals
  • Tour agencies
People sitting on chairs and some tables underneath a big white umbrella on a restaurant at Praia de Benagil
Benagil Beach Restaurant is a bit pricey: €4 for a ham and cheese sandwich, €7,50 for the tuna, €8.50 for the chicken one… Tuna salad €11,50 and a burger combo €12,50. Drinks are reasonably priced though.

Other nearby restaurants are: A Lota, O Pescador, Mar e Sol, O Algar, Casa Lamy and O Litoral.

Where to Stay in Benagil?

If you want to stay in the village of Benagil, here are some of the hotels that I recommend:


Carvoeiro Hotel – Situated in Carvoeiro, less than 0.6 miles from Paradise Beach.

This 4-star hotel features rooms with garden views, a restaurant, free private parking, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and a bar.

Middle range

Hotel Baia Cristal Beach & Spa Resort – A great hotel for families, located on a cliff-top overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, 350 yards from Vale de Centeanes Beach.

It offers an indoor and outdoor pool, a spa and a tennis court and provides modern amenities, including a balcony with panoramic sea views.


Tivoli Carvoeiro – one of the best hotels in the Algarve, situated in the picturesque town of Carvoeiro, atop a sea cliff overlooking the beautiful Vale Covo.

This recently renovated 5-star hotel offers high standards of quality, refurbished spacious rooms elegantly designed, a swimming pool and restaurant with stunning views, an indoor pool, fitness centre, steam room and sauna.

Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort
Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort

Benagil Cave Facts

Before seeing the cave in person, let me give you insights into its formation and some curious facts.

  • Benagil Cave, and the Algarve coast in general, is made up of Miocene limestone sitting on rocks created in the Mesozoic era (the age of the dinosaurs).
  • Over time, the limestone built up with the layers and Benagil Sea Cave has formed about 20 million years ago.
  • The cliffs surrounding Benagil have been subjected to a series of erosions from rain, waves, and wind.
  • Eventually, caves like Benagil will possibly collapse completely, as the Earth continues to evolve geologically.
  • Benagil is also known as the “Cathedral Cave” because of the round ceiling, which viewed from the inside resembles a cathedral dome.
  • Benagil is the most famous sea cave in Portugal.
Four boats sailing around Algar de Benagil, Portugal, that has massive yellow limestone cloffs and some people walking on the top of the cliffs
You can see the different layers because of the colours of each one of them

How to Visit Benagil Cave – Group Tour x DIY Tour

Benagil Cave in the Algarve Portugal is one of the most striking places on Earth. And this is just one of the reasons that you shouldn’t miss it.

There are plenty of boat tours departing from different Algarvian cities that take you to see the cave. You can also rent a kayak/SUP and make a DIY tour.

But before deciding how to visit Algar de Benagil, here are some things to consider:

  • Are you an active person?
  • Are you travelling with kids?
  • Do you prefer to join a tour group with a guide or visit the cave by yourself?
  • Do you want to spend some time inside the cave?
  • Do you have any heart/back problems or sea sickness?

After having visited Benagil several times, by kayak and boat, here are some vantages and disadvantages of both:

Paddling your way to the cave, on a kayak/SUP, is fun and also a bit tiring, but you can spend as much time as you want inside the cave.

Some of the disadvantages of a DIY tour are that you might miss other fascinating places along the Algarve coast, you must carry and bring the Kayak/SUP to/from the beach, and during the summer there are long queues.

People waiting in line and two guys pushing a kayak on a street of Benagil, Portugal
People waiting in line to hire a kayak in August

If you haven’t done SUP before, it can be challenging to join a SUP tour. So, I don’t recommend that.

If you join a group tour there will be a knowledgeable guide telling curious facts, and information about landmarks, scenery and wildlife, which makes everything much more interesting.

Boats can be a bit bumpy (especially the fast ones), spend a short time inside the cave, and aren’t suitable for pregnant women, people with back/heart problems and children under 5 years (depending on the vessel).

New regulations don’t allow boats to disembark passengers into the cave, so on a Benagil Cave boat trip, you won’t be able to walk in the cave.

A tour guide wearing a blue hoodie jacket, sunglasses and a face mask giving some explanation to tourists sitting on yellow seats on a boat during a Dolphin Watching and Caves tours in the Algarve, Portugal
The guide is giving some explanations as we approach Benagil

How to Choose Your Benagil Cave Tour

If you’re considering taking a tour, there are plenty of options to choose from, but there are also things to take into consideration:

  • Are you an adventurous person?
  • Do you also want to see dolphins/whales swimming freely in the wild?
  • Do you want to get inside hidden caves and grottoes?
  • Do you prefer to seat comfortably on a boat or get some exercise while going to Benagil?

Answering these questions is the key to choosing the right tour for you. Here are some other important ones.

What kind of tour is available?

You can choose from a kayak tour to SUP, Dolphin Watching & Caves, Catamaran cruise & BBQ and also a combination of Speed boat & kayak/SUP to Benagil.

Two white boats and an yellow one entering a sea cave in the village of Benagil, Portugal

Where can I take the tour?

Tours are departing from

What to expect from a Benagil Cave Tour?

The boat tours depart in general from the marina, you sail along the rugged coastline in the Benagil area, visit intricate caves and beaches, and have the chance to admire the Algarve coast from a unique perspective.

Algar de Benagil is just one of the more than 10, or even 20, caves that you’ll visit.

Some of the differences are that big boats just stop at the entrance for pictures and the duration, which varies from 30min to 6h (average is between 2-3h).

When you take a tour on a small boat, 10 – 20 people, it can go further inside the cave for pictures and enter other hidden ones that big boats can’t access.

You do get some adrenaline rush because some of the caves are tiny, and you think that the boat can’t squeeze inside.

Some of the tours also include a stop to swim.

On a Dolphin Watching tour, you’ll search for dolphins, visit Benagil and pass by other caves and beaches.

These speed boats are bumpy, can be uncomfortable with wind and water bashing into people’s faces, especially when returning to the marina at high speed, and can’t get inside small caves.

While on a catamaran with BBQ, the boat just make a very quick stop at Benagil’s entrance, because of its size, current and depth of the water. Although, some companies also take the passengers on a small boat to see the other caves, while the crew is preparing a BBQ on a deserted beach.

Two men inside of Benagil Cave and a catamaran and a small boat at its entrance
Here you can see the difference between a catamaran and a small boat when visiting the cave.

If you book a kayak/SUP tour, you’ll paddle along the coast and encounter caves, cliffs, tunnels, and hidden beaches, many of which are only accessible by sea.

It can be tiring, especially under rough sea conditions and strong sun. But if you’re an adventurer, this is your tour.

Tours are offered in Portuguese, English, Germany, Spanish and French, depending on the tour company.

People entering into a cave during a SUP tour in the Algarve, Portugal
This SUP tour is so cool, isn’t it?

How much does the tour cost?

The tour costs from €15 to €80 per person. The average price is between €20-30.

Final Considerations

Bear in mind that you won’t have the cave for yourself, unless you go early in the morning, preferably before 10, or for sunset.

If you want to take Instagram-worthy pictures, the best light is between noon and 2:00 PM, when the sun is right above the cave’s eye (the hole in the ceiling).

The tours are subject to weather and sea conditions. It may not be possible to enter some caves, particularly at high tide.

A group of people sunbathing inside Benagil Cave, Portugal, which has a round hole in the ceiling that allows the sun rays to get inside

Benagil Cave Tour with Kids

If you’re visiting the Algarve with family, you should take a Dolphin watching & Caves Tour.

Kids love dolphins and they will be very happy seeing these adorable and playful creatures in their natural habitat, swimming and jumping in front of them.

I’ve done it with my 11-year-old niece and we loved it.

We took this Dolphin Watching and Caves Cruise Tour in Albufeira and apart from spotting many dolphins, we went exploring some caves, including Benagil and passed by famous Algarvian beaches.

Dolphin tours are offered from March to November, although the best months to spot dolphins in the Algarve are from June to September.

It costs an average of €35 and takes between 1 and 3 hours. Children pay a lower price.

You can also take a Dolphin watching and Benagil Cave Tour from Vilamoura.

I recommend that you book in advance because it’s one of the most popular Algarve tours.

My Experiences Visiting Gruta de Benagil by Boat Tour & Kayak

I’ve been to Benagil five times and the experiences were very different.

For the first two, I rented a kayak for one hour at Praia da Marinha with friends and family, and we went to Benagil.

It took longer than we thought to get there because of the current. In the end, we didn’t have too much time to enjoy the cave.

We did take some pictures and were impressed by Benagil’s beauty though!

Pericles Rosa wearing a light blue swimsuit inside Benagil Cave, Portugal, which has golden-coloured walls with a round hole in the ceiling and two beautiful archways
My second time in Benagil.

For the following two, I was on boat tours. This Dolphin Watching & Caves tour from Albufeira, and this Small Boat Tour from Armação de Pêra.

I can tell that a small boat tour is completely different. We went inside hidden grottoes and small caves that big boats can’t access, I was delighted while entering the caves, could hear the explanations clearly, took good pictures and the ride was very smooth.

These are the two tours that I took and highly recommend!

The last time I went only to Benagil Beach and admired Benagil Cave from above.

Other Things to Do in Benagil

The climax of a visit to the village of Benagil is undoubtedly seeing the cave of Benagil. But there are other attractions and fun things to do in the area. Below are my five favourite ones.

1 – Go hiking

There is a 5.7Km scenic oceanfront path that goes from Praia do Vale de Centeanes, in Carvoeiro, passes through Benagil, until Praia da Marinha, in Caramujeira.

The route provides striking vistas and it’s one of the best hikes in the Algarve. I recommend doing the part between Benagil and Marinha because it’s shorter and as beautiful as the other one.

Two ladies on a kayak in the crystal-clear emerald water of Praia da Corredoura, Portugal, which is enveloped by tall yellow-orangeish limestone cliffs
Praia da Corredoura is just after Benagil on the way to Marinha Beach

2 – Spend some time at Praia da Marinha, one of Europe’s best beaches

Even if you see Marinha Beach during your tour, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit it.

This award-winning beach has been featured in many Portuguese guidebooks, advertising campaigns and is considered one of the 10 most beautiful European beaches by the Michelin Guide.

Praia da Marinha’s one of the best beaches in Algarve and the view from the viewpoints are breathtaking.

The extraordinary Marinha Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve, Portugal, with people swimming and two boats on its crystalline blue water bordered by orange-yellowish cliffs

3 – Visit the nearby beaches

If you want to go to another beach, you can go to Carvalho, the nearest one, which in general isn’t as busy as Benagil.

Alternatively, you can visit Praia da Albandeira, which has a remarkable arch, or Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha and its historic chapel.

4 – Sunbathing

The Algarve is known for being one of the sunniest places in Europe, with over 300 sunny days a year and up to 12 hours of sunshine per day during the summer.

Naturally, one of the best things to do in the Algarve is to lie on the beach and soak up the sun.

5 – Rest & Relax

If you’re a bit tired after paddle boarding, kayaking or hiking, just get some R&R time.

After all, what’s better than relaxing on the beach feeling the onshore breeze and hearing the waves crashing against the sand?

Extra Tips

  • Before booking the tours, read the descriptions, and reviews and make sure that the tour is suitable for you.
  • If you’re making a DYT tour, be careful and pay close attention to tide times, the weather forecast and local advice.
  • At high tide, the area inside the cave becomes smaller.
  • Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, hats, towels and plenty of water.
  • The sea is generally very calm but sometimes the water isn’t as clear as you see in this post.
  • Don’t expect warm water because it’s not warm at all.
  • For more information about the Algarve visit the page: Visit Algarve.

Safe travels and have fun in the Algarve.

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