How to visit the Benagil Cave, Algarve in 2024

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The Benagil Sea Cave, on the Algarve coast, is a spot of amazing natural beauty. Located on the Southern coast of Portugal, the interior of the cave can only be reached from the sea.

The cave at Benagil has always been beautiful however in recent years it has become a global internet star. A Google search gives up half a million results and photos of the amazing cave are all over social media. Huffington Post, Conde Nast Traveler and Thrillllist consider the Benagil cave to be one of the most beautiful in the world and we'd have to agree. As one of the top romantic spots in the Algarve, it should be on your Algarve bucket list.

A large dome cave, the Algar de Benagil (its Portuguese name) is impressive in size. The entry channel opens out into the wide expanse of the cave. The cave ceiling is very high above your head. The sunlight streams through natural apertures and openings in the dome, acting as a spotlight on the constantly sea-cleaned, fine golden sand and the translucent water, creating a magical effect. The immensity of the natural beauty will make you feel like a master of the universe and a puny human all at the same time.

The cave is located approximately 150m to the east of the tiny fishing hamlet of Benagil, near to the resort of Carvoeiro, in the Lagoa region of the Algarve. Benagil itself is a picturesque cluster of whitewashed houses perched atop the cliffs and along the sides of the steep roadway leading to the beach - the Praia de Benagil.

Although the cave is only 150m from the beach, swimming to the cave is not a recommended option. Tides and currents can be strong in the area and sea conditions can change quite quickly. And there is quite significant boat, kayak and SUP traffic here, making it a risky undertaking for swimmers.

One of the best way to visit the Benagil cave is by boat and there are several companies offering great boat trips to Benagil. Only smaller boats can enter the cave, so you can opt for a trip on a small 12 seater boat or for a relaxed cruise aboard a larger catamaran and then change to a smaller boat to visit the cave. By law, you are not allowed to disembark from the boat at the cave.

Aside from a boat trip to the cave, you may also explore the coast on a Stand Up Paddle or by kayak. It is best to opt for guided tours, for both safety and local knowledge.

From Sept. 2023, it is no longer permitted for people to visit the cave by kayak or SUP. New regulations are expected to be announced soon for 2024.

There are boat trips to Benagil cave from several marinas in the Algarve - from Albufeira, Portimão, Vilamoura and Carvoeiro, as well as from Benagil beach.

From Albufeira, join AlgarExperience on coastal cruises to Benagil cave, or add in the option of searching for dolphins in the wild. 

From Portimão - The Ophelia is a large catamaran that departs from Portimão and uses smaller support boats to explore the caves. You can enjoy beach BBQ trips on the Ophelia too, or opt for a speedy run in a RIB straight to the cave.

From Vilamoura - Ocean Quest offers daytime and sunset cruises to Benagil. You get to see some other gorgeous parts of the coast on the way, before reaching the main attraction at Benagil.

From Lagos - Bom Dia Boat trips run daily trips to Benagil from Lagos where you not only get to visit this iconic cave, you get to search for dolphins in the wild too! 

There are hiking trails in the area that cross the cliffs in the Benagil area - part of the Seven Hanging Valleys trail, and one of the best walks in the Algarve. The ocean and coast views from the cliff-tops are amazing. You can walk directly above the Benagil cave, however the opening is fenced off for safety. 

Algarve Sensations offers a super Benagil Hiking Tour that follows the gorgeous trail from the village of Benagil across the cliffs, offering a bird's eye view of the open cave, before headig to Praia da Marinha. Here you can see the heart-shaped sea arches, relax on the beach or enjoy some snorkelling in the translucent waters.
Find out more about this Benagil Hiking Tour

As beautiful as the Benagil cave is, it is just one of the many gorgeous sea caves and grottoes that dot the Algarve coastline. There are many amazing caves and rock formations to be seen in the stretch of coastline from Carvoeiro to Albufeira and near Lagos, at Ponta de Piedade

Ponta da Piedade is a magical seascape of cliffs, caves, strange rock formations, and crystal-clear water. From Lagos, join Bom Dia Boat Trips for fabulous boat trips to explore this unique area.