Benagil Cave is one of the most photographed places in the Algarve. From Instagram to Holiday brochures, this stunning location is one of the most snapped areas of the region.
After searching the internet for information on how to get there and if it was safe to do so I couldn’t find anything that was filling me with confidence. A lot of the guides on getting to the caves are misleading, outdated simply just didn’t give enough information for someone like myself looking to experience the caves!
Bearing this in mind I decided to put together my own short guide on how to get to the Benagil cave, where to park and how to make sure you get the best out of your visit!
Getting to the cave - Lagoa
The Benagil Cave is located near the village of Benagil in the Lagoa region of Southern Portugal. The small town of Benagil is about a 50-minute drive from Faro and around 35 minutes from Albufeira, which makes it a perfect day trip from both!
By far the best way to get to the beach is by car or moped, this will give you the freedom to arrive as early as you like and leave whenever you’re ready. No waiting around for others on a guided tour or leaving before you’re ready!
If hiring out a car or moped isn’t really an option for you then there are plenty of trips available to book online or from local tour operators in towns like Albufeira and Faro. I’d highly recommend making your own way there if you want to get the best experience.
One thing you’ll have to remember is that the caves are only accessible by sea!
Getting to Benagil and Parking
When you arrive in Benagil there is a large car park which is very well signposted so you can’t miss it! Be careful driving down towards the carpark as the roads are quite narrow and are more dusty tracks than roads in places. The car park is FREE so as you can expect it gets very busy.
It’s recommended that you arrive super early to make sure you get a space especially in high season and weekends. The caves are very popular with both locals and tourists alike.
From the car park head back to the main road and begin to follow the road down the hill. As you continue to walk downhill you’ll pass a few kiosks where you can hire Kayaks and paddleboards, continue further and you’ll finally reach Benagil Beach.
Once you get to the beach you’ll need to decide how you want to get into the cave!
Here’s a map i put together which will help with finding your way around Benagil and guide you to the points of interest around the area:
Swimming to the Cave
The cheapest and easiest option to get to the caves. Benagil cave is a 5/10 minute swim around the corner from the beach, roughly a 200m swim. It may seem like nothing but don’t forget that the Algarve is a famous surfing region.
Its very important that you check the weather conditions, if the current is too strong or you are a weak swimmer then consider hiring a kayak or SUP where you’ll be given a life jacket.
The waves inside the cave can get very strong, when we visited the conditions were definitely not suitable for swimming to the caves, we hired a SUP and actually got thrown off if by the tide!
If the current isn’t very strong and you have a Lilo or another inflatable, hop on it and get kicking!
Kayak / Sup Board
At the entrance to the beach and on your way down the hill you will find stands offering kayak and Paddleboard hire (see map earlier in article). We hired a paddle-board from the one further up the hill as they offered free life jackets and waterproof bags for our cameras and equipment! This is probably the safest option especially for those who aren’t strong swimmers or want to have a little bit of and adventure! Grab your GoPro and hop on your SUP dude!
The cost for a stand up paddle-board is €30 for 1 hour and 15 minutes which is reasonable considering a boat tour would probably cost the same. Don’t be scared if you’ve never used a paddle-board before, they’re super easy to get used to and it was also our first time using one, we got one large board and sat on it (rather than standing). We paddled off into the ocean and made it back in one piece!
If you decide that a kayak or SUP is the right option for you, then make sure you book your hire early or you’ll miss out! (The first rental of the day is 9 am).
Enjoying my photos? For more information on the gear that I’m using check out my 2021 travel tech list.
Seeing the cave from above
If you don’t fancy getting wet or venturing into the cave then this is the perfect option for you.
As you are walking up / down the hill to the beach you will pass a small restaurant as the road bends. (Refer to point ‘2’ on the map). Just before the restaurant, you will notice a small steep path that disappears behind some bushes. Head up the path, past the bushes and follow it along for a few hundred meters. The path takes you to the cliff edge of Benagil Beach a perfect spot for people watching.
If you continue to follow the path around the top of the cliffs you will arrive at Benagil cave viewing point after about 5 minutes. From here you can see down into the stunning cave and it’s the perfect place for a photo!
So you’re ready for your trip to the Algarve now right? Hopefully this short guide gives you everything you need to know about getting to the Benagil Cave. Make sure you save the map for when you visit and if you have any questions please feel free to let me know in the comments!