The Benagil Sea Cave on the south coast of Portugal is listed as one of the world’s “Top 10 Coolest Caves”, according to Huffington Post. The Algarve, as this region of Portugal is called, is a coastline of cliffs, caves, white beaches and, at times, rugged seas. It’s a popular tourist destination, and there’s good reason for it.
The Benagil Cave is just down the way from Benagil Beach in the small fishing village of Benagil. The cave has two arched entrances to the ocean, an impressive skylight from above and a beautiful beach contained within. The cavern itself is much larger than you would expect from seeing it either from above or from outside. It’s the sort of location pirate stories are made from.
How to get there
The small village of Benagil is 45km east of Lagos, in the Algarve region of Portugal. There are three options to visit the inside of the cave. You can charter a fishing boat, but they don’t let you get off the boat inside the cave. You can rent kayaks at local vendors and launch from Benagil beach. You can also swim to it from Benagil Beach -— it’s about 200m one way.
What to consider
- If you decide to swim, make sure you’re comfortable in open ocean conditions and are a capable swimmer. Always check with the weather. If there are waves or wind, choose a different day (not even the boats run when the weather’s bad).
- Have the proper equipment (if you choose to swim): fins, mask, etc. And keep your distance from the cliffs.
- The waves as you approach the beach inside the cave can get rather rough and tumbly, so be aware for both your in and out journey.
- You can walk to the top of the cave and peer in through the skylight to get another perspective.
- If you choose to go on a small fishing boat it’s likely they won’t let you off to hang out on the beach, but these tours will show you other caves along the coast. It’ll cost you ~20 euro per person.
- Bring a waterproof bag for your camera and things you want to keep dry.
- The best time of year to visit is the summer when the seas are calm, and you’ll have a better chance of actually getting into the cave (by boat or swimming).