Photo: Izzy Wasborn/Shutterstock

It's so Easy to Get to This Gorgeous Open-Air Grotto in Portugal

Portugal Beaches and Islands
by Matador Creators Jan 6, 2023

You may not know where it is, but you’ve likely seen pictures of one of Portugal’s most beautiful natural wonders: the Benagil Sea Cave.

Where is the Benagil Sea Cave?

The Benagil sea cave is located in Benagil, Portugal along the Algarve coast. It is situated between the towns of Carvoeiro and Lagoa. Benagil can be reached by car from either town, from which point you’ll need to take a boat or kayak to reach the sea cave. The town of Benagil is about 2.5 hours south of Lisbon by car, so it’s doable as a long day trip but better as overnight, staying in a nearby small town. The caves are only accessible during low tide and visitors should never enter without a guide as the waters can be dangerous.

Rappelling and hiking to the grotto

The Seven hanging valleys trail in portugal

Photo: RwiesWald/Shutterstock

If you have your own rappelling equipment, you can take the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail to the top of the cave opening and rappel in. However, most tourist access is by boat, so if you don’t have your own gear and advanced rappelling skills, you’ll need to ask around to try to find someone to take you.

However, anyone can hike the trail to look into the cave from above. The Seven Hanging Valleys trail is about five miles long and hugs the coastline, gaining about 900 feet of elevation in the process.

Benagil sea cave boat tours

The Benagil sea cave is best explored by boat tour, which allows visitors to marvel at the vastness of the caves and its incredible rock formations. Boat tours typically depart from nearby beaches such as Benagio, Praia de Marinha, or Carvoeiro.

From there, you can enjoy a leisurely cruise around Benagil and witness some of its most beautiful sights like the secret lagoon and magnificent archway. Boats come equipped with experienced guides who will tell stories about Benagil’s history and give you an in-depth look into this unique destination. Boats are not allowed to actually enter the caves, so you’ll only be able to see it from afar.

Benagil sea cave kayak tours

Kayaks in the Benagil sea cave

Photo: Izzy Wasborn/Shutterstock

For those seeking a more immersive Benagil experience, kayak tours are another great option. This option is ideal for active travelers who want to get the chance to go inside the cave. Kayaks can go right into the sea cave, allowing visitors to witness its beauty from inside. Kayaking also allows visitors to access small and hidden coves that cannot be accessed by boat tour. From there, they can explore Benagil’s mysterious rock formations, marvel at its dazzling turquoise waters, and take in spectacular views of the Algarve coast. Kayak tours usually include about 20 minutes inside the cave for taking photos, depending on tides.

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