Praia de Benagil: the Complete Guide to the #1 Beach of the Algarve (2023)

Praia de Benagil is a magnificent beach near Lagoa. The beach is most famous for its sensational cave called Algar de Benagil. This cave has a round hole in the ceiling that frames the beautiful blue sky inside. Benagil and its cave can be found on many lists of ‘places you have to see in your lifetime‘. Without a doubt, this wonder of nature is one of the best things to see in the Algarve.

Watch it in 4K

Imagine you are already there by watching this short video of Praia de Benagil.

The beach

Praia de Benagil is a relatively small beach, sitting between impressive gold-coloured cliffs. The cliffs also protect the beach from winds.

The sand on the beach is quite soft and feels nice. When you get in the water, the temperature can be a bit cold at first. However, the sea water is of excellent quality. There are no stones in the sea, in contrast to some other beaches in the Algarve. Beware that the sea on this beach goes from shallow to deep quite quickly.

In the summer, the beach attracts quite a lot of visitors. Since the beach is not that big, it feels crowded quite quickly. Even so, there is always a spot to put your towel. Be aware that it not possible to rent sunbeds here. Since the sun can be quite strong in the Algarve, make sure to bring your own parasol.

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Algar de Benagil (the eye)

Near Praia de Benagil is an impressive cave, calledAlgar de Benagil. The cave is located just around the corner of the left side of the beach. When you arrive there, you will be amazed. Inside the cave is a small, magical beach. From inside the cave, you will see the blue sky through an opening in the ceiling, also known as the eye.

This photogenic cave is very popular among photographers, and it can be seen on many postcards. To enter Algar de Benagil, you have to go through one of two arches. The sea outside the cave is also a great location for snorkeling. The water is crystal clear and the surroundings are amazing. The Benagil cave was even featured in the selection of the 10 coolest caves in the world by the Huffington Post.


Visiting the cave

You can visit the cave in the following ways:

By boat

There are many boats going to the cave. Most probably you will join a group of tourists and visit the cave together. In most boat tours, you will visit other beaches, caves and grottoes as well. Ask beforehand if your boat trip allows you to walk inside the cave, because some boat trips do not allow for that. Those boats enter the cave, stay there for two minutes to take pictures, and then continue the journey. During summer, you might have to wait a couple of hours before there is an available spot on a boat. Most boat tours cost around 20-30 euros per person. Boats depart from the beginning of Benagil beach, near the snack bar. There are also boats going to Algar de Benagil from other beaches, like Carvoeiro or Armação de Pêra.

The boat trips are regulated, in order to prevent overcrowding on the water and the caves. You can choose between a short boat trip (around 30 minutes) or a longer boat trip (between 1,5 and 3 hours). During off season, when the sea conditions are rough, there are no boat trips.

By kayak or stand up paddle board (SUP)

You can rent a kayak or SUP on the beach and go to the cave yourself. In this way, you have more freedom than going on a boat trip with others. You can stay as long as you want in the Benagil cave. If you want, you can go even further to the remote Praia da Corredoura. Be aware that some kayak operators will need you to sign a responsibility statement and require you to show a valid ID card.


If you are more of an adventurous type it is possible to swim to the cave. Although the distance from the beach is not that far (200 metres), it is only recommended for people who can swim well. Otherwise, there might be no one to help you if you get in trouble. It helps if you have proper equipment (like goggles, fins or a wetsuit). The swim takes about 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye out for the current and the tide. Also watch the boats going in and out of the cave. They can generate big waves. Do not attempt to swim to the cave when the sea is rough. When in doubt, ask around.

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If possible, try to visit the cave as early as possible. Then you will have excellent lighting for photos, as the morning sun beams pour in from the top! The best time is actually during sunrise, but also the sunset is very nice from the cave.

Looking down from above

Up on the cliffs, near the car park, you can walk to the openingand look through the eye of Algar de Benagil. You will see the small beach and the sea down below.

It is very easy to walk from the beach to the cliffs above Algar de Benagil. Just follow the signs. The walk from Praia de Benagil takes about 5 minutes. The cave itself is for safety reasons protected by a wooden fence. Always keep a safe distance from the hole.

Watch this impressive video to see the cave from above.


Praia de Benagil is located in the small fishingvillage of Benagil, which gave the beach its name. The village of Benagil has one main road, which goes up and down quite steeply. There is not that much to do in the village itself, except visiting the beach and a couple of restaurants. Benagil is situated between Carvoeiro and Armação de Pêra. Nearby beaches are the iconicPraia da Marinha to the east and the popularPraia do Carvalho to the west.

Fisherman’s tales

The local economy of Benagil was centered around fishing up until the second half of the 20th century, after which it focused more on tourism. The beach is actually still used by fishermen. Usually you can see several fishing boats on Praia de Benagil. If you are lucky, you will see fishermen bringing the catch of the day ashore.

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Breathtaking views

You can hike on top of the cliffs near Benagil beach. This will give you a great view of the beach and its surroundings. Make sure you do not go too close to the edge.

Travelling to the Algarve this year? Dont’ forget to bring the Marco Polo Travel Guide.

Praia de Benagil: the Complete Guide to the #1 Beach of the Algarve (16)

Jumping from the rocks

On the right side of the beach, there is a hill, with a small path in the rocks. The path takes you to a spot where you can jump from, right in the water. It is safe – there are no rocks in the water below. But you will need some courage.There are varying heights to jump from. This is sure to give you a rush of adrenaline.

See the video below to see people jump from the rocks in the water.

How to get there

The easiest way to move around in the Algarve is by car. If you don’t have one, make sure to rent a car. Praia de Benagil is at a distance of 6,2 kilometres from the town of Lagoa. By car it takes about 10 to 15 minutes. You can enter the following address in your GPS to get to the beach: CM1154, 8400 Lagoa, Portugal.

Parking is free of charge. The best place to park your car is on top of the cliffs. There is a car park there, in front of the restaurant O Litoral. Then you have to walk down a steep hill to access the beach. The walk is about 7 minutes. If you prefer to park your closer to the beach, then you canpark alongside the road on the steep slope. Parking here is limited and you have to put the car in reverse with the handbrake firmly on. Locals sometimes even put bricks under the front wheel to secure their car. Come early in the morning or in the late afternoon to secure a parking spot.

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To reach Benagil beach by public transportyou can take abusfrom Lagoa to Praia de Carvalho. From there you can either take a taxi or walk along the coastline for about 25 minutes.


There is one small restaurant/snack bar right on the beach. The restaurant is called A Lota and offers outdoor seating under parasols. The restaurant serves sandwiches, salads and snacks. It is also the place where you can get a drink or ice cream to take up to the beach. The food here is not that great, so it is best to avoid it. Only go here if you have no other choice.

If you prefer to have a proper lunch or dining experience, then you have to walk uphill. Our favourite restaurants near Praia de Benagil are:

  • Helders Restaurante-Bar. This restaurant offers delicious Portuguese food. Very good value for money. Also a good place to watch sports, while enjoying a cold beer.
  • O Algar. This is a family restaurant and has very good food. They specialize in fresh fish and seafood. The view from the restaurant over the sea is superb.
  • O Pescador Benagil.This Portuguese restaurant is located on the cliff above Benagil beach. They offer a good selection of Portuguese wine. The restaurant is slighly more expensive than others, but the food and view make up for it.


There are some hotels within a short driving distance from Praia de Benagil. Our favourite hotels near the beach are:

  • Montinho Boutique B&B. This bed and breakfast has beautiful views and very comfortable rooms. Quiet location, but still close to the beach. Very friendly hosts and nice breakfast.
  • Terraços de Benagil. The location of this property is amazing: it is a couple of minutes walking to the beach. It consists of several houses, each with their own kitchen and a lovely roof terrace.
  • Rocha Brava Village Resort. This 4 star resort has everything you need for a great holiday in the Algarve. It consists of several spacious villas and offers plenty of welness and sport facilities.

Praia de Benagil: the Complete Guide to the #1 Beach of the Algarve (20)

Since Covid-19 travel restrictions have been lifted, we recommend to book your hotel now, as it will probably sell out soon. Below you can find a map with the location of hotels near Praia de Benagil. By changing the date of your holiday, the map will show you the current prices.


Praia de Benagil is an excellent location to explore the sea caves near Lagoa by boat. You can book your excursion or boat trip in Benagil, but chances are (especially in the high season) that you will have to wait a couple of hours for a spot on a boat. You can also book your boat trip right now, which saves time. Below you can see our recommended boat trips and excursions in the area of Benagil.


Facilities in Praia de Benagil:

  • Restaurant: yes
  • Bar/club: no
  • Toilet: yes
  • Shower: yes
  • Water sports: no
  • Sunbeds: no
  • Parking: yes, on the side of the road (difficult) or on top of the cliffs (recommended)
  • Lifeguards: yes
  • Blue Flag beach: no


Start packing!

Are you excited? We hope you are ready for your next holiday adventure in the Algarve! Don’t forget to check out our other pages and discover all the secret tips on more amazing destinations in the Algarve.


Are the Benagil caves worth it? ›

Is visiting Benagil Cave worth it? In my opinion yes. There is a reason this stunning natural cave became so famous in the first place, just make sure to visit early in the morning to avoid the crowds and have a pleasant experience at Benagil.

How do I get from Benagil beach to Benagil cave? ›

To get there all you need to do it go to Benagil Beach, located in Lagoa. Swim It! The best way we'd suggest if you want to go over for a quick browse, is to swim – its about 200 meters around a rock cliff to the cave from Benagil Beach – it will take you around 5-10 minutes to swim over.

Can you swim in the Benagil cave? ›

While the cave does not look very far from the main Benagil beach in the village it is not advised to swim around to the cave to look at it. The currents in this area can be very strong and tides change quickly which means that if you want to enjoy the cave safely then it is best to hop on one of the many boats.

Can you drive to the Benagil caves? ›

You can drive to the top of the cave and walk up to the hole in the ceiling of the Benagil cave and see the hole from above, but there is no way to get inside the Benagil Cave itself on foot.

What time of day is best to visit Benagil caves? ›

The Best Time of Day to Visit the Benagil Cave

Generally, the light is best through the opening in the cave between 10 AM and 4 PM, so if you're into photography that might be a good time slot for you.

Can you walk into Benagil cave? ›

Can you walk to the cave? Yes, you can walk there. You can park your can next to the Benagil beach, and walk along the coast east direction. However, this way you can only see the beach and cave from above.

How long does it take to kayak to Benagil cave? ›

It takes around 2 hours to go and come back, plus a time to swim in the sea and relax. And don't worry, on the journey back you'll be pulled by the support boat so you can rest. The kayak and SUP tour starts in Albufeira and will take you to the area of Benagil on board a modern catamaran.

Why is Benagil cave famous? ›

The famous 'eye' of Benagil cave

The imposing aspect of the Cathedral, with its various shades of yellow, remind us of the devastating power of nature. For years, wind and water dug one of the planet's most fantastic caves, which attracts thousands of tourists to windward Algarve every year.

What is the Benagil sea cave famous for? ›

2) Benagil Cave is Famous for Raw Natural Beauty

Your still-wet skin prickles from the swim, until you step into a downpour of sunlight on the golden sand. In the bright sun, you spot swirls of yellow and beige miocene limestone that point to Benagil's ancient past.

Can you rent kayaks at Benagil beach? ›

You can rent the kayaks and paddle to the famous Benagil Cave by yourself if you have kayaking experience as the ocean current can be strong sometimes. If you feel confident in kayaking, you should definitely rent the kayaks for 1.5 Hour from the Benagil Beach and get inside of the Benagil Cave by yourself.

Is Benagil cave a wonder of the world? ›

Benagil cave: one of world's “best natural wonders”

Where do you park for Benagil cave? ›

Getting To Benagil Cave

The sea cave is just to the east of Benagil beach, which is also worth a visit if you have time. Parking is very limited at Benagil beach, so it is best to leave your car at the top of the cliffs and walk the rest of the way.

What is the water temperature in Benagil cave? ›

Water temperature in Benagil right now

Today water temperature in Benagil is 59.2°F.

Can you kayak from Lagos to Benagil cave? ›

There are plenty of other ways to get to the Benagil Cave like a boat tour from Lagos or a kayak trip from Portimão but a kayak trip from Benagil Beach is the best way to get to the cave.

How to get to Benagil from Lagos? ›

The cheapest way to get from Lagos to Benagil is to bus and line 107 bus via Portimão which costs €4 - €7 and takes 2h 24m. What is the fastest way to get from Lagos to Benagil? The quickest way to get from Lagos to Benagil is to taxi which costs €40 - €50 and takes 32 min.

Which tour is best wind cave? ›

It was unanimous that the Natural Entrance Tour is the best tour to take. You can see the natural entrance of the cave and the extensive boxwork. Plus, it is a little bit shorter than the Fairgrounds Tour.

How long does it take to go through cave of the Winds? ›

This 45 – 60 minute guided walking tour includes 15 rooms, a 1/2 mile of concrete walkways, and 196 stairs. On this family-friendly tour, you will learn about the history and geology of the cave and see some of the most beautiful formations deep inside the mountain.

How do I get from Lisbon to Benagil? ›

The best way to get from Lisbon to Benagil is to train which takes 2h 43m and costs €40 - €60. Alternatively, you can bus, which costs €15 - €24 and takes 4h 25m.

What is the history of Benagil caves? ›

The Algarve Basin between Cabo de São Vicente and Faro was part of a region caught in the epicentre when the supercontinent of Pangea began to split up, and warm, shallow seas slowly crept in. Over time, the limestone built up, with the layers that make up the Benagil Sea Cave forming about 20 million years ago.

How many steps are in the Hidden River cave? ›

The cave tour travels down approximately 230 stairs to a landing. There are additional stairs to the bridge and up into Sunset Dome for a total of 325 steps (one way).

How many steps are in the Wind cave? ›

Wind Cave's famous boxwork is abundant throughout this trip. Most of the 300 stairs along this route are down. This moderately strenuous 2/3 mile tour lasts 1¼ hours and exits the cave by elevator.

Is kayaking 3 miles Hard? ›

It'll take roughly 90 minutes to paddle 3 miles in a kayak. A 3 mile kayak isn't something to take lightly. You'll need some water and maybe an energy bar to keep up your stamina. Back to the beginning of this article.

Is kayaking hard for beginners? ›

Kayaking is quite easy, even for a beginner. You only need a few skills to get started—a paddling technique, getting in and out of the vessel, and launching the boat. And with the right training and preparation, you'll find kayaking much easier than most other sports.

How long does it take a beginner to kayak a mile? ›

Beginners and recreational paddlers will likely clock in average kayak speeds of approximately 2 miles per hour. That's a far more realistic scenario for most of us, in line with the average 20 to 30 minutes needed to be able to paddle a kayak a mile.

What is the biggest sea cave in the world? ›

Currently, stretching over 345 kilometres, the Sac Actun in Mexico is the largest underwater cave system and is one of the largest cave systems known to mankind.

What is the biggest cave in Portugal? ›

The Mira de Aire Caves, are the largest in Portugal and are certainly a great option for those looking for a different tour. With 11km of extension , of which 600m can be visited, the caves were elected as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal.

What is the famous beach cave in Algarve? ›

The Benagil Sea Cave, on the Algarve coast, is a spot of amazing natural beauty. Located on the Southern coast of Portugal, the cave can be reached from the sea by boat, kayak or stand up paddle. The cave at Benagil has always been beautiful however in recent years it has become a global internet star.


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