Benagil is a small fishing village on the south coast of the Algarve.
It has gained fame in recent years due to the amazing cave that formed there, however there is much more to know in this picturesque village.
Situated along the Algarve coast between the tourist destinations of Praia do Carvoeiro and Armação de Pera, Benagil beach has also been one of the most popular beaches for some time, either to soak up the sun or to explore the fantastic rock formations.
Its fame is mainly due to the cave located right next to the beach. This cave appears at the top of the “destinations to see” all over the Internet, and thanks to the photos shared by visitors, it has become a top of things to see and visit.
Getting to the cave has become easier over the years, which has caused an increase in the number of boats that visit it, not only from Benagil but also from other areas of the Algarve.
Can you swim to the cave?
The cave is not far from Benagil beach, however it is not advisable to swim to the cave due to the currents that can be very strong and the tides that can change suddenly. This means that if you want to keep yourself safe and see the cave it is best to take a boat trip.
If you are looking for something different to visit the cave, there is always the option of Stand Up Paddle (SUP) to go inside the cave and / or others in this area of the Algarve.
There are tourist boats that can take you directly to the Benagill Cave, however these tours are very popular, especially during the summer, so it will be very difficult to be able to book your tour. However, there are other options, in which boats depart from other locations such as Armação de Pera and Carvoeiro.
Tours departing from other beaches have the benefit of being able to see other caves and spectacular rock formations along the way. It also has the advantage of having easy parking spaces and not having to wait that long to be able to book your tour.
Other larger tours are also available to see the caves of Benagil, including tours of the Marinas of Albufeira, Portimão, Vilamoura or Lagos, which allows you to better enjoy the views and also see the Benagil caves. Many people prefer to leave other places, because in Benagil it is very difficult to park.
How to Get to Benagil
Benagil is a small town, which revolves around a main street that leads to the beach. That same street is very steep and parking can be done on both sides, however due to the incline, it is difficult to park, which means having enough confidence in the handbrake!
The higher price to pay for choosing a tour from another location is easily met by not having to pay a taxi to Benagil, or not being constantly concerned about the car.
To reach Benagil from the EN125, head to Armação de Pera, head towards Porches and then you will find arrows to several beaches, including Benagil.
Once in Benagil, apart from the cave, the main attraction is the beach which does not seem very appealing due to its small size, but the largest part of the beach is behind the rock on the right.
When you approach the beach there are always many boats and to your right there is a small snack bar.
Due to the rocks, the sea in this area can be a little rough so when entering the sea you should do it with some caution.
It is also important to pay attention and not to place yourself in the place where the boats pass, as they are always entering and leaving the water.
You should also be careful and not be too close to the rocks as there may be a collapse.
Although Benagil has a very small beach, in terms of restaurants the choice is varied. There are restaurants open almost all year and offering spectacular views of the sea and its rock formations.
At the top, towards the west there is a typical Portuguese restaurant, “O Litoral”, serving lunch and dinner and you can sit inside or on the terrace.
If you go down a bit you will find “O Algar”, a family restaurant, known for fresh fish and the warm welcome from the staff. Here you can also choose to stay inside or outside the restaurant.
A little further down is “O pescador”, a cozy restaurant with a more modern touch, which has several fish specialties at its disposal, it is a little more expensive than the others mentioned above.
On the other side of the village, hidden in a narrow street on the way to Praia do Carvalho is “Brisa do Mar”, a typical Portuguese restaurant open for lunch and dinner and with very attractive prices.
As in the whole village here, parking is not easy either, so perhaps it is best to come by taxi, especially if it is high season.
Navy and other places to explore
While in this area you should take the opportunity to explore the local beaches. To the east of Benagil beach is the beach known as smugglers' beach, or Carvalho beach, with access restricted by a staircase that is somewhat hidden. This beach is located just a few meters from Benagil's and is attractive for those who like privacy and a little adventure. There are no cafes or restaurants here, however it is perfect for snorkeling due to its clear waters.