Visiting Portugal? I think a Boat Trip to the Algarve Caves including the amazing Benagil Sea Cave is a Must-Do. This is the best way to really discover the intricate South coastline of Portugal. Discover in photos and video what you could see during the Boat Trips Algarve.
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Why do a Boat Trip to the Algarve Caves? Video
The Algarve coastline is one of the most beautiful in the world. The erosion work is fascinating with pinacles, arches and sea caves.
There are several places where you can enjoy boat tours, but I think the best tours include the fascinating Benagil Sea Cave.
Let's start with a 2min video, showing you what to expect on a 1-hour Boat Trip around the Algarve caves including the famous Benagil Sea Cave, which, as you will see, was the hardest one to film...
The easiest way to see those amazing caves is to take a boat tour. Here are some options - Photos continue below
Boat Tours including Benagil
- From Portimao, tours along the coast to Benagil sea cave and other Algarve caves - Check out boat, program and price
- From Albufeira, tours along the coast but not entering Benagil - Check out boat, program and price
- Or these tours from Albufeira (but not all enter the cave) - See options
- Drive to Benagil beach and enjoy a 1h boat tour to the Algarve caves and cliffs - book at the beach
- Kayak Tour including Benagil - See Options
- And also from Armaçao da PEra, Lagos, Vilamoura... CHECK ALL TOURS TO BENAGIL COASTLINE
Other Algarve Boat Tours (with other caves and cliffs)
Departure from Benagil Beach
I wanted to see the Benagil sea caves and reduce the amount of time on the water (because my dad and I can be seasick), so I opted for one of the tour companies departing from Benagil Beach (see review at the end).
Benagil beach is not very interesting, but you can see how busy it gets with all the boats coming from around.
How to access the Benagil Sea Cave
Benagil sea cave location
The photo below has been taken from the Benagil Beach at mid-tide. Where the boat is is the left entrance to the Benagil sea cave, one of the most famous places in Portugal.
Options to get inside the Benagil cave
There are 3 ways to get inside the Benagil Cave:
- Option 1 - Take a boat trip along the coast including the cave (as we have just seen above) - the rest of my amazing Boat Trip Algarve continues after with many more photos
- Option 2 - From Benagil beach you can reach the cave by kayak if the sea is quiet enough
- Option 3 - Benagil cave swim (not recommended) - If you want to admire it better, it is possible to swim from the Benagil Beach to the cave. However I don't recommend it. But if you are considering it, read this:
- You have to be a strong swimmer. The owner of the boat company I used explained to me that few people drowned
- Go only when waters are calm and at low tide
- Be careful with all the boats coming in and out
- Don't swim too close to the cliffs as a wave can push you against it
- If the boats stop operating because of rough sea, do NOT go, read about the couple who was stranded there for 12h
- You can have a look at Christoph Papenfuss' experience and photos of the Algar de Benagil
Entering the Benagil cave by boat
Benagil is a very famous location. My boat tour included entering the famous sea cave.
So below, you can see that we are queuing to enter it...
Note, that conditions must be good to enter the cave. The pilot can decided not to go.
The dome is very impressive with the different colors of rings and the hole with the blue spot at the top.
Benagil cave Beach
Mid-tide is the better time to enter by boat, as you can get deep enough in the cave. However, there are big waves, so it is not so easy to take pictures.
On the next shot, you can see 2 persons standing in the beach of the cave - see further below about the Benagil cave swim.
Right entrance to Benagil cave
The 2 photos below from the right entrance of the Benagil sea cave - again big waves and big boulders.... not that easy to photograph
Other large Caves in Algarve Portugal
During our Algarve cave tours, we also visited 2 other large caves.
The cave that I call The Tunnel had 2 large entrances, one at each side. It was the most accessible one and looked more like a tunnel. I believe the name is Lanchão do Ladrão but I am really not sure. I can't find sources to confirm.
It had a lot of light:
Paradise Cave Algarve
When I discussed with the owner of the boat company before my tour, he told me his favorite cave in Algarve Portugal was the one he called 'Paradise cave' under the Alfanzina lighthouse.
You can see the entrance in the pictures below. With mid tide, the entrance was not very big, and the pilot had to enter at the right moment considering the waves. Plus, getting out was also exhilarating.
It is a very difficult cave to photograph as it is all in height. You can see it a bit better in the video. But I think I prefer the Benagil Sea Cave.
Coastline and other Algarve Caves
As you can see below on the coastline pictures, there are many many sea caves in Algarve Portugal. It is quite impressive to discover it from the sea. I strongly recommend doing one of the Algarve caves tours by boat to discover the unique coastline!
Our pilot also took us inside smaller caves. Sometimes you can't even turn around, you have to reverse. Below are a few examples. The Boat trips Algarve from Benagil Beach normally take you around to around 20 caves.
Marinha Beach from a boat
It is famous for its double arch: the “Arcos de Marinha” and other sea stacks:
And the nearby cove (Buraco Beach) at the East Tip of Marinha Beach:
PLANNING TIPS - Boat Trips Algarve Caves
How to visit the Algarve Caves and Benagil
- You can Take a boat from Benagil Beach (which is what I did). You can see below how to get there and my review of the tour
- Or you can do a boat tour directly from Portimao - it will cover the same but you don't have to drive 🙂 - Check out Boat, program and price or you can book a private tour to enjoy it even more
- Or you can leave from Albufeira - (not all boats enter the cave) - See options
- CHECK ALL TOURS TO BENAGIL COASTLINE
How to get to Benagil Beach
- Benagil is a small beach located east of Portimao, near the town of Benagil
- Not far from the famous Marinha Beach and its rock formations
- 30min drive from Portimao
- Parking is limited near the beach and the road quite steep - be ready for a little bit of walking up and down
The Algarve coast is included in my travel guides to help you plan your Portugal road trip:
Selection of my Boat Trip to the Algarve Caves
I selected the Taruga Benagil Tours Company for the following reasons:
- They departed Benagil beach reducing the time on water
- They had been operating this tour for a long time
- They had excellent reviews on the web
What I booked:
- Taruga offers boat tours of 1h or more with groups of roughly 10 persons
- However I wanted the freedom to move in the boat, take pictures and also be able to turn around if it was too much for our sea-sickness - so I contacted them for a private tour.
- Plus Ana took the time to discuss with me over emails. She told me the best time was at mid-tide and when the weather was clear. She checked the time and the forecast to pick me the best time. Loved it! Talk about customer service... 🙂
I paid entirely for my Algarve Boat tour and this is my own opinion based on one experience in October 2016
- Check in was smooth
- They are quite busy so the departure time can slide slightly but it is fun to watch them turn the boats around for the next groups. Great way to stay fit.
- The pilot was great and even though the entry to some cave seems unpossible I can complete trust in him. I never felt in danger
- Plus the pilot was fun
- All the boats from the company I have seen seems to be in good condition
- I had a wonderful time!
- Turning around to take picture, I did get a little bit of sea-sickness with those big waves, but by focussing on the amazing scenery it went well
Want to see more of PORTUGAL?
Discover more things to do & places to see in my Travel Portugal Destination Guide.
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