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Benagil Cave is one of the most popular places to visit in the Algarve, Portugal. This large sea cave, with its skylight and multiple cave entrances, is a gorgeous place to visit.

It attracts huge crowds and its popularity is creating challenges for those who want to visit this cave. In 2023, the rules on visiting Benagil Cave changed, and it remains to be seen if these new restrictions will be permanently enforced.

We visited Benagil Cave on October 11, 2023, just a few weeks after the restrictions were put into place, so we have first-hand knowledge of the best way to visit Benagil Cave.

In this guide, we cover what you need to know to visit Benagil Cave and have the best experience possible.

Let’s get started.

Where is Benagil Cave?

Benagil Cave is located in Algarve, on the southern coast of Portugal. It is located near the coastal town of Benagil.

Benagil Cave Map

What is Benagil Cave?

Benagil Cave, also called Algar de Benagil, is a sea cave. There are two entrances into the cave from the sea and a skylight in the top of the cave. Inside of the cave is a small beach. These multiple entrances, combined with the beach and the aquamarine water creates one of the most photogenic places to visit in Portugal.

Benagil Cave Restrictions

Is Benagil Cave Open?

Yes, Benagil Cave is open. However, you can only go inside of Benagil Cave on a boat tour. Swimming into the cave and kayaking into the cave is no longer permitted (unless the restrictions put into place in 2023 change).

Benagil Cave Restrictions

Starting September 10, 2023, the Portuguese government put restrictions in place to limit how visitors can access the cave. This comes after an extremely busy summer and with multiple boat tours, kayak tours, and people swimming to the cave, there were several incidents putting visitors in danger.

In response to this, authorities restricted visitation to motor boats only. Kayak tours were cancelled, and visitors are no longer allowed to swim to Benagil Cave.

As it stands right now (at the date this article was published), you can only enter Benagil Cave on a boat tour. Kayaks and stand up paddleboards are not permitted inside of the cave and you are not permitted to swim into Benagil Cave. However, these restrictions could change at any time.

According to this article, there could be a designated time period where swimming into the cave is permitted and a specific time when boat tours will operate. Kayak tours of Benagil Cave may also resume.

I will do my best to keep this article updated but if you learn new information about the restrictions, let us know in the comment section below. It would be a huge help to future readers. Thanks!

How to Get to Benagil Cave

Currently, you have two options for visiting Benagil Cave: by boat and on foot.

Getting to Benagil Cave by Boat

Due to recent restrictions, the only way you can enter Benagil Cave is on a boat tour. Only boats are allowed to enter Benagil Cave…kayaks are not allowed.

Kayak tours are still running, but they are only allowed to view Benagil Cave from the outside.

On a boat tour of Benagil Cave, you can enter the cave but you are not allowed to disembark the boat onto the beach. It’s still a great experience, but if you want to capture a photo of the cave and its multiple openings, you need to get on the beach to do this, and at this point in time, that is not possible.

We took a boat tour of the coast of the Algarve that included Benagil Cave. It was one of our favorite experiences in the Algarve and highly recommend it. Benagil Cave is not the only sea cave on the Algarve coast, and on a boat tour, you can visit multiple caves, plus photograph sea arches and beaches, and it is a must-have experience, in my opinion. Seeing Benagil Cave on this tour is icing on the cake.

Getting to Benagil Cave on Foot

You can also see Benagil Cave by walking/hiking to it. Benagil Cave is located along the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail and from this trail, you can peer down into the cave. Just be aware that it has a fence around the opening, so it’s difficult to get a good view down into the cave.

Benagil Cave Portugal

The view into Benagil Cave from the upper cave opening.

If you are active and adventurous, the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is one of the most beautiful walks in Portugal. This hike is 5.7 km/3.5 miles one-way and takes 2 to 3 hours of your time.

If you don’t want to do the full hike, you can park nearby (at ‘Free Parking Benagil’ on Google Maps) and it’s a 5-minute walk to Benagil Cave.

But it’s also very important to note that from the hiking trail, you cannot hike down to the shoreline and Benagil Cave. You will only view Benagil Cave from its skylight.

Benagil Cave Boat Tour

On a boat tour to Benagil Cave, not only do you get to visit the cave, but you also get to see the stunning coastlines of the Algarve.

Boat tours leave from Benagil (these are short tours which take you right to the cave), Portimão, and Albufeira. Talking to the concierge at our hotel, who is also training to be a boat skipper, she recommended Portimão over Albufeira, as the coastal scenery is much more interesting between Portimão and Benagil Cave.

We took a 2-hour boat tour from Portimão, in October 2023, while the restrictions were in place.

Here are a few things to know about the Benagil Cave boat tours:

The type of boat you choose impacts whether or not you can enter Benagil Cave. Small boats can enter the cave, larger boats cannot. When booking your tour, confirm that the boat is small enough to enter Benagil Cave (and other sea caves on the coast).

The tide also impacts your experience. Some sea caves can only be entered at high tide and others can only be entered at low tide. Benagil Cave can be entered regardless of the tide.

If the sea is rough, boat tours will not operate. For the first four days of our visit to the Algarve, boat tours to Benagil Cave were not running because of rough conditions. In the summer, the sea tends to be calmer. Fall through spring, rough conditions are more likely, so keep this in mind if your visit will be at this time.

Benagil Cave Boat Tour from Portimão

We took a 2-hour boat tour from Portimão. Here is an overview with photos on what to expect during this tour. As you will see, this is a gorgeous trip from start to finish. Our photos were taken between 11 am and 1 pm.

Ferragudo Castle

Ferragudo Castle is one of the first landmarks you will see after leaving Portimão.


Praia da Afurada

Praia da Afurada

 Sea Arch Benagil Cave Boat Tour

When sea conditions are right, and if the boat is small enough, your boat will cruise through this sea arch.


Paradise Cave Algarve Portugal

Paradise Cave, a cave that looks similar to Benagil Cave, with a secluded beach and much wider skylight.

 Praia do Carvoeiro Algarve

Praia do Carvoeiro


Algar Seco on Boat Tour

Algar Seco


Algar Seco Rocks

Algar Seco is famous for its two cave openings. The man with the blue shirt is standing in this cave. Learn more in our Guide to Algar Seco.

 Praia de Vale Covo

Sea pillar near Praia de Vale Covo


Praia do Carvalho

Praia do Carvalho

 Benagil Beach

Benagil Beach


Benagil Cave Entrance

One of the entrances into Benagil Cave


Entering Benagil Cave

Entering Benagil Cave

 Benagil Cave Algarve Portugal

Inside Benagil Cave


Visit Benagil Cave

The second Benagil Cave entrance


Praia do Cao Raivoso

Praia do Cão Raivoso

 Elephant Rock Algarve

Elephant Rock at Marinha Beach


Marinha Beach from Boat Tour

Marinha Beach from sea

Portugal Travel Guide

Benagil Cave Tours

This 2-hour tour from Portimão is our top pick. You will see the beaches, sea arches, and sea caves along the coastline, plus a visit to Benagil Cave.

This 2-hour tour from Portimão is similar to the one above, but you can pick a sunrise option (your best chance to have the cave to yourself) or a sunset option.

If you prefer to start in Albufeira, this speed boat tour to Benagil Cave is our top pick.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: When choosing a tour, pay attention to the starting point, the duration of the tour, and the type of boat. Larger boats cannot enter Benagil Cave.

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Setting Your Expectations

Benagil Cave is one of the most popular destinations in the Algarve. Don’t expect a quiet, tranquil, crowd free experience. Currently, you can only visit Benagil Cave on a boat tour and there is a very good chance that your boat will not be the only one inside of the cave.

Online, you will see many photos of the empty beach and cave. Currently, it’s not possible to get this view, as people are not allowed to swim to the cave or disembark from the boat tours. So don’t expect to get a photo like the one below.

Benagil Cave

Rad Radu/shutterstock.com

This view (photo below) is more likely…we took this photo on our boat tour.

Benagil Cave Restrictions

With all that being said, a boat tour of the Algarve is highly worth it, not only because you can see Benagil Cave, but the other sea caves and beaches are just as beautiful.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Benagil Cave worth visiting?

Benagil Cave is one of the most popular sea caves to visit in Portugal. It’s also one of the most beautiful, with its multiple entrances and skylight. It is well worth visiting, and if you take a boat tour of the coast, not only will you get to visit the inside of Benagil Cave, but you will also get to view the dramatic coastline of the Algarve.

How do you get into Benagil Cave?

Currently, the only way to enter Benagil Cave is on a boat tour. Due to recent restrictions, kayaking and swimming into the cave are no longer allowed.

What is the best way to visit Benagil Cave?

The best way to visit Benagil Cave is on a boat tour. These tours generally take 2 hours and also include visits to many other beautiful sights along the Algarve coast.

Why is Benagil Cave famous?

Benagil Cave was a screensaver on Windows, which increased its popularity. It has also been featured a countless number of times on Instagram and other social media sights. Many visitors to the Algarve have put the cave on their to-do list so they can see this now incredibly famous place.

If you have any questions about how to visit Benagil Cave, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Portugal

ALGARVE: Get started with our Algarve Bucket List, which lists the best things to do in the Algarve and learn how to plan your time with our Algarve Itinerary Planner. Learn how to hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, one of the most beautiful walks in Europe. Don’t miss our guide to the best beaches in the Algarve. Find out where to stay in our Algarve Hotel Guide, get a list of the best restaurants in Albufeira, and learn why October is the perfect time to visit the Algarve.

BEST OF PORTUGAL: In our article Best Things to Do in Portugal, we list 25 amazing things to see and do in Portugal.

PORTUGAL ITINERARIES: If you are just beginning to plan your Portugal itinerary, take a look at our 10 Day Portugal Itinerary for five different ways to spend 10 days in Portugal. We also have a detailed 10 day itinerary that includes Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve.

LISBON: In our Lisbon Bucket List, we list 40 highlights and hidden gems to visit in Lisbon. Plan your time with our one day in Lisbon itinerary. Here are 14 amazing day trips to take from Lisbon. Find the perfect place to stay in our Lisbon Hotel Guide.

PORTO: Get started with our Porto Travel Guide, which lists where to eat, where to stay, and has lots of helpful tips for visiting Porto. We cover the best things to do in Porto in our Porto Bucket List. In our Guide to the Wine Cellars in Gaia, get recommendations on which wine cellars to visit and how to plan your time. See the best of Porto in our 2 Days in Porto Itinerary.

We have TONS more information about Portugal in our Portugal Travel Guide, including Lisbon, Sintra, Porto, the Algarve, and the Douro Valley.


Benagil Cave Algarve Portugal Guide


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