the most touristic natural attraction in the Algarve?
Benagil Cave, have you heard? We bet you have seen this photograph of the Benagil Cave in several places and you wonder why. It is indeed of the most beautiful places in Portugal. The coast of the western Algarve is especially fertile in algares (vertical caves). The Benagil algar is one of its most beautiful. That is why on a trip through the Algarve it is mandatory to visit the Benagil cave.
by Filipe PereiraPortuguese Local Guide
Since an early age, Algarve has been a mandatory stop for me at least twice per year. Get to know this region through insider tips, and discover it like a local!
ALGARS – WHAT ARE SOMEAlgars are vertical cavities in limestones where water takes advantage of the rock’s weaknesses, namely cracks and diaclases, and begins to erode these materials. Water mixed with atmospheric carbon dioxide is the main erosive agent of limestones, causing the dissolution of calcium carbonate. In this way, the cavities begin to grow and resemble wells. These are called dissolution algars. However, the number can increase and, due to lack of support base, it can cause a reduction of the top, creating a bell-shaped algar, as it appears to be Benagil. This type of algares is called abatement algars. Algarve algares are especially spectacular due to the presence of salt water and the combined action of marine abrasion with the chemical erosion of limestones. A geomorphology that is seen, felt and that deserves to be understood and admired from inside, from the air and from the surface. Algars are also caves, only they are predominantly vertical caves. And the most beautiful of all is the Algar de Benagil or Benagil cave.
HOW TO GET TO THE BENAGIL CAVE?The Benagil cave is located in the municipality of Lagoa, in the Algarve, close to Benagil beach and a few kilometers from Marinha beach and Vale de Centeanes beach.
- BY FOOT – After being in the Algarve one of the best ways to visit the Gruta de Benagil is on foot. The Benagil cave is one of many algares on the coast of the western Algarve. These algares are especially common between Praia da Marinha and Carvoeiro. This section has a magnificent pedestrian trail, the Seven Hanging Valleys trail, which is the best possible way to get to know the region and visit the Benagil cave. However, it is convenient to, mention that the trail does not pass through the bottom and interior of the Benagil cave. The trail of the Seven Suspended Valley passes at the top of the Benagil algar, however, the trail continues to Benagil beach, where from there you can access the cave.
HOW TO VISIT THE BENAGIL CAVEThe Benagil cave is very close to Benagil beach, about 200 meters at sea. The Benagil cave is on the left side of Benagil beach when we are facing the sea. However, you can’t walk there. But there are several options for reaching the Benagil Cave, some more comfortable than others.
- SWIMMING – When the tide is low and the sea is calm it is possible to swim between Benagil beach and the Benagil cave. In these conditions, swimming will not be more than 15 minutes. Anyway, don’t venture to swim to the Benagil cave unless you feel very comfortable in the water and have experience.
- PADDLE – One of the cutest ways to visit the Benagil cave is by renting a paddle on Benagil beach. The paddles that exist for rent can be single or double. An individual paddle costs € 15 / hour and the double € 30 / hour. The paddle is a great way to reach the Benagil cave and, according to sea conditions, it takes between 5 10 minutes.
- KAYAK – Another way to visit the Benagil cave is by kayak. It was this form that we used. There are single, double, and triple kayak for rent on the ramp that goes down to Benagil beach. The double kayak costs 30 € / hour to go to the Benagil Cave. It costs a little to take the kayak to the beach and then bring it back down the ramp. So if you get kayaks for rent on the beach or paddles, it’s better. According to sea conditions, visiting the Benagil kayak cave takes between 5 to 10 minutes.