In the south coast of Portugal, Mother Nature created a line of caves that many call Sea Cathedrals. Golden cliffs, punctuated by mysterious entrances, just like a pirate’s lair. Often, holes in the ceilings let the sunshine in and create an ethereal atmosphere. Crystal clear waters invite you for a swim or a canoeing expedition. And, in the golden sand, you can just lay down and relax. This is a place out of this World and you can discover it with us, on a Lisbon to Benagil Caves Tour.
Day trip to the South
It takes less than 3 hours to drive from Lisbon to the coast of the Algarve, using the A2 and A22 highways. So, it’s possible to leave the city early in the morning, get to Benagil, explore its wonders and be back in Lisbon in the evening.
When in the Algarve, there are a few options to get to the caves. Our favorite is from the Portimão fishing harbor, either by sailing ship, speed boat, canoe or even paddleboard. You can also get there by land and have a bird’s eye view of the multiple rocky formations. But, in this case, you miss the Ocean perspective. And, trust us, that is unmissable in any Lisbon to Benagil Caves Tour. Especially in the area of the “Algar”.
So, what is the famous “Benagil’s Algar”? First of all, “Algar”is a word of Arabic origin – just like “Algarve” – and it means “cave” or “pit”. And, in all of Portugal’s coastline, this natural landmark is, probably, the most famous and impressive one. A huge cave, with an opening on the top, known as “the eye”, that illuminates the golden sands and turquoise waters. All day long, through the sunlit, you get a glimpse of the clear blue skies above.
However, there are optimal conditions to go inside the Algar and visit all the other great caves, beaches and natural spots. And that’s when the knowledge of our local experts at the Lisbon to Benagil Caves Tour is important!
None of the many, many caves in the region is similar to the next. They have different areas, different dimensions, some have little beaches inside, some are very bright and some completely dark. That’s why having seasoned seamen with you can make a difference between a “normal” visit and an unforgettable experience. All the adrenaline you want and always feeling that you are in great hands!
First, they know the sea and the coast like the back of their hands. This means they choose the best boat itineraries and never miss, not only the famous “Algar” but also other spots where you can stop and really have the time to take it all in. We have done a Lisbon to Benagil Cave Tour and it never gets old. There is always something to marvel about!
Second, they also know the perfect time to get to the caves. During high tide, some of them don’t have enough height to be explored safely and the little sand beaches are engulfed by the rising waters. So, choosing the right moment adds a lot to the experience. And, with just a little bit of luck, you can take a dip and have a swim, surrounded by one of Nature’s masterpieces. Just don’t forget to bring your swimsuit!
Elephants, gorillas and… The Devil’s Eyes
Long before the Algarve coastline and the Benagil and Carvoeiro spots became internationally known, locals already knew the natural treasure they had been blessed with. And popular imagination gave names to some of the most spectacular, intricate or surprising rock formations. That’s why, during the boat visit to the area, your guide will point to places that resemble animals, tools, houses and even otherworldly features.
The “Elephant”, the “Gorilla”, the “Microphone” or the “Nativity Scene” are just a few examples. And you will be surprised with the fact that, on a turn of the boat you, suddenly, are able to “see” the shape. And, as fast as you “see it”, you don’t “see it” anymore. Have your camera ready at all times!
Sailors, fishermen and seamen are famously superstitious people. So, no wonder some rocks are named after saints, protecting spirits or beings that should be respected. Or feared. One of the most famous spots in the Benagil area is the cave with the “Devil’s Eyes”.
Two parallel holes in the ceiling, combined with a skull-like formation are the reason not only for the chosen name but also for the fact that many locals avoid entering the place. Specially when the sunlight hits in the perfect way and makes the “Eyes” sparkle. Spooky? You decide, on a Lisbon to Benagil Caves Tour.
And after the caves?
After the boat experience, our Lisbon to Benagil Caves Tour has more to offer, before getting back to the city. We can show you some other Algarve areas, such as the Rocha and Carvoeiro sandy beaches, where you can have a swim in the crystal-clear waters. Or head to one of the many seafood small restaurants by the water or on an amazing viewpoint and taste some of the best food and wine in Portugal. Or even pretend that you are a 17th century sailor, defending a fortress from a pirate’s attack. Just reach out and we will make it all possible!