Group enjoying the Belize Boat Party Group enjoying the Belize Boat Party Group enjoying the Belize Boat Party Group enjoying the Belize Boat Party

Ferragudo Coastal Boat Trip to Benagil Caves

Trip Summary:

Best thing about this trip: It’s a really nice way to see the beautiful coast of Algarve in a semi-rigid boat, that is very stable and safe with the company of an experienced skipper and guide.

Departure Point: Ferragudo.

Route: Ferragudo > Carvoeiro > Alfanzina > Benagil.

Duration: 1h45

Drinks Included: No, but the passengers may take their own if they wish.

Food Included: No, but passengers may take snacks if they want.

Visits inside caves: Decision of the skipper in the moment, after analysis of the weather and sea conditions.

Visits Benagil (including going inside the cave): Yes, but it depends on the weather conditions.

Boat Summary:

Best thing about this boat: Semi-rigid, fast, stable and safe.

Type: Semi-Rigid.

Motor or Sailing: Motor.

Maximum Capacity: 12 passengers + 2 crew.

Toilet: No

Bar: No (but the passengers can take theirs drinks and snacks if they wish).

Boat Summary:

Best thing about this boat: Small rigid boat that allows to enter the caves and go through the most outstanding spots (after captain decides if maritime conditions are suitable to do so).

Type: Traditional fishing boat, “Tamar”.

Motor or Sailing: Motor.

Maximum Capacity: 10 passengers + 2 crew.

Toilet: No

Bar: No (but the passengers can take theirs drinks and snacks if they wish).

Travel along the Algarve coast to Benagil Cave and explore the amazing natural rock formations, caves and secluded beaches that make the Algarve one of the most stunning places in Europe.

Climb aboard the Tamar with a capacity for 10 passengers and cruise along the coast for an hour, giving you enough time to see some of the most famous sights along this stretch of coast from Ferragudo.

Tours take place throughout the year and are suitable for families, groups or couples of all ages who are keen to experience the Algarve by sea.
This is an ideal introduction to the marine wildlife of the Algarve and the tour will give you the opportunity to pick out your favourite beaches along the route to visit at a later date!

Book now with only a small deposit to reserve your seat! Spaces are limited and advanced booking is essential so book now.

Reference X114.

Adult €30
Child (Aged 4-12) €20

Ticket Type Price Cart
Coastal Boat Trip 30.00

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All bookings are subject to availability and to confirmation.


Trip report by Algarve Fun’s writer Sara Fernández. Sara is a marine biologist and sea-lover that has been living in the Algarve and spent a long time working on dolphin watching boats. Continuously amazed by these magnificent creatures, she strongly believes that tourism is a powerful tool towards conservation. She loves sailing, diving and showing our visitors the spectacular coast of the Algarve.

It was a pleasant sunny day when we booked a boat trip to discover the coast of Algarve. Lots of people had spoken to us about the fascinating landscape of the cliffs and the caves, so we couldn’t miss it.

We arrived to Ferragudo and were received by the front desk staff. They asked us for our booking details in order to do the check in and we could use the toilet before departure. Then, they helped us with putting on our life-vests.

The beautiful village of Ferragudo.

Our guide, João, took us to the end of the pier where the boat was waiting for us. Tamar is a traditional fishing boat with capacity for up to 11 passengers and it has been renovated and added comfortable seats in order to be used for tourism. The skipper, Vasco, is also a veteran fisherman whose life has changed with tourism. It’s very usual to meet fishermen that work on touristic boats during the summer and go back to their fishing duties in the winter. João studied History at University and is local from the Algarve, so his knowledge and interest on culture, traditions and history of the region are amazing. He firstly briefed us about safety on board and then the trip commenced!

While we sailed towards the Atlantic along the Arade River, we could see to our left São João d’Arade Castle, apparently a private property that was built it the 15th century to protect the entrance of the river from pirates. To our right-hand side we passed the Portimão Harbour, full of large luxury yachts, followed by Santa Catarina Fortress. Nowadays, the fortress is open to the public and is a strategic viewpoint from where you can see the full length of Praia da Rocha beach.

São João Do Arade Castle on the beach
São João do Arade Castle by Ferragudo.

We went out of the river and headed east towards Benagil. João pointed out the lighthouse “Farol Ponta do Altar”, still running nowadays, as many other lighthouses along the coast of the Algarve. The first stretch had outstanding cliffs and beautiful sandy beaches and we listened carefully to the explanation on how these cliffs, beaches and rock formations have been shaped over the centuries. At some points we can go through little tunnels and arches and discover ancient fossils on the walls. These fossils belong to marine animals that inhabited these waters thousands of years ago.

passenger on a boat taking a picture to the cliffs
Coastal boat trip showing the cliffs and rock fomations.

The story continued with the Smugglers Cave. You can observe the man-made steps on the rock through which smugglers used to climb up with all the contraband merchandise. Many caves in the south of Portugal were used as secret places for smugglers in the Age of the Discoveries, from the 15th century onwards. When they would arrive to the coast with, in most cases, spirits and tobacco, they used the caves to hide and avoid paying tax.

Next, we visited one of the highlights of the trip, the Paradise Cave, a stunning open cave that looks like something out of a movie, even with grown vegetation at different levels inside. We all tried to take the best picture!

paradise cave in the Algarve coast
Paradise Cave during the coastal trip.

After getting out from paradise, we passed by the village of Carvoeiro. João pointed out the chapel on the upper part, Nossa Senhora da Encarnação, and mentioned that there used to be a fortress right next to it. Nowadays you can visit this tremendous viewpoint and you will see the remnants of the fortress behind. From there, a wooden walkway starts bordering the edge of the cliff as far as the rock formations set known as “Algar Seco”. This looks like a very nice trail to explore the area from land and have another perspective. Algar Seco is a very special place full of rocks, wholes, caves and passage ways where people may walk and explore. There are some steps carved on the rock to climb up from the water if you are brave enough to jump into the sea. On the top of some of the rocks, fishermen were spending the day with their fishing lines to catch some fish. It’s very curious that some of them fish from such high spots.

rock formation in Algar Seco
Boneca – rock formations in Algar Seco, Carvoeiro.

Several beaches, each of them more beautiful than the previous one, until we see the “Farol de Alfanzina”, another white and red lighthouse with a few caves underneath the cliff. One of these caves is the deepest cave ever! The boats can enter right inside but by the end of the cave they need to switch on a light. It’s scary and surprising at the same time.

We were approaching Benagil when we visited another special cave: Lovers’ Cave. João explains the origin of the name, which is nothing historically relevant but it’s a funny and suitable name. With the boat in the right position, if you look up, you can see that the algar (the hole on top) has the shape of a heart. Vasco played with perspective and got to maneuver Tamar so that everyone could take the picture of the heart.

passengers on a boat during a boat trip along the coast of the Algarve
Coastal boat trip views.

The last interesting spot before Benagil is Praia do Carvalho. The access to this beach was dug in the cliff so you can enter through a tunnel. The legend says that was Carvalho’s private beach at its beginning. Nowadays, it’s a familiar beach and has a small space to the left of the surrounded cliff where you can climb and then jump into the water (with high tide).

And the most awaited highlight: Benagil Cave. Right next to the beach of the little village, the cave known as “Algar de Benagil” or “Benagil Cathedral” is found. Vasco waited for other boats to back off and swimmers to move safely out of the way. Once we slowly entered, Vasco proved again his expertise by keeping the boat by the shore without getting stuck on the sand while we observed, stunned, the most beautiful cave. It’s actually as gorgeous as we could imagine, even though it can be busy in the summer months. Then, we understood why it’s won awards on several occasions and why people recommended this trip so highly. Benagil Cave was really the icing on the cake of a marvelous tour. João said it was time to get back and Vasco sped up, setting course for Ferragudo. We are very grateful to João and Vasco for such an amazing experience!

boat in Benagil Cave and several kayaks on the beach inside the cave
Benagil Cave on a boat trip.

Trip completed in 2018, and all trip details are subject to change.

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