Praia de Benagil is the most epic beach I have ever been to in my entire life. No matter your level of adrenaline addiction, there is an activity for you. The most famous reason people visit this tiny town is to see the Benagil Sea Caves. Other activities include lounging on the beaches surrounded by jagged limestone monstrosities of cliffs, Stand Up Paddling, cliff jumping into cool aquamarine seas with massive cave backdrops, hiking along the clifftops, enjoying flavor-packed seafood, and much more! Heck, you could even hop in a boat and tour the caves without ever getting wet!
Benagil Clifftop Hiking: I suggest that this is done first due to the heat. There is nothing more satisfying than looking down to the secluded beaches from the top and seeing the cool, clear water. The path starts in the red dirt parking lot next to the three covered parking spaces. If you follow the trail towards the water you will find yourself overlooking the town of Benagil and able to look down to Praia de Benagil. If you head to the left there will be a lot of dirt paths that give some of the most scenic views you will ever see. Just a short walk from the very beginning of the hike is a massive hole surrounded by a fence. You can’t really see into the hole, but the fence is there for a reason. It can be very dangerous so keep back. This hole is the one that you can see from inside the Benagil Cave! As you walk further along, you’ll see quite a few rock formations that look like they’d be a lot of fun to climb on. We did climb on them and got a few cuts on this, so if you decide to do it… be careful! It’s fantastic fun, but it would be very easy to fall into the sea from the clifftop. Eventually we made our way back down to the beach.
Cliff Jumping: This is suggested secondly because that water is COOL! After the hike you are certainly going to be ready for an adrenaline rush. If you’re facing the ocean there will be a large hill to the very right of the beach. It’s alongside the cliff and juts out into the water. This spot has several different heights all suitable for jumping. The best spot for jumping is the side opposite of the beach. There is a large sea cave that has a mouth opening to where you’re leaping. It’s the perfect spot to get some of your best vacation photos. All mine were captured with the GoPro Hero 4 Black edition. There is a fast, easy way to get out as well. If you swim towards the sea to the spot where the rocks split in half, there are a few foot/hand holes to climb out! It may be beneficial to wear some sort of water shoes but it isn’t mandatory. My boyfriend and I both had a fine time getting in and out of the water. I believe this is the best way to make your grand entrance, due to the fact that it’s COLD. If you just dip one toe in, you probably won’t end up getting in at all. These jumps are an epic adrenaline rush!
Exploring the Sea Cave: This is a MUST-DO for anyone in the whole region. I’ve been to tons and tons of cool places and many natural wonders. This was the #1 coolest I had ever been in. The Benagil Cave is a massive dome of a cave with a giant hole in the top. The sun shines through the cave and the water also comes into it through the two mouths of the cave. You can swim from the main beach to the closest mouth. The water is still cold here so the best way to get used to it is by forcing yourself to fully submerge under the water. The swim is not difficult, though the water is deep. Do not attempt this swim (you can use a boat instead) if you have health conditions or are not a strong swimmer. In my opinion, the swim was far more rewarding than taking the boat. Once you make it into the cave you will be struck with a sense of wonder. The cave has layers of sediment in the limestone that has built up over millions of years. There is a good bit of soft sand to lie on and enjoy the sunlight seeping in through the hole in the top of the dome. All you can do is sit there in amazement and enjoy the experience. It truly is magnificent.
Protip: Bring a waterproof bag for all your things! It isn’t very fun being paranoid about your things on the beach while trying to enjoy the serenity of this beach.
Beach Lounging and Great Eats: The sand isn’t the nicest sand I have ever stepped on, and if anyone has ever been to North Carolina, the sand compares to that of the Outer Banks. It has a lot of sharp shells broken up by some waves, so be sure to bring some flip flops or water shoes. They aren’t absolutely essential, but they’re nice to have. Be sure to come early because it fills up very quickly! Aside from that it is a stunning beach. There are many snack bars surrounding the beach, the best of which being O Pescado. We had the octopus, prawn spaghetti as well as the bread. It was the best meal we had in all of Portugal. The view of the beach from our seat was pretty perfect as well.
Feel free to comment below with any Benagil experiences, questions, or photos!