Great Tours of the Algarve’s Most Incredible Caves
From the world’s ‘Top 10 Coolest Cave’ to fascinating rock formations and dramatic golden cliffs – we’ve put together a guide to the best caves you can tour around the Algarve.
From Vilamoura Marina
Tucked away on the southern coast of the Algarve, the Benagil Sea Cave ranks as the world’s ‘Top 10 Coolest Caves’. Inside the vast grotto, a wide opening in the ceiling forms the biggest natural skylight in the Algarve, known as the Eye of Benagil. Colossal sea-facing holes, an indoor beach and large lagoons are also found in Benagil’s formation, formed 20 million years ago.
How better to explore such magnificent sights than on a catamaran? This four-hour tour of Benagil departs from the Marina of Vilamoura, just 20-minutes away from Dona Filipa. As the boat drifts into the narrow entry, the cavern opens up further – magnificent limestone arches rising all around you. After forging deep into the cave and stopping at the look-out point with its views of the sea, you will be able to take photos of the skylight.
This golden sandy cove, nominated one of the 10 best beaches in Europe by the Michelin Guide, lies at the bottom of huge limestone arches formed by sea erosion. The best way to see these incredible formations is by Scooter Tour. The half-day trip from Portimão twists through fishing towns and sweeps across hidden bays to Marinha Beach, offering one of the best biking routes in the Algarve. The skies are huge, the air is clean and views of expansive pine forest and the famous outcrops are vast.
The natural beauty and seclusion make for unforgettable riding whether you want to tour the historical landmarks, head to the coast or take a dip in the sea. Blast across the delightful cliffs to Praia da Marinha, before sweeping back to the historic town of Lagos and to the small fishing village of Alvor, which overlooks a natural lagoon. Stop-off on one of the deserted beaches for lunch or a sport of kitesurfing or snorkelling before heading back.
The remote location of the less-trodden Captains Cave provides the perfect opportunity for dolphin watching. Albufeira’s coastline is home to a variety of wild dolphin, the most popular including the Bottlenose, Common, Risso’s and striped species. Bring the family and get aboard the ‘Dreamer’ to see the caves and marine life.
As it cruises across the ocean, you will have your first glimpse of the dolphins before heading to the iconic cave. Its main entrance is wild and quite challenging. Pulling on life belts, the guide will lead you inside. A rugged gash in the cliffside, the cave is home to a beach, sloping rock and turquoise pools. You will then have the opportunity to explore and swim the sheltered bay.
Elefante Cave is a gem on the Western coast of the Algarve close to the fishing village of Lagos. Its name originates from the characteristic elephant shape, caused by millions of years of erosion.
The Kayaking Tour is the most adventurous way to visit Elefante and discover the remote beaches and abundant marine life. After a short lesson and safety briefing, the group will head from Ponta da Piedade to the cave by gliding pass deep sheltered coves and limestone cliffs. Paddling out to sea, you will have the chance to engage with the surroundings and enjoy snorkelling and lunch on one of the beaches. Those looking to try a new sport can also sign up for the Stand-Up Paddle Boarding Tour, and learn how to ride the waves on open board.
From Vilamoura Marina
No collection of cave venues would be complete without including the popular Zorreira Cave. Most boat tours stop at Zorreira enroute to Benagil cave, which is just a short ride away. After enjoying fantastic views of the cliffs and rocky outcrops you will arrive at the open cave where there is a small beach surrounded by goldlike mineral deposits and columns of rock. In sunny conditions, the rocks around it give the sea an exotic, tropical blue tint, making Zorreira one of the most impressive caves of the boat tours in the Algarve.
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