If you plan on holidaying in the Algarve, chances are you’ve heard of the Benagil Cave.
One of southern Portugal’s most striking beaches, its sun-kissed coast demands your visit. Only a 50-kilometer dash from the Algarve’s capital city, it’s the ultimate day out.
The question is, how do you get there from Faro?
Read on for your free travel guide on how to get to the Benagil Cave from Faro.
Since Portugal’s debut as a tourist destination in the 1960s, Benagil has gone from a quiet fishing village to one of the most talked about spots on the Algarve coastline.
A rock formation created by erosion from before our time, the sea cave can only be reached by sea transport from the Benagil beach. We explain how to reach the Benagil cave and the options we present are by kayak, boat tour, and bodyboard.
With a natural skylight that warms the sand below, it’s irresistible to tourists around the world.
If it’s your first time in the Algarve region, you’re in for a shock.
Public transport is frozen in the past. It’s charming until it ruins your day.
But with a little help from the locals, anything is possible.
Let’s take a peek at your options together on how to get to the Benagil cave from Faro.
Only a three-minute walk from Faro Marina, you can hop on a coach from Faro’s bus terminal (Terminal Rodoviário) to the former fishing village of Benagil.
A triple-tiered journey awaits.
First, you’ll take the 56 bus (towards Lagos), switching at Lagoa bus station: a white-walled town known for its connection to your destination: “Algar de Benagil”.
Three bus stops take one hour and 25 minutes and brings you face-to-face with the magnificent Monchique mountain.
Next, you’ll need the 110 (towards Portimao Guanaré) which, in 6 minutes, will bring you to Mato Serrão, your fourth and final stop on this leg of the journey.
Change here for the 52 (towards ZooMarine) and 20 minutes later, you’ll arrive at Benagil, where a four-minute walk whisks you to the Benagil beach.
Total journey time? Two hours and 13 minutes.
Either you can buy a three-day tourist pass online for 35 euros. Or enquire about one-off prices to “Praia de Benagil” at the bus station ticket office.
Travelers can buy tickets by card payment at the bus station only.
Bring coins for your return journey to Faro after your Benagil Cave tour.
While bus times are available on the Vamus website, keep up-to-date with live departures via Google Maps.
Always check the bus timetable before you disconnect from your accommodation Wi-Fi.
Bus stops don’t have display boards unless you’re at a bus station.
Don’t be fooled by a bus sign on one side of the road. The bus will still stop on your side of the road too.
Know where and how to get off the bus.
Ring the bell on the top rail by the upper luggage shelf. So you don’t have to scramble for the driver’s attention when your bus stop (paragem) is next.
In reality, your bus might arrive late.
A 30-minute delay? Normal. So bring entertainment along and thank yourself later.
Besides being seconds from the Ria Formosa Natural Park, Faro’s train service connects visitors to the stunning central and west Algarve coastline.
An 8-minute stroll from Faro Marina brings you to the timeless train station, Estação de Faro.
You’ll need the Faro to Lagos line heading west.
Your goal? Estombar Lagoa.
Planning is essential because the regional train (R) takes over 1 hour and isn’t every minute.
Seat yourself by the window facing Faro. You’ll be in prime position for some seriously cool scenery in the run-up to Estombar Lagoa: from Loulé’s peculiar domed church to the patchwork hills beneath Serra de Monchique – it’s a magical ride.
Once you get off at Estombar Lagoa, walk to the bus stop, Estômbar (Estação CP), on the main road. Take the 13 bus (towards Albufeira Terminal Rodoviario) and ride 8 stops until Quinta dos Cabeços.
Then cross the road to the opposite side – taking care of the traffic – and take the 52 (towards Alvor). Fifteen stops later you’ll be in Benagil. Only a 4-minute stroll from the Benagil sea.
From there, you can decide whether you want to hire a kayak, boat, or SUP tour to reach the Benagil Cave.
Total journey time? Two hours and 31 minutes.
Your train ticket between Faro and Lagoa costs 5,75 euros.
Avoid the pricey Intercidades line (IC|R) if you’re short on time.
While you can expect to pay anything between one and three euros for a one-way bus ticket to Benagil, minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. Remember to bring enough cash for both ways.
You can buy a train ticket with three tried and tested methods.
From the ticket office at Faro station, cash and card are accepted.
On the web, a one-way ticket from Faro to Estombar Lagoa costs 5,75 euros on a regional (R) train.
Or, with your extra coins, you can buy a paper ticket from the ticket officer aboard every train.
Find out online prices here.
Check your train times here. And keep up-to-date with live departures via Google Maps.
Some train platforms are unsigned with two platforms for a single railway track. So not even locals know where the train will stop.
It’s a guessing game that sends passengers scuttling between platforms.
Your best bet? Be ready to sprint.
And once you’re settled into your seat, make sure your mouth is covered. Portugal requires masks worn by travelers on public transport. If you don’t, expect a tap on the shoulder.
Start your journey with a meia de leite (half of milk) and a pastel de nata at the tiny coffee bar in Faro station, where men religiously sip coffee with a shot of brandy: cafe com um cheiro (coffee with a scent).
Face it, public transport in the Algarve region limits you. But driving gives you the freedom to go where you please.
Yet car hire is not as simple as it seems. Why? Let’s take a closer look.
Hiring a car for your summer holiday is convenient but you might lose money from undersold fees and taxes.
Not to mention you’ll need to settle your car hire deposit (returned to you at the end of the day).
A glance online tells you that a basic four-seater, from Faro Airport Terminal, starts at 71 euros. Whilst cars collected from Faro, Montenegro set you back by 132 euros a day for a five-seat car.
But how long will it take to organise?
The turnaround time varies per company, per month and depends on the waiting queue.
Peak summer season drives up the daily demand, costs and crowds. So you can expect to pay anything from 48 to 200-plus euros for one day’s drive in a small-medium car.
If you’re seriously thinking of renting a car to the famous Benagil cave, you might have to spend extra on tolls.
The A22 connecting Faro and Portimão is one such toll road that charges drivers 48 hours after travel. But instead of paying at a booth, you’ll get a bill after your journey completes. Settle your fee in a Payshop or online.
Fuel costs in Portugal is a heated topic due to its ridiculous influx in recent years. Since 25th July 2022, you can expect to pay a maximum of 1.90 euros per liter for gasoline. But on your Benagil day trip, you could be paying less or more. So know what’s changed.
Driving abroad isn’t for everyone. Adjusting to new road rules from a hire car in a foreign country are just some things to consider on your summer holiday.
In Portugal, indicators aren’t well-used by drivers turning off or switching lanes so pay extra attention to your surroundings.
Like bus stops, road signs are often in peculiar places. Though Google Maps helps, sidestep stress with a paper map when the signal drops on remote roads.
Some drivers don’t leave space between their car and yours. And are so close, you can lock eyes in the mirror. Eek. Roads encourage overtaking with special lanes for perpetrators to zoom past you. It’s a sort-of-relief but is stressful if you’re not confident behind the wheel.
Arriving at a full-to-burst car park minutes from Portugal’s most beautiful cave is a pain.
Though parking is free, unless you come bright and early in the morning, finding space is a lucky shot.
You might spend 30 minutes trawling for parking instead.
The best solution? Leave the driving to someone else.
Save your money with advance online bookings via websites like rentalcars.com for a mix of deals.
If you hire a car for your day trip, request a dashboard device – a transponder. It keeps track of all your payments on the move with one beep. But always keep a stash of spare change: just in case in-person toll booths creep up on you.
Though it comes with a credit limit, keep in mind that you’ll need to pay a fee to use the transponder.
A car to yourself? With air conditioning? And zero effort? Bliss!
With your own private driver to the Algarve Caves, you might have found the one.
But is it worth it?
Faro has dozens of transfer companies who will get you from Faro downtown to the Benagil beach and back again.
But despite searching a week in advance, you’re unable to find a car. Because you can’t reach the book button in time.
Though the one-way journey with a private car for four adds up to 56 euros. Your return trip alone totals 120 – 128 euros.
The same price as two Algarve Beauties tours to the Benagil Cave for two people. But if you’re willing to pay the price, an airport transfer is a worthy option.
You did it! You’ve made it to the Benagil beach. But you’re only halfway there – now you need to hire your sea cave transport to get you to the Benagil Cave.
You can choose from a kayak tour, boat, or SUP tour by the beach. But after hours on the road, you just want to relax already.
If only you had someone to plan it for you.
Forget losing precious hours in the day to public transport mishaps, overplanning, or paying more than you hoped with car hire fees.
You’ll get an all-inclusive ticket starting and ending at Faro Marina, including a guided bodyboarding tour to the Benagil Cave featuring equipment, safety exercises, and a bodyboarding expert by your side.
And a personal photographer who’ll keep hold of your phone and camera in a water-tight bag during swimming.
And time for R&R and a swim at Praia da Marinha, an insanely-beautiful beach round the corner from Benagil sea cave.
No hidden costs, no fees. Only 5 hours of dazzling beauty from start to finish.
Take a cooling dip in the ocean, kick back with a super bock in the shade, do absolutely nothing.
All you need is your swimming knowledge. And we’ll get you to the Benagil Cave from Faro!
Your Algarve Beauties tour is only one click away. Book Your Trip Now.
Algarve Beauties is still operating Benagil Cave Tours over the winter period. Get in touch via email or whatsapp to find out more about our tours.