If you’ve been looking for the best beaches with caves, look no further, Portugal is home to some of the most exquisite beaches in Europe.
Portugal with its rocky cliffs creates some amazing natural formations called caves.
The country has many natural wonders that make it worth visiting year-round; we’ll be focusing on 10 of the most stunning and accessible beach caves in Portugal.
Top 10 Best Beach Caves to visit in Portugal
From the bustling streets of Lisbon to the traditional fishing villages in Algarve, Portugal has something for everyone.
So, without further ado, let’s explore the best beach caves in Portugal! The list includes beaches from the Algarve (the southernmost region in Portugal) to Lisbon, along with some amazing pictures.
The Benagil cave is one of the most popular caves in Portugal. It’s located on the Algarve coast, and it’s a great place to go swimming, sunbathing, or just unwinding on the beach.
The entrance to the cave is about 30 feet high and can be seen from a distance because of its characteristic “window”. The cave is also known for its natural light show.
The best time to see this amazing light show is during the early morning or late afternoon hours. Spend the day relaxing on the white sand beach or swimming in the blue seas. Then hop on a little cave trip and get back to have a mouthwatering seafood lunch at the beach restaurant.
The cave is located in the Benagil village, which can be reached by car or bus. There’s a paid parking lot near the entrance to the cave. If you don’t want to drive, there are also buses from Faro and Lagos that will take you close to the cave.
Next, you can access the cave via boat, kayak, or standup paddleboard as it’s just around the corner from Benagil beach. Don’t opt to swim as it’s not a place you should try to swim to.
Lagos is known for exploring the most picturesque caves in Portugal. Moreover, Lagos is known for its cobbled streets that are lined with fun cafes, delicious restaurants, and bars too.
Elephant cave got its name from the two elephant-shaped rocks that can be seen from the entrance. Located on the beach of Praia da Marinha in Lagoa. It’s a great place for swimming, sunbathing, cliff diving, and exploring the nearby forest.
From Lisbon, drive south on the A22 highway until you reach Lagoa. Take exit 11 and follow the signs to Praia da Marinha. The cave is located right next to the beach.
Opt for a kayak or standup paddleboard as you can get a far close and personal look at the caves and cliffs. Also, you can get an amazing paddling experience through the natural arches.
Concerned about safety? No worries at all, as every kayak or standup paddleboard trip comes with a safety boat, all time.
The Xorino Cave is a bit more difficult to get to, but it’s definitely worth the effort! Located on a beautiful beach in Albufeira, it’s one of the best places to go swimming or sunbathing.
The entrance has been carved out by the sea which makes this cave incredibly beautiful. Once you get there, you’ll be able to explore the cave’s different chambers, including a large hall with an impressive stalactite and an open window with a scenic view of the ocean.
The cave is located near a small beach in Albufeira and can be only accessed through boats. You’ll need a smaller boat to reach there and be able to see the gigantic structure from the inside.
However, plan ahead because reaching the cave is totally dependent on the tide and ocean conditions.
Arches of Marinha
The Arches of Marinha Beach is located in a small cove with white sand and turquoise water. There are several golden arches jutting out from the golden cliffs on either side of the beach that create an amazing natural formation.
The best time to visit this particular cave is at low tide when you can walk into it for about 30 yards and explore its beautiful scenery!
The clear water is great for swimming and snorkeling. The beach is also known for its excellent surfing conditions; the waves are big and powerful so it’s definitely not for beginner surfers!
You can reach Praia da Marinha from a few kilometers east of Benagil. For adventure lovers, it is best to be explored on a standup paddleboard as you’ll get a chance to paddle through the arches.
Sadly, you can’t actually rent SUP or kayaks at Praia da Marinha, however, at the time of booking a boat tour, kayaking, or standup paddleboard tour for Benagil you can extend it to explore the beauty of the dazzling caves and arches of Praia da Marinha.
The Zorreira Cave is one of the most popular beach caves, fortunately near Benagil. It’s located on a beautiful beach with white sand and crystal-clear water. The cave has two entrances, and it’s known for its amazing rock formations and natural light show.
While booking a boat tour for Benagil, out of almost 20 caves, the cave of Zorreira is definitely one of the most outstanding caves.
The Captain’s cave is one of the most difficult beach caves to access in Portugal. It is only accessible by boat, in perfect conditions, and with the help of expert local skippers.
That’s why known as a bit of a local treasure. Located in the Algarve’s cave epicenter, between Carvoeiro and Armação de Pêra. The best time to visit is between May and October.
You can easily find a local skipper in the Carvoeiro area. The boat trip will take you through caves, arches, dipping in and out of the network of features. Simply, it’s an amazing trip but one should consider the sea condition ahead.
It is one of the best beach caves to be explored by foot, in Portugal. Just nestled between Carvoeiro beach and Vale Centeanes beach, an outstanding boardwalk will take you to hug the cliff edge and allow you to see some breathtaking views out to sea.
The boardwalk is decorated with lights and benches by the local council, to make it more comfortable, attractive, and accessible 24/7.
You’ll find small heaven – Algar Seco – at the end of the great structure. This little paradise compiles a beautiful network of caves, remarkable rock formations, and a blowhole.
You’ll find a cute viewpoint “A Boneca” that looks like a doll from the sea. It allows you to walk inside the caves and peek out to sea through one of the holes at the end. “A Boneca” is famous among the local fishermen over the years.
Once you get down into Algar Seco, you’ll definitely say that it’s really worth revisiting. In addition, there’s even a bar/restaurant called Boneca at the bottom to make it foodie-paradise with a lot of local Portuguese dishes.
Caves of the Combs
The two caves are situated in the western part of the Algarve. One of them is known for an Algar is a hole in the ceiling. It is a beautiful cave and is typically compared with the popular Algar de Benagil Cave.
Senhora da Rocha
The Senhora da Rocha is also known as “Lady of the Rock”. Projected from the headland of Armação de Pêra, this exquisite landmark acts as a giant barrier between Praia Nova and Praia da Senhora da Rocha.
Heading over everything, almost to the end of the pinnacle of the cliff, you’ll see a beautiful quaint tiny church. This church is hugely famous as a wedding destination venue.
This makes it one of the most wedding-friendly beach caves in Portugal. You’ll enjoy a very calm tunnel that has been carved out at the bottom to link the two beautiful beaches.
Senhora da Rocha is a stunning landmark that is sheltered from gusty winds. Thus, making it famous among the fishermen. They actually set up their huts there to carry out their chores.
During the summer peak season, it has an on-duty lifeguard, a fresh local fish restaurant, and public facilities.
Arch of Triumph
This rocky formation takes its name from its resemblance to the famous monument – Arc of Triumph which is placed in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle in Paris.
There are beautiful rock formations in Lagos. They were sculpted after years of erosion by the wind and tides. It is proof of what Mother Nature is sometimes capable of creating breathtaking monuments or structures.
Portugal is definitely the place to have an amazing beach cave experience! With its dramatic cliffs, misty shores, and crystal-clear water, Portugal is home to some of the most beautiful caves in Europe.
The caves are definitely worth a visit; they’re beautiful, accessible, and offer plenty of activities for visitors.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your sunscreen and swimsuit, and get ready for a vacation you won’t forget!
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She started BeachXplore as a traveling blog covering particularly amazing beaches which she was lucky to visit and research about. Here you can find her writings on the best beaches, guides on beach wear, items, and more.