Day Trip: Benagil, Portugal (Algarve)

Day Trip: Benagil, Portugal (Algarve)

ACTIVE TRAVEL GUIDES 

Body: Work out 
Beauty: Gorgeous Sights to See 
Break: How to Relax
Caffeine: Where to get the Best 
 

Imagine stunning rock formations framing turquoise waters and fields of wild flowers, under brilliant blue skies. The Algarve is that unique juxtaposition of a destination with plenty of infrastructure but also a rugged spirit. While much of the region is developed and tourists reign supreme, you can still find hundreds of hidden cliffs, caves, beaches and villages to explore. Rent a car or jump on a bus and be prepared to be stunned. These guides focus on three locations in the Algarve - Lagos, Sagres & Benagil but you can set out to discover many more. 

 

Top 5 Experiences in The Algarve 

 

  1. Gazing about Ponta da Piedade
  2. Paddle boarding in and around the caves of Benagil 
  3. Biking (or driving) in the wild countryside of Sagres
  4. Sunset at Cabo de Sao Vicente, Sagres 
  5. Strolling Lagos town center and sipping fine Algarvian wine 

 

BENAGIL

Easily reached by car from larger towns such as Faro or Lagos, Benagil is a lovely spot to stop at for a day of sunbathing, adventure or both. The isolation and sheer beauty of it will make for a memorable high point in your trip. One day is sufficient but there is a great option (below) if you choose to prolong your stay for longer. 

 

BODY BEAUTY BREAK CAFFEINE

 

SUP through hidden ocean caves

This is the number two thing to do in The Algarve without exception. You'll explore hidden sea caves - many of which aren't accessible any other way. The stand up paddle board tour runs approximately three hours, during which time you'll paddle along the coastline from Albandeira to Benagil. Along the way, there will be a few fellow adventurers but for the most part it will be just you and your group.

This is one of the best active experiences I've done while on holiday and I can't recommend it enough. Book with Bruno at BluXperiences if you can. He was a fantastic guide and, importantly, limits the size of each group to five. Tours run March through October. Read more about my experience with BluXperiences here. 

 

BODY BEAUTY BREAK CAFFEINE

 

Sunbathing and cool dips at Praia de Albandeira 

A few miles outside of Benagil, Albandeira is that picture-perfect, isolated beach you always search for but rarely find. Tucked between limestone cliffs, this small beach is the perfect spot to unwind. With only one hotel nearby and a single restaurant, it could easily be overlooked. I hesitate to even write about it here because it is that much of a treasure! Definitely spend a few hours here basking in unadulterated beach beauty.  If you do the paddle boarding tour with Bruno, you'll leave and return to this beach - making it even more convenient.

BODY BEAUTY BREAK CAFFEINE

 

One nighter at Suites Alba Resort & Spa

If you need a break from your day break, there is the luxurious Suites Alba Resort & Spa nearby. Set apart from almost everything else, this oasis of a hotel is the answer for a truly remote yet still pampered experience. The prices run higher but there are great deals if you're savvy enough to find them - try looking just a week in advance. 

 

BODY BEAUTY BREAK CAFFEINE

 

Morning Café at hotel with ocean view

My Algarve trip was all about adventure and ocean but some of the best moments came with an afternoon coffee after doing both. For one of the most beautiful cuppas you can have, try the newly opened Pirata on Praia Albandeira. It may be the only option there but it's a pretty fine one. (They also serve homemade pizzas, crepes and gelato!) 
 

 

GENERAL ALGARVE TIPS

 

Dress 

Be prepared to pack summer clothes for the warm days and more layers for cooler nights. The temperature drop is significant and you don't want to be discouraged from dining in the lovely outdoors just because of the cool winds. (This is coming from someone who constantly packs a little too positively with the lightest of light summer clothes. I usually make do but this time I had to resort to shopping for sweaters!) 

 

When to go
Many travel experts say that you can visit the Algarve any time of the year and still find sunny skies and pleasant weather. However, big tourist crowds descend in July and August as well as during school holidays. At these times, the beaches won't seem so inviting nor will the hotel prices. Personally, I found April to be the perfect month as the visitors were few and accommodation rates very reasonable. More importantly, even in April it was chilly in the evenings so I can't imagine coming much earlier in the year or going into winter. Local guides confirm that March-May and September-October are ideal for that holiday trifecta of ambiance, affordability and heat. 

 

Accommodation 
There are plenty of hotels, villas and airbnb options to choose from in The Algarve. Be sure to book well in advance if you're traveling in June - August. For shorter trips (3 days or less) Lagos is a good bet as a base. For longer trips, look at staying in at least one of the other villages or towns such as Sagres. 

 

Eating well 

Seafood, seafood and more seafood. If you like it or even if you don't usually, this is the place to try. Often restaurants will prepare dishes made from the catch of the day. It doesn't get any fresher than that! For healthier prep, order your courses grilled with a squeeze of lemon.

Also, although not technically a nutrient...the white wine is outstanding and easily a treat in itself. Be sure to try Paxa Escolha (a white wine) it's local to the Algarve and phenomenal! Don't miss a chance to sip on Vinho Verde either if you haven't had it.

 

Additional
Bring cash everywhere with you. Many establishments will not accept cards.

 

You may also want to explore: 
Sagres, Portugal
Lagos, Portugal 

 

 

Follow my travels on Instagram: @corpaofitness


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