Last Friday I went on a very last-minute trip to Portugal's Algarve. Except for a small portion of commissioned work, I was free to chill for 3 days in this amazing part of Europe.
I will spare you of the selfies and food pictures that I took. However, there was this one place that I have been dreaming about visiting.
Gruta de Benagil - Benagil Cave
I stumbled upon this location while brainlessly scrolling through Pinterest. It was love at first sight and I was determined to let its picture ornament my online portfolio.
After reading some blogposts and pinpointing its location, I contacted a local boat-touroperator to book my visit into the cave. (mind you, you can only enter this cave by sea).
Impossible, they said. We would not be allowed to get off the boat unless we took a private tour that costs about 200 euros for 15 mins inside the cave. Stubborn as I am, I thanked them for the information and decided to swim into the cave through open sea.
My friend and I arrived at 'Praia de Benagil' at sunrise. It was cold and I wasn't exactlty sure about how far the swim would be. We hoped chatting with some locals would help us gather some courage.
- "Are you swimming to the cave?"
- "Yes we are"
- "Be careful of the undercurrent, some people have drowned trying to reach it"
- "Are you decent swimmers?"
-"Well, we're pretty okay"
- "Just make sure you avoid swimming close to the rocks and you should be fine. Enjoy!"
-"Ermmm, okay thanks"
After these encouraging words, my friend said that we should try it anyways. We got into the water and after a short swim, we could see the cave. It took some patience and timing to eventually get into the cave, but boy oh boy what a reward awaited us.
With the golden light of the sunrise indirectly illuminating the cave and not a tourist in sight, we had this amazing place to ourselves:
We however decided to take our pictures rather quickly so we could swim back whilst the sea was stil relatively calm. Still rushing with adrenaline, I asked my friend to into the frame so we could get a sense of scale to the image.
Eventually we swam back to the beach and high-fived a couple of times. This probably was one of the coolest experiences 'till date. The next day, we got curious and researched if it really was thát dangerous. I will link you what we found:
- Tragic September sees death toll on Portuguese beaches now at 17
- Three German citizens were rescued after becoming trapped in the famous Benagil cave.
- Young couple rescued after being stranded “for 12 hours” in Benagil’s world famous cave
As much as I planned my trip in advance ( researching reviews, weather forecasts and surfing websites ) I never came across these articles. So it goes without saying that what we did could potentially have been dangerous. Therefore I want to advise anyone who wants to do the same to be aware of this danger and maybe be a bit smarter about it then we were ( there was no body in the area since it was this early + we left our phones in the car).