A tourist at home
– July 9, 2023 | Text Marie Patterson, Photos Charlotte Cockayne/Open Media Group
Nothing screams “summer’s here” quite like a calming boat trip to the local caves, so on this particular Saturday I decide to head to the picturesque beach of Benagil for a tour with Taruga.
Tickets can be purchased online to avoid disappointment and at their ticket office located immediately in front of Benagil beach.
Trips run at a variety of different times and on most days of the week (weather permitting).
There are a multitude of options available, including a shorter “Express Trip” lasting just 30 minutes.
Kayak and SUP boards are also available to rent, all for reasonable prices.
The “Traditional” tour has a total duration of 75 minutes. The tour visits all the caves in the immediate vicinity, including the famous Algar de Benagil. This spectacular site is visited by between 10,000 to 15,000 people per day in high season!
The staff is friendly and relaxed but very keen to share their local maritime knowledge. There is free parking readily available very close by, but be sure to carry a large bottle of water and some sunscreen with you as the ocean breeze can make the sun and heat very deceiving.
I opted for the 10.30am tour so that we would be finished just before lunchtime. Then I head to one of the most iconic sites in Carvoeiro – Algar Seco, a 10-minute car journey away.
Nestled in the cliffs of Algar Seco is the gem that is A Boneca.
Open Monday to Saturday from 12pm to 10pm, this family-run restaurant has been operating in this stunning location since 1969, serving typical Portuguese cuisine which is mostly still charcoal-grilled and visible to passing guests and customers.
A heavy mix of fresh fish and seafood is combined with a few other classics such as chicken piri-piri, and served all day.
Cocktails and a rather large wine selection also make this a very appealing spot to stop for a refreshing drink.
Personally, I opt for the typical Portuguese amêijoas à Bulhão Pato (clams cooked in a light sauce of olive oil, white wine, garlic, coriander and lemon), followed by grilled golden bream.
The food is delicious and the ambiance is extremely relaxing combined with a beautiful view of the ocean.
After lunch, we spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Algar Seco itself, with its fascinating rock formations where the erosion by the sea has created many rock pools, caves and natural balconies.
Before finishing the day, the short walk along the boardwalks up to the little church of Carvoeiro is also not to be missed, giving stunning views of the ocean.
Perfect for a sunset walk before ending the day!