Benagil sea cave, West Algarve

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The sandstone cliffs of the western Algarve are dotted with secret caves and coves reached by rock-hewn steps and tunnels. Benagil sea cave is a watery pantheon with sunlight streaming in through a hole in its domed ceiling. Visitors can only reach the cave from the sea, either a short swim or kayak from Praia de Benagil itself (kayaks can be hired at the kiosk). The early morning is the most magical time to be there as it is deserted and golden light pours into the cave. Swim on 100 metres to Praia da Corredoura, which has another beautiful sea cave. Benagil can get busy in high season, and while there are several cafes and restaurants nearby, the Sul Mar restaurant, 1km away up the hill, offers exquisite local food in a setting well away from the main tourist haunts.

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