Benagil – Part 1

Our drive from Tavira to Benagil required an approach focussed around eating up some time as we had to check out by 12 pm and we can’t check in at our Benagil apartment until 4 pm. Given that the drive was only an hour or so, we decided to have lunch somewhere on the way.

We took the road less travelled again and found ourselves in a small village called Alte.

Enter, the Donkey.

We did a lap around town and ended up parking the car at a designated parking area just down from a restaurant.

Gary advises on our first pass that he’d spotted a Donkey and on our walk from the car we did indeed walk pass a Donkey.

His name was Balthazar and he bites.

Balthazar keeps a keen eye on the restaurants diners and occasionally he’s rewarded with a snack.

He gets the hangrys though if you give him a little then stop. So the safest bet is to simply not feed him.

We had a lunch of roast chicken, chips and salad along with some small beers.

We continued on to Benagil via the back roads again and before long we’d arrived in the little village and at our accommodation, Casa Milhafre.

Casa Milhafre is a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment with a roof top terrace that has to be seen to be believed.

It has air conditioning, a washer and dryer, a full kitchen with dish washer. Upstirs is a BBQ and mini bar fridge as well as dining table and sun lounges.

Did I mention the rooftop heated pool!! Yep, it has everything you’d need for a week long stay in the Algarve.

We also received an amazing welcome pack which included a chilled bottle of Moët sitting in an ice bucket as well as some chocolate and a huge fruit platter!

Benagil is a relatively small community and there is no actual store where you can buy staples. The only thing here is accommodation, restaurants and the beach.

We didn’t have anything on us to cook so we booked into a local restaurant for dinner called Casa Lamy.

This restaurant has mixed reviews online but we found it an overall pleasant experience. The fresh fish was grilled to perfection and the Cataplana the Leo and Gary had looked and smelled amazing.

The restaurants in Benagil aren’t the most economical choice so we only ate out a couple of times during our 6 nights here.

Our first day was a bit of a mixed bag. In the morning we went to the supermarket to stock up on some essentials for meals as well as water, and other beverages.

Following this Kath and I headed off for the afternoon to meet up with the family of one of my work colleagues who just happens to live right down the road from where we were staying. What are the odds!

We had a wonderful long lunch consisting of fresh fish and amazing fresh clams selected directly from the display cabinet as we spent the afternoon chatting by the marina.

That night we cooked our first meal at Casa Milhafre using the BBQ on the roof terrace. 

The following day was our first chance to truly relax and we took full advantage of this. The day started with a walk along the cliffs followed by some quiet time back at the apartment.

We had lunch in the apartment and then contemplated going out again, but this was quickly discounted.

In the afternoon we mustered up the energy to walk down to the beach to go for a swim in the actual ocean, and to see if we could book in for a boat ride to the caves on the following day. 

To our shock we were told that, due to impending weather conditions, they wouldn’t be taking bookings until Friday, the day we leave!

We had a quick decision to make as it was late in the day and there was only one cave visit remaining for the day. After some um’ing and arr’ing we locked it in and have all of 5 minutes to prepare ourselves.

Normally for something like this I would have the waterproof bag to house the phones etc, but as it was last minute we just had to wing it with what we had.

We got onto the boat first up, which gave us prime position for taking photos and video, check out some below.

We rounded out the day with another home cooked meal on the roof terrace. This roof terrace is quickly becoming our favourite restaurant 😉

The following day was a day out and about. We started with a visit to the top side of the Benagil Cave, but this time with the drone.

From here we visited some of the other beaches that are popular in the area and took a few snaps of the rugged coastline.

Next stop, wine tasting followed by some lunch. We headed inland from here and hit up Google Maps and located a winery that wasn’t too far away called Quinta Dos Vales.

Wineries in Portugal and Spain can be a slightly different experience than what we are used to in Australia as the process is more aligned with the approach seen in the US.

In most wineries in Australia, you can taste some wines for no cost. You only get a little sip, but it’s generally enough to give you an idea of whether it something you’ll like or not.

In Spain/Portugal a tasting is more like purchasing a number of wines for a fixed price. In the US they call this a “flight”, and that phrase was also used in a couple of the wineries we visited.

So at Quinta Dos Vales there was a couple of options an Kath and I chose the “Business Class” flight, which was 10 euro and included 3 wines. We chose this particular set due to the dry Rosé.

The wines were all quite nice and the setting is lovely but the highlight of this particular winery are the artworks that are scattered around the grounds.  

The next item on the agenda was lunch. Being in Portugal we really had to ensure we had some BBQ Piri Piri Chicken. We really didn’t have much of an idea of where to go on in this area as it’s largely skipped by guide books, so we again referred to Google Maps.

A few places came up and one in particular received quite a good rating so we jumped into the car and headed to the little town of Silves to find a Chicken and Fish restaurant called Churrasqueira Valdemar.

Turned out we’d stumbled onto one of the best chicken places in the area and we could totally tell why. The kitchen was essentially in the carpark with seating along side but don’t let that put you off.

We ordered chicken for 4 people with the sauce on the side as we didn’t know how spicy it was going to be. Turned out it wasn’t too spicy at all and would probably be best prepared with the sauce on it.

After lunch we stopped in for a bit of grocery shopping before heading back to our apartment to prepare another dinner on the rooftop terrace.

I’ll leave this post here and come back to Benagil in the next post.


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