How to enjoy the Blue Grotto on Capri

A magic sea cave that comes to life when sunlight passes through an underwater cavity illuminating the cavern a stunning blue

The Blue Grotto is one of Capri’s most fascinating natural wonders. Inside the cave, the water is impossibly blue thanks to the light passing through causing an ethereal effect. The natural sea cave itself is 60 metres in length and 25 metres wide. At just one-metre-high, the cave mouth forms a low passing point. This means getting into the Blue Grotto requires passengers to lay on their backs in small rowboats as the skipper guides the vessel into the cave. If this has got your adventurous hearts singing, then read on to find out more about the grotto and how you can best enjoy the attraction.

The History of the Blue Grotto 

Also known as the Grotta Azzurra, the Blue Grotto was once the private swimming pool of Emperor Tiberius, who moved the capital of the Roman Empire to the island of Capri in 27 AD. The grotto was forgotten and discovered again in 1826 by the German poet August Kopisch. Kopisch proceeded to write about the magical cave in his book Entdeckung der Blauen Grotte and word spread! Everyone wanted to find and see the cave that glowed for themselves, making it a hot tourist attraction. Capri and the grotto became part of the Victorian Grand Tour – a traditional Europe trip that was seen as a right of passage for the wealthy upper classes as a way of knowing the way of the world. As its recognition grew more and more travel writers from the period began to describe the grotto and its wonder. For example, it has been beautifully depicted by American writer, Mark Twain: “The waters of this placid subterranean lake are the brightest and loveliest blue that can be imagined. They are as transparent as plate glass, and their colouring would shame the richest sky that ever bent over Italy”. If this description doesn’t make you want to see the Blue Grotto then we’re not sure what will! Such beautiful words to describe this natural marvel.

How to Get to the Blue Grotto

Now we know we’ve got you hooked it’s tell to tell you some practical information about the cave, like how to get there. There are 3 different ways you can get to the Blue Grotto:

  • Tour boat – from the Marina Grande port, you can pick up return tickets to the Grotto. If you want to experience more of Capri, you can buy an Island Tour by Sea and Stop at the Grotto ticket which takes you on a complete tour around the island and stops off at the entrance to the Blue Grotto.
  • Private boat – if you’d rather travel in style, you can rent a private boat and anchor at the buoys near the entrance of the cave. We still recommend getting a skipper. You need someone with knowledge and experience of the cave to enter it safely. Skippers know when the tide is low and therefore when to enter the grotto.
  • Walking or bus – the walk from Anacapri to the Blue Grotto is around 3.5 kilometres, forming a pleasant way to experience sea views from the coast. Alternatively, you can hop on a bus from Piazza della Pace which takes you close to the entrance of the Blue Grotto.

Whatever you decide, be prepared to wait your turn outside the entrance of the grotto. In high season (June – August) it will be busy and crowded with tourists. And sitting out on the water with little shade means you’ll be exposed to the sun. So, prepare properly and make sure you have sun cream, water and maybe some snacks with you.

The Best Time to Visit the Blue Grotto

Though visitors head to the Blue Grotto throughout the day, there are certain hours when the sunlight is brighter inside the cave, causing an even bluer glow than usual. The reflections are at their best between 12pm and 2pm, but the morning hours also promise particularly spectacular colours. It’s best to avoid the Grotto on overcast days if you want to see the colours in all their glory, and the water around the cave can become a bit rough in the afternoons – though you’ll find the queues are much more manageable after lunch.

Visiting the Blue Grotto is an amazing way to experience one of nature’s delights. The impossibly blue waters of the cave draw in visitors from all over the world who want to experience the sunlight reflecting off the cool turquoise waters of Capri. Known for its glitz and glam, the island of Capri is full of beautiful colours and sights, and the Blue Grotto is one of many incredible attractions in the area. To complete the experience, why not head to Museo Casa Rossa in Anacapri to see the statues that were recovered from the grotto’s sea-floor in 1964? Three statues of the sea Gods Neptune and Triton were recovered, as well as, seven statue bases found in 2009. It is thought that four more statues may still be hidden in the caves sandy depths…

Related article: Can you swim in the Amalfi Coast?