Ultimate Guide to The Blue Grotto, Italy (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
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Can you just imagine sneaking away to the paradise that is known as the island of Capri to bask in Italian culture as you make plans to visit the Blue Grotto? Located in the Gulf of Naples, you will find historic heaven.
If you are into the whole “lifestyles of the rich and famous” thing, Capri is the place to be seen. Tons of celebrities anchor their yachts in Marina Grande…
Ultimate Guide to Blue Grotto (Tours, Pricing, History)
Capri also has jaw-dropping natural beauty, delicious cuisine and world-class shopping. Their most famous dish is ravioli capresi.
I am sure you have heard of Caprese salad – which is basically mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. Well, they take it to the next level with a simple pasta dough that they fill with Parmigiano and aged caciotta cheese, and marjoram, and then the cooked ravioli are tossed with a fresh tomato and basil sauce.
Oh. My. Yum.
And we haven’t even gotten to the Blue Grotto yet!
Why is the water so blue?
We are talking incredibly blue here – hence the name “The Blue Grotto”. It turns out that the bright azure color of the water inside the cave is due to the sunlight which enters the cavern through an underwater opening that is positioned exactly under the cave’s mouth.
History of Blue Grotto
History has it that the grotto was used in Roman times as the personal swimming “pool” of Emperor Tiberius in addition to a marine temple. In 27 AD, Tiberius moved to Capri from the Roman capital, and during the emperor’s reign, the grotto was decorated with intriguing decorations to enhance the setting.
Also, resting or dwelling areas were designed around the edges of the grotto. Interestingly, the grotto has gone through a lot of intriguing history. In 1964, Neptune and Triton statues, Roman sea gods, were discovered and placed at a museum in Anacapri. There were also additional discoveries in 2009 of over seven statue bases, and from all indications, there might be over four more statues laying around.
The cave was described by Pliny the Elder, a Roman historian, as being populated with Triton playing with some seashells. Seeing the Triton statue was recovered without hands and shown as a conch shell instead, it has a similar view of the same discovery Pliny the Elder saw back in the 1st century AD.
The cave went through a lot since then, and after the Blue Grotto cave was reconstructed, it turned out a lot of Triton statues were encrypted in the walls. Major environmentalist associations are desiring to restore the Blue Grotto to the original state in early Roman existence.
There are three connecting passageways behind the main cave, which leads to Sala dei Nomi (Room of Names) – a name derived from the graffitied wall of signatures made by tourists who visit the area. The other two passageways lead deeper into the Island’s cliffs on the left region. Interestingly, the channels were said to lead to Emperor Tiberius’ palace, and while they remain a narrow passage, they lead through until they end further into the cliffs.
In earlier times, the grotto was popularly called Gradola, named after a landing place nearby. Back in the 18th century, sailors and islanders avoided the grotto as they noted it was riddled with witches and monsters. As time went by, it was rediscovered in 1826 when local fisherman, Angelo Ferraro, took German writer August Kopisch and friend Ernst Fries on tour.
Blue Grotto Fun Facts
Like every intriguing destination site, there are some interesting details that we will always find fun and want to know so much about. When it comes to the Blue Grotto, we can safely say it has a rich history and has provided many details to enrich the little community’s existence in Italy. So, what did you not know but are eager to find out? Let’s get rolling…
- Back in the 18th century, the grotto was avoided by sailors and islanders alike as they claimed it was filled with witches and monsters.
- The cave was rediscovered in 1826 by Angelo Ferraro, who took August Kopisch and his friend Ernst Fries, who were German Writers.
- The cave came into existence after limestone rock which held the island of Biševo in position was continually eroded with seawater over the years.
- The entrance to the cave stands at 1.5 meters high and 2.5 meters wide.
- The Blue Grotto gets its blueness when the sunlight reflects the underwater cavity and absorbs the red light, which usually shines forth.
- The blue waters are not generally open for people to swim freely as mostly sailboats traverse the waters around the cave.
- The Blue Grotto is around 60 meters long and 25 meters wide, while the water where the boats sail is an average of 150 meters deep.
- The entrance to the cave is relatively small, and to get in, one has to use a small rowboat and possibly duck at the entrance. It is said the entrance is four feet high and four feet wide.
Blue Grotto Wildlife
Certainly, wildlife exists in the Blue Grotto, but the interior is covered mostly with water with a difference from the cave. There is a lot of aquatic wildlife existing in the cave, and it might be one of the main reasons swimming is not too prevalent in the water.
Safety is everything, and with the open ocean having access to the cave, one cannot be too sure what type of animals make their way in. Seen before have been: barracudas, jacks, octopus, and morays in the water itself.
As for the roof of the cave, don’t be surprised if you come across a few animals like bats, lizards, and aquatic-friendly critters and crawlers. It is also home to endemic species, such as the Maltese wall lizard.
Blue Grotto Geological Formations
The Blue Grotto was formed from eroded limestone with water at the base of the case, which means stalagmites may not readily be seen compared to many other caves. The cave roof is not smooth either and may have small stalactites not visible to the naked eyes just yet.
But, it is important to note there are cavities at the base of the cave (under the water), which helps to provide the blue reflection when natural light enters through the cave’s opening.
Blue Grotto Tours
This is a little tricky as there doesn’t seem to be one “owner” of the Blue Grotto – so several different groups have their fingers in the tour pie, so to speak. They all have to be certified
Planning a cave tour can be accomplished through a journey by land or water and should be done on an official rowboat. The wait time to get in the cave can be a little long, but we will assure you – the wait is worth it!
To avoid the long waiting period, it is best to book your tour in advance (a boat transfer) to and from the cave site. Besides, you can book a private tour as these operators are often given the first preference to tour the cave’s interior.
Blue Grotto Prices and Discounts
The tickets are generally purchased from the floating ticket office at the price of 14 EUR, which is broken down to 10 for the rowboat, and 4 for entry. Children under 6 years enter free while citizens of the European Union under age 18 enter free and are only required to pay for the rowboat.
European Union citizens between the ages of 18 to 25 can get a 50% discount on the entry fee, so they only pay 12 EUR. The rowboat and entry fee is in addition to the boat tour from Marina Grande, which means the cost could go up to 17 EU. Skippers who operate the rowboats into the cave may ask for tips – but this is all at your discretion.
I guess it depends on how much you want to get back to your hotel…
Download our FREE Blue Grotto Cave Guide (Unofficial)
Where to Stay Near Blue Grotto
Visiting Capri in Italy is great when you have booked a tour of the Blue Grotto Cave, but there is so much more to experience. To get the most of what the city offers, it is best to stick around and have easy access to the local culture. So, if you are not living in the area but need to stay, here are a few places you will love…
Relais Maresca Luxury Small Hotel
When you think of the local community’s rich history and being able to experience the culture, then the Relais Maresca Luxury Small Hotel is the place to stop. The suites are designed with a touch of Capri’s beauty and elegance from the roof down to the tiles designed with the color of the sea.
Comfort is the name of the game at this amazing hotel, and their kitchen will give you some of the most mouth-watering Mediterranean dishes. There are so many great amenities to make your stay worthwhile. They are located at Via Provinciale Marina Grande 284, 80073, Capri, Island of Capri, Italy, and can be reached at +39 081 837 9619 for more details.
Weber Ambassador Hotel
Hotel Weber Ambassador is a four-star luxury hotel located in Capri along Marina Piccola Beach. When we say exclusive and stylish, there is no other beach in the world that fits this description as Marina Piccola does. The hotel creates the perfect venue for relaxation, comfort, and a home away from home experience.
The rooms are designed to create a memorable experience with some of the most state-of-the-art amenities to complement your stay. Located at Marina Piccola 118, 80073, Capri, Island of Capri, Italy, you are in for a great time.
Download our FREE Blue Grotto Cave Guide (Unofficial)
Blue Grotto Details
- Length: Roughly 60 meters
- Time recommended: A tour of the inside of the cave lasts about five minutes, but the wait time to get in can take an hour or more.
- Trail Type: Sailing or Rowboats
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Kid-Friendly: Yes, but the wait time to get through the entrance may be a little pressuring for them as the waiting can be in the sun.
- Dog-Friendly: You are in a boat. Most dogs aren’t happy with that and each tour company has a different policy.
- Accessibility: By boat via Marina Grande or by bus from Anacapri
- Fee/Permit: 14 EUR per person (may change periodically)
- Hours: Between 9AM to 5PM each day (depending on sea conditions and may change periodically)
How to Get to Blue Grotto
Getting to Blue Grotto is not too complicated as this can be done via three routes:
- By Boat – You can travel via Marina Grande (10 minutes) or via a stop from a tour boat while touring the different islands.
- By Bus – A bus ride can get you there in 15 minutes after stopping at Anacapri.
- By Foot – This will run about 40 minutes as you head from Viale T. de Tommaso through Via Pagliaro and then Via Grotta Azzurra.
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