The Blue Grotto Capri, or Grotta Azzurra, is a natural wonder that leaves visitors in awe. This mesmerizing sea cave on the island of Capri, Italy, is known for its breathtaking azure waters and enchanting atmosphere. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore its history, unique features, and how to make the most of your visit to this magical destination.
1. The History of the Blue Grotto Capri
The Blue Grotto Capri has a rich history dating back to ancient times. It is believed that the cave was discovered by the Romans and used as a private swimming hole for Emperor Tiberius. Throughout the centuries, the grotto has captured the imaginations of poets, artists, and travelers alike.
It wasn't until the 19th century, however, that the Blue Grotto gained widespread fame. In 1826, German painter August Kopisch and his friend, artist Ernst Fries, visited the cave and were captivated by its beauty. Their accounts and paintings of the grotto spread throughout Europe, attracting a steady stream of visitors and solidifying its status as a must-see destination.
2. The Unique Features of the Blue Grotto Capri
The Blue Grotto is a natural sea cave, measuring approximately 60 meters long and 25 meters wide. The cave's entrance is a narrow opening, only two meters wide and about one meter high. This small entrance adds to the mystique of the grotto, as visitors must board small rowboats and lie down to pass through the portal.
Inside the cave, the magic truly begins. The sunlight reflecting off the cave walls and the water's surface creates an ethereal azure blue light that illuminates the cavern. The stunning blue hue and the soothing echo of gentle waves and ancient Neapolitan songs make visitors feel as if they are suspended in the heavens.
3. How to Get to the Blue Grotto Capri
There are two primary ways to reach the Blue Grotto Capri: by bus from Anacapri or by boat from Marina Grande.
3.1 By Bus
From Anacapri, you can take a bus to the Blue Grotto. The journey takes about 15 minutes, and buses run frequently throughout the day. Once you arrive at the bus stop near the grotto, it's a short walk to the entrance.
3.2 By Boat
If you prefer a more scenic route, you can take a boat tour from Marina Grande. These tours typically include a trip around the island, with a stop at the Blue Grotto. Keep in mind that boat tours are subject to weather and sea conditions, so they may not be available every day.
4. Exploring the Blue Grotto: What to Expect
Upon arriving at the Blue Grotto, visitors must transfer from their bus or boat to a small rowboat operated by a skilled skipper. These rowboats can accommodate up to four passengers, who must lie down to fit through the cave's narrow entrance.
As the skipper navigates the rowboat through the opening using a metal chain attached to the cave walls, you will pass from complete darkness into the sparkling cavern. The dazzling blue light and serene atmosphere make for an unforgettable experience.
5. Blue Grotto Capri Opening Hours and Entrance Fees
The Blue Grotto is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., weather permitting. In case of rough seas or high winds, the cave may be closed to visitors for safety reasons. Additionally, the grotto is closed on December 25th and January 1st.
The entrance fee for the Blue Grotto is EUR 18 per person. Since the Blue Grotto is considered a cultural site, the entrance fee is comparable to that of a museum.
Please note that opening times and prices may change, so it's a good idea to check the latest information at info points in Marina Grande or the Piazzetta before your visit.
More info and FAQ
Blue Grotto boat tours
6. Best Time to Visit the Blue Grotto Capri
The best time to visit the Blue Grotto Capri is during the morning hours, when the sunlight creates the most vivid blue hue inside the cave. Additionally, visiting early in the day helps you avoid the crowds and potential long wait times that can occur during peak season.
It's also essential to consider the weather and sea conditions when planning your visit. The Blue Grotto may be closed due to rough seas or high winds, so it's best to have a flexible schedule and be prepared for possible closures.
7. Safety Tips and Precautions for Visiting the Blue Grotto
While the Blue Grotto is a must-see destination, it's crucial to prioritize safety during your visit. Here are some tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:
Be aware of the weather and sea conditions. The cave may be closed due to unfavorable conditions, so it's essential to stay informed and adjust your plans accordingly.
Follow the instructions of your skipper. They are experienced professionals who will guide you safely through the cave's entrance and ensure a smooth journey.
Be prepared to lie down in the rowboat. The cave's narrow entrance requires visitors to lie flat to avoid hitting the rocks.
Wear appropriate clothing and footwear. It's a good idea to wear comfortable clothes and shoes that can get wet, as water may splash into the boat during the journey.
8. Other Attractions Near the Blue Grotto Capri
While the Blue Grotto is undoubtedly the star attraction on Capri island, there are plenty of other sights to explore during your visit. Some nearby attractions include:
Villa San Michele: A beautiful villa and museum built by Swedish physician and author Axel Munthe, offering stunning views of the island.
Monte Solaro: The highest point on Capri, accessible by chairlift from Anacapri. From the summit, you can enjoy panoramic views of the island and surrounding sea.
Gardens of Augustus: A peaceful garden featuring terraces and botanical displays, providing fantastic views of the Faraglioni rock formations and Marina Piccola.
9. Accommodations and Dining Options on Capri island
Capri island offers a range of accommodations to suit every budget, from luxury hotels to quaint bed and breakfasts. When booking your stay, consider proximity to the Blue Grotto and other attractions you plan to visit.
Dining on Capri is a delightful experience, with numerous restaurants and cafes offering delicious Italian cuisine and fresh seafood. Be sure to try the island's famous Caprese salad, made with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil.
10. FAQs About the Blue Grotto Capri
Q: Is the Blue Grotto always open?
A: The Blue Grotto is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., weather permitting. The cave may be closed due to rough seas or high winds, and it is closed on December 25th and January 1st.
Q: How much does it cost to visit the Blue Grotto?
A: The entrance fee for the Blue Grotto is EUR 18 per person.
Q: Is it safe to visit the Blue Grotto?
A: Visiting the Blue Grotto is safe as long as you follow the instructions of your skipper and take necessary precautions. Be aware of weather and sea conditions, as the cave may be closed during unfavorable conditions.
Q: Can I swim in the Blue Grotto?
A: Swimming inside the Blue Grotto is not allowed during regular visiting hours. However, some visitors choose to swim into the cave after hours, though doing so can be dangerous and is not recommended.
With its otherworldly beauty and fascinating history, the Blue Grotto Capri is a must-see destination for any traveler. By following the tips and information provided in this guide, you can make the most of your visit to this enchanting natural wonder.