Picture yourself on a boat in a sea cave with crystal-clear waters and illuminant sights. The whimsical world of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by the Beatles comes to mind when one visits the beautiful Blue Grotto in Capri, Italy.
The Blue Grotto, otherwise known as the Grotta Azzurra, is an island sea cave that is brilliantly illuminated by sunlight that passes through an underwater cavity. The sight is so breathtaking that the Blue Grotto has become Capri’s top attraction.
The Blue Grotto is located on Capri, an island in Italy’s Bay of Naples along the Amalfi Coast. Capri is known for its rugged landscapes, posh accommodations, and upscale shopping. It specializes in the production of handmade leather sandals and limoncello, Italy’s prized lemon liqueur. Many travelers choose to visit Capri on a day trip from Rome.
While some visit Capri solely to see the Blue Grotto, the island also attracts visitors from around the world who are eager to gaze upon the island's dramatic coastline. In the summertime, you can see hundreds of yachts weaving into and out of Capri’s numerous coves.
There are several boats that depart for the Blue Grotto from the Marina Grande port. You can purchase tickets at the port or at the ticket offices of the Motoscafisti and Laser Capri charter companies.
A boat ride to and from the Blue Grotto costs 10 euros, and you’ll have to pay an additional 4 euros to enter the cave. Children under six years of age enter for free. It is customary to tip the rowboat skippers.
Two public buses will take you from Capri to the Blue Grotto. One departs from Piazza della Pace, and the other departs from Viale Tommaso de Tommaso.
Bus fares are 1.40 euros each way, and the trip takes about 15 minutes.
You can get your exercise in for the day by walking to the Marina Grande port from the center of Capri; the walk takes about 50 minutes. From Piazza Vittoria, follow Via Pagliaro to Via Tuoro. This street will take you to Via Grotta Azzurra, which will take you to the Marina Grande port.
While Capri is lovely during the summer, the summer is the island’s peak tourist season, and wait times for the Blue Grotto can be incredibly long. If you plan to avoid the crowds and go during the winter, you may want to reconsider: The Blue Grotto is often closed during the winter months due to adverse weather conditions. For these reasons, it would be wise to visit the Blue Grotto during the spring or fall, when the temperatures are mild and the wait times aren’t as long.
There’s also a better time of day to visit the Blue Grotto. The illuminating light inside the sea cave is the strongest between noon and 2 p.m., though the reflections are still stunning during the morning hours. Wait times also decrease in the late afternoon, so you may want to consider visiting then. Keep in mind that rowboat rides to the Blue Grotto end at 5:30 p.m.
The light isn’t as strong on overcast days, so try your best to save your Blue Grotto visit for a sunny day.
It isn’t easy to take a photo inside the Blue Grotto. You only have about 5 minutes to get a good shot, and there will likely be several other boats around you while you’re inside the cave.
In order to take a great picture in the Blue Grotto with the limited amount of time you will have, make sure to ready your camera before you enter the cave. Select your preferred settings in advance so that all you have to do is point and shoot. You won’t want to use flash, but bumping up the ISO setting on your camera will help it adjust to the darkness.
Here are some important things to consider before visiting the Blue Grotto.
You can only visit the Blue Grotto on a rowboat with a designated skipper, and swimming inside the cave is strictly prohibited.
While many tourists will wait until after hours when the rowboats leave to swim in the luminescent cave, this can be incredibly dangerous due to high tides and can result in serious injury.
When visiting the Blue Grotto, don’t expect to immediately hop on a rowboat and head to the cave. You might have to wait up to 2 hours, especially during peak season and during peak times throughout the day.
When planning a trip to the Blue Grotto, make sure to take wait times into consideration, especially if you’re visiting during the peak summer months.
Though anyone is permitted to visit the Blue Grotto -- those under 6 years of age can even enter for free -- visiting the Blue Grotto with small children might be a challenge. Children might dislike the rowboats, and they may not be able to duck to enter the cave. They may also grow impatient during the long wait in line without shade. Parents and grandparents should consider these things when deciding whether or not to visit the Blue Grotto with little ones.
Many people dream of visiting Capri’s Blue Grotto and picture themselves wandering through the cave for hours on end. Unfortunately, the boat ride through the Blue Grotto only lasts about 5 minutes, and you’ll spend more time waiting in line than you will inside the actual cavern. Make sure you’re using your time wisely and relishing the experience as much as possible during your short time inside the Blue Grotto.