The island of Capri is one of the gems of Italy’s Amalfi Coast. One of the main attractions of Capri is the blue grotto. The blue grotto is a sea cave that is illuminated in a blue glow. The grotto glows blue because of the sunlight hitting the water underneath the cave.
Visiting the blue grotto is one of the most popular things to do in Capri. Most day tours that visit Capri will include a stop at the blue grotto.
How to Get There
You have several options for how you can visit the blue grotto. If you aren’t staying in Capri, you will most likely be visiting the blue grotto as part of a day trip to Capri. Popular jumping off points for Capri day trips are Naples, Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi. When booking your tour, make sure they mention they will be stopping at the blue grotto - but I imagine most will include this stop as it is very popular with tourists.
If you are staying in Capri or are taking the ferry over for a self guided day trip, you will also have plenty of options for visiting the grotto. In Marina Grande, the main port in Capri where all the ferries dock, you will find a ton of options for blue grotto tours. Some of them that go directly there and back can be pretty cheap. Tours that navigate the whole island will include a stop there, but will be more pricey.
I stayed on Capri for a night, so my girlfriend and I decided to rent a private boat to give us a tour of the entire island of Capri. This was a 3 hour excursion and included a stop at the blue grotto. This longer boat trip made it possible for us to see a ton of the island and the best way to experience Capri in One Day. This experience included a lot more than just the blue grotto, and cost around $250 USD. You can find small, crowded boats to take you there and back that will cost around $20-$30 USD per person.
The alternate way to get to the blue grotto would be by bus, by foot, or a combination of the two. From the town of Anacapri, you can walk down Via Pagliaro and then Via Grotta Azzurra where you will take stairs down to the boat loading area. The public bus in Anacapri from Piazza della Pace will drop you off at the last stop which is near the stairs that you can walk down.
How To Enter
When you get to the entrance of the blue grotto, your boat will wait next to a bunch of other boats until a skipper in a little rowboat comes over to pick you up. You will transfer over to their rowboat, which can fit about 4 people, and then they will take you to the spot to pay.
How Much Does it Cost?
In addition to paying for a boat or tour to get you to the blue grotto, you will also be paying to enter the grotto on a tiny rowboat. We paid $14 euro each and it has to be in cash. This fee is always separate, even if you are taking a boat tour there. Your rowboat skippers will be expecting a tip as well, and were encouraging people to tip around $5 each person. This has to be cash as well. Once paid up, the skipper takes you into the cave.
How Long Does it Take?
Depending on what time of year you visit Capri, the line to enter the blue grotto can sometimes be up to 2 hours. I visited in early October and only had to wait about 5 minutes to get in. Our tour also got to the blue grotto around 3pm, missing most of the day tripping crowds.
Entering the grotto was an experience in and of itself. We had to lay down in the boat to not get our heads knocked off as the skipper bent all the way down and pulled us in with a chain nailed to the cave wall. This happened rather fast, and without much direction from our skipper. I was trying to film our entry with my DJI osmo and had to react instinctively to duck down so I didn’t lose my camera (and my head!).
Inside the grotto was a very fun experience, but only a sliver of the cave near the entrance was lit up blue. This was because we didn’t arrive to the grotto until around 3pm in early October. The sun was not fully hitting under the cave anymore, so only a fraction of the grotto was blue. The rest of the cave was pitch black. I’d suggest trying to be at the grotto between 12pm - 2pm to get the best sunlight and best chance of seeing the cave illuminated in all of its blue glory.
There were several other boats inside the cave with us. Our skipper was quite an entertaining guy, who made his presence known to everyone. He belted out into song once we were inside the cave which was a lot of fun. He grabbed our phones and took photos of us together inside the cave. Although it wasn’t totally blue, our skipper made the experience fun and worthwhile.
Is it Worth It?
Although we didn’t get a full “blue grotto” experience due to the lack of sunlight hitting the cave, it was a really fun thing to do and for only $14 I’d say it was worth it. We also only had to wait for about 5 minutes to get in which was very nice.
If you had to wait for an hour or two I’d say it might not be the best use of your time as there are other grottoes on the coast that you can even swim in. But if you are taking a trip around the Capri coast, definitely include the blue grotto as the experience itself is a memorable one.