Capri Grotta Azzurra
Tiberius' Sacred Santuary: Capri's Blue Grotto.
Climb aboard one of the wooden row boats bobbing in the water outside the cave entrance, lie back, and watch as your expert sailor deftly maneuvers the boat through the narrow mouth of the Blue Grotto. At first, all you'll see is darkness. Then, as if by magic, the cavern fills with a shimmering blue and silver light and the sound of Neapolitan songs.
This is what locals call the Grotta Azzurra, the most famous of all Capri's tourist attractions. The photos you see here haven't been retouched: this is exactly the otherworldly hue of the water inside the sea cave, and entering into this fantastical grotto is an experience you'll never forget.
The Blue Grotto - Useful Information
- How do I get there?: by bus from Anacapri or by boat from Marina Grande.
- When is it open?: from 9 am to 5 pm, sea conditions permitting (in case of southwesterly or northwesterly winds, entrance to the cave is impossible).
- How much do tickets cost?: €13 per person (the Blue Grotto is a cultural attraction similar to a museum).
The cavity is approximately 60 meters long and 25 meters wide. The roof of the cave entrance is about 1 meter above sea level and visitors are obliged to lie back in the rowboat while passing through the cave's mouth. The boatman pulls in his oars and maneuvers the boat inside with the aid of a chain attached to the vault of the entrance.
Why is the Blue Grotto Blue?
The blue tinge of the Blue Grotto's water is created by sunlight which enters the cavern via an underwater passage located directly below the cave entrance. This light is filtered through the water, which absorbs the red tones and leaves only the blue to pass into the cave.
A second phenomenon creates the cave's famous silver effect to objects immersed in the water: the air bubbles which adhere to the surface of submerged objects refract light differently than the surrounding water, and this difference produces a silvery shimmer.
What's the best time to visit the Blue Grotto?
The intensity of the blue hue inside the cave is highest between noon and 2 pm. That said, the cave is spectacular all day long.
We do suggest you avoid visiting the cave on overcast days, when the reflection is much less dramatic, and in the afternoon, when the cave is often closed due to rough seas.
The history of the Blue Grotto
Under the Emporer Tiberius of ancient Rome, the interior of the Grotta Azzurra was used as a marine nymphaeum, or a sanctuary consecrated to water nymphs. For many centuries afterwards, the islanders believed that the cave was inhabited by mythical creatures such as nereidi, sirens, and water demons, and were too frightened to enter.
It was not until 1826 that local fisherman Angelo Ferraro accompanied the German scholar August Kopisch and the painter Ernst Fries inside the cave. Their tales of a magical blue-tinged sea cave led to the Blue Grotto becoming Capri's most popular tourist site.
How to get to the Blue Grotto
- By boat: a 10 minute boat ride from Marina Grande or a stop during a circle tour of the island by sea.
- By bus: from Anacapri, catch the bus from the stop 50 meters from Piazza Vittoria.
- On foot: from the center of Anacapri, walk along Viale T. de Tommaso, Via Pagliaro, and Via Grotta Azzurra (3.5 km).