Capri Grotta Azzurra
Tiberius' water-filled nymphaeum, Capri's Blue Grotto.
Climb aboard one of the little wooden rowing boats bobbing in the water outside the cave, lie back and wait while the sailor maneuvers the boat through the narrow entrance. At first, all you'll see is the darkness. Then, all of a sudden, the cavern fills with a flickering blue and silver light and the sound of Neapolitan songs.
You're in the Grotta Azzurra, the most famous of all Capri's tourist attractions. The photos you see on this page haven't been retouched: this is exactly what the water is like. Entering into this magical blue world is an experience that you'll never forget.
The Grotta Azzurra - Useful information
- How do I get there?: by bus from Anacapri or by boat from Marina Grande.
- When is it open?: from 09.00 to 17.00, sea conditions permitting (in the case of southwesterly or northwesterly winds, entrance to the cave is impossible).
- How much do tickets cost?: 13 euro per person (the Grotta Azzurra is a cultural attraction similar to a museum).
The cavity is approximately 60 meters long and 25 meters wide. The roof of the entrance is situated approximately 1 meter above the level of the sea and, for this reason, passengers are obliged to lie down in the boat whilst passing in to the cave. The boatman sets down his oars and maneuvers the boat inside with the aid of a chain attached to the vault of the entrance.
The reason why the Grotta Azzurra is blue
The blue coloring of the Grotta Azzurra is created by the daylight which enters via an underwater opening located immediately below the entrance to the cave. The light is filtered by the water which absorbs the red tones, leaving only the blue ones to pass into the cave.
A second phenomenon creates the silver appearance of the objects immersed in the water: given that the index of refraction of the bubbles of air which adhere to the surface of the objects is different to that of the water, the light is allowed to egress.
What's the best time to visit the Grotta Azzurra?
The interiors of the cave are at their bluest between 12.00 and 14.00 hours. This said, if you want to visit earlier in the day, the cave is still spectacular.
We suggest you avoid visiting the cave on cloudy days, when the reflections are at a minimum, and in the afternoon, when the cave is often closed due to rough sea conditions.
The history of the Grotta Azzurra
In the Roman period, under the rule of Tiberius, the interior of the Grotta Azzurra was used as a marine nymphaeum. For many centuries, the islanders believed that the cave was inhabited by Nereidi, Sirens and devils and were far too scared to enter.
It was not until 1826 that the local fisherman Angelo Ferraro accompanied the German scholar, August Kopisch, and the painter Ernst Fries in to the cave. Their tales of the magical blue sea cave led to the Grotta Azzurra becoming Capri's number one tourist site.
How to get to the Grotta Azzurra
- By boat: a 10 minute boat journey from Marina Grande or as part of the tour of the island.
- By bus: in Anacapri, catch the bus from the bus 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).