Capri’s biggest claim to fame is this long, low sea cavern whose water glows a brilliant, unearthly blue that brings visitors from all over the world. The Blue Grotto is a natural sea cave, located on the small island of Capri off the Italian Coast near the Amalfi Coast. Hop aboard a wooden rowboat, lay back, and let yourself be carried through a tiny stone portal to another world by your able skipper, who navigates seamlessly under the meter-high cave mouth. Inside, pass from complete darkness into a sparkling cavern, lit by azure blue light, while the sounds of ancient Neapolitan song echo along the stone walls.
The bright azzure color of the water inside the cave is due to the sunlight which enters the cavern through an underwater opening which is positioned exactly under the cave’s mouth. As the light passes through the water, the red reflections are filtered out and only the blue enter the cave itself. The famous silver reflections of objects in the water are caused by tiny bubbles covering the outside of objects underwater, which causes the light to refract differently than that of the surrounding water and causes this silvery effect.
During the reign of Tiberius in Roman times, the grotto was used as a marine temple, and ancient Roman statues found here are now on display at the Casa Rossa in Anacapri. For many years afterwards, the Blue Grotto was avoided by sailors, as local legends told of spirits and demons living there. One day in 1826, however, local fisherman Angelo Ferraro accompanied German author August Kopisch and painter Ernst Fries to the cave, and their tales of its marvels have led to the grotto being one of the must-see sights on any visitor to Capri’s itinerary.
Opening hours: Daily: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with favorable sea conditions (in case of high winds, the cave is inaccessible).
Entrance fee: €13/person
Getting There: Once you arrive on Capri there are three primary options available to you. You may also want to look into an all inclusive boat tour which can be bought at the marina.
- Boat: 10 minutes from Marina Grande or as a stop along an island tour by boat.
- Bus: From the stop at Anacapri, 50 meters from Piazza Vittoria (a 15 minute ride).
- Foot: From Viale T. de Tommaso, take Via Pagliaro and then Via Grotta Azzurra (3.5 km, 40 minutes).