Chiesa di San Michele
If you appreciate the colour, intricate patterns and historical tradition of antique majolica tiles, check out this stunning church. The...
The striking Moroccan-style ‘Red House’ was built by an American colonel, John Clay MacKown, in 1876. Constructed around a 16th-century...
Seggiovia del Monte Solaro
A fast and painless way to reach Capri’s highest peak, the Seggiovia del Monte Solaro chairlift whisks you to the top of the mountain in...
It’s not that flashy but the position of the delightful Caffè Michelangelo, on a street flanked by tasteful shops and near two lovely...
Trattoria da Giovanni a Gradola
This laid-back, sand-between-your-toes trattoria is just beyond the swish bathing facilities at the Grotta Azzurra. The setting is...
Grotta Azzura information
Lonely Planet review
Capri’s single most famous attraction is the Grotto Azzura (insert pracs), a stunning sea cave illuminated by an other-worldly blue light.
Long known to local fishermen, it was rediscovered by two Germans – writer Augustus Kopisch and painter Ernst Fries – in 1826. Subsequent research, however, revealed that Emperor Tiberius had built a quay in the cave around AD 30, complete with a nymphaeum . You can still see the carved Roman landing stage towards the rear of the cave.
Measuring 54m by 30m and rising to a height of 15m, the grotto is said to have sunk by up to 20m in prehistoric times, blocking every opening except the 1.3m-high entrance. And this is the key to the magical blue light. Sunlight enters through a small underwater aperture and is refracted through the water; this, combined with the reflection of the light off the white sandy seafloor, produces the vivid blue effect to which the cave owes its name.
The easiest way to visit is to take a boat tour from Marina Grande. A return trip will cost €18.50, comprising a return motorboat to the cave, the rowing boat into the cave itself and admission fee; allow a good hour. The singing ‘captains’ are included in the price, so don’t feel any obligation if they push for a tip.
The grotto is closed if the sea is too choppy and swimming in the cave is forbidden, although you can swim outside the entrance – get a bus to Grotta Azzurra, take the stairs down to the right and dive off the small concrete platform.