Grotta Azzura

sights / Other

Grotta Azzura information

Prices
admission €12.50
Opening hours
9am–3pm
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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.