While in Italy, we spent three days in Sorrento and devoted one of these days to visiting the island of Capri. The big question Tim and I had was, “is the Blue Grotto worth seeing?”
This post was updated August 2017.
The Blue Grotto is the island of Capri’s biggest tourist attraction. It is not a cheap excursion and just paying for transportation from Sorrento to Capri was pushing the limits of our budget. Plus, we were visiting Capri in July, peak tourist season, so we knew to expect crowds of people waiting their turn to enter the grotto.
So, is the Blue Grotto worth seeing?
Getting to Capri from Sorrento
To get from Sorrento to the island of Capri we took a 20 minute ride on a hydrofoil, costing our family of four $150 round trip (in July 2014). We booked these tickets in the marina the same morning of our trip out to Capri.
While on board the hydrofoil Tim and I were still trying to decide if we make the trip to the Blue Grotto. Tyler and Kara were very excited about seeing it, so they convinced us to do it.
There are two companies which offer tours to the Blue Grotto, Laser and Motoscafisti Capri. We had brochures for both and their prices were identical. We chose the Motoscafisti, and in US dollars we spent $75 for our family of four to take a boat tour around the island of Capri (in July 2014).
Tour of Capri
We loved seeing Capri from the water, Tyler especially. Capri is a beautiful island, with white rocky cliffs plunging into the aquamarine water of the ocean. The island has several grottos: white, green, and blue, and we saw all of them. The Blue Grotto is by far the most impressive, but the others are worth a quick peek.
An hour and a half into the boat ride we arrived at the Blue Grotto. Unfortunately, there were well over 8 other boats, all containing about thirty people per boat, waiting in line to enter the grotto. We were going to be here awhile.
As we waited, our boat drifted up and down over the large swells in the water, rocking back and forth. Combine this with sitting in the hot sun and you have the perfect combination for two seasick kiddos. We found Kara a place to sit in the shade, gave her some water to drink, and she perked up. But poor Tyler was getting very close to losing his breakfast.
Finally, after 45 minutes of bobbing in the water, it was our turn to board the rowboat for entry into the grotto.
Boarding the rowboat was a bit tricky. We had to scramble over the side of our boat, then step into the rowboat, all while the rowboat captain held the two boats together. The choppy water increased the difficulty factor as well. We all made it safely aboard, but this had me wondering, ”how many people fall into the water every year?”
So now the four of us were sitting on the floor of the rowboat, Tyler was trying not to be sick all over Kara’s back, and we paid our final fee, the entry fee into the grotto.
Inside the Blue Grotto
The Blue Grotto is a cave in the side of the mountain and can only be reached by squeezing through a narrow opening at water level. When it was our turn to enter, we all had to duck our heads below the level of the rowboat, while our captain pulled us into the grotto using chains attached to the rocky walls. If we didn’t duck down low enough we risked having a nice headache for the rest of the day.
Our passage into the grotto was fortunately uneventful, and then we were safely inside. How different it was in here! Calm, cool, peaceful, and very blue. The water is illuminated from the sunlight outside of the grotto, a very neat effect. Our rowboat captain sang Italian songs, Tyler was feeling much better, and we were all really enjoying this experience.
We spent about five minutes in the Blue Grotto. Then it was time to follow the same safety precautions and before we knew it, we were back outside in the bright sunshine and chaos of boats waiting for entry into the grotto.
We had our captain drop us off on land. The Blue Grotto is closer to Anacapri than Capri and we wanted to see some things on this side of the island. Plus, I don’t think Tyler wanted to get back on our original boat.
So, is the Blue Grotto worth seeing?
All four of us loved the experience, even Tyler, who wasn’t feeling well. Even with the crowds of people, the queasiness, and the expense of it, we are all glad we visited the Blue Grotto.
Before leaving Capri we took the chair lift in Anacapri to the top of Mount Solaro, for some of the best views of the island. This was a nice, relaxing break from the heat and the crowds of people, but this was a budget breaker as well, costing us 40 euros, or $55. It was worth it as well.
So, if you are planning on visiting the island of Capri, we would recommend putting the Blue Grotto on your list. We are all glad we did!
Things to Know About the Blue Grotto
Getting to the Blue Grotto
Once on the island of Capri, you can get to the Blue Grotto by boat or by bus.
Getting to the Blue Grotto by boat. You can book a tour with Motoscafisti or Laser Capri. Both companies offer round trip excursions to the Blue Grotto from Marina Grande or a tour of the entire island of Capri with a stop at the Blue Grotto. We used Motoscafisti and booked their Island Tour with a stop at the Blue Grotto.
To go from Marina Grande directly to the Blue Grotto and back to the marina, budget an hour (or more during peak season) of your time and expect to pay €15. If you prefer a tour that circles the entire island with a stop at the Blue Grotto, budget two hours of your time and expect to pay €18. Once at the Blue Grotto, you will have to pay an additional fee of €14 to enter the grotto (this fee is not included in the tour boat’s fee).
You also have the option to hire a private boat at Marina Grande. Prices average €150 for a two hour tour including time at the Blue Grotto.
Getting to the Blue Grotto by bus. From Anacapri, take the bus at Piazza Cimitero towards the Blue Grotto. At the last stop, take the stairs down to the entrance of the Blue Grotto. There is a queue here for rowboats into the grotto.
The Fee to Enter the Blue Grotto
In addition to the cost of getting to the Blue Grotto via boat or bus, there is an additional fee to board the rowboat that takes you into the grotto. The cost in August 2017 is €14 per person. Children under 6 years old free. Citizens of the EU under the age of 18 are also free. Tipping your rowboat skipper is at your discretion.
Best Time to Visit the Blue Grotto
It is best to visit the Blue Grotto on a sunny day between the hours of noon to 2 pm. This is the time when the sunlight illuminates the interior of the grotto the best. On a cloudy day, you will miss the experience of seeing the brilliant blue color that makes this grotto so famous.
The Blue Grotto is closed during winter months, although the grotto is open when the weather is mild. Contact Motoscafiti if you want to know if the grotto is open.
Is the Blue Grotto Open?
If the seas are rough the Blue Grotto will not be open. Every morning at 9 am, skippers arrive at the mouth of the Blue Grotto to check if it is safe to enter. For today’s forecast, visit the capri.com website.
Bring Dramamine if you are prone to seasickness
We learned this one the hard way, but fortunately Tyler never really got sick, he just felt bad for a little bit. If you are prone to seasickness, bring along some Dramamine, just in case you are bobbing in the water in the hot sun like we did.
Still Wondering if the Blue Grotto is worth it? Check out Tyler’s YouTube video:
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Want to learn more about traveling in Italy? Check out our Italy Travel Guide.