If you’re thinking of having an adventure in sea caves of Southern Italy, then Emerald Grotto and Blue Grotto are two good choices.
So, between Emerald Grotto vs Blue Grotto, which sea cave should you visit?
Emerald Grotto offers a close look at the stalactites and stalagmites that embellish the cave and the illuminating emerald-green water. Conversely, Blue Grotto allows a closer look at the underwater marine life in the mesmerizing blue reflection that brightens the cavern. Both grottos are accessible by bus, car, or boat. The Blue Grotto, however, charges a higher entrance fee than the Emerald Grotto.
Want to know more details about the Grotto to make an informed decision? Well then let’s dive straight into the Grotto details.
Emerald Grotto vs Blue Grotto: Quick Comparison
Here is a quick overview to pick one of these Grotto to add to your travel itinerary while visiting Italy–
|Emerald Grotto or Grotto dello Smeraldo
|Blue Grotto or Grotto Azzurra
|Conca dei Marini, Amalfi Coast, Italy
|Capri Island, Gulf of Naples, Italy
|How to get there
|Boat or bus
|Duration of the trip
|9:30 am – 4 pm(May-Sept)
|8:30 am- 5 pm (April- Oct)8:30 am – 2 pm (Nov- Mar)
|Best time to Visit
|Early morning & noon
|More crowded due to the small proximity
Natural Lighting & Cave Features
|Greenish hues reflect off the water.
Stalactites, stalagmites, and other calcareous formations
|Mesmerizing blue light fills the entire cave.
Allows a clear view of the rocky seabed and marine life below
|Cost (per person)
|Round trip 10 eurocave entrance 7 euro
Cave entrance 18 euro
Emerald Grotto vs Blue Grotto: A Detailed Discussion
Now let’s look over the differences in experience while visiting these two Grotto in detail-
Both of these grottos are located in Southern Italy.
Mostly known as the Grotta dello Smeraldo by local residents, Emerald Grotto is located in Conca dei Marini. It is right between the Amalfi Coast and Positano.
Blue Grotto also known as Grotta Azzurra, is on the coast of the historical island of Capri.
How to Get There
You can get to Blue Grotto by land or cruise. Contrarily, along with the usual means of transportation like boat and bus, you can also drive to Emerald Grotto.
You can reach the Emerald Grotto by both land and sea.
You can take your car and drive to the Conca dei Marini. Along the SS 163 highway, you can park your car and take the stairs to the entrance. There’s also an elevator to reach the entrance of Emerald Grotto.
If you are taking the bus then it will drop you at the Conca Grotta Smeraldo stop. And from there you can take the stairs to the entrance.
Amalfi, Positano, and other towns along the Amalfi Coast have various ferry and boat tours that have Emerald Grotto stops.
Once you reach the Grotto entrance you can purchase tickets for the small boats. These boats have guided tours of the Grotto.
You can get to the Grotto Azzurra by bus, tour boat, or private boat.
But these boats will take you only to the entrance of the cave. Because of the really narrow entrance of Blue Grotto, you will have to take the small rowboats from there.
If you’re traveling by private boat, you can anchor close to the cave and access the rowboats from there. Some people prefer to hire private gozzo with a skipper from Marina Grande port.
This way they don’t have to wait long for the rowboats to come and get them from the buoys.
The bus for Blue Grotto starts from Piazza della Pace. You will be taken directly to the stairs that lead to the seaside. Rowboats for entering the grotto will be available from there.
Duration of Trip
The Duration of the Blue Grotto trip is 5-7 minutes whereas it is 30 minutes for Emerald Grotto.
The complete Capri Island trip with the Blue Grotto stop will take around two hours. But roundtrip is only 1 hour.
Round Trip to Emerald Grotto on the other hand will take 1.5 hours approximately. And if you are going for the entire coastline tour with Emerald Grotto stop it will take several hours.
Opening Hours & Best Time to Visit
Opening hours for Emerald Grotto are from 9:30 am until 4 pm. For Blue Grotto, it is 8:30 am to 5 pm. The best time to visit both Grottos is a sunny day with a calm sea to ensure complete safety.
The Emerald Grotto is open from May to September only. The color of the cave water and artificial nativity scene is most vivid from noon to 3 pm. To avoid excessive crowds in the cave try to avoid visiting the Emerald Grotto during the summer holidays.
Contrarily, the Blue Grotto is open all year round but the opening hours vary from November to March. From November 1st to 31st of March the Grotto is closed earlier at 2 pm.
For the most scenic view of the Blue Grotto, it’s recommended to visit the Grotto during early morning and noon. Opening hours of the Grotto can change at any moment depending on the wave motion, tides, and solar radiation.
Both Grottos have mesmerizing water that makes you want to swim. However, swimming in Blue Grotto is strictly prohibited. But for Emerald Grotto, there’s no such restriction.
Natural Lighting & Cave Features
Inside the Emerald Grotto lighting is more subdued, with greenish hues reflecting off the water. This is due to the sunlight filtering through an underwater opening.
In Blue Grotto’s case, sunlight passing through the underwater cavity creates the mesmerizing blue light that fills the entire cave.
Stalactites, stalagmites, and other calcareous formations have developed over centuries in the Emerald Grotto.
On the other hand, the Blue Grotto has remarkably clear and still water. This allows visitors to see the rocky seabed and marine life below along with the radiant blue glow surrounding them
The Entrance fee for Blue Grotto is 18 Euro whereas it is only 7 euros for Emerald Grotto.
However, children under age 6 and citizens of the EU under age 18 can enter the Blue Grotto for free. Citizens of the EU aged between 18-25 also get a 50 % discount on the entrance ticket.
Round Trip around the island of Capri with Blue Grotto stop usually costs around 21 Euro per person in tour boats. You can also hire private boats and the rate for a two-hour tour starts from 200 Euros.
Alternatively, tour boats from Amalfi Coast to Emerald Grotto will cost 10 Euro per person for the roundtrip. The entrance fee is not added to this cost. The best option for Emerald Grotto is to hire a private boat. These usually tour the entire coast along with a stop at Emerald Grotto.
The cost of visiting will vary depending on how you get there, just like it does for Praiano and Positano.
Emerald Grotto vs Blue Grotto: Which Sea Cave is Better?
Ultimately it comes down to personal preference on which sea cave would be better for you. If time and money is no issue then we definitely suggest visiting both of these mesmerizing natural beauty.
Pick the Emerald Grotto if you appreciate the subtler beauty of greenish hues reflecting off the water. Along with that, you’ll be able to closely inspect the cave features like the geological formations of stalactites and stalagmites.
Pick the Blue Grotto if you want to explore marine life underwater in the magical play of vibrant blue light. But make sure you are not claustrophobic.
What Is The Depth of The Water at Blue Grotto?
The depth of the water at Blue Grotto is 150 meters. The Grotto in total is 25 meters wide and 60 meters long. It is also one of the reasons why the authorities prohibited swimming there.
Is Blue Grotto Known to Be Haunted?
No, Blue Grotto is not haunted. But initially, it was thought to be a haunted cave during the time of Roman Emperor Tiberius. Local residents and visitors would avoid the cave because of this.
What’s The Refund Policy for Private Boat to Emerald Grotto?
You can get a full refund of your Private Boat Tours booking. But you must cancel at least 24 hours before the departure time. Talk to customer service about the refund policy and their specific timelines beforehand.
That’s the end of our discussion on Emerald Grotto vs Blue Grotto.
Whether you are drawn to the serene greens or the enchanting blues, both caves promise to leave you mesmerized. Hopefully, you were able to differentiate them and picked one of the Grotto as your next travel stop.
Until Next Time!