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The Blue Cave, also known as the Blue Grotto, is one of the most renowned natural attractions in Croatia and a sight to behold. As you enter through a narrow rocky entrance, the inside of the cave shimmers with an ethereal blue hue, casting a magical glow all around you. The interplay of light and water creates a magical ambiance I can’t even begin to describe.
I have been fortunate enough to visit the Blue Cave before its fame or crowds and I can not begin to explain how incredible it was! These will always be cherished memories.
However, the cave’s natural beauty has transformed it into a popular tourist hotspot and my second visit there was worlds removed from the memories I had. Located on the secluded island of Bisevo, reaching the Blue Cave requires a bit of effort, but this doesn’t deter the crowds.
Although the Blue Cave has become a bit of a tourist trap, its mesmerizing blue beauty remains unparalleled and if you do it wisely, the Blue Cave will be an experience you won’t soon forget!
In this article, I’ll provide all the necessary information to plan your visit wisely, from transport options to tour suggestions and the best times to visit so that you can make the most of your visit.
What and where is the Blue Cave
The Blue Cave, known locally as Modra Spilja or Blue Grotto, is a sea cave on the island of Bisevo known for its incredible blue color. At certain times of the day, light spills in through a crack in the rock and shines off the water, illuminating the cave in a warm, blue glow.
The Blue Cave lay undiscovered to all except local fishermen until it was shown to painter Baron Eugen Von Ransonet in 1884. Von Ransonet suggested blasting a hole in the cave using dynamite to make an entrance for boats, and this is how you can still access it today.
This blue cavern is a phenomenal sight for nature lovers and photographers, but do bear in mind that it’s incredibly popular and can get very busy during peak season.
Where is the Blue Cave Croatia?
The Blue Cave is located in a small inlet called Bisun Bay on the tiny island of Bisevo in the Adriatic Sea. Bisevo Island is about 33 miles (70 km) southwest of Split and just a few miles west of Vis Island, the closest inhabited Croatian island.
Getting to the Blue Cave Croatia
Getting to the Blue Cave in Croatia can be a little complicated, which you’d think might deter tourists, but alas, it doesn’t stop the large crowds. However, with a little planning, you too can marvel at this natural wonder.
The simplest (and in my opinion best) way to get to the cave without any hassle is to take an organized speedboat tour. It’s easiest to get there from the nearby islands of Vis and Hvar, however, there are also Blue Cave tours from Split, Trogir, and Dubrovnik.
To get to the cave you first need to go to the ticket office at the small marina on Bisevo. This is where you’ll be dropped off if taking one of the many speedboat tours.
If you have your own boat for getting to the caves in Croatia, bear in mind that you must moor at the marina in Bisevo. You’ll then need to buy a ticket before being transported on one of the official, smaller boats to the cave.
Best time to visit the Blue Cave
The best time to visit Croatia’s Blue Cave is on a sunny day as the cave only glows when the sun shines through the crack.
Try to get there first thing in the morning, and if you can, visit off-season to avoid the worst of the crowds (unless you love crowds of course, in which case I recommend a Sunday afternoon in August).
How to pick the best tour of the Blue Cave
You’ll be happy to know there are a ton of tours to the Croatia Blue Grotto, but be aware that some are better than others. Certain tour companies can be pretty shady and just want to milk tourists dry (some don’t even offer water on board) and you’ll definitely want to avoid these.
Although I haven’t been able to do all the tours, I’ve gone through the reviews, spoken to operators and checked with other travelers so that I only recommend worthwhile experiences with trustworthy operators.
I’ll recommend some of the best ones below to get you started, but keep the below factors in mind when booking.
Consider your starting point (the closer, the better)
Picking the best Blue Cave tour will depend largely on where you are staying in Croatia. If you’re staying on Vis or Hvar, great, this means you can avoid the queues by getting there nice and early.
It also pays to be a bit closer as the speedboat ride can be bumpy, and no one wants a load of puke in their hair before visiting such a beautiful landmark (or ever, really)!
Find a comfortable vessel and read the reviews
Although the waters of the Adriatic are generally calm, it can get a little choppy so the larger the boat, the smoother the ride.
The speedboat rides can be a lot of fun though, so if you prefer a more high-octane way of reaching the Croatia caves, this is the option for you.
If you have any sort of back problems or tend to get seasick you’ll definitely want to opt for a larger vessel! If this is the case I recommend you take the ferry to Hvar or Vis and only do the last stretch on a tiny, unstable speedboat.
Check the forecast at sea
Depending on where you are starting out, it can be a long ride to Bisevo and if the weather is bad the ride can get even rougher than usual.
It doesn’t happen often, but if the waves are too big, it’s possible the tour might be canceled as the boats won’t be able to access the cave through the small opening.
If this is the case, your tour will be rescheduled for a calmer day so you don’t need to worry about becoming a castaway. That being said, it’s best to check before booking what options are available in the event that it’s too rough to go out and your Croatia itinerary doesn’t allow for rescheduling.
Keep in mind that visiting the Blue Cave is only worthwhile if it’s sunny as the whole spectacle only happens when the sun reflects off the blue waters of the cave.
Blue Cave Croatia from Split or Trogir
Taking a Blue Cave tour from Split, or nearby Trogir, is one of the most popular ways to get there, and you’ll definitely want to include Split on your Croatia itinerary. Just remember that you’ll be spending over an hour on a speedboat and it can be a bit choppy sometimes, so if you have the option to visit from a closer island (like Vis or Hvar) that makes more sense.
Travel time: 1hour30min – 2h by speedboat one way
Best Blue Cave Tours from Split
Here are some excellent tours from Split to the Bisevo Blue Cave including options that take in some of the other islands like Hvar, a luxury tour if you don’t fancy slumming it, and this fantastic Blue Cave tour with a grilled lunch (and ice cream!).
Book your Blue Cav tour from Split:
Blue Cave Croatia from Hvar
Visiting the Blue Cave from Hvar is an excellent option as it’s a shorter journey than from Split. And you really should spend a bit of time on Hvar for its secluded beaches, rich history and lit party scene.
Travel time: 45-50min by speedboat one way
Best Blue Cave Tours from Hvar
There are a few options from Hvar to the Blue Grotto Croatia including this experience which includes the Blue and Green caves, and trips to Budikovac, Stiniva, and Palmizana beaches on the Pakleni Islands where you can cool off with a dip or go snorkeling.
Book your Blue Cav tour from Hvar:
Blue Cave Croatia from Dubrovnik
Personally, I wouldn’t want to do the trip all the way from Dubrovnik as the journey takes over two hours and the ride is like sitting inside a washing machine. However, if you’re in Dubrovnik and short on time, and really (really) want to see the cave, then there are plenty of people willing to take your money.
Travel time: 2-3hours by speedboat one way
Best Blue Cave Tours from Dubrovnik
If you choose to do the long trip from Dubrovnik to the Blue Cave why not make a day out of it and visit the stunning Elaphiti Islands as well? This Elaphiti Islands & Blue Cave tour offers a comfortable boat, lunch, and unlimited drinks for a very affordable price, and you get to explore multiple islands and bays where you can snorkel or swim.
Book your Blue Cave tour from Dubrovnik:
Blue Cave Croatia from Vis
Getting from Vis to Blue Cave is simple as it’s the closest island to Bisevo. There are daily foot passenger ferries from Komiza on Vis to Bisevo during peak season and three or four sailings per week the rest of the year.
There’s no option to book online, so you’ll need to buy your tickets at the port in Komiza, and if you wish to join a tour from Vis, you’ll also need to book that in situ.
Travel time: 1hour15min by ferry one way
Best Blue Cave Tours from Vis
The Alternatura tourist agency offers half-day group tours from Vis and has hourly ferries across the short straight. There’s a booking form on their website or you can pop into their offices in the center of Komiza.
Are the blue caves worth it?
So, after all that, is the Blue Cave Croatia worth a visit? That’ll largely depend on your ability to tolerate crowds (an ability that I lack). There’s no denying it really is a beautiful sight, but with queues that stretch for miles (there could be up to 700 people in front of you), it does reduce the magic of the place somewhat.
With all that being said, plenty of people visit the Blue Cave and have a great time, especially as some tours include food and drinks, visits to secluded beaches and snorkeling. If you do go, just try and book the earliest tour possible and go out of season.
Blue Cave FAQ
Can you swim in Blue Cave?
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to swim in the Blue Cave itself, and with the conveyor belt of tourist boats coming in and out it just wouldn’t be safe to do so. You can swim near the ticket office while waiting for your turn and most of the Blue Cave tours include swimming at some gorgeous beaches, so if you’re intent on getting wet, you can do so.
How long is the Blue Cave tour?
When you visit the Blue Grotto you’ll get about five minutes to go “ooh” and “ahhh” before the boat turns around and lets the next lot of cattle, I mean people, in.
So although many of the tours sell themselves as “half-day” or “full-day”, realistically you’re only going to have a few minutes in the cave itself. The busier it gets, the shorter the time you’ll have inside, so do bear that in mind when booking a tour.
Why is the Blue Cave in Croatia blue?
The Blue Cave in Croatia is blue thanks to sunlight that pierces the cave roof and illuminates the water. This then reflects around the cave causing it to glow blue. There’s also a green cave in Croatia that’s similar but sees way fewer tourists (and you can even swim inside).
How long is the wait at the Blue Cave Croatia?
The wait to get inside the Blue Cave Croatia can be anything from ten minutes (if you’re lucky to be one of the first) to up to two or three hours depending on the season. Obviously, during peak season the wait is going to be longer.
How do I get to the Blue Cave in Croatia?
The best way to get to the Blue Cave in Croatia is to take a tour and these depart from Split, Hvar, Vis, and even Dubrovnik. Since Split and Dubrovnik are quite far and the speedboat ride can be rough, I recommend spending a few days on Hvar and doing the tour from here. You can also take your own boat to the island of Bisevo and go to the ticket office to book a place.
Best time to visit Croatia
The best time to visit Croatia is in late spring or early autumn when the weather is pleasant and the crowds (and prices) are manageable. September is the best month to visit Croatia since the weather is pleasant, the sea is warm and it is not as busy as during the summer holidays.
Croatia is a stunning country best known for its beautiful coastline, breathtaking islands, historic coastal towns and lush National Parks filled with lakes and waterfalls. You’ll want warm and sunny weather to best enjoy the beautiful landscapes. However, summer can get incredibly hot and even more crowded so keep this in mind if visiting in July or August.
Planning a trip to Croatia?
Croatia is a stunning country with countless gorgeous islands, charming roman towns, beautiful nature, and delicious food. To help you plan your trip I’ve prepared a series of Croatia travel guides. And for an easy plug & play solution make sure to check out my Croatia itinerary (coming soon).