Blue Grotto and Emerald Grotto
Holidays to Amalfi can introduce you to some extraordinary wonders, such as the Blue Grotto and the Emerald Grotto. Italy has its fair share of natural beauty, but these two hotspots are right at the top of our list of must-see places.
While each delivers a different experience, both are worth visiting and are magical days out for families and couples alike. A favourite for celebrities and those wanting to treat themselves to a slice of the high life, Amalfi and the island of Capri offer beautiful beaches, picturesque villages, and all the glamour you might expect from this part of Italy.
However, away from the sun-kissed sands, exquisite restaurants, and rows of million-dollar yachts, the country has plenty of hidden surprises, including these two natural wonders.
The Blue Grotto
The more famous of the two is the Blue Grotto. It's a sea cave formed by thousands of years of erosion by the Tyrrhenian Sea. Known locally as the 'Grotta Azzurra', it's only accessible by boat. You'll begin your journey at the Marina Grande, Capri's main harbour, set at the base of Mount Solaro. There are several boat tours operating from here and it takes between 20 minutes and half an hour to reach the caves.
Because the opening to the Blue Grotto is quite small, you'll be met at its mouth by a small rowing boat. Climb in, sit back, and let your captain take you into the heart of the cave system.
Being inside the caves is like being inside a giant sapphire. Because of the way the sunlight shines through the sea and is then reflected onto the interior of the grotto, the walls and ceiling are alive with swirling and dancing shades of blue, turquoise, and purple. While it's not permitted to swim in the caves, this is certainly the time to get your camera out, as even the waters beneath you are a dazzling display of colours.
The Emerald Grotto
You'll find the Emerald Grotto slightly further away on the south coast of Italy, just east of Sorrento. If you're taking your Amalfi holidays on the mainland then you can drive to Positano, which is a cliffside village overlooking the sea. Once there, head to the harbour, where you can hop aboard a tour boat or commission a private boat to take you on your trip.
From Positano, it should only take around 15 minutes to get to the entrance of the caves. If you're not a fan of the open water, there are stairs along the cliff that will take you down to them. Alternatively, there is a lift, which will also take you down to the entrance.
Unlike the Blue Grotto, the time of day will dictate whether you're able to get into the Emerald Grotto. Italy's coastline can be challenging, and during high tide the mouth to the cave is completely underwater. It's only as the tide is going out that you'll be able to get into the cave. Tour operators will be able to tell you the best time to go.
As with its more famous counterpart, trips to the Emerald Grotto begin with a boat trip across the sea, before you're met by a row-boat to take you into the chamber itself. You'll need to get into the boat, whether you've arrived by sea, stairs, or clifftop elevator.
The interior of the Blue Grotto is different to the Emerald Grotto. Italy is famous for some unusual landmarks, and this natural wonder is definitely one of the most dynamic and enchanting. The sunlight through the sea turns the interior several shades of soft green, while in the Blue Grotto the blue tones are much deeper and more intense.
In addition, the ceiling of the grotto is filled with stalactites, which drip into the water. Both caves are superb sites for anyone on their holidays to Amalfi, and are the perfect opportunity for some fantastic photos.
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