Sail away to the exotic Blue Cave Croatia and be prepared to be enchanted by its illuminating waters.
Croatia’s epic Blue Cave is located at Bisevo Island, but you should know it is impossible to visit the cave yourself.
Luckily, there are tours that are specially designed to take you to this magical Blue Cave and ensure your time there is safe and enjoyable. This small aquatic oasis is visited by thousands each year and is an optimal day trip from one of the nearby ports at Split, Hvar, or Vis! This guide covers everything you need to know about visiting the Blue Cave in Croatia including how to get there, when to visit, what to bring with you, and more.
Being one of the only blue illuminating caves in the entire world, you won’t be disappointed when you carve out a day to visit this alluring grotto on the Dalmatian Coast!
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All You Need to Know About the Blue Cave in Croatia
What is the Blue Cave?
The water of the Blue Cave is unfortunately not some kind of magical luminescent water. Although it looks like the insides of a wizard’s cauldron, the Blue Cave gets its color from the refraction of light, bouncing off the seabed. The circumstances of this cave are unusually lucky that there is a small crack in the cave allowing a tiny sliver of light to seep through. The light then bounces off the seafloor and lights up the entire cave in a neon cerulean color.
The History of the Blue Cave
This natural geomorphic wonder has been carved out by prolonged erosion from seawater battering against the limestone walls. Up until 1884, it is rumored local fishermen only knew the cave. But in 1884, Don Juraj Mateo Brajcin revealed the cave to Baron Eugene von Ransonet, who then proceeded to make the cave more publicly known.
Later in 1884, they blasted a larger entrance in the side of the limestone using dynamite so that small boats could enter the cave. This entrance was kept small on purpose to preserve the illusion of the cave. If the entrance was too big, the reflection could lose some magnificence. The small dynamite blasted entrance is the entrance that is still used today.
In the late 1800s, the Baron returned to Austria and spoke to the newspapers about the cave, comparing it to the Blue Grotto in Capri, Italy. It wasn’t long after this that tourists began to visit the region and go on tours to the cave to see this newfound wonder. During these times, travelers would pack into small wooden boats and access the cave through the artificial entrance.
Not much has changed since the cave entrance is only 1.5 meters high, by 2.5 meters wide! Today the boats you hop in to get inside the cave are rubber but similar in size to these 19th-century wooden boats.
How to Get to the Blue Cave in Croatia
Before you decide to visit the Blue Cave on a whim, there are a few things you need to know about getting there.
First of all, no matter where your tour embarks from, the tours are entirely weather dependent since the cave is not accessible in rough seas. If the water level is too high in the cave, tour operators deem it unsafe to visit, and the tours will not run.
So if you have a few sunny days at the beginning of your trip, it may be best to do this early on in your Croatian itinerary. It’s also a good idea to do this excursion earlier in your trip in case the tour is canceled due to high water levels; then you will have time to reschedule.
Remember, you can only visit the Blue Cave via an organized tour. Tours can cost on average around 100 Euros (if you’re coming from a further port like Split or Hvar), so it’s a good idea to do some research and shop around to find exactly which tour will suit your needs and budget the best.
Where is the Blue Cave in Croatia?
This azure wonder is located on Bisevo Island, which also happens to be the most remote island of the Dalmatian archipelago. Luckily, tours operate out of some of the larger nearby towns, including Split, Hvar, and Vis.
Getting to the Blue Cave from Split
As one of the largest cities in Croatia, Split is a perfect jumping-off point to visit the Blue Cave. Every year, travelers flock to this famous seaside city for the ever-popular Riva waterfront (bar and restaurant-lined seafront), the incredible atmosphere of a city built inside an ancient palace, and for its central location in southern Croatia as the perfect place to take day trips from.
From Split, you will likely find a considerable variety of tour operators since Split is a large city. You can do a bit of research and book a Blue Cave Split Tour online, or take a stroll down the Riva and see the tour operator kiosks displayed to find out more information from the representatives.
Keep in mind, if you are staying in Split and want to visit the Blue Cave from Split, it will take about 1.5 hours to get to the Blue Cave. Most tours operate by speed boat to get you over to Bisevo as quickly as possible (which is fun in itself), and will also include a few stops at other locations along the way or on the way back from the cave in order to make the trip worth it!
Getting to the Blue Cave from Hvar
If you’re spending your Croatian vacation on the luxury island of Hvar, it is possible to get to the Blue Cave from the Hvar Marina in 1 hour.
Hvar is a conveniently located central Island in the Dalmatian Archipelago, where celebrities and tourists alike go to play. This exotic isle is a popular place to enjoy the beach, the quaint cobbled streets of the old town, and to party late into the evening, especially in the summer months.
Tours to the Blue Cave also operate out of here regularly and will include stops to other picturesque coves and bays along the way. The price of a tour to the Blue Cave from Hvar will vary, but prices start at rates slightly cheaper (from 80 Euro) than those that embark from Split since Hvar is a bit closer to the cave. However, there are also tours from Hvar that offer private services if you are looking to spend a day on a speed boat exclusively for your party.
Getting to the Blue Cave from Vis
The island of Vis is located on the outskirts of the Dalmatian archipelago and is closest to the Blue Cave. Bisevo (the small islet that the Blue Cave is located on) is just a quick 20-minute journey away by speedboat.
Vis is an extremely picturesque island that offers visitors more of an insight into local island life. The island offers a slower pace of travel and sleepy little seaside taverns, as well as a beautiful hilltop fort that looks over the Adriatic. If you’re a fan of the “Mamma Mia” series, you’ll recognize this island as one of the prominent filming locations for “Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again”.
Vis blue cave tours are the most reasonably priced options since the cave is just a short boat ride away, with tours starting at around 25 Euro leaving from Komiza Town.
Tours from Vis can range from quick trips to half-day and full-day trips depending on the operator, and the locations visited.
Things to Know at the Blue Cave
A trip to the Blue Cave will send seafaring lovers into paradise. Flying across the water on a speedboat to a remote azure cave, passing islands and sea life along the way, is an adventure you will never forget! Once you book your tour, you’ll be excited to get on your way, but there are a few things you should remember before you hop on the boat.
Entrance to the Cave and Entrance Price
The tour you book to the Blue Cave may or may not include the price of the ticket (read the terms of your tour and what’s included before you book so you can plan in advance!). Usually, the entrance fee to the cave is included in the booking price, and the tour guides will buy the tickets once you get to the island.
In case your tickets are not included in your tour, entrance to the Blue Cave costs 13.50 Euros in the high summer months and 9.50 Euros in the off-season.
Keep in mind, you will transfer to a different boat once you reach Bisevo. Your speed boat will dock at the island and once your tour guide purchases your ticket, you will embark in one of the small rubber boats, 12 at a time, to enter the cave.
Swimming at the Blue Cave in Croatia
Swimming is not permitted in the cave, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your swimsuit at home. Tours will generally make plenty of stops at beautiful coves where you can hop off the boat and go for a quick swim or a snorkel.
Swimming is not permitted at the Blue Cave because it can be dangerous, so it’s best not even to ask your tour guide if you can hop in quickly; they will say no. The conditions inside the cave can change rapidly, and the cave is tiny. So just enjoy the sights of the luminescent blue waters and save your swimming adventures for later on in the tour.
You will also have the opportunity to take a few photos from the boat, so you will still get that insta-perfect picture even without being in the water!
What to Bring With You
Depending on the duration of your tour, where your tour takes off from, you may be out on the water for just a few hours or potentially all day. The summer sun is no joke when you’re out on a boat sailing across the bays and inlets of the archipelago, so make sure to definitely bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
Check with the tour that you book if lunch and snacks are included. Either way, it’s still a good idea to bring snacks and plenty of water with you even if your tour offers this since there will be times you are off your boat, and it’s always nice to have your own things with you. Here’s a quick packing list of what to bring on your trip to the Blue Cave:
- A jacket (it can get very windy out on the water in a speedboat, and maybe even a bit chilly when you’re racing back in the evening so bring a light jacket or windbreaker just in case!)
- Wallet/money (in case you will buy lunch or dinner at a restaurant while out)
- And potentially some seasickness medication if you are prone to motion sickness. The ride on a speedboat across the water can be a bit bumpy sometimes!
Visiting Bisevo Island
Bisevo Island is the home of the Blue Cave, but keep in mind there aren’t too many areas to explore on the Island itself since it is predominantly maintained only for Blue Cave tourism purposes.
Bisevo is a small limestone island with a population of just 15 people. There are no hotels or accommodations on the Island, so it is not possible to stay the night. Instead, it’s better to stay on the island of Vis, just 20 minutes away.
There are a few small sandy beaches on the Island (Porat and Salbunara beach) where your tour may allow you to relax and swim for a bit. Beyond this, there is not much on the island of Bisevo, so keep in mind you won’t find an abundance of bars and restaurants here.
You can travel to Bisevo island by ferry from Vis, but you will still then have to pay your own way and book a tour on one of the special rubber boats to visit the cave.
When to Visit the Blue Cave
The majority of tours to the Blue Cave operate during the summer months, but you can visit the cave year-round. However, since the cave is only accessible when the weather and sea are cooperating, it’s best to visit this azure oasis during the summer months to assure the best weather and minimize the likelihood that your tour will be canceled.
Most tours operate daily from April through October, with the peak season (and higher prices) being in July and August. With this peak season also comes the peak Croatian heat. So ideally, you may want to visit the Blue Cave during the shoulder months of June or September to assure some optimal weather and slightly small crowds.
Blue Cave in Croatia: Final Thoughts
The Blue Cave will seriously blow your mind when you see how electric the water looks. The tours inside the cave itself may only last up to 15 minutes, but those 15 minutes will live in your memory forever! Not to mention the adventure you’ll embark on to get there and the wind in your hair, zipping across the water on a speed boat.
You’ll surely not regret your trip to this blue-green oasis and your entire Blue Cave tour.
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