Here are the best Blue Cave tours that depart from Split or Hvar. PLUS – our local advice on what you should pay attention to and how to choose a day trip to the most famous Blue Cave in Croatia.
On the Croatian Island of Bisevo, in a bay called Balun, lies the Blue Grotto sea cave, also known as the Blue Cave. It’s one of 26 caves on the tiny island, and this spectacular natural phenomenon is without question one of the best caves in Croatia.
Bisevo Island is composed of limestone rock and is inhabited by just a handful of people all year round. The cave, formed by erosion from the Adriatic Sea, is best visited around 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day, depending on the time of year you visit, to appreciate its beauty fully.
Once at the cave, you’ll be struck by the piercing blue hues of the cave, caused by sunlight reflecting through the water and bouncing off the white limestone bottom.
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Blue Cave Tour Details & FAQs
How And When Was The Cave Discovered?
Explorer, painter, and adventurer Baron Eugen von Ransonnet first discovered the Blue Cave in the early 1880s. He stumbled upon it during a diving expedition and was immediately captivated by it. By then, the cave was only accessible by diving because its only natural cave entrance was below sea level.
The Baron suggested that an artificial opening be made to enable small boats to access the cave.
After blasting off part of the rock using dynamite, a small entrance about 2.5 meters wide and 1.5 meters high was created in 1884. It is through this cave entrance that people can access the cave.
Many new tourist agencies have popped up, with an increasing number of visitors heading to Split each year.
There are dozens of day trip agencies offering Blue Cave day tours, and if you are even remotely thinking about taking a cave boat tour through the Blue Cave, here are a few things to know before you book a tour.
Blue Cave Tour Distance From Split
The core attraction on any one of these tours is, of course, the Blue Cave. If you’re like me, you might be wondering how to find a tour to see just the Blue Cave, right?
Well, the thing to note here is that the Blue Cave is located on the farthest territorial point on the Croatian Adriatic Coast, which is a long way to go to spend 5 minutes in a cave and return.
Plus, to get to the Blue Cave and back in one trip from Split, you need to get there by speedboat, which takes 1.5 hours one way. As you can imagine, going on a day trip on a speedboat uses a lot of fuel, which costs a pretty penny.
So, to give you an excellent return for your hundred-plus euros, the vendors arrange other stops along the way to help you feel like you are getting value for money.
If you don’t want to be on a Vis Blue Cave tour with others, you could book a private tour like this.
A Longer Tour Is Not Always The Best Option
Many agencies in Split want to differentiate their offer from others, so they add additional destinations. But let’s be honest, five stops are enough!
Don’t be tricked into booking a tour with any more stops. All you will do is spend a really long time on the boat and less time exploring each destination.
Out of the 10+ hours a day trip like this takes, you’ll spend about 4 hours in the speed boat and approximately 6 hours touring the destinations. So, any extra stops will reduce the time for swimming and exploring. Who wants to spend more time on the boat than at the destinations? No one!
We advise choosing a program that includes a maximum of five destinations.
Check Reviews Before Booking
Sadly, a few greedy agencies in Croatia will make false promises, like promising you can go swimming with dolphins. As you know, dolphins are wild animals, so that can’t be guaranteed.
Other day trip vendors will overpromise you the amount of time you can spend in the cave. One way to find a good agency is to read independent reviews on Get Your Guide here or Viator here.
Getting To The Blue Cave On Your Own
There are no hotels or accommodations on Bisevo Island, where the Blue Cave is located (around 70km from Split), so it’s only possible to visit on a day trip. You can also visit from Trogir or Hvar via a speedboat tour, which should take around an hour. From Split or Trogir, it will take around 1.5 hours to arrive.
The other option is to use the taxi boat from the town of Komiža on the Island of Vis. From there, it will take you 15 minutes to arrive.
Of course, the easiest and best way is to take an organized trip to eliminate transportation stress.
Regardless of how you choose to arrive, there is only one way into the cave: via the small boats run by the site. These last for 15 minutes at the most, so you need to keep your eyes peeled!
If you’re not taking an organized tour and visiting on your own steam, you’ll need to know the admission fee to get inside the cave.
Thankfully, the price is relatively low for such an amazing experience.
High Season Is Extremely Busy
As you can imagine, this spot’s beauty will always attract visitors, and during the peak summer months of July and August, you may be in for a much longer wait to enter the cave. For that reason, if possible, try to visit outside of these months if you can.
May, June, September, and October are quieter months that still give you the most optimal weather conditions without all the waiting around.
There Are Times When You Can’t Enter The Blue Cave
There are certain times when it’s not possible to enter the cave. Remember, this is a natural sea cave, and the opening is tiny, at around just 1 meter in height. It’s unlikely that your trip will be in vain if you visit during the spring and summer months. During these times, weather and sea conditions are usually perfectly fine.
However, if you visit outside of those times, particularly towards the end of autumn, your trip may be delayed or canceled.
If the wind is mighty, the waves will be too high, and it is too dangerous to attempt to get inside the cave. At the same time,e you may not know when you set off what the weather will be like; you can usually check online the day before and understand whether there may be a potential problem. Then you can make your decision.
If you choose a tour, you will get a full refund on your cave ticket, although the boat fees will probably still be payable. This is because you won’t usually know that you can’t get inside until you arrive. However, the boat to the cave still shows you some awe-inspiring scenery, so you won’t completely miss out.
Best Time Of Day To Visit
If possible, time your visit so that you enter the cave between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. This is when the light really shows the colors inside the cave to the best of their ability.
However, you won’t be disappointed at any time, as the bright blue of the water is something to take your breath away.
There Will Be A Long Wait Getting Into The Cave
Before you head into the caves, you will spend an hour waiting in a queue. On some days, your wait will will be much less, and on others, more. You will wait near the island of Biševo for your turn to enter and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Blue Cave -which will be worth the waiting time.
Usually, your Blue Cave tickets will be bought on your behalf by your skipper. While you wait, you can enjoy the beautiful views of the crystal-clear sea, chilling out.
The Blue Cave Is Small But Impressive
You may need to wait a short while before your boat can enter the cave because it is so tiny, which makes it so unique! The entrance to the cave is just 1 meter high, but once inside, it opens up to 14 meters in height.
The cave is only 24 meters long, and the water is 12 meters deep.
Once inside, you can take photographs, but you cannot use the flash. However, don’t worry about lighting; there is enough natural light inside to give you great photos anyway. Of course, do not lean outside of your boat when taking photographs.
You Can’t Stay In The Blue Cave For Long
You should know that the time you can spend in the caves is decided not by your captain but by the concessionaire, who limits the stay in the cave to just 5-15 minutes per boat. Do not be fooled by anyone selling you a tour package that advertises that you can stay longer. That is not true.
You Can’t Swim In The Blue Cave
The Croatia Blue Grotto is protected, so the answer to the question “Can you swim in the Blue Grotto?” is a firm “no.” You will see some photos of people swimming, but trust me, you can’t. Instead, you could swim nearby while waiting your turn to enter the cave.
You Can’t Take Your Boat Inside
Sorry, after reading all of this, I know you are probably thinking, stuff it – you’ll go on your own – but you can’t.
When you return from your Vis Blue Cave tour (or if you’ve already been), let us know any other tips we should add in the comments below.