Online guide to visiting Blue Grotto caves in Malta

A colourful geological cave


Wied Hoxt, Il-Qrendi, Malta

GPS: 35.82034613679, 14.453246300042

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Located at the southern tip of the island of Malta, not far from the town of Zurrieq, the Blue Grotto was carved out over geological time by what is now an often tranquil ocean. About 238 metres long, this natural complex of caves at sea level comprises a series of seven huge caverns accessible by boat within a rocky cliff: Cat’s Cave, Filfla Cave, Reflection Cave, Window Cave, Circle Cave, Honeymoon Cave and Blue Window Cave. Upon entering the flooded caverns by boat, the effect of sunlight shining into the entrance of the cave and onto and through the seawater creates entrancing patterns, illuminations and shades of colour that attract visitors to marvel at this natural spectacle.

The Blue Grotto is surrounded by turquoise water and a beautiful seascape. It was named by a contingent of the British Army, based in Malta in the 1950s, because of its close resemblance to the Grotta Azzurra in Capri, near Naples, Italy. It is one of Malta’s most popular and most visited attractions, along with the archaeological sites of the archipelago. In addition to the play of colours and mirrors created by the sun’s rays, the Blue Grotto fascinates visitors just as much with its rock-sculpted cliff coastline.

An official committee, based at the small fishing port in the village of Wied iż-Żurrieq, brings together all the boat operators. Named the Blue Grotto Boat Service, it is responsible for regulating all excursions to the cave. Only accessible by sea, the Blue Grotto can be explored in small boats near the beginning of the day to take advantage of the sunlight shining into the entrance of the caves. As you sail through the depths, you will be amazed by the shades of colour, the mirror effects and the transparency of the water. Diving and climbing are well developed around the site and can be combined with a visit to the Blue Grotto. To the west of the cave, the archaeological remains of Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra are also worth a visit. They consist of a group of megalithic temples over 5,000 years old and are inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List along with the other prehistoric sites found in Malta’s island chain (Ġgantija, Skorba, Ta’ Ħaġrat and Tarxien).

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  • The spectacular natural landscape of the Maltese coast and the depth of the Blue Grotto
  • The many shades of blue created by the interplay of the sunlight with the water
  • The huge limestone arches over 40 metres high at the entrance to the cave
  • The underwater flora and the reef rich in corals; the aquatic fauna abundant in fish, octopus, shrimps…
  • The luzzus, typical Maltese fishing boats, beautifully coloured
  • In the immediate vicinity, the Wied Babu climbing and hiking site (breathtaking views over the bay); Um El Faroud diving site (artificial reef); Għar Lapsi swimming area (small intimate cove rich in marine life); the Xarolla Windmill Museum in the town of Zurrieq (very well preserved, this is the last remaining windmill on the island)
  • The fabulous archaeological remains of Ħaġar Qim (Neolithic site) and Mnajdra (megalithic temple complex), located only a few kilometres from the Blue Grotto site; the orchards surrounding the town of Siġġiewi (or Is-Siġġiewi) and The Limestone Heritage Museum (former stone quarry)
  • The small island of Filfla, visible in the distance (a nature reserve that cannot be visited, inhabited by birds and a unique species of lizard)
  • The weekly market in the fishing village of Marsaxlokk (Sundays) and its pretty bay; the Malta Falconry Centre in Is-Siġġiewi
  • Falconry, which had completely disappeared, is experiencing a revival on the island of Malta. Falconry was a popular activity in the Middle Ages (from the 13th century) until Malta’s annexation by the British Empire in the 19th century. The return of this ancient art aims to reintroduce various species of birds of prey such as the peregrine falcon (or Maltese falcon) to the island of Malta.
  • In the 16th century, the Hospitallers of the Order of St John of Jerusalem had to donate a peregrine falcon each year to King Charles I of Spain (Charles V) in order to continue to enjoy the island of Malta. In return, this religious and military order had to defend these island lands against Ottoman threats in the Mediterranean.
  • Several scenes from the 2004 film Troy, starring Brad Pitt, were shot around the site of the Blue Grotto.
  • If possible, visit this natural site in the morning to enjoy the best of the sun’s reflection off the sea and into the Blue Grotto.
  • Swimming or snorkelling can be a great way to further explore the beautiful setting and clear waters of this part of Malta’s coastline.
  • In case of swell or high tides, access to the Blue Grotto may be compromised.

Where to eat

  • Blue Cave Bar and Restaurant
    (fast and typical)
  • Il corsaro
    (divine seafood)
  • L-ghenba wine and art
    (traditional wine bar)

Where to go

  • Malta Falconry Centre
    (fascinating flying creatures)
  • Bezz Diving Centre
    (discovering marine life)
  • Il-Maqluba
    (spectacular abyss)

Where to stay

  • Ta' Bertu
    (lovely bed & breakfast)
  • Maple Farm B&B Malta
    (haven of peace)
  • Villa Munqar
    (prestigious address)