A complete guide to visiting the famous Blue Cave in Croatia (Biševo Island Blue Grotto). Includes information on how to get here, what to expect, and some great photos of this magnificent blue light cavern!
If you’re traveling in Croatia, then chances are you’ve heard about the otherworldly natural phenomenon known as Croatia’s Blue Cave.
This is truly one of the most beautiful attractions in the country and one you should definitely add to your bucket list!
In this guide, I’ll reveal to you everything you need to know about visiting the cave, including how to get here from popular Dalmatian tourist regions like Split, Vis Island, Hvar Island, and Dubrovnik.
- About the Famous Blue Cave in Croatia (Modra Špilja)
- Where is the Blue Cave?
- How to Visit the Blue Cave on Bisevo Island
- How did the Blue Cave form? – A Brief History
- What to Expect Visiting the Croatian Blue Cave
- How to Take Photos Inside the Blue cave
- Is the Blue Cave in Croatia Worth it?
- More Things to do on the Island of Biševo
- Where to Stay in Split
- FAQs About Croatia’s Blue Cave
- More Croatia Travel Guides
About the Famous Blue Cave in Croatia (Modra Špilja)
The Blue Cave or Blue Grotto (Modra Šilja) is a famous sea cave in Croatia located on the small island of Biševo, just off the coast of Vis on the Dalmatian Coast.
The cave is completely water-logged, and only accessible via a small boat through a very narrow entrance. It's famous for its remarkable blue light, caused by the sun's rays reflecting off the white floor of the cave and bouncing onto the limestone rock walls inside.
Quick Answer: #1 Blue Cave Tour From Split
Looking for the best way to visit the Blue Cave from Split? By far, the best-rated and most cost-effective option is to book the popular 5-island tour.
Where is the Blue Cave?
You'll find the famous Blue Cave on the tiny island of Biševo, located in the Adriatic Sea, approximately 44 nautical miles from Split. The cave entrance is just behind Balun Cove, a small cove on the eastern side of the island and only accessible via boat.
Biševo is quite a remote island, just a little further out from the settlement of Komiža on neighboring Vis (the furthest of the main Croatian islands from the mainland).
- Google Maps Pin: "Blue Grotto - Modra Špilja"
There are only 12 inhabitants on this tiny island, and nearly all work in tourism related to the Blue Cave and other natural attractions on their little slice of paradise.
Biševo Island is part of the UNESCO Global Geopark zone called Geopark Vis Archipelago, protecting one of the last paradise oases in the Mediterranean and also comprises Jabuka, Svetac, Brusnik, Vis, Susac, Lastovo, Palagruža, and Mljet Islands.
How to Visit the Blue Cave on Bisevo Island
Due to the remote location, the easiest way to visit the Blue Cave is by booking a day trip from Split, Hvar, Vis, or Dubrovnik.
However, it doesn't make much sense to go all the way out here just to see the Blue Cave. Instead, to make the most out of a trip, the best option is to book a 5 Island Speed Boat Tour.
These trips offer the most bang-for-buck and will stop at other worthwhile attractions and usually run for around 10-12 hours.
Each one includes a local tour guide and a ride on a rib-style speedboat to get you out to the islands quicker. Below are the best day trip options to the Blue Cave, depending on where you're basing yourself in Croatia.
Travel Tip: Due to the extremely narrow entrance, it is impossible to visit the Blue Cave during bad weather or on high seas. Therefore, I recommend booking your tour with a company that offers full refunds in the event of bad weather. The tours I've linked below all include free cancelation.
Blue Cave Tour from Split
Split is one of the most popular coastal cities in Croatia and an ideal place to base yourself if you want to visit the Blue Cave on a day trip.
There are dozens of companies running 5 island day tours from Split. However, I highly recommend finding one that stops at the Blue Cave first to avoid the crowds.
This full day tour that I took has the best itinerary and includes some of the must-see destinations around Split including:
- Early morning visit to Blue Cave (including entrance fee)
- A visit to Komiža on Vis
- A swim at Stiniva Bay (Stiniva Cove)
- A swim at Blue Lagoon
- A stop at Hvar
Private tour to the Blue Cave: If you'd prefer to beat the crowds, then Go Adventure also offers a private tour to the Blue Cave from Split, which includes a full day on the islands with snacks and drinks.
Blue Cave Tour from Hvar
Find yourself on the beautiful island of Hvar and looking for a way to get to the Blue Cave?
You're in luck because there are two main options from this island, including a popular speedboat tour to the cave, Vis, and the Pakleni Islands, or a caving day tour visiting the Blue Cave and the Green Cave.
Blue Cave Tour from Dubrovnik
While Dubrovnik is quite far from the Blue Cave, there is one small-group speedboat tour running daily from this city. In fact, this is one of the highest-rated tours in the city, with solid 5/5 star reviews and over 600+ bookings.
Along the way, you'll also pass Sunj Beach on the island Lopud, as well as a swim stop on the beautiful Kolocep Island.
Did you know? Dubrovnik is famous for being the Game of Thrones filming location for the fictional city of King's Landing.
Getting to the Blue Cave From Vis
Being the closest island to Biševo, getting to the Blue Cave from Vis is quite easy, and much more affordable than other destinations in Croatia.
Your best bet is to make your way to the western village of Komiža, located approximately 15 minutes from the main port town of Vis.
From here, there are lots of locals who will take you over to Biševo for a small fee. Otherwise, there's also a daily ferry you can take as well.
Croatia island hopping tip: Vis is one of the most amazing islands in Croatia with plenty of things to do and see! There is a daily car ferry from Split called Jadrolinija. If you want to explore the island by car, then I recommend renting one on the mainland, as rentals on the island are a bit more pricey. Use DiscoverCars to compare rates across dealers in Split, Zagreb, Dubrovnik, or Zadar for the best deal.
Entrance Ticket Price
Blue Cave Entrance Fee: 100 Kuna (approximately 13 euros)
While all the best Blue Cave day tours will include the entrance fee to the Blue Cave, independent travelers making their way in their own boat or on a ferry from Vis will need to pay the fee separately.
This fee includes the official boat transfer (a small wooden vessel) to enter the cave. This is the only way to enter the cave as it is protected
In all honesty, I was shocked at how affordable it was to visit the Croatian Blue Cave. 13 euros really isn't much money considering how popular this attraction is!. Let's hope they don't raise the price!
How did the Blue Cave form? - A Brief History
Croatia's geomorphological monument known as the Blue Cave formed due to sea water eroding the limestone rock over thousands of years.
While local fishermen on Biševo Island knew about the cave for centuries, the written history of the Blue Cave doesn't begin until the 19th century when first described and painted by Baron Eugen von Ransonet in 1884.
Originally, locals could only access the cave by diving. However, the baron states that locals formed an artificial entrance by blowing a small hole in the limestone rock cliff face using dynamite.
This is the same entrance that the small boats use today to enter the cave
Did you know? There is also another famous Blue Cave in Montenegro, which is definitely worth visiting if you are traveling to Kotor or Budva.
What to Expect Visiting the Croatian Blue Cave
Not sure if you want to visit the Blue Cave in Croatia? Let me try to convince you with this quick summary of my trip!
If you want to keep this memorable experience as a surprise, I suggest skipping this section and booking a day trip now! (links above).
Arriving at Biševo Island
Choosing the fast speedboat tour, we arrived at Biševo Island approximately one hour and 15 minutes from our departure at Split Harbor.
This was the first stop of the day and we seemed to be one of the first boats to arrive.
Waiting to Enter the Cave
Upon arrival at the island, our local guide ran over to the ticket desk and purchased our tickets. Luckily, we didn't have to wait very long for our small boat transfer to the cave but a number of boats arrived shortly after us.
There's a small board at the waiting area which places the ticket numbers on a slider. This is where you will wait for your turn. Apparently, over 10,000 people visit Croatia's Blue Cave every year and I've been told waiting times can vary from 10 minutes to 2 hours (during high season).
Small Boat Ride to the Blue Grotto
We soon boarded the wooden vessel with a local fisherman who took us around to the nearby cove. The trip takes less than five minutes and soon we were faced with the tiny hole in the cliff!
Entering the Cave
If you're claustrophobic, I recommend closing your eyes for this moment! The hole is very tiny, so small in fact that we all had to duck to get inside. I was very impressed with our boat driver's skill to enter this cave!
Witnessing the Blue Light Inside the Cave
Once inside, the blue color began to glow almost immediately.
The great part about the entrance is that you need to make your way around a short bend to get inside the main cavern. As a result, the only light inside the cave comes from the blue reflection on the sandy white bottom, which illuminates the entire cave.
My first impression was that the cave was smaller than I had expected. The main cavern is approximately 24 meters in length and 15 meters in height, with a total water depth of around 12-15 meters depending on the tide.
Only two boats are allowed inside at one time, which means it's not too crowded.
Want more itinerary ideas? Don't miss y guide to the best things to do in Split, Croatia!
How to Take Photos Inside the Blue cave
Interested in taking some great vacation photos inside the Blue Cave?
Here are some quick tips.
- If you're using your phone, try to hold it still when taking shots to avoid motion blur.
- On a DSLR or mirrorless camera, use the widest aperture you can and crank up the ISO to a reasonable level.
- Avoid using automatic mode on your camera as it will lower the shutter speed too much due o the low light. This will result in blurry images inside the cave.
- Set your white balance to around 5300K for the optimal color range.
Tip: Read my complete guide to camera gear for travel for up-to-date advice on the best gear for the road.
Is the Blue Cave in Croatia Worth it?
The Croatia Blue Cave is far from the hidden gem it once was. In fact, its natural beauty and international attention has made it one of the top tourist attractions in the country.
However, does that make it a tourist trap? In my opinion, it really is worth visiting the Blue Cave. Even though the experience is quite commercialized these days, the grotto is one of the most beautiful places that I've visited in Croatia.
More Things to do on the Island of Biševo
Did you know that the Blue Grotto isn't the only worthwhile attraction on Biševo Island? This beautiful, rocky pine forest isle has several other points of interest including:
- Porat Bay - beautiful beach
- Franciscan Monastery
- Monk Seal Cave
- Green Cave (Zelena Špilja)
Depending on your tour, ask your guide how much free time you have to explore!
Visiting Dubrovnik? - Read this guide to Dubrovnik's Best Beaches
Where to Stay in Split
Split is the second-largest city in Croatia with a population of around 160,000 people. While most of the city likens modern suburbia, the best place to stay is close to Split Old Town near the harbor.
This area is by far the most beautiful and is closest to all of the main attractions and ship and tour departures. Below are the top three best accommodation picks for each budget, but if you want more, don't miss this updated guide to where to stay in Split for more top neighborhood & hotel deals.
- Radisson Blu Resort & Spa- This 5-star resort provides guests with luxurious spa treatments, island views, an outdoor pool, and delicious food at their on-site restaurant.
- Apartments Korta- Perfectly located near Split Old Town. This apartment offers its guests self-catered apartment-styled rooms. A terrace and children's playground are located on the property.
- Hostel Dvor- A perfect choice for backpackers wanting a place just outside of Split Old Town. It features a shared kitchen, lounge area, and tour desk. Free Wi-Fi is located throughout the property.
FAQs About Croatia's Blue Cave
No, the Blue Cave is protected by UNESCO, and swimming is prohibited to avoid damage caused by over 10,000 yearly visitors.
The water inside is roughly 12-15 meters. However, this depth plunges dramatically to almost 30 meters directly outside the cave.
The cavern is approximately 24 meters long and 15 meters high.
The blue glow in the cave is due to the sun's rays reflecting off the white sand at the bottom of the cave. Therefore, for optimal blue light, it's best to visit on a clear, sunny day. The best season to visit is during the spring and summer months (March to August).
Guides will tell you that the time of the day is not as important as the weather forecast. However, due to the small cove being east-facing, the ideal moment to visit is early in the morning.
Yes, there are several private tours via speedboat from the city of Split. I recommend the speedboat trip by Go Adventure.
Yes, the grotto was featured in the Hollywood hit The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard, where a stuntman jumps off the limestone cliff and swims underneath the cave entrance to enter the blue cavern.
More Croatia Travel Guides
I hope you've enjoyed this comprehensive guide to visiting the Croatia Blue Cave on Biševo Island!
Below are some more useful travel guides and adventure inspiration to add to your Croatia itinerary!