A complete and up-to-date guide on the Blue Grotto in Malta. Includes detailed information about how to get here, what to expect, and photos to inspire your visit!
Malta’s Blue Grotto is perhaps one of the most iconic features of the island’s majestic coastline. Famous for its sweeping limestone arch and radiant, turquoise waters, this amazing natural wonder should not be missed on anybody’s Malta itinerary!
In this quick travel guide, I’ll reveal everything that you need to know to visit the grotto, including information on booking a boat trip to go inside the cave (and 6 more), as well as the nearby viewpoint (must-visit).
About Malta’s Blue Grotto
The Blue Grotto in Malta (called Taht il-Hnejja in Maltese) features a massive, 30-meter (98 ft) arch and a deep cavern with a white sandy seabed. Locals say that the cave earned its name from a British soldier, who likened the cave to the famous Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto) on the island of Capri.
This is a very popular tourist attraction, with estimates of around 100,000 tourists coming here every single year! But, does that make it a tourist trap? I say, no way!
This stunning coastal sea cave forms one of the most impressive coastal landscapes I’ve ever witnessed. While it’s far from a hidden gem, I’d say visiting this natural wonder is a must!
Quick Answer: Blue Grotto Boat Trip
The easiest way to visit the Blue Grotto is to book a full-day Malta private tour, which includes a boat trip (weather permitting) and a visit to Marsaxlokk fishing village, Dingli Cliffs, Popey Village, and more.
Where is the Blue Grotto?
The Blue Grotto is located on the southern coast of the island, just a short distance from the quaint fishing harbor called Wied iż-Żurrieq and close to the town of Qrendi.
There are plenty of other attractions in this southern part of Malta, including the Lapsi cave and hiking area, and the Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra temple site.
Below is a map with the exact location pinned.
How to Get to the Cave
Due to the remote south coast location, there are three main ways to get to the Blue Grotto in Malta, booking a group or private tour, visiting independently with your own car, or taking local public transport.
Below I’ve broken down each option.
option 1: Full-Day Malta Tour Including the Blue Grotto
Looking for the most convenient way to get to the cave and experience a boat trip?
Below are the two best options available online. The first is one of the top-rated private tours in Malta (also very fairly priced), and the second is the best bang-for-buck group trip.
Option 2: Rent a Car
During my recent trip to Malta, I hired a car for the entire time. In my opinion, this is the best way to explore the island and get to all of the best sites on your own terms (and early enough to beat the crowds).
There are multiple car rental offices at the Malta International Airport. However, I’ve been told that cars can be difficult to source at late notice, especially during the busy summer months.
For this reason, I highly recommend comparing prices and availability across dealers using DiscoverCars before you arrive.
Once you’ve got your own car, you’ll want to make your way to Wied iż-Żurrieq, where there is a large (and free) public parking lot. You’ll find this small fishing village just beside the parking area for the Blue Grotto viewpoint (below).
Next, walk through the town and follow the signs for the “Blue Grotto boat trip ticket”. The small kiosk is located in the harbor, about a 5-minute walk from the parking lot. More information about the boat ride below.
Travel Tip: The best time to visit the Blue Grotto is just before mid-morning. During this time, the sun shines directly into the cave, illuminating the blue water.
Option 3: Public Transport
Finally, the last option for getting to the Blue Grotto is to take one of the bus routes headed for Zurrieq.
Note that this is the longest and most time-consuming way but can work out the cheapest. Below I’ve listed some of the up-to-date bus routes stopping near the Blue Grotto taken from the Malta Public Transport website.
- Valletta – Route 74
- Buġibba – Route 186
- Gozo Ferry terminal (Ċirkewwa) or Mellieħa – Route X1, 41, 42, 49
- Airport – Route 201
The Blue Grotto in Malta: What to Expect
With the logistics out of the way, let’s dive into what to expect at the Blue Grotto in Malta! Below is a quick recap of my experience, with more photos that I hope will inspire you to check out this incredible natural wonder.
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The Blue Grotto Viewpoint (viewing Platform)
In order to witness that iconic view, travelers will want to head over to the Blue Grotto viewpoint. This cliffside viewing platform is just a few hundred meters east of the turn-off to Wied iż-Żurrieq, with its own designated area to park.
Upon arriving, we took the short boardwalk descent down to the viewing area. On the way, we passed a man with a hawk, offering tourists a photo with his bird in exchange for a tip.
The viewpoint itself is behind a wide and rather tall stone wall, with a clear view of the Blue Grotto’s main arch directly below. This is the best place to take photos of the iconic sea cave. The orange limestone walls contrast perfectly with the ocean’s beautiful deep dark shade of blue, which creeps up to a glowing turquoise in the shallows.
After a short visit to the viewpoint, we headed back to the car to drive over to the small fishing village for a chance to jump on board the famous boat tours.
The 7 Caves Boat Trip in Wied Iż-Żurrieq
The famous boat tours depart from the western side of the seaside hamlet (Wied Iż-Żurrieq). These 30-minute trips go inside the Blue Grotto caves and a total of 6 additional sea caves nearby, including:
- Honeymoon Cave
- Cat’s Cave
- Reflection Cave
- Window Cave
- Blue Window Cave
- Elephant Foot
The ticket price is 8 euros for adults and 5 euros for children. You can purchase these tickets just above the narrow harbor inlet, marked as Blue Grotto Boat Service on Google Maps.
A nice touch is that the vessel is not just an ordinary tourist boat. Instead, you’ll take a traditional wooden Maltese boat called a luzzu. These are very colorful and often sport vibrant designs and markings. Additionally, your expert guide is a local fisherman who is skilled at navigating through the system of sea caverns.
Travel Tip: If you book one of the shared or private tours above, you’ll get your boat ticket included in the price.
Inside the Blue Grotto
We arrived at the southern entrance to the Blue Grotto just 5 minutes from the departure point at the Zurrieq Valley Sea Inlet. This was great as it offered us an opportunity to see the towering main arch and unique limestone formations from a unique angle.
Inside the cave is a rich pallet consisting of numerous shades of crystal blue water and glowing white rock. Our driver drove slow enough so that we could stand up and take some great photos of Malta’s Blue Grotto from the inside.
Blue Grotto depth: 5 meters (16 feet)
Next, we continued into the deepest cavern of the cave, which is almost pitch-dark, besides the glowing clear water below.
Don’t Miss: Complete Guide to Visiting Malta’s Blue Lagoon
Can You Swim inside the Blue Grotto?
While you can technically swim in the Blue Grotto, you won’t be able to on the boat tours and therefore this is only possible if you have your own boat or kayak.
However, I probably wouldn’t advise swimming here regardless due to the heavy boat traffic.
Did you know? The Blue Grotto is also a popular site for scuba diving. The steep rock face cliffs around the cave drop to a depth of around 30 meters, with plenty of small cracks and channels as you descend. This is great for spotting octopus and red cardinal fish.
The Other Sea Caves of Wied Iż-Żurrieq
After a short in-and-out, we exited through the northern face of the arch and continued to the other caves. Below are some photos of each to help you discover what to expect!
More Malta Travel & Adventure Inspiration
I hope that this short travel guide to the Blue Grotto sea cave in Malta has inspired you to visit this amazing natural wonder!
If you’re after more reasons why Malta should be your next travel destination, make sure to check out some of my other articles below.