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Blue Grotto Malta: How to Visit & What to Expect

Blue Grotto Malta: How to Visit & What to Expect

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

A complete and up-to-date travel guide on the Blue Grotto in Malta. How to get here, what to expect, and photos to inspire your visit!

Aside from the famous Blue Lagoon, Malta’s Blue Grotto is perhaps one of the most iconic natural 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!

We visited the Blue Grotto three times while exploring Malta. We also took the famous boat tour through the sea caves on the coast of Wied iż-Żurrieq which took us all the way through the grotto.

In this quick travel guide, I’ll reveal everything that you need to know to visit the grotto based on our experience. I’ll also include information and advice on booking the best boat trip to go inside the cave (and 6 more), as well as how to visit the nearby grotto viewpoint (must-visit).

Malta blue grotto viewpoint

Overview: Things to Know About Malta's Blue Grotto

  • Location - The Blue Grotto is on Malta's southern coast, near Wied iż-Żurrieq and close to Qrendi, offering stunning limestone arches and famous turquoise waters.
  • Access - To get to the Blue Grotto, options include a full-day Malta tour, renting a car, or using public transport. Full details are below.
  • Boat Trip: - You can go inside the cave on a local boat. This is a 25-30-minute local boat tour operated by local fishermen guides. It explores the Blue Grotto and 7 other sea caves and I highly recommend it. The tour costs 10 euros payable in cash only. There are usually long lines but many boats depart frequently from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.
  • Best Time to Visit - I recommend visiting just before mid-morning as the sunlight illuminates the caves' blue waters.
Malta blue grotto viewpoint
The iconic grotto from the viewpoint above the cave.

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 is far from a hidden gem, I'd say that visiting this natural wonder is a must if you're exploring Malta since the views are really worth the hype.

Blue grotto boat trip in malta

How to Visit the Blue Grotto

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, Popeye Village, and more.

Where is the Blue Grotto?

The Blue Grotto is located on the southern coast of the island of Malta, just a short distance 350 meters from the quaint fishing harbor called Wied iż-Żurrieq and close to the town of Qrendi.

  • From Valletta: 13 km, approximately 25 minutes by car.
  • From Mdina: 11 km, about 15 minutes by car.
  • From St. Julian's: 16 km, roughly 30 minutes by car.
  • From Mellieħa: 24 km, nearly 40 minutes by car.

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 nearby.

Location: Wied iż-Żurrieq

Blue grotto in malta

How to Get to the Blue Grotto

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 with transport
  • Visiting independently with your own car
  • Taking local public transport to Wied iż-Żurrieq

We hired a car in Malta and drove to Wied iż-Żurrieq, where we took the local boat tour. After a lot of research, this is the most cost-effective option and I can recommend it having your own car in Malta is a great way to explore!

However, to help you choose the best way to get to the grotto for you, I've broken down each option below.

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 and most cost-effective 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 that's great for meeting other travelers. It includes:

Alternatively, I found a cheaper group tour option that also includes the Blue Grotto & Marsaxlokk Market.

Malta blue grotto viewpoint

Option 2: Rent a Car

During my recent trip to Malta, I hired a car for the entire time while working with the Malta Tourism Board to develop adventure activities on the islands. 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.

Malta boat tour

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

My Experience Visiting the Blue Grotto in Malta

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.

Malta cave boat tour
Taking the public boat tour inside the cave!

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.

Google Maps Pin: "Blue Grotto Panoramic view Point"

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 and is completely free to visit. If you're looking for that iconic Blue Grotto photo, this is the spot.

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. As you can see from the photos, we managed to catch this epic cave on a crystal clear day!

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.

Malta's blue grotto from the viewing platform near wied iż-żurrieq

Taking The 7 Caves Blue Grotto 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 10 euros for adults and 6 euros for children. You can purchase these tickets just above the narrow harbor inlet, marked as Blue Grotto Boat Service on Google Maps.

Boat tour in the blue sea cave

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 transport and the boat ticket included in the price.

Luzzo boat in malta

Going 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 grotta azzurra in malta

Inside the cave is a rich pallet consisting of numerous shades of crystal blue water and glowing white rock. Our driver drove slowly 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.

Entering the blue grotto, malta

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.

Malta blue grotto

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!

Honeymoon cave
Honeymoon Cave - famous for its bright blue water
Cat's cave in malta
Cat's Cave
Reflection cave, malta
Reflection Cave
Elephant foot limestone formation, malta
Elephant foot (bottom of image)
Window cave
Circle cave, malta
Circle Cave
Blue window cave
Blue Window Cave

Where to Stay in Malta

There's a wide range of accommodation types, from 5-star resorts to traditional terraced boutique hotels scattered all over Malta's islands. However, I highly recommend staying in either Valletta, Sliema & St Julian's, Mellieħa Bay, and Gozo Island.

Below are the top four options based on location, reviews, and my personal experience.

To save you time, read my guide to where to stay in Malta, or this guide to Gozo's Best Boutique Hotels.

1926 hotel & spa sliema

1. 1926 Hotel & Spa Sliema

This amazing 4-star luxury facility in Sliema offers Mediterranean Sea views & a rooftop infinity swimming pool. Easy access to the ferry terminal running to Gozo & Valletta.

Iniala harbour house bedroom suite with large window and painted walls

2. Iniala Harbour House Valletta

Perched atop Valletta's stunning St Barbara Bastion, this incredible boutique experience offers stunning views of the Grand Harbour & the Three Cities from traditional Maltese balconies.

Accommodation at db seabank resort + spa

3. db Seabank Resort Mellieħa

Situated just feet from the white sandy shores of Malta's longest beach, this all-inclusive hotel offers five restaurants, a fitness center, a spa, multiple pools, & a bowling alley!

Boutique hotels on gozo island malta

4. Quaint Boutique Hotel (Nadur) Gozo

A beautifully renovated boutique hotel beside the Nadur Parish Church. Find spacious balcony terraces overlooking the town square & offering a peaceful, traditional ambiance.

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.

Malta boat trip to the blue cave
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.