The most famous of Malta’s cave complexes, the Blue Grotto is a series of nine caves whose rocky sides glow green, purple, and orange according to their mineral content. Surrounding the caves are some of the clearest, brightest cobalt-blue waters imaginable. The natural wonder got its name from British soldiers stationed in Malta in the 1950s who thought the caves were reminiscent of the Blue Grotto off the Italian island of Capri.
For a comprehensive experience of the Blue Grotto and the surrounding area, book a half-day tour that includes a stop at the Marsaxlokk Market, or a full-day tour around Malta that might include sights such as the Hagar Qim Temples. Most visits to the Blue Grotto depart from Valletta and last anywhere between four and nine hours. If not combining a trip to the caves with other Malta attractions, it’s possible to buy tickets for a 20- to 3-minute boat tour upon arrival at Wied Iz-Zurrieq, the harbor closest to the caves.
Things to Know Before You Go
Be sure to wear a lifejacket while on a boat, and be aware that the walk down to the boats in the harbor is steep.
Before descending to the harbor, stop and enjoy the panoramic view that includes a large limestone arch.
Boats to the Blue Grotto will not run if the sea is too rough.
Scuba diving is available from Wied Iz-Zurrieq.
How to Get There
The Blue Grotto is on Malta’s south coast, just east of the fishing harbor of Wied Iz-Zurrieq, in the village of Qrendi. To get to Wied Iz-Zurrieq, take bus 201 from either Rabat or the airport; the ride takes about 30 minutes. Many Malta tours stop at the Blue Grotto, including a hop-on, hop-off bus.
When to Get There
The best time to visit the Blue Grotto is first thing on a sunny morning, when the sea is calm and the crowds have not arrived yet. Cave views are best between sunrise and 1pm, with several caverns mirroring the phosphorescent colors of underwater flora and others reflecting deep shades of blue.
A Full-Day Tour of Malta
The Blue Grotto is commonly visited as part of a full-day tour of Malta starting in the capital city of Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and European Capital of Culture. Whether touring with a guide or solo, be sure to visit the catacombs of St. Paul and St. Agatha in Rabat and check out the walled city of Mdina, as well as the charming fishing village of Marsaxlokk, with its popular market. Comino Island is a good stop for swimming and snorkeling in the blue lagoon, and the Dingli Cliffs—the highest point on the island—offer superb views.