Capri, “the Blue Island”, is one of the treasures of the Mediterranean. It is worldwide famous for its “piazzetta”, narrow streets, shopping, jagged cliffs, clear blue sea, the Faraglioni Rocks and the renowned Blue Grotto. Perhaps not everybody knows that this is just one of the many sea and land caves worth seeing on the island. An excursion to discover the island aboard one of our yachts will make your vacation in Capri, Sorrento or in the Amalfi Coast even more memorable.
Choosing this itinerary allows you to immerse yourself in the Island and its nature, a true geological temple with an immortal charm. Capri is a limestone island, susceptible to erosion by the wind and the sea. The caves on the island are so numerous that it is impossible to accurately describe them all.
Main caves in Capri visible from the sea
The first cave we find sailing from Marina Grande eastward is the Bove Marino cave, so called because of its configuration. When the sea swells, it creates a sound similar to the mooing of an ox.
A short distance away, the Monte di Tiberio limestone ridge emerges from the waters with all its majesty at a height of 335 meters. At half height on the cliff, there is a huge cavity called Grotta di Tiberio, the undisputed kingdom of the seabirds that nest there.
Continuing the circumnavigation of Capri, there is the Cove of Matermania, a real treasure chest of wonders. The first visible cave, the Grotta dei Polipi, is a karst cavity whose walls at sea level are covered with coral concretions visible from the yacht. The cave is surmounted by a small natural arch created by natural erosion.
After about 100 meters, the spectacular White Grotto opens up at about 20 meters above the sea surface and below, at sea level, the Grotta Meravigliosa.
The White Grotto takes its name from the richness of limestone sediments that whiten its walls and vault. The same materials also form suggestive stalactites and stalagmites inside.
The entrance is majestic, 15 meters wide, inside the main area is over 50 meters long. The cave can be accessed by a ladder carved into the stone, which can be reached with a short swim diving off the yacht.
Don’t miss the spectacular contrast between the white walls and the blue light reflections coming from the water below. With a little bit of imagination, among stalactites and stalagmites decorating the entrance to the cave, you can see a stalagmite resembling a statue of the Virgin Mary.
The Grotta Meravigliosa hosts two small basins connected by a canal dug by erosion. Boats can only reach a certain distance from the entrance, so it is necessary a little swim and a little spirit of adventure to access these caves.
The Matermania Cove is overlooked by one of the most beautiful natural sculptures on the Island: the Natural Arch, a very daring rock arch, legacy of an ancient majestic collapsed cave.
A few hundred meters and you will find yourself speechless once more, here are the Faraglioni Rocks with a 60 meters long natural tunnel that passes through the Faraglione di Mezzo, a fixed stage of any excursion around the Island. According to popular tradition, lovers who kiss under the arch of the Faraglioni will have eternal love.
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Leaving the Cave of the Faraglioni, the view opens onto Marina Piccola, the main bay of Capri which houses countless natural treasures, such as the Grotta dei Marinai (Sailors Cave). This cave has two entrances, one on the seaside and another that gives on a very small and secluded beach. Once anchored, it is possible to swim through the cave to the small beach.
A short distance away, it is possible to admire another sea cave, the Grotta della Fenestrella, illuminated by an opening (Fenestrella) at the top, which offers magnificent plays of light. This cave can only be visited by swimming.
Looking up you can see the Grotta del Castiglione, an imposing opening in the rock that dominates the whole bay.
Continuing towards the west, as soon as you leave Marina Piccola, there is the Green Grotto, also known as the Grotta dei Turchi, so called because the Saracen pirates used it as hiding place during raids in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Unlike the Blue Grotto, here the light produces a colour that varies from light blue to emerald green, to dark green, depending on the time of day and the position of the sun.
The rays penetrate from two underwater passages and illuminate the white sand of the seabed.
The Cave has two entrances, one to the east where the excursion boats arrive and a smaller one to the west accessible by swimming or kayak.
The interior is marked by several landslides and collapses of the ceiling, the erosion processes that formed it are still ongoing.
Adjacent to the western access of the Green Grotto, there are three interconnected caves called the Three Sisters, accessible by swimming for the bravest. From this point up to Punta Carena, the rocky ridge displays the maximum of its rough and wild beauty. At the base of this ridge, there are numerous cavities: Grotta Rossa, Grotta Marmola, Grotta Brillante, Grotta dei Santi, Grotta Vela and many others. However, it is advisable not to get too close to the coast in this area due to falling rocks.
Just before Punta Carena, on the right side of the lighthouse, at half height on the ridge, there are numerous cavities enriched by huge stalactites.
After passing Punta Carena, the rocky ridge becomes gentler because it is exposed to the prevailing wind, the Mistral which over the millennia has “softened” the coastline more than on the other sides of the Island.
Before reaching the northern side of the Island again, in Cala del Rio, along the low ridge, there is the Grotta Iannarella, known because the nature has carved the shape of a heart on the back wall of the cave.
Passed Punta dell’Arcera, from spring to autumn, during the day you can see a large group of boats, all waiting for their turn to visit the Blue Grotto. This cave is a natural cathedral, the access to an underground karst system, which is possible to visit entering through a narrow and low opening, with a special small boat. Once inside, you’ll find yourself in a rocky “room” with columns, vaults and arches created by erosion. The external light filters through an underwater opening, illuminating the walls and the vault thus creating that deep blue tint that makes the cave so enchanting. This karst formation is about 60 meters long, 25 meters wide and between 7 and 14 meters high. Some tunnels, which have not been fully explored yet, start off from the main cavity.
With our yachts it is possible to get close to the entrance and access the interiors with the help of expert and folkloristic local guides, on special smaller boats.
Visiting the island from the sea, you can see countless other caves not mentioned here, describing them or just mentioning them all would require much more time, moreover we prefer to leave the pleasure of discovery to travellers.