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If you’re wandering along the harbour in Split, you’ll see countless advertisements for boat tours to one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Balkans – the Blue Cave in Croatia.
Also known as the Croatia Blue Grotto, this is one of the most popular places to visit near Split, and, if lots of people go there, it must be because it’s good – right? RIGHT???
Well, not necessarily.
Having seen all the adverts for visiting the Blue Cave, I decided to buy myself a ticket for this 5 Island boat tour from Split. The tour included a stop at the Blue Cave and so, intrigued, I happily boarded my tour boat, ready to see what was, apparently, one of the best tourist attractions in Croatia.
I have some strong opinions, guys. And today I’m sharing my honest opinion on whether or not the Blue Cave is worth adding to your Croatia itinerary.
But first, let’s set the scene.
Note: I was not paid by the tour company to write this review. I paid full price for my Split 5 island boat tour with my own money, and the company had no idea that I was a blogger or planned to write about my experience after the tour.
Top tip: What currency does Croatia use? As of 1 January 2023 the currency in Croatia is now the Euro. All prices in this post are listed in Euros.
Where is the Blue Cave in Croatia?
The waterlogged sea cave we call the Blue Cave is in a bay on the island of Biševo, an island in the Adriatic sea about 70km from Split in Croatia.
This tiny island has a population of like, nobody, and pretty much exists as a base for visitors to the Blue Cave to kill time whilst waiting for their tour boat. Aside from a bar/cafe for Blue Cave visitors, you won’t find much else on the island.
What is the Blue Cave Famous For?
The Blue Cave is famous for… well, being blue.
As the sun hits the ocean, the inside of the cave glows with a silvery-blue light from the water. This is because a small natural opening in the cave lets in a few rays of sunlight which cause the water to glow and shimmer.
Entering the cave from the heat and brightness of Croatia in summer is a shock to the system, but once your eyes adjust it’s mesmerising to see the eerie blue glow in the cave.
History of the Blue Cave
So, how did this magical cave come into existence? Well, it all started with the relentless power of ocean waves. Over a long period of time, these waves eroded the limestone rock, shaping it into the magnificent cave we know today. Nature truly works in mysterious ways!
Interestingly, the Blue Cave remained a hidden gem for a long time. It was only known to a handful of local fishermen until the late 1800s. Imagine that! The cave’s entrance was so challenging to access that only skilled divers could explore its mystical interior.
Everything changed in 1884 when an entrance large enough for boats was blasted through the rock, making the Blue Cave accessible to the non-diving public. Since then, it has become one of the most popular places to visit near Split.
The Blue Cave has been growing in popularity with tourists and now attracts over 100,000 visitors every summer. For one cave, that’s insane!
Its small size, measuring just 24 metres long, 15 metres high, and not more than 12 metres deep, adds to the thrill of entering it with a small boat.
How to Get to the Blue Cave Croatia
Although it would be *technically* possible to visit the Blue Cave without a tour, it would be a long, arduous day, and a bit of a logistical nightmare including multiple ferry journeys.
The only logical way to see the Split Blue Cave is by joining a tour.
There are countless different Blue Cave tours from Split, Hvar or Komiža. For the best bang for your buck, I recommend the 5 Island Tour, which is the tour I went on.
Not only is the 5 Island Tour totally awesome, but since the Blue Cave is approximately a 90-minute journey away from Split by speedboat, getting to the Blue Cave without a tour would cost a pretty penny in fuel.
So, instead of just journeying to the Blue Cave and then returning to Split, you may as well get more value for your money and make a full day of it, right?
It’s often the case that booking at the location can save you money on tours. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for the 5 Island Tour.
Pretty much all the tours, regardless of the company, charge around €115 for the day. It isn’t any cheaper to wait until you arrive in Croatia, and the tours often get fully booked in summer – so it’s a good idea to book in advance.
Check out my top picks for the best boat trips from Split!
What is the 5 Island Tour?
The 5 Island Tour is a 10-hour speedboat tour jam-packed with activities and sightseeing. The star attraction is is the Blue Cave. It is, in my opinion, the best way to go island hopping in Split. The 5 Island Tour takes in the Blue Cave, Komiža, Stiniva Cove, the Blue Lagoon, and Hvar Town.
It’s not a cheap tour, and I was skeptical that the tour would be worth so much money. But it absolutely was! It was a long day, but I wish it was even longer as I had so much fun!
Best 5 Island Blue Cave Tours From Split & Trogir
There are a million different tours operators to choose from when it comes to the five island tour, but they’re not all equal. Here are my top picks:
⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 10 hours | ⛵ BOOK NOW
This is the five island tour I went on, and I can’t stop raving about it! Departing from Spilt and Trogir, you’ll get to visit Komiza, the Blue Cave, Stiniva Beach, the Blue Lagoon, and Hvar, all in one day!
It’s worth noting that lunch and snacks aren’t included in the price of this tour, but that works out nicely so you can enjoy it at one of the lovely restaurants in Hvar.
The price of entry to the Blue Cave also isn’t included, so make sure you bring cash for that (entry costs between 12 and 19 Euros depending on the season).
⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 11 hours | ⛵ BOOK NOW
This top-rated 5 island tour from Split has your entry ticket to the Blue Cave included in the price, so although it costs slightly more upfront, it means you won’t have to worry about a thing on the day.
Oh, and it’s also an hour longer than the 5 island tour I went on, meaning more time to spend on the water, island hopping!
⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 11 hours | ⛵ BOOK NOW
The last 5 islands tour was great because it included your entry ticket to the Blue Cave, but this tour also includes a delicious Croatian lunch! You’ll get to dine on the water, meaning there’s literally nothing you’ll need to worry about on the day – everything is already sorted and paid for!
⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 8 hours | ⛵ BOOK NOW
If you want to enjoy the 5 island tour from Split or Trogir without sharing the experience with a bunch of randoms, then this private tour is the perfect solution for you!
If you’re travelling in a large group, this could actually work out to be the most economical choice for you. You pay per boat, rather than per person, so if there’s a lot of you a private tour could actually work out to be quite the steal!
Can I Visit the Blue Cave in Croatia Without a Tour?
Unfortunately, you can’t visit the Blue Cave by yourself.
The only boats which are allowed to enter the cave are those owned by the company on the island. You could charter a boat to go straight to Biševo, but you’d still have to wait around in the queue.
You’d also still only be able to enter the Blue Cave on one of the Blue Caves’ official boats. So overall, you may as well just join a normal tour and save some money.
Can I Swim in the Blue Cave?
If you’re wondering if you can swim in the Blue Cave, the answer is, unfortunately, no. In fact, with boats limited to spending around 5 minutes inside the Blue Cave, you’d struggle to have the time to even if you were allowed!
Visiting the Blue Cave in Croatia – My Experience
The Blue Cave was an entire waste of time, and it’s surely the most overrated attraction in Croatia!
There. I said it.
I had heard it was one of the best things to do on an island hopping tour from Split. Normally, when things are popular, it’s for a reason. So I was pretty darn excited to see the Blue Cave.
But after visiting it for myself, I’m scratching my head over why so, so many people visit the Blue Cave, and why so many tours include it on their itinerary. For once, I’m truly baffled!
On arrival at Biševo island, our tour guide told us we could wander around the island as he purchased our tickets. These were included in the price of our tour.
Top tip: when booking your Blue Cave tour, double check the details to make sure your entry to the Blue Cave is actually included in the tour price!
After purchasing the tickets, the tour guide distributed them to us, with each ticket having a number. He then pointed out a digital screen displaying the ticket numbers. When your number appears on the screen, it’s your turn to board a boat set for the Blue Cave.
Thinking we would be waiting around for like, 20 minutes, I took a quick stroll around the island’s harbour before returning to check the numbers.
They had only moved on by 5 or so.
Shrugging, I headed to the harbour bar with a couple of others on the tour. I ordered an iced coffee, sat back and waited, certain our number would be called any minute.
Guys, it took two hours for our number to be called.
There’s absolutely nothing to do on the island but drink at their bar, so I was slowly losing my mind. It’s also impossible to anticipate how slowly the number-calling really goes. It feels impossible to go too far away in case you miss your number.
I may be being salty here, but after my experience at the Blue Cave, I truly believe that no cave in the world would be worth waiting for two hours to see.
When our tour group’s number came up we clambered into a boat run by the people on the island and travelled a couple of minutes to the entrance of the cave.
Our boat squeezed through the narrow opening in the rocks, we sailed around the small cave for a maximum of five minutes, and then we left.
I felt like I had been scammed.
The entire ‘Blue Cave’ experience lasted under 10 minutes. I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t this. I was absolutely furious that we had wasted two hours waiting in line to see the Blue Cave.
During that time, we could have been exploring a different tourist attraction or island that was, you know, actually good.
I think if we had gone straight there I would’ve been fine with it. But the fact that I waited over two hours to visit the Blue Cave had me angry. I wish it was not on the tour itinerary at all!
So – Is the Blue Cave Worth It?
Here’s the thing – the Blue Cave sucked. But the 5 Island Tour? That’s an entirely different story.
The 5 Island Tour from Split was easily the best thing I did on my trip to Croatia. It was a freaking epic day! I firmly believe that, although the Blue Cave is the most famous attraction on the 5 Island Tour itinerary, it’s actually the worst part of the trip!
So, although I don’t recommend visiting the Blue Cave, I do recommend the 5 Island Tour. And so, I guess, since the Blue Cave is part of the 5 Island Tour itinerary, it’s worth visiting overall.
However – would I recommend visiting the Blue Cave on a tour only visiting the Blue Cave, or on a Blue and Green Cave tour (which takes in the nearby Green Cave)?
No I would not.
I’m not trying to throw shade here. I bet, 10 years ago, visiting the Blue Cave was pretty fun, and definitely worth the stop.
Nowadays, though, with Croatian tourism booming and so, so many people flocking to the Blue Cave during summer, it’s absolutely not worth it. You lose so much time sitting on an overcrowded dock just for 5 minutes in a cave.
Although the Blue Cave is overrated, I was surprised to find out that getting there was actually the best bit!
For this reason, I actually recommend visiting the Blue Cave from Split in Croatia… Provided it’s on the 5 Island Tour. You’ll have an amazing day that you’ll never forget, and you can read my full review of it here!
When it comes to the Blue Cave, though, just go in with low expectations and prepare yourself for the wait.