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Your guide to visiting the Blue Grotto in Malta

Attractions | 0 min read |

While Malta may have plenty of unmissable attractions on land, it also boasts a treasure trove of coastal wonders waiting to be explored. Topping the list of must-visit spots is the Blue Grotto in Wied iz-Zurrieq, which can only be reached by a boat trip.

For those yet to experience its enchantment, the Blue Grotto beckons with its dazzlingly azure waters and towering limestone cliffs, promising a sight like no other.

Here’s your guide to unlocking the full potential of your visit to this magical coastal gem. From boat tours to insider tips, we’ve got everything you need to make the most out of your day at the Blue Grotto in Malta.

What is the Blue Grotto in Malta?

The Blue Grotto is made up of a series of sea caverns, including Honeymoon Cave, the Cat’s Cave, and Reflection Cave, tucked away along the southeast coast of the island, near the fishing harbour of Wied iż-Żurrieq in Malta.

Here, nature puts on a show like no other. When sunlight hits the crystal-clear seawater, it sends a spectacle of phosphorescent blues and hues from the water, painting the cave walls and ceiling with an enchanting glow. It’s truly a magnificent sight to behold.

The cave’s rugged rock formations, shaped over millennia by the forces of nature, add another layer of intrigue. Each curve and contour tell a story of time and transformation. For generations, the Blue Grotto has provided shelter to fishermen seeking refuge from storms. Even today, as dawn breaks, the grotto buzzes with activity as local fishermen carry on a timeless tradition from the nearby harbour, setting sail in search of their daily catch.

How do you get to the Blue Grotto?

To reach the Blue Grotto, you’ll first need to head to the coastal harbour of Wied iz-Zurrieq, which lies on the south of Malta. There are numerous buses that can take you there from the main bus terminus in Valletta. Keep in mind that bus journeys from the capital are approximately an hour long. So, if time is of the essence, consider opting for a taxi or private car hire.

Once you arrive in Wied iz-Zurrieq, the adventure truly begins. Head down to the natural harbour, where you’ll find a bevy of Blue Grotto boat trips and boat tours eagerly awaiting passengers bound for the Blue Grotto. Even during peak summer months, you’ll rarely wait long for a ride. What makes these boat trips extra special is the chance to board a traditional Maltese boat, such as a luzzu or kajjiek. These fishing boats, adorned with the iconic eyes of Osiris on the bow, offer a quintessentially Maltese experience.

Everyone is welcome aboard these excursions, from young to old. Just be sure to check with the boat operators beforehand if mobility is a concern. And with the standard trip lasting approximately one hour, you’ll have just enough time to soak in the magic of the Blue Grotto before returning to shore.

Blue Grotto MaltaBlue Grotto, Malta.
Boat Rides at Blue GrottoBoat Rides to Blue Grotto

When is the best time to visit the Blue Grotto?

While the Blue Grotto welcomes visitors year-round, the summer months, stretching from June to September, offer the best opportunity for the most enjoyable experience. However, even outside of peak season, boat tours operate throughout the year, always weather permitting. Top tip, it’s always best to check weather conditions ahead of your trip to make sure you don’t travel all the way to Wied iz-Zurrieq only to find the sea too rough.

When it comes to timing your visit, aim for the morning hours, especially during the spring and early summer months. This is when the blue light is at its most mesmerising. It might be an early start to the day, but it’ll be well worth it once you encounter that spellbinding glow in the sea caves.

Can I swim at the Blue Grotto?

Absolutely! During the summer months, the Blue Grotto is a lovely spot for swimmers and snorkelers seeking aquatic adventures. However, it’s crucial to note that the waters here are quite deep, so a strong swimming ability is essential to safely enjoy the experience.

Outside of summer, swimming is not advised. Besides the frigid temperatures, sudden strong currents pose significant risks, and the lack of easy access points makes it challenging to return to shore if needed.

Beyond swimming, the Blue Grotto is a hotspot for diving enthusiasts looking to explore remarkable sights like the Um El Faroud wreck and the East and West Reefs, teeming with diverse marine life. Numerous diving schools offer organised excursions in the area.

What else can I do in Wied iz-Zurrieq?

Aside from heading on a fascinating boat trip to the Blue Grotto, you can make the most out your day in the Wied iz-Zurrieq area by checking off any of the following:

Enjoy fresh seafood at a Wied iz-Zurrieq restaurant

Wied iz-Zurrieq may be a tiny fishing village, but there’s a charming array of dining options to choose from, perfect for enjoying a leisurely lunch after your boat trip or a satisfying dinner. With many restaurants sourcing their ingredients directly from local fishermen, you can expect nothing less than the freshest seafood, caught that very morning. Explore traditional delights like Octopus stew or a plethora of Mediterranean classics, from pizzas and pastas to grills and salads.

Hagar Qim MaltaHagar Qim, Malta.

Visit the ancient Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples

Wied iz-Zurrieq is also close by to the prehistoric temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples, making it easy to tie in a visit to this must-see heritage site before or after your boat tour to the Blue Grotto. The temple sites are about a 30-minute walk away, which make for a nice leisurely hike past the rural countryside. Keep in mind, however, that the path includes a steep incline and can get quite hot in the summer months. For a quicker journey, buses and taxis are readily accessible in the area, providing swift transportation to the temples.

Take a dip in Wied iz-Zurrieq’s natural harbour

During the summer months, Wied iz-Zurrieq is a great swimming spot. Its natural harbour offers a picturesque setting for a refreshing dip, surrounded by the gently sloping coastline. Bask in the sun along the rocky shoreline, where you can soak up the Mediterranean rays while enjoying the tranquil surroundings as boats come and go. With deep waters, this spot is ideal for those with strong swimming skills.

Climb up the historic Xutu Tower

While in the area, don’t miss the chance to visit Xutu Tower, a charming watchtower built by the Knights of St. John to safeguard the coastline. Managed by Din L-Art Helwa, this historic gem welcomes visitors free of charge. Open to the public from Monday to Thursday and Saturday to Sunday, from 10 am to noon, and on Fridays from 12.30 to 3.30 pm, Xutu Tower offers a fascinating glimpse into Malta’s past. Climb to the top for breathtaking views of the horizon, extending all the way to the islet of Filfla.

Enhance your Blue Grotto experience with AX Hotels

If you’re a guest at one of our award-winning AX Hotels in Sliema, Qawra, or Valletta, then reach out to our dedicated service team for tailored suggestions for your visit to the Blue Grotto and Wied iz-Zurrieq, ensuring you make the most of your day in the area.

Executive Suite at 4-star AX The Victoria Hotel in Sliema MaltaExecutive Suite at 4-star AX The Victoria Hotel in Sliema, Malta. Image credits go to Visit Malta.

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