Croatia is bountiful with naturally beautiful places to visit. The dotted coastline of this Adriatic haven boasts some of the prettiest islands in the Med, those inhabited and not. While the island towns are hotspots for vacationers and party-goers, the lesser inhabited islands maintain a raw beauty, like Biševo Island. You question how a population even exists on these islands, like the one of 15 on Biševo. Well, they exist with nature alongside an exquisite visual wonder, the Blue Cave. The Blue Cave in Croatia is a must-do spot near Split and here’s how to plan your perfect visit.
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History of the Blue Cave
The Blue Cave in Croatia is one of the best day trips from Split.
The cave was not even known to more than a few fishermen until the late 1800s. It had only been accessible by divers. A man named Baron Eugen von Ransonet heard of this cave and upon his urging, a manmade entrance was created using dynamite.
The Blue Cave became known as such because of the iridescent blue glow effect of its water and the water’s reflection on the cave’s walls. This happens when the sun is uniquely positioned to bounce rays off the white floor of the sea and up into the cave.
The best time to see the Blue Cave therefore is midday, as the sun is at its strongest.
Reaching the Blue Cave on Biševo Island
Surprise! The only way to reach this secluded island is by boat. From Split, the journey takes 90 minutes by speedboat.
I know, I thought the same – that’s so long! But it’s actually a very fun journey being on the speedboat and venturing out into such an isolated area of sea. It was one of the highlights of visiting Croatia.
Your first option regarding how to reach the Blue Cave is by renting your own personal boat. This is a costly option, but it does offer you lots of flexibility for visiting Biševo and other islands in the vicinity.
You can rent a boat from nautical marinas like ACI Marina. I only recommend renting a boat on your own if you are an experienced boater, which companies make sure of anyway before you take it out.
There’s also the option to rent a boat with a skipper, so you don’t have to worry about navigating the sea on your own.
Blue Cave Tour
The easier and more viable option (since I’m guessing not everyone reading this is a boat captain) is to visit the Blue Cave as a part of a tour. There are groups that go just to Biševo Island or take you to other islands in the area.
I will dive in deeper to the best Blue Cave tours near the end of the article, so read on or skip ahead to determine which tour is right for you!
Arriving at the Blue Cave & Biševo Island: Buying Tickets, Amenities, & Waiting
If you are traveling on a tour, you will most likely not have to worry about buying tickets yourself. The entrance fee is usually inclusive of the price of the tour package.
For those paying out of pocket, the entrance fee depends on the season you’re traveling in, which is usually around 12 dollars in the low season and closer to 16 dollars in the high season (summer.)
When you reach the side of Biševo Island to visit the Blue Cave, you’ll notice many other people there, at least in the beautiful summer months. Your ticket has a number on it and there is an electronic counter near where you will board the official boat to enter the Blue Cave.
You will wait quite a long time to visit the Blue Cave, so come prepared with a little something to do or snacks. You wait so long because the official boats don’t fit many people and, during the summer, hundreds and hundreds are visiting within the hour.
These boats are the only ones allowed in the Blue Cave. They are very small and low and you’ll be accompanied by a skipper as well as 10 to 12 other visitors. It looks shocking at first – but hey, we travel to get out of our comfort zones!
Bathrooms & Snacks
There are certain amenities on this edge of Biševo. If you hike up the hill from the loading area, there is a small bathroom facility (and a gorgeous view.)
While you wait, you can spend time at the café right beside the loading area or hike up nearby to a small restaurant.
The amenities are few, but remember, only 15 people live on this entire island!
How You Enter the Blue Cave
How you actually enter the Blue Cave doesn’t cross your mind until you are on your tiny wooden boat, circling Biševo.
Reality hits when you’re sloshing around in the waves and headed straight for rock. What is a three-foot black hole in the gargantuan cliff in front of you is your entrance into the cave.
For those who don’t love tight spaces, the Blue Cave may not be for you. However, I once saw an episode of Rick Steves entering the Blue Grotto in Capri through maybe a two-foot hole and swore I’d never do anything like that.
Welp, there I was, about to do the same thing to enter the Blue Cave in Croatia!
So, even if you feel nervous or scared of it at first, know that the experience is well worth it. I still think of it as one of the best moments of my life because it was not only a stunning bit of Earth to discover, but also a day I overcame one of my fears!
You’ll spend about 15 minutes in the cave, all along being guided by the skipper around its walls.
What to Bring to the Blue Cave
No matter how you arrive to the Blue Cave in Croatia, you will have to leave that vessel to enter in the boat taking you to the cave. This boat is small, so you can’t bring a huge backpack with you.
Up to 12 other people fit in this tiny boat, so it’s also important to be courteous of other people’s space.
If you can leave your larger items on the boat you arrived in, that is the best option. Consider packing a small foldable tote or string backpack within your larger travel bag to be able to bring some things onto Biševo Island with you.
Here are some of the things I recommend you bring to the Blue Cave:
- Water Bottle
- Photography Gear. Read the next section to learn more about photographing the Blue Cave.
- Sunglasses. As I mentioned, you have to tuck your head to enter the cave and it’s a tight space, so opt for sunglasses instead of a hat!
- Snacks. On the island are a small cafe and restaurant, but it’s best to prepare your own snacks.
- Sunscreen. There are few places to stand in the shade!
How to Photograph the Blue Cave
Photographing the Blue Cave in Croatia comes with many challenges. Firstly, the cave is very dark. The only light that is let into the cave is from the sun bouncing off the sand beneath the water, which is the entire reason behind the blue cave’s effect.
Secondly, you will be in a boat with other people, to which you have to be courteous as it’s their important experience too.
Thirdly, the boat is also constantly moving so it is difficult to get situated at the perfect angle you want to shoot at. Moreover, you’ll probably have to shoot at a slow shutter speed because of the lack of light and the moving of the boat increases the chance of parts of your photo being blurry.
Here are my main tips for photographing the Blue Cave and overcoming those challenges:
- Be Flexible. There are going to be other people in your boat and in others also wanting to take pictures of the cave. Be courteous and adapt to the shooting situation as best as you can.
- Bring your widest lens. You’ll want to capture as much of the cave in one frame as you can.
- Make sure your lens has a low aperture. You’ll need to let in as much light as possible to the sensor.
- Hold the camera strap against the back of your neck to keep your camera as still as possible. This will aid in preventing any blur in your photos due to shooting at a slower shutter speed.
The Best Blue Cave Tours
I could give you a list of random Blue Cave tours or I can just tell you about the one I actually went on that was absolutely amazing. So, I’m going to be honest and give you the latter!
I did my own research when trying to find the best Blue Cave tour, which is why I want to just get to the point and help you avoid having to do all the research too!
I went on my Blue Cave excursion with Providenca Charter. The tour is $110 per person and to me, the price is so inexpensive for the experiences included.
First, you go to the Blue Cave and they make the best of the waiting time by bringing you around Biševo Island to Monk Seal Cave and small beach inlets. The tour then includes a visit to Vis Island, Stiniva Cove, the Blue Lagoon, and the island of Hvar.
It’s absolutely the best cost-effective option out there. Our skipper Mario was the best driver (he made it so fun on the waves) and our guide Lucija was sweet and approachable. Even if you do your own research, I think you’ll find that Providenca Charter is the top choice!
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I hope your journey to the Blue Cave is smooth sailing now that you have these tips in your back pocket!