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Emerald Grotto

One of Amalfi Coast’s most popular tourist destinations is the Emerald Grotto. It is known for its natural “fireworks display” caused by light reflecting off its stalactites, and the jewel-like sheen of its green waters. The experience is breathtaking, and is well worth the extra effort you will need to take to charter a boat. In fact, some would argue that the Emerald Grotto is the jewel of the Amalfi Coast, a high honour granted to a region already famous for its spectacular beauty.

The Emerald Grotto (also called Grotta di Smeraldo) is located in Concai dei Marini, a lovely bay about five kilometres (or 3 miles) west of Amalfi. It was once a dry grotto, but earthquakes (both on land, and on the ocean floor) and the shifting of the currents led to its invasion by sea. It was hidden for centuries until its discovery in 1932, and has since become one of the most famous caves of Italy.

The cavern itself has an area of about 30 x 60 metres. At its highest point, its ceiling riches as high as 24 metres. From these heights hang Nature’s own “chandeliers”: numerous stalactites, thin and delicate, catching the light. But the most unusual rock formations are the stalagmites, which seem to emerge from the sea, twisting upwards towards the ceiling. Some are over 10 metres high, and are so wide that it is impossible to encircle them with your arms. Beneath the water, covered by about four metres of water, is the original ceramic bed.

The Emerald Grotto’s key feature is its exquisitely brilliant blue and green waters, which were in fact the inspiration for its name. The colours of the water, reflecting of the ceilings and floors, cast a mysterious and almost holy glow on the walls of the cavern. Certainly, Emerald Grotto is the type of travel destination that does not just transport you to another place, but to another world.

One of the difficulties of travelling to the Emerald Grotto is the need to secure additional transportation. You will also need to pray for good weather; on a stormy day, it almost impossible for the small boats to approach the mouth of the caverns without the risk of being slammed against the rocks and dashed to bits. But on a clear and calm day, the boat ride itself is an experience, especially when you look back and see the view of the Amalfi coastline from the unique perspective from the sea.

Address: Concai dei Marini
Cost of Entry: There are no entrance fees but you will have to charter a boat. Prices vary according to the number of people and whether or not the cavern is located in a tour of the coastline. The average price of the boat ride is 5€.
Opening Hours: Daily from 9am – 4pm. However, tours may be cancelled in the event of bad weather.

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