Hvar: Blue Grotto and Island Hopping

While Ankur wanted to go to Croatia to see the waterfalls at the Plitvice National Park, I wanted to get there to see the Blue Grotto on the island of Bisevo. In the afternoon, when sunlight enters the cave at a particular angle, the water in the cave glows with a shade of fluorescent blue colour. The pictures looked too good to be true and I wanted to see what it really looks like!

Blue Grotto

Blue Grotto (Pic courtesy: Wikipedia)

We had had a rocking time in Croatia for the first four days but none of the items had been ticked off the bucketlist! High time we attempted to tick at least one – the first one being, visiting the Blue Grotto to be surrounded by fluorescent blue light, which typically exists only in Star Wars.Where does the day trip take you?

Our adventurous visit to the Blue Grotto started by embarking on a boat which took us to the cave as well as few islands, which included:

  • Green Grotto on the island of Vis
  • Blue Grotto on the island of Bisevo
  • Stiniva Bay on the Island of Vis
  • Vlaka Bay on the Pakleni Island (this was a bonus for us, not usually included)
  • Palmizana Beach on the Pakleni Island
Island hopping... cruising along

Island hopping… cruising along

Here is a snapshot of the day that we will always remember …..

Green Grotto on the island of Vis

Initially, we thought this was the Blue Grotto. I squinted by eyes to find any shade of blue and ended up believing that pictures are photoshopped – this was until we were told that this was the Green Grotto. Well, it was a little green all right, but nothing to rave and rant about, except that we jumped off the boat and swam in it like excited clown fish!

Entering the Green Grotto

Entering the Green Grotto

Blue Grotto on the island of Bisevo

Next, we were off to the Blue Grotto. I had been waiting for this! Under normal conditions, one has to get into a small boat which is rowed into the grotto. But this wasn’t a normal day! It was the day after a crazy sea storm, and the winds and the waves hadn’t settled yet. The water level was high and only four feet of the mouth of the cave were visible. The waves lashed against the rocks. We were told that the only way to see the blue hues of the cave was to swim inside, which could only be done by strong swimmers. While Ankur and I can swim, we still strapped on the life jacket which would help us stay afloat, just in case. Though which direction we would get tossed in, was at the mercy of the waves!

Choppy seas at the mouth of the Blue Grotto

Choppy seas at the mouth of the Blue Grotto

We jumped in the water and swam till the mouth of the cave. As the waves got big and bigger and still bigger, we needed more muscle power than we could muster. Ankur turned around and swam back to the boat. I fought the waves and finally made it inside the cave. I gulped a lot of salty sea water and got tossed towards the walls of the cave. I had to tick the bucketlist- I had to go on! Just keep swimming – I heard a little voice say inside my head. A few more meters and voila! The sight looked heavenly – a surreal blue glow inside the cave. The grotto looked exactly the way it does on Wikipedia. No photoshop! However, the bellowing water made me feel that I am in hell! I remembered our guide saying ‘ The nearest hospital is 3 hours away!’ and within seconds, I turned around and headed back to the boat. Obviously, considering that I was clinging on to dear life, I had no opportunity to take any pictures! While I have ticked the item off the bucket list, I am not a satiated soul as yet. I want to see it again, if not in Croatia, the next time, in Italy.

Stiniva Beach on the island of Vis

After having survived the adventure at the Blue Grotto, we were back in the boat and off to Stiniva Beach on the island of Vis. Our guide anchored the boat 100 m from the beach and swam to it. Aaahhhh… calm water to swim… such a joy! We were still a little shaken after the Blue Grotto ‘adventure’! ,

Pebbled Stiniva Beach

Pebbled Stiniva Beach

Stiniva is a pebbled beach and is typically very crowded. There is a small bar at the beach. If your money gets wet while you swim from the boat to the beach, don’t worry. They accept wet money as well!

Vlaka Beach at St Klement Island, part of the Pakleni archipelago

It was time for lunch. Our guide took us to Vlaka Bay at St Klement island. We were welcomed in a small cottage restaurant that grows its own vegetables and greens. They had wine that was made from local produce, accompanied by grilled vegetables and mashed potatoes, all grown in the backyard. This was the best meal that we had in Croatia. The way they say it on the Masterchef show -‘simple delicious home cooking’.

An awesome place to have lunch... simple, rustic and delicious

An awesome place to have lunch… simple, rustic and delicious

The Vlaka Beach was 2 minutes walking distance from the restaurant. Clear water, no waves and little patches of grass. We were happy to lay down our beach mats and snooze for a while. This is what a vacation is all about, isn’t it?

Vlaka Beach at St Klement Island

Vlaka Beach at St Klement Island

Palmizana Beach at St Klement Island, part of the Pakleni archipelago

If you are young, love beach parties and a classy crowd, this is the place for you! There are a few beach clubs at this bay, the Laganini Beach Club being the most popular. Most day trips dock here to allow guests to have lunch at one of the many restaurants.

Ankur and I always feel out of place with loud music and bobbing crowds and have a simple solution – we get into the water and watch the clubbing crowd, which, at times, can be very entertaining.

Palmizana Beach at St Klement Island

Palmizana Beach at St Klement Island

We were back in Hvar Town by 1900 hrs after a day of sun and surf. Highly recommend the trip for anyone who likes a littleĀ adventure.

Two cents from my end… Some tips
  • This is an adventure trip. We would not recommend it for families with kids, pregnant women, the elderly or anyone with back or neck problem. There were times where the boat rocked and we were thrown up in the air. Thankfully, we landed back on the boat!
  • The back of the boat is less glamorous but much more steady than the front.
  • Carry beach shoes – most beaches are rocky or pebbled. Obviously, a beach towel or sarong is a must have.
  • If you have a tendency to get sea sick, pop a pill at least 30 minutes before you start the boat ride. Do not eat much for breakfast – choppy seas and a full stomach do not go hand in hand!
  • You can carry your own picnic if you do not wish to eat at the restaurants at Pakleni.
  • The cave and island hopping trip costs KN 500 per person. It is a full day trip and includes boat transfer to the above listed destinations. It does not include any food or refreshments.
  • All agents sell the tour for the same price and include the same facilities. The trip start at 1030hrs from Hvar Town.
  • The Blue Grotto could be closed due to rough seas. Ask the travel agent to make a call and check the same. If they say you would need to swim to it, interpret it as a ‘No’ unless you are an extremely strong swimmer.
  • The restaurant at Vlaka Beach is run by Bruno and Nikola. You can email them at cvit16@gmail.com to get the exact location and to make a booking. The vegetarian meal cost us KN100 and included 0.5l wine, breads, salad, grilled vegetables, mashed potatoes, fruits and coffee.

As always… Send me an e-mail if you need any further details. Glad to help!

Let the travellers’ tribe grow!

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7 Responses

  1. Dhruthi

    Hello! I’m planning on visiting the blue grotto sometime in May-early June next year. Thank you for the insight into what to expect. I was looking up tours online and they cost upwards of 1100 CK from Split. Did you guys book yours beforehand or did you just do it in Hvar whilst there? Also, on a different note, would you prefer Istria or the Dalmatian coast, if you had to pick?

    1. Hi Dhruti! We just landed in Hvar and booked it at Hvar Town. Suggest doing that as sometimes, due to bad weather, thentours get cancelled. Hence, its best to book it on the day you want to go.
      We haven’t been Istria, so won’t be able to comment… but the Dalmatian coast is awesome and we would love to revisit!

  2. Vinay

    Hi SOnia,

    YOur experience sounds amazing, can you please share who was the tour operator.
    I was checking Ilirios Tours and i found link to this article.

    1. Hi Vinay! They are really all the same … we just walked to one on the sea side, who took the effort to call his buddy at the Vis cave and tell us if the blue grotto was open. Can’t recollect the name of the guy… suggest not booking this in advance as the tour depends of weather conditions. Go to the Hvar Town seas side the day you want to go and speak to various operators

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