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You find Blue Grottos all over the Mediterranean! It’s no massive surprise though when you have a sea that appears so brightly and brilliantly blue under the perpetual blazing sun, then any old grotto that sits on its edge is going to be vaguely blue!
That being the case then you might think that if you’ve seen one Blue Grotto then you’ve seen them all. Well, not really!
Malta’s Blue Grotto may have been given the name by a British serviceman who noted its similarities to the one on the island of Capri but it’s certainly no pale imitation. This is the real thing, arguably the best of the azure caves you’ll ever see. It’s a natural work of art, a masterpiece of geology - and that’s why it attracts thousands of visitors every year!
To get there you need to head for the fjord-like harbour of Wied iz-Zurrieq. As you approach the entrance you might expect to hear the fabled sirens, singing and horsing around, in the crystal-blue water inside the famous cave.
But as your boatman paddles you further into the alluring cavern, silence takes over. You can enjoy the peace, punctuated with the drips of water, while all that’s left to do then is dip your hand into the water and watch it take on that special blue. And that’s the magic of the Blue Grotto, right there!
There’s more to a trip here than that though and your experience starts before you set sail with the banter of the boatmen. These compete loudly for your custom in light-hearted manner while you can take in the mystique of the place – an inlet carved out at the bottom of the rock face that then rises to the lofty, sheer cliffs above.
Every large coastal cave has its legends and this one is no different. It comes with tales of singing sirens and also of murderous pirates, who once terrorised the Mediterranean. For many decades the buccaneers used this cave for a natural ambush point, hiding inside and employing its natural camouflage before springing on their unsuspecting prey. Whether they gave a spirited ‘Yo ho ho!’ and cracked open a bottle of rum though is up for debate.
As with pretty much everywhere and everything in Malta, you can catch up on a bit of history as you marvel at the dazzling cobalt blue and other colours that highlight the tell-tale walls of this cave.
Before the British serviceman came back from Capri with the new name, this cave was known locally as Il-Hnejja. It’s a very special place and it’s one that is well worth visiting even if it is a little bit off the beaten track – as much as anything can be on this small island - on the south coast below Zurrieq. Getting there by car is relatively easy but you will need to take a map with you to be sure.
You can also get there on public transport, as there is a route that takes you right there. Once you’ve found it, you simply have to pick your boat and cruise into the grotto. This is not an option - it’s a must!
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