The Emerald Grotto

The Grotta dello Smeraldo along the Amalfi Coast between Positano and Amalfi

The Emerald Grotto

The glowing turquoise waters in the half-submerged Grotta dello Smeraldo, along the coastal road between Praiano and Amalfi, don't quite compare to the Blue Grotto on nearby Capri, but it does make for a fun diversion along a coastline light in the attractions department.

The oarsmen's commentary is just as cheesy, though, and this sea cavern does boast something its Capri cousin lacks: a submerged nativity scene (though why they insist on calling this a "miracle" is beyond us).

This cavern was formed above sea level (you can tell since it has stalactites and stalagmites, which don't form in sea grottoes), then partially sunk below the water, and the effect of light inside causes the water to glow an eerie green.

Dockside boat outfits in Amalfi and Positano offer sightseeing trips here (€10).

If you're driving, just pull over at kilometer-marker 26.4, outside the fishing community of Conca dei Marini, and take the stairs or elevator down.

The Emerald Grotto
SS 163, Conca dei Marini
Open daily 9:30am–5pm (to 4pm in winter)
Admission: €5

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How long does the Amalfi Coast take?

Planning your time: Budget at least a day for the Amalfi Coast. Simply to drive the coast without getting out (except to change buses in Amalfi) takes at least five hours—that's three hours touring the coast from Sorrento to Salerno, plus another hour on each end to get to and from those gateway towns.

If you do want to pack it all into a single day—and actually stop and get out in a few towns—it might be best to just book a tour that picks you up at your hotel, gives you time in each of the main Amalfi Coast towns, and returns you to your hotel 6–9 hours later:

  • From Sorrento, group tours start from $40, private drivers from $60, and private tours from $90. » book
  • From Naples, group tours start from $97, private drivers from $55, and private tours from $85. » book

Otherwise, it makes far more sense to spend at least one night on the coast.

If, however, your schedule doesn't have that much leisure time, might I suggest riding the first leg—from Sorrento to Positano to Amalfi—taking a quick spin around Amalfi town, then catching a ferry either back up the coast to Sorrento or over to Capri.

» Amalfi Coast itineraries

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