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    3 000 m

Grotte Marine - sea caves

Gargano a Grotte marine

Grotte Marine, or sea caves, are one of the most amazing natural formations to be found on the Adriatic coast. These caves offer visitors a unique opportunity to discover hidden underwater worlds and breathtaking geological formations.

Sea caves can be found in various places in the Adriatic Sea. However, the most famous ones are in the Apulia region, especially around the Gargano peninsula, and in the area around Trieste and Duino. Access to these caves is often only possible by sea, by boat.


Systematic exploration and tours of these karst formations have been carried out for a short time, only since the mid-1950s. These are deep tunnels accessible only from the sea, with cave houses up to 50 metres deep, offering an unprecedented play of colours and shapes. Most of the sea caves are located in the coastal stretch of about 30 km between Vieste and Mattinata.


The Grotte Marine are formed by erosion caused by the action of sea water on limestone rocks over millions of years. This process has created various arches, tunnels and underground chambers. Each cave is unique and offers visitors an unforgettable experience. In some caves, you can see breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites that have been formed over thousands of years.

Jeskyně v Garganu

Cave formations in the gargan - grotte marine

The caves, in dark and calm waters, are home to many species of marine organisms, including corals, anemones, sponges and various species of fish.


Among the most popular sea caves are the Grotta dello Smeraldo, the Grotta Palazzese or the Grotta della Poesia.

  • Grotta dello Smeraldo (Amalfi, Campania) - this cave is famous for its emerald green waters, which are created by a specific refraction of light. You can get here by boat and enjoy a guided tour.
  • Grotta Palazzese (Polignano a Mare, Puglia) - this cave is known not only for its natural beauty but also for itsit's also known for being one of the most beautiful restaurants in the world, where you can dine overlooking the sea cave.legend has it that the cave was once a haven for pirates, who hid their treasures and planned attacks here. The place has not only a beautiful view but also a mystical atmosphere thanks to its mysterious history.

Polignano a Mare - grotta a restaurant

Grotta Palazzese in Polignano a Mare - a cave with one of the most beautiful restaurants in the world
  • Grotta della Poesia (Roca Vecchia, Puglia) - according to one of the most famous legends, the cave was a favourite bathing spot for a beautiful princess. Its beauty and charm inspired poets and artists who gathered here to write their poems, hence the name "Cave of Poetry". It is one of the most beautiful and impressive caves in Puglia, with crystal clear water of a beautiful turquoise colour.

Grotta della Poesia

Grotta della poesia - cave in Roca Vecchia, Puglia
  • Grotta Gigante (Trieste, Southern Venice) - one of the largest caves open to tourists in the world, offering fascinating geological formations and educational tours.

The most common way to reach the sea caves is by boat trip. Many local companies offer organised guided tours.for those who enjoy underwater adventures, the sea caves are ideal for diving and snorkelling. These activities allow you to discover the underwater beauty up close.sea caves offer amazing photo opportunities thanks to their unique shapes and lighting effects.


Because of their sensitivity and ecological importance, many sea caves are protected and their visitation is regulated. It is important to respect conservation rules and minimise the impact on these fragile ecosystems. Visitors should take care not to pollute the surroundings or damage the natural formations.

Baia dei Colombi - Gargano



Take a day boat trip to the sea caves combined with a swim on a beautiful pebble beach. You will pass under the Lovers' Arch, see the Salt Cave where smuggled salt was hidden, and be enchanted by the Cave of Violets. the crystal clear water where you can see different kinds of molluscs, silver fish or red seaweed. If you're lucky, you'll see the eponymous animals in the Cave of the Seals, which are about 3 metres long and resemble seals and are often seen in the cave cavities.


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