Blue cave, Blue lagoon or Islands tour from Split: Which is better?


blue cave croatia

Day trips to the islands, caves, and lagoons off the coast of Split are on the list for everyone visiting this part of the Dalmatian peninsula. There are plenty of options for tourists to explore – blue and green cave, swimming and snorkeling in the blue lagoon, diving sites, beaches like Zlatni Rat, islands like Hvar, Vis and Brac.

Blue cave is a must-visit if you haven’t already seen this phenomenon. Blue lagoon is fantastic for swimming and snorkeling. Islands like Hvar, Brac and Vis are great for a day visit and can be visited either separately or as part of a tour. You should opt for a tour that limits to 2-3 destinations so that you get to spend enough time to spend at leisure.

With so much to choose from and limited time in hand, it is always difficult to decide the places and tours you should take. With this post, we will try to help you with the destinations you must visit, the best tours from Split Trogir or Hvar, and overall experience.

Popular day trips from Split, Trogir and Hvar

The coastline off cities like Split and Trogir are dotted with beautiful islands and natural wonders which you should definitely look to explore while visiting this part of Croatia. Some of the most recommended destinations and islands around Split that you will come across are:

  • Blue cave (Bisevo island)

Blue cave is located on Bisevo island, which is furthest from Split or Trogir. It takes about 1.5hours to get to Blue Cave from Split by a speedboat. It is a small island and mostly famous for the Blue cave phenomenon which happens when the cave is illuminated with a blue hue due to the sun rays that get reflected from the limestone base.

Blue cave is a spectacular sight and a must-visit if you haven’t visited similar water caves around Dubrinvik or in Capri, Italy.

Is it possible to visit only Blue Cave? 

You can definitely choose to visit only Blue Cave from either Split, Trogir or Hvar. Do note that Blue Cave is located on Bisevo island which is the further of all islands around Split. You will be spending around 1.5hours on each side to visit Blue Cave. So it is more ergonomic to combine your visit to Blue Cave with either a few destinations like blue lagoon or green cave or visit to one of the islands like Hvar or Vis. 

Can I visit the Blue Cave on my own boat?

Blue Cave is maintained as a heritage site so you can enter it using your own boat. Tourists are ferried in small groups on small boats provided by authorities. You get to stay only about 5-10mins inside the cave.

Can I swim in Blue cave?

Swimming is not allowed in the cave either. However, it is possible to dive around the blue cave and explore the site. We have done a detailed post on Diving in Croatia including Blue cave which can help you plan a diving experience.

Is there a long waiting time to visit Blue Cave?

During the peak season, the waiting time to visit Blue cave can be long and around 30-45 mins or so. This can be longer if you are a part of a large group on an organized tour.

  • Green Cave (Ravnik Island)

Located on a small island called Ravnik, Green Cave is another popular pit stop near Vis island. The only attraction on this spot is you can swim across the cave observing the beautiful sea life, and perhaps cliff jumping. Boats are not allowed to enter the cave so the only option is to swim through it. This attracts an additional fee of about 50Kn per person.

In our opinion, Green cave is a convenient pit stop that most tour operators add to your tour and does not mandate a visit. The entrance to the cave is usually quite crowded and swimming through the cave is not very convenient. 

  • Stiniva cove, Komiža (Vis Island)

Vis island is known for its secluded beaches and cove and Stiniva is surely the most stunning of them. A quiet cove surrounded by cliffs, Stiniva is again a great pit spot during your tour. Most tour operators make a stop at Stiniva to give tourists a chance to swim and explore the cove.

Stiniva Cove is a spot to relax and swim in the cool calm waters of the bay. You can look to spend about 1 hour or so here but not any longer since there are no restaurants or cafes on this side of the island. 

  • Blue Lagoon (Budikovac island)

Located near Vis, Budikovac is a small island surrounded by a beautiful bay and turquoise waters called Blue lagoon.

Blue lagoon is ideal for swimming and snorkeling and spending relaxed time on the island. You can easily look to spend about 1-2 hours depending on the destinations you are covering. 

Most tours going towards Blue cave pass through this area and stop here for a while. You can customize your itinerary with your tour operator if you want to skip some locations and spend a long time around the island and lagoon. Do note that there is only one restaurant on this side of the island which has a limited menu and can be expensive.

  • Brac (Bol) island and Zlatni Rat beach 

Located close to Split, Brac is one of the longest and most elevated islands in Dalmatia. Located closer to Split it takes under an hour to reach Brac by ferry. Brac is less touristed as compared to other islands like Hvar and Palkeni, and is mostly famous for Zlatni rat (Golden horn) beach, limestones building, and local olive oils.

Brac is great for a day visit to enjoy a relaxed quiet day. Zlatni Rat is definitely one of the most pretty beaches across Croatia and worth exploring. There are some great diving sites like Lucice bay for scuba dive lovers (Read our post on diving sites in Croatia to know more about Lucice bay diving).

  • Hvar island

Hvar is undoubtedly one of Croatia’s best islands and definitely warrants a visit. We highly recommend visiting Hvar not only as a day trip but to spend a few days over on this lovely island. Hvar is ideal for day trips to blue cave, blue lagoon, and other spots. There are regular ferries available to easily visit other islands like Brac, Palkeni. 

Hvar itself is not a small island and you will definitely need some transport to go about the island. Bike rentals are easily available near the ferry point. Hvar’s riva is dotted with some great restaurants and bars, and known for its nightlife. If you want to spend some quiet time immersed in the heritage of the island then Stari Grad (old town) is a lovely visit. The entire island is dotted with lovely beaches like Hvar beach, secluded pebble coves which are ideal to spend the day.

  • Palkeni islands

Located just off Hvar, Palekni (Palkinsi) islands are like a chain of wooden isles dotted with crystal clear waters and beautiful coves. The largest Palkeni island is Sveti Klement which has a few restaurants and accommodation options. A lot of tourists also visit Stipanska for its popular Carpe Diem beach club.  

The most beautiful island in Pakleni is Palmizana. It has a vibrant underwater life which makes it ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving too. There are a number of villas, and an art gallery, and some great restaurants to spend an idyllic day on this island. 

Best tours to visit Blue cave, Blue lagoon or Dalmatian islands

There are a lot of popular day tours that take you through the blue cave and other destinations. It is possible to do take these tours either from Split, Trogir, and even Hvar. You can either opt for an organized group or a private tour to visit any of these destinations.

It is best to limit your tour to about 3-4 destinations so that you can get enough leisure time for swimming. Some of the tours try to cover 6 or more destinations during which you can end up spending about 6 hours on the boat and get only about 4 hours to explore the destinations. 

  • Blue Cave and 5 islands tour

This is a popular tour covering Blue Cave with a pit stop at Green Cave, Stiniva Cove, and some leisurely time at one of the islands like Vis or Pakleni. The entire tour can easily take about 8-10hours depending on where you are starting from.  In our opinion, this tour is good for a day trip and you get about 1-2 hours for relaxing and swimming at one of the islands. If you need more leisure time, you can easily skip the stop at Green Cave.

  • Blue Cave and 6 islands tour

This is a similar tour as above and will include an additional stop on one of the islands like Hvar. This tour can last up to 10hours and could include 6hours of time on boat vis a vis just 4hours at the destinations. Unless you are too keen to cover multiple stops, we would not recommend going for a tour covering so many destinations. 

  • Blue and Green cave tour

This is a relaxed tour that usually is usually organized from Hvar but can be taken from Split or Trogir. During this tour, you can expect to visit Blue cave, stopover at the Green cave before visiting Stiniva Cove, and then heading to one of the islands like Vis or Palmižana in Pakleni. This is a shorter tour (around 6-7 hours) and will give you ample time to explore the islands and spend time swimming and relaxing. 

  • Blue Lagoon and 3 island tour

This is again a relaxed tour where you can spend the day swimming and snorkeling in the Blue Lagoon and explore the nearby islands. After visiting Blue lagoon, the tour mostly takes you through islands like Hvar or Pakleni where you will get enough time to spend on your own. You can opt this as either a half-day or a full-day tour.

This tour is ideal if you have already experienced the Blue cave phenomenon and just want to spend away from the crowds relaxing on your own. 

  • Island tour from Split, Trogir or Hvar 

Aside from the destinations mentioned above, it is a great idea to tour some of the wonderful Dalmation islands off Split. There are a number of tours which take a day trip visiting islands like Hvar, Brac and Pakleni islands.

Again we suggest limiting your tour to about 2 islands as it will give you enough time to explore each destination. We opted for the Hvar and Bol day trip which gave us enough time at each of these destinations. 

Useful tips:

  1. Most of these tours go through deep seas and rough waters using high-speed boats. There is a lot of getting off and on the boat at each stop.   Hence, these are not recommended for pregnant women, people with back problems, people with mobility impairments, wheelchair users.
  2. There are a number of places to swim and snorkel so dress comfortably in water-resistant or swimming gear.
  3. There are no restaurants around blue and green cave, and you will find these once you visit the islands towards the second half of the trip so best to have some drinks and snacks handy.
  4. Restrooms are available near Blue cave but not around Green cave or Stiniva cove.
  5. Before booking any tour, do read the latest reviews and tourist experiences to make your choice. It is best to book your tour in advance especially in peak season.

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