The Grotta di Nettuno (Neptune's Grotto) is without doubt one of the most fashionable
day trips for visitors to the town of Alghero and a tour of the Grotto counts as one of the star
tourist attractions on the whole of Island of Sardinia.
Neptune's Grotto Sardinia Review
These marine caves are located to the west of the town and can be reached by two different methods
each with it's own merits.
Boat trips from Alghero's port depart to the Grotto at regular intervals (every hour
in summer, less frequently in spring and autumn). These cost 10 euros which doesn't
include entry to the Grotto itself and the entire trip lasts around two and a half hours of
which thirty minutes is spent at sea. The scenery on offer is well worth the effort
and includes the tranquil blue bay of Porto Conte and the spectacular vertical cliffs
at Capo Caccia. It's worth noting that tours will not run in bad weather as disembarkation into the Grotto's entrance becomes too hazardous.
Just as rewarding as the sea trip is the forty five minute drive from Alghero.
The road winds around to Capo Caccia and ends short of the climb to the lighthouse
at a small car park. This can get very busy in summer but it is possible to leave
vehicles at the side of the road near to the start of the stepped descent and within walking distance.
The 656 steps that lead down to the Grotto are an experience in themselves. Called
the Escala del Cabirol or goat's steps, these were cut into the sheer cliff wall
in 1954 and zigzag down the cliff before running horizontally along to the Grotto
entrance. On days when the weather is less tranquil, the spectacle of the sea
crashing into the cliffs just below is an awesome sight. Allow fifteen minutes
to fully enjoy the descent.
It's advisable to time an arrival at the Grotto entrance so as not to
just miss the start of the hourly tour which lasts for around forty five minutes at
a cost of 10 euros per adult. Visitors are led single file through the cave
system by a tour guide who provides commentaries in Italian, English and occasionally in French and German.
Discovered by fishermen in the eighteenth century this sea-level cave complex uses
dramatic lighting to enhance a multitude of stunning stalactites and stalagmites.
These can be seen formed into impressive shapes such as organ pipes and cathedral columns
which account for the names of individual caves. Although flash photography and touching
the rock is supposedly prohibited these rules are almost universally ignored.