Puglia’s rocky shores are full of striking caves and impressive features. Grotta della Poesia might just be one of the most amazing among them. It’s a natural pool that has been formed inside the rocky shore.
Any time someone makes a list of the top natural pools in the world, Grotta della Poesia must be a part of it. Such as the case with Momodo’s list of the top 10. It’s truly a beautiful place and a picturesque sight to see. Let’s dive in (pun intended) and explore this famous attraction in Puglia.
Grotta della Poesia Overview
There are many awesome beaches in Puglia such as Punta Prosciutto or the Maldives of Salento. However, none is as striking and as unique as Grotta della Poesia. Not only it is a natural attraction but a place to enjoy the sea.
What does the name mean?
This natural pool is called Grotta della Poesia. In English, this means the ‘Poetry Cave’. You might be wondering what’s the story behind this so let me tell you.
According to the local legends, there was once a princess who lived in this area of the Salento peninsula. Each day this beautiful princess submerged herself in the cave and enjoyed the crystal clear waters. As word out mouth has spread poets flocked the scene.
Every single one of them wanted to win her heart and her beauty inspired the poets. They wrote poems and proses for her. This is how this place has earned the name: Poetry Cave.
If you are looking for a princess then we have some bad news for you. She is long gone by now and who can tell if the legends were ever true. What you will find instead is an unmatched natural beauty. The kind that makes you go wow.
Where is Grotta della Poesia?
The Poetry Cave is located very close to the town of Roca. It is almost halfway between Otranto and Lecce. Easy access is possible by car. This region of Italy is called Melendugno. You will find it in the middle of the rocky landscape of the shore.
Is it possible to swim at Grotta della Poesia?
Yes! Not only possible but highly recommended. We’ve found the water crystal clear inside the cave and just the right temperature.
There are some rock formations that you can climb to get down into the natural pool of the Poetry Cave however we’ve quickly realized they are best for climbing out. The best way to get inside the water is by jumping.
It’s just the right height to do some awesome cliff jumping and get into the water with style. It’s a lot of fun and it gets your adrenaline flowing a little bit.
Beware shallow water. Before you jump in or let any people from your group jump in, evaluate the water levels. Some parts are more rocky and shallow. Make sure that you are actually jumping into the deep end of the cave.
Apart from jumping and swimming in the pool, you can also start discovering some small caves and even openings to the sea. There is a whole hidden world down there if you are up for some swimming into the unknown.
Visitor’s Guide to Grotta della Poesia
Let’s take a look at everything that you need to know about visiting Grotta della Poesia. It’s an attraction that will live fond in your memories but there are some tips to make your visit even more awesome.
When to visit?
August is the prime time when it comes to tourism in Puglia. Generally, June to the first weeks of Sept sees many tourists in the area. If you are visiting during these months we suggest that you get up very early.
In our experience, the area around Poetry Cave can fill up pretty quickly. As it is with any tourist attraction people will come to enjoy the sight and swim in the water. When you manage to wake up early you can beat the crowds. Take your pictures and take in the beauty before the others arrive then join them in swimming and enjoying the water.
Off-season you have better flexibility to visit. You’ll still get tourists so we recommend going early regardless to take the best pictures. During the winter months, you can visit anytime as there is little tourism in the area during winter.
How to get to Grotta della Poesia?
As we’ve already highlighted this attraction is between Lecce and Otranto. You do need to rent a car in order to facilitate a visit. There are no good public transport options.
From Otranto, you just have to follow SP366. It’s the coastal road that leads to the cave. From Lecce, it’s SP1 until Vernole where you will change to SP145 which will take you to the coast and join in SP336. Turn towards Otranto and a short drive will take you to the Cave of Poetry.
Parking at Grotta della Poesia
We think that the worst part of visiting this place is finding a parking spot. We’ve already recommended that you visit early in the day to avoid crowds and it is also the best way to find a free parking spot.
There is a small parking lot in Roca which fills quickly and costs 1.5 euro per hour. It’s the closest parking spot but in our opinion, it’s very expensive.
💡 TopFlightsNow Tip: If you don’t mind walking a little bit, then we recommend parking at Torre dell’Orso. There are spots in this town that are still quite close to the cave and the situation is better here.
What to bring?
Let’s take a quick look at what you need when you are visiting Grotta della Poesia. First of all your camera. Or phone or anything that you take pictures with. Make those memories last and take photos.
Now that you are able to take pictures don’t forget your swimsuit at home. If you want to join the fun of jumping into Grotta della Poesia from the cliffs then you will need it. We think you should have it with you in every season. You know, just in case.
Good sandals are recommended. We’ve found the surrounding rocks very bumpy and hard on the feet. Your visit will be easier if you have a good pair of sandals. The rocks also get extremely hot so it’s good to against that as well. Flip-flops are ok but it’s easier to slip in them so you will have to take more care.
Water, snacks, and food are all something that you need to bring yourself. There are no vendors around and it’s not fun to walk all the way back to the city to buy something.
Make sure that you also bring some cash on hand. There is an entrance fee of 3 euros. It contains the caves and the surrounding archeological site.
A bag for your garbage. Don’t be the person who leaves garbage behind at such a magical place. Bring something where you can put it until you reach a public bin.
Is it a good place to visit with children?
What can we say? The children will absolutely love it. Jumping in from the cliffs is a ton of fun and they will never want to go home.
It is however a little dangerous. If you decide to visit with children always keep an eye on them. Make sure that they don’t jump into shallow water or fall off the rocks. It’s not the best fit for children but the decision is up to you.
Is the Poetry Cave a hidden gem?
It’s more like the worst kept secret of Puglia. Considering this magical place has a place on every top list about natural pools, it’s hard to call it a hidden gem. Some bloggers will try to make you believe that only the locals know this place but that’s a lie.
Grotta della Poesia is a well-known attraction around the world. Most people will try to visit this place during their Puglia vacation.
Grotta della Poesia FAQ
Yes! It’s an absolutely magical place.
Yes, expect to pay 3 euros per person.
Yes, there is parking nearby. It is 1.5 euros for an hour.
Yes! Not only you can but you should.
In the high season it fills up quickly but you can avoid crowds by coming early.
Not really. The rocks and cliffs are dangerous places and it’s not hard to fall.