Perched right in the Bay of Naples, the Italian island of Capri has been a muse to poets, travellers and lovers over the centuries. What’s attributed to the artistic and tourist attraction of the town is the picturesque landscape and untamed beauty of this elite paradise. The raw and natural treasures of Capri only get a layer of classy leverage with the lavish villas, up-scale boutiques, old-world cafes and the air of affluence that the island is sprinkled with. This resort town attracts tons of VIP’s and celebrates Italian culture with the untouched modesty of the countryside. Etched with a mythical charm, Capri is home to the best natural sights in the world while also being an assembly of all things high-end and grand. It also rose to fame as a holiday town as some of the most iconic movie stars chose to relax here back in 1950.
What to expect:
As you walk into the main town expect the unmatched beauty of an Italian island along with a hint of dolce vita. Picture this – winding cobbled paths, luxury boutiques, cute local stores, gelato corners, people strutting in designer bags and sipping Limoncello, some enjoying the music from the nearby alfresco dining and all these lanes leading to a buzzing square where the crowd is sipping a glass of chilled Aperol Spritz and watching other tourists parade through the fancy town. Capri has an unreal splendor, views of the exotic blue sea, chic villas with front yards wrapped in wisteria and bougainvillea, primed trees and a happy vibe, it’s almost like you’re on a set of a retro Italian movie.
What to not expect:
Crazy parties, huge malls, hotel brands, Starbucks- It’s just not that kind of a place. Capri is authentic, fancy, real and so Italian.
Where to stay? Capri or Anacapri
There are two small towns on either side of the island, Capri and Anacapri.
Capri is vibrant and welcomes you to high-end pubs, buzzing restaurants, boutiques, elite engagements and a happening square. On the other hand, the elevated part of Capri- Anacapri greets you with a hip rural milieu, peaceful streets, walking trails, antique stores and cafes, serene gardens, vineyards and a laid back vibe.
Capri is for you if you prefer designer shopping, people watching, buzzing areas, fun beaches and a lively social experience; whereas, Anacapri is great if you prefer to explore the authenticity of the island and the raw wilderness of the town. In short, Anacapri is quieter, hotels are less expensive, there are no beaches, just beach clubs on rocky cliffs and lesser boutiques. I would highly recommend you to stay in Capri and do a day trip to AnaCapri.
Hotels in Capri:
While choosing a hotel in Capri skip the area of Marina Grande (port) and pick something that is located up on the hill in the main town area. We stayed at Hotel Flora Capri. Having experienced the serenity and the service, I highly recommend the hotel. Located in a buzzing lane right next to the shopping square and accessible to most of the main attractions, this boutique hotel was right in the heart of Capri. The property was fenced with a gorgeous stretch of bushes with violet flowers and marked by subtly ornate pillars and other elements. The first impression of the hotel is so warm and welcoming that the urge to spend your days there is only intensified. The owner was so kind, he upgraded us to a huge room with a balcony and helped us around with some good restaurant recommendations. Our room was so vintage, it had white interiors with hints of gold and enchanting hand-painted majolica floor tiles of the hotel rooms blend grandeur with a pastoral touch seamlessly. The restaurant downstairs was great for breakfast and the pool was super inviting.
I suggest booking a hotel close to Piazza Umberto or near Grand Hotel Quisisana (I prefer this area). The vibe outside Grand Hotel is so amazing, people are shopping and walking to restaurants and it is quite crowded. Our hotel was just 100m away from this. So anything close to this area would just be perfect. Also it is central to all the main sites and attractions.
Our room at Hotel Flora Capri
Left: The view from the room ; Right: Hotel Flora Capri
Things to do:
1. Anacapri Day Tour
It doesn’t matter where you’re staying, an entire day dedicated to the solace friendly part of the town – Anacapri is an absolute must. Simply hail a cab to Anacapri (3kms) and explore the quaint, cobbled streets of the town. These lanes are lined with amazing boutiques and cute restaurants so you can shop, chill or eat. Do visit Villa San Michelle, sip a drink at the famous Capri Palace or dine at one of their Michelin star restaurants.
2. Mount Solaro
This should be a must on everyone’s list. Once you’re in Anacapri, head to Piazza Vittoria and take the chair lift to Mount Solaro. While it may look freaky at first, trust me, the ride is totally worth it. The 15 min adventure to the top is totally serene but can look intimidating. Once you’re up there you will be amazed to see a stunning 360 degree view of the Bay of Naples. This is highest point of the island with an elevation of 589 metres. The best way to enjoy this view is to grab a cup of coffee from the cafe up there and sip it whilst staring at the unending vast sight of the stark blue Mediterranean sea.
3. Piazza Umberto:
Located in the historic centre and the heart of Capri, Piazza Umberto is the main and the most popular square of the town. The site is marked by the famous clock tower, lux cafes, cool restaurants and designer stores. Ideal for people watching and catching up, this spot is buzzing all day and can be enjoyed over a glass of wine or a creamy gelato.
4. Marina Piccola:
Capri’s southern coast, Marina Piccola is the best beach spot for a peaceful swim or to simply lie down and enjoy the beauty surrounding the beach including the exceptional Faraglioni rock formations. The quiet beach can be reached by foot or by bus from the Piazza.
5. Hire a private boat and explore the island:
The only way to enjoy Capri’s exotic blue waters is to take a private boat tour. There are tons of companies that operate tours from the port of Marina Grande. Pick something that suits your budget and make sure you sail for atleast 5 to 6 hours. We hired a boat from Chiro (Contact number +393383606918) for a half day private sailing trip after which he agreed to drop us in the same boat to Positano. So we loaded our luggage and kept it in the room below and spent the day chilling on the deck. I highly recommend his company, they were so professional. Here are a couple of things you just can’t miss:
You just cannot leave Capri without visiting the famous Grotta Azzurra. You can reach the Blue Grotto via your private boat or a public tour. Usually there is a long queue outside so be patient, it is totally worth it. When your turn arrives you will be transferred into a small grotto boat, you will have to buy the ticket right there and they will take you inside. The boat can only accommodate 3 people and the man that rows it. Once you’re inside just enjoy the Italian folk songs they sing and the shining blue water in the cave. I found the entire experience so magical and wonderful, worth every minute. Also I prefer taking a private boat tour as opposed to the public one.
Just off the coast are these massive and dramatic rock formations that rise up out of the sea, the Faraglioni is Capri’s most iconic image. Make sure to kiss your partner when you pass under the arch, they say it’s good luck and that your love lasts forever.
– Other Grottos:
Make sure to visit the green grotto, white grotto and the heart grotto, they are all so beautiful. If you’re on a private tour you can just stop, click pictures or swim there.
– Sail all around:
Apart from all this just sail around, stop where you like and jump in the water, it is the most exhilarating experience ever and definitely the best way to see Capri. Avoid taking the crowded tourist boats and group tours, hire a private boat if you can.
– Just make sure to confirm that your skipper/guide speaks English.
6. Marina Grande:
The main port of the island is ideal to simply relax. You can choose one of the many cute restaurants available by the sea side. There are some boutiques and cafes, if you have extra time in hand then do check it out.
7. Spend a day at the beach/beach clubs:
Capri’s beaches are small and have a rocky coast but it’s definitely worth exploring. My favourite was the Fontelina Beach Club, it’s a great spot to sip your drink and relax under one of those vintage Italian umbrellas.
8. Head for Aperitivo:
This is more like a tradition, a way of life. Around 5-7 pm most of the people head to the Piazza or square for a couple of drinks before dinner. This is served along with assorted bar snacks like olives, finger sandwiches, crackers, salty pretzels. So make sure to get in the spirit, grab a drink or two where the crowds are chilling and then head to dinner.
9. Walk and explore the town:
Being a small island, Capri can be explored by foot easily. Put those feet to work and wander around the beautiful town. Trust me, you will be amazed. Every corner is a vintage marvel. Plus you’ll explore tons of stunning local boutiques, vintage stores and stunning houses.
Mount Solaro Chair Lift
The view from Mount Solaro
Left: Faraglioni; Right: Heart Grotto
Sailing along the coast with our Skipper
The queue outside Blue Grotto
Food and Nightlife:
Here are some of my favourite spots to dine on the island (Most of the restaurants and beach clubs require advance reservations).
1) Fontelina Beach Club: Relax under the iconic striped umbrellas, sip on a chilled cocktail and devour some fresh seafood. You can either reach the place by a hike downhill or take a short boat ride but the views of the Faraglioni make it totally worth it. This is open for lunch only (April to October) Book a table in advance.
2) Lido Del Faro: It’s where most o the locals spend their day. This beach club has a totally different vibe
3) Sip a drink at the famous Lighthouse
4) Hotel Luna: Head to the outdoor terrace for a glass of Rose, there’s a great view of the Faraglioni and the ocean.
5) Sip on a drink before dinner at the Pulalli Wine Bar right near the furnicular
6) Dance away the night at Taverna Anema e Core
7) Loved the Italian fare at Il Geranio. The set up is extremely romantic, great for dinner and the food is so delicious.
8) Da Paolina: It was a wonderful experience to dine under 130 lemon trees, an experience like no other. It’s a great spot for dinner but book a table in advance.
9) Head to Buonocore Gelataria. I loved their gelato, pastries and mini pizza here.
– Make sure to try the fresh seafood, local pastas, a Caprese salad and sip a limoncello.
– Some of these restaurants were on my list but didn’t get a chance to try: Ristorante Mamma, Villa Verde and Al Capri.
Left: Drinks at Hotel Luna; Right: Da Paolina
Shopping in Capri:
Walking down the Capri streets you can expect an array of the most exquisite looking Chanel, Prada and the likes. The town boasts all the luxury brands and vintage stores, no less than the mark.
From Piazza Umberto all the way down to the Grand Hotel on Via Emanuele, you will find tons of boutiques and luxury brands. And once you reach the hotel just turn left on to Via Camerelle for your fav high end brands. Also do check out Capri’s houseware stores. All the tiny lanes around Piazza Umberto like Via le Botteghe have great local boutiques where you’ll find cute outfits, linen shops, home stuff and much more.
Visit the fragrance boutiques of Carthusia to custom make your own scent. Perfume making has been a part of the islands history since 1400’s so you definitely can’t leave without customizing one. Another thing worth checking out is the famous Capri Sandal. The artisans measure your foot and these flat sandals are made to order. You can choose your preferred colours and embellishments as per your preference. The shoes are a little steep because they handmade but if you want to buy something local then it’s the best. Also pick up a bottle of fresh Limoncello and some lemon sweets.
Getting to Capri:
Since Capri is an island it is only accessible by sea. The best way is to fly into Naples and then take a boat to Capri. We flew into Rome, took a train to Naples and then a boat.
Naples to Capri:
From the Naples station take a cab to the ferry terminal which is just 30 mins away, tell your cab driver you want to go to the Naples- Capri terminal.
There are about three companies that operate and charge between 20 to 30 euros. If you want to avoid the lines and be safe then book your tickets online. We bought our tickets on the spot for the ferry to Capri. The boat was extremely huge and comfortable, the ride was not at all bumpy. It takes about 1- 2 hours to reach the Capri port. You can check the tickets and schedule here-Â https://www.capri.com/en/ferry-schedule
On arriving in Capri:
All the boats that come into Capri arrive into Marina Grande. The main town of Capri is up on a hill and can be accessed by a furnicular only. You can buy the tickets for the same at the port 2 euros approx. It’s best to let your hotel know about your ferry timings in advance so they can send their porters for luggage, that’s what most of the hotels do. Or else it can get quite inconvenient for you to drag your bags all the way up in the furnicular. We had hired our hotel porters who dropped our luggage directly to the room so that we could go up comfortably.
What to pack:
Capri is not like your average European summer trip. While I packed comfortable shorts, casual tees and summer dresses, people in Capri contradicted my tour wardrobe. The town boasts all sorts of designer labels and stores which clearly reflect on the crowd there who clad in high-end, lux brands. So I say, don’t leave behind your Gucci and Prada at home, carry them over and don’t hesitate to flaunt them. Dressing for the day can be casual, wear dresses, shorts, beachwear but avoid dark colours in the day. The place has a very vintage Italian vibe so pack a lot of whites, nudes, powder pinks, lemon yellows and sky blues. Italians wear a lot of bright colours, stripes, linen, polkas and you can pack some fun blouses, ruffle tops, frilly dresses and floral gowns too.
You will definitely need tons of good headbands and scarves along with big hats. A pair of slippers and sneakers are a must, there’s a lot of walking to do. Pack some really cool swimsuits and bikinis along with charming gold accessories like pearls, hoops, sunglass chains, coin necklaces and all things vintage. You have to pack a good straw/cane beach bag along with some side bags for the night, even belt bags would be a great pick. As for the night, people really dress up here so pack some formal gowns, dresses and maybe a pair of wedges along with fancy earrings. Men should pack linen shorts, shirts, casual tee shirts for the day and a few formal shirts along with a formal shoe for the night, most of the dinner places have a dress code here. Basically people here put in a lot of effort in dressing up unlike any other European holiday spot where tourists are generally more relaxed. This indeed is a town for the rich and famous and people dress their part.
When to visit:
While the months of June to August are the best in terms of weather but be prepared for sky rocketing hotel prices and tons of tourist. I visited Capri in the first week of June and needless to say, I loved it. Luckily it wasn’t overcrowded, the days were little warm, the water was quite cold but could easily jump in and the nights were quite pleasant. If you plan to travel in this season then I would recommend booking in advance.
Between November to February, the island is quite boring and most of the places would be shut down due to winter. Spring (April, May) and Autumn (September) could be alternate months if you want to avoid the summer, the crowds and are looking for cheaper prices. But also remember July and August can get very hot, so I would recommend June.
Don’t leave without:
– Sipping an Aperol Spritz at the Piazza
– Taking a tour of the Blue Grotto
– Sailing and swimming in the sea
– Trying Limoncello
– Trying the fresh seafood and local Pasta
– A taxi ride in the semi open vintage car
– A trip to Mount Solaro
– Chilling under the stripy beach umbrellas at La Fontelina
Things to know:
-Â It is expected to tip in Capri.
– Overall Capri is quite steep, so be prepared.
– Don’t judge Capri by arriving in Marina Grande. Take the furnicular up and you’ll see the real Capri
– Don’t make the mistake of doing just a day trip here, spend atleast three nights.
– You have to walk a lot so be prepared, carry comfortable sneakers and flip flops.
– In terms of food, the entire island mainly serves an Italian fare.
How many days to spend?
While the world will urge you to just do a day trip to this island, I highly recommend spending atleast 3 nights. This was my most favourite spot and there is so much to do here. By the time you reach the island half the day is over, you technically have only two and a half days, so make the most of it.
To the south of Naples, lie the three most beautiful islands of Capri, Procida and Ischia. You can spend atleast 3 nights in Capri, a night or two Ischia/Procida. After which you can head to the coastal gems- Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi. If you plan to stay in Amalfi then try and do a day trip to the famous Ravello.
My South of Italy Itinerary:
Day 1: Naples-> Capri
Land in Rome and take a train to Naples followed by a ferry to Capri. Check in, explore the town and head for dinner.
Day 2: Explore Capri + Anacapri
Explore Capri by foot + Have a local meal + Take a cab and head to Anacapri + Take the chairlift to Mount Solaro + Explore Anacapri + Head back to Capri and dine at Da Paulina (lemon trees)
Day 3: Capri Shopping + Beach
Start the morning by shopping on the famous Capri streets + Head to La Fontelina + Spend the day by the sea and eat a great lunch + Sip an evening cocktail at Piazza Umberto
Day 4: Blue Grotto + Positano (Read the Positano Travel Guide)
Hire a private boat and sail all day + Visit the Blue Grotto + Swim in the sea + Pass through the Faraglioni+ Go to the other grottos too + Around evening get dropped off at Positano + check in to the hotel + Go for a sundown drink and then dinner.
Day 5: Explore Positano + Beach + Shop
Spend the day on the beach + shop around the local boutiques + explore both the vertical cliffs by foot + Head for a sundown and then dinner + Post dinner walk around the beach, itâ€™s magical
Day 6: Hike + Positano Beach Club
Head for an early morning hike to the Path of Gods + Spend the day at Da Adolfo beach club + come back to the centre and walk around + Coffee or sunset drinks + Dinner
Day 7: Take a boat to Amalfi + Check in + Walk around the centre + Chill on the beach + Head for a romantic meal
Day 8: Hire a Vespa and ride along the Amalfi Coast + Head to Ravello + Explore the centre, eat lunch and spend the day there + Come back to Amalfi before the sun sets + Romantic dinner + Walk around the cathedral and centre.
Day 9: Take a cab to Naples and then a train to Rome.
Alternatively, if you have time on hand then you can head to Sorrento and spend two nights there. I would recommend you to skip staying in Amalfi town and instead spend the last two nights in Sorrento because Amalfi is very small and can be explored in a day trip.
While most of the locals speak Italian, English is also widely spoken consideringÂ the number of tourists that come into Capri
Check the current rate on www.xe.com
Hope you get hypnotized by Capri’s unreal beauty, it’s almost like living a dream!
Positano Travel Guide – Click