Capri: Things to Do in Italy’s most enchanting island

Due to its proximity to both Naples and Sorrento, Capri is an ideal destination for a one-day holiday or as a destination for a unique and unforgettable journey. From the famous Faraglioni to the Blue Grotto, from the Piazzetta to the villa of the Emperor Tiberius, you will discover how to best savor the beauty of this island in the Gulf of Naples, which has always been synonymous with social life.

The Island of Capri is made up of two municipalities well connected to each other by public transport: Capri and Anacapri.

Traces of Capri’s glorious past can be found all over the island. Already inhabited in prehistoric times, Capri became famous during the Roman Empire for being the home par excellence of emperors and prominent personalities from politics and society. In the early XX century Capri became one of the centers of social life in Italy and even today the charm of past times is felt on the whole Island, making it truly a unique destination in Italy and in the world.

Capri is beautiful all year round, but the best months to visit the island are from May to October. Surely late spring and early autumn are the ideal months: the right heat, the uncrowded island, warm sea, and all the open services make Capri truly special. In July and August, however, the island is very chaotic because of the many tourists who visit the island and it can be more complicated and difficult to enjoy it.

Even in winter Capri has its charm, but many restaurants, hotels, and shops close during this season and it can happen that bad weather does not allow you to dock or leave from the island.

Things to do in Capri

Marina Grande

Capri, Marina Grande

Marina Grande is the place where you arrive in Capri, characterized by colorful houses and the largest beach on the island. Marina Piccola, on the other hand, can be reached on foot or by public transport from the town of Capri and, despite being very small, it is always very crowded due to its exclusive position.

Piazza Umberto I

Piazza Umberto I, the town of Capri

Once you arrive on the island you can start your visit from Piazza Umberto I, the worldly heart of Capri, known worldwide – for its small size – such as the “Piazzetta” (little square). It is the ideal place to have a coffee, have a chat, enjoy the view from the terrace and maybe spot some VIPs.

Until the last century, the “Piazzetta” of Capri housed the market stalls, while today it is the symbol of social life, where mingle the inhabitants of Capri, characters of the world jet-set and simple tourists.

This area of Capri is crowded both day and night, also thanks to the many outdoor restaurants and bars. If you sit in one of the bars in the “Piazzetta” you will pay for your coffee much more than in the classic bars, but it is definitely an experience that, if you are in Capri, it must be absolutely done.

Via Camerelle

Via Camerelle, Capri, Italy

The main streets to explore Capri start from the square: along the famous Via Camerelle, the shopping street of Capri, you will meet the best boutiques of international brands. Prices are not for everyone but walking in the midst of luxury shops and typical shops is a must if you are in Capri.

Centro Caprense Ignazio Cerio (museum)

Centro Caprense Ignazio Cerio

You can also visit the Centro Caprense Ignazio Cerio, a small museum located not far from the “Piazzetta” and which preserves 20,000 archaeological and naturalistic finds from the island which testify to its ancient history.

Faraglioni

faraglioni di capri

The tour of the island can continue by visiting the Faraglioni, one of the symbols of Capri. These are three large rocky boulders that are located just off the coast, immersed in the blue sea, and can be reached by boat. The tallest one measures 109 meters, while the middle one is crossed by a natural cave that can be covered by boat. The name “Faraglioni” derives from the Greek “Pharos”, and is due to the fact that great fires were lit here to signal the route to mariners.

Each Faraglione has a name. The closest to the mainland is called Saetta, the one in the middle of Stella and the outermost Scopolo.

If you decide to participate in an organized tour around the island, you will pass under the arch of the central Faraglione. The area is suitable for swimming, paying attention to the many boats: just start from the La Fontelina and Luigi bathing establishments.

Blue Grotto

Grotta Azzurra capri

Another symbol of Capri, as well as the main attraction of the island, is the famous Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra). The fame and name derive from the incredible blue of the waters inside, which attracts tourists from all over the world. The entrance to the Blue Grotto, 25 meters wide and 60 meters long, takes place with small boats that can accommodate up to four people. The entrance is only one meter high and for this you have to lie down on the bottom of the boat while the boatman grabs the chain anchored to the rock wall to slide into the cave. It is said that the best time to enter the Blue Grotto is between 12 and 14 when the sun’s rays penetrate the rocks making the reflections of the water even bluer. The visit to the Blue Grotto is paid and the entrance can be reached by boat with special tours but also on foot, arriving in Anacapri and following the road to the Blue Grotto. The wait to enter the cave, especially in the high season, can go up to an hour and the trip lasts about 5 minutes. Swimming and diving are prohibited.

In case of bad weather or rough seas the Blue Grotto is closed; the cave can also be closed in good weather but in the presence of a southwesterly wind. From November to March the cave is usually closed.

Monte Solaro

Monte Solaro

From the sea you can pass in a few minutes to the mountain: with its 589 meters, Monte Solaro is in fact the “mountain” of Capri, as well as the panoramic point par excellence, from where to see the whole island, including Faraglioni, but also the mainland with Naples and Salerno, in front of the boundless blue of the sea.

Here many species of birds nest, including the Peregrine Falcon, and you can admire the typical flora and fauna of the Mediterranean. A curiosity: Capri is home to the only specimens in the world of the Blue Lizard, which is part of the same family as the common lizard, but which thanks to its isolation and mimicry have taken on the colors of the sea and sky of Capri.

The best time for an excursion to Monte Solaro is in the spring. On Monte Solaro, worth a visit the Hermitage of Santa Maria a Cetrella, formerly a place of spiritual retreat for the monks, and the remains of the Barbarossa Castle, built around the 11th century and stormed by the Turks in 1535.

To reach the Mount you can opt for two solutions: on foot from Anacapri, following the marked path, and calculating at least 1 hour uphill. Or, again from Anacapri, by chairlift, in about 10 minutes.

Villa Jovis

Villa Jovis, Capri

Capri also boasts many beautiful villas, built in ancient times and more recent centuries. Among these, Villa Jovis, the Villa dedicated to Jupiter by the Roman Emperor Tiberius, is certainly one of the best-preserved examples of Roman architecture in the Mediterranean. It is not the only residence of the Emperor in Capri, but it certainly represents one of the most grandiose: it is a construction that extends for 7 square km on the far east promontory of Capri. The villa was built in the 1st century BC. Today only the ruins remain, which can be visited to enjoy a piece of history and a truly incredible view of the sea and the island. Villa Jovis can be reached on foot from the “Piazzetta” di Capri by following the signs and taking at least 45 minutes to arrive (the road is all uphill). Before entering the Villa, which you visit for a fee, you can stop at Astarita Park, located in front of the sea of Capri. From here the panorama embraces Ischia and Procida, the Gulf of Salerno and the Cilento coast in a truly dreamlike atmosphere.

Villa San Michele

Villa San Michele

Another villa worth visiting is Villa San Michele, built where a Roman villa once stood, in the most panoramic point of Capri. In addition to the truly nice location, inside the Villa there are very important Roman finds. In the summer at Villa San Michele there is a musical festival of concerts. The Villa can be visited all year round for a fee.

 

Leaving the “Piazzetta” of Capri, just take Via Camerelle to arrive in Via Tragara, overlooked by luxurious residences overlooking the sea. Here you can find Villa Lo Studio, where Pablo Neruda stayed when he was in Capri. At the end of this road there is also the most famous viewpoint of Capri, directly on the Faraglioni. The “Pizzolungo” path that runs along the entire island winds from Via Tragara.

 

The other classic Capri walk starts from the “Piazzetta” and arrives at the Gardens of Augustus, from where you can admire the whole panorama, including Via Krupp, the famous road carved out of the rock which, however, is almost always closed due to the risk of falling rocks. The Gardens of Augustus are not for free only during the high season.

Anacapri

Anacapri

On the slopes of Monte Solaro, just 15 minutes by bus from the “Piazzetta”, is Anacapri, the largest municipality on the island, characterized by colorful alleys, as well as the calmest area of the island, even in the height of summer. From here the chairlift that leads to the summit of Monte Solaro, or, along via Pagliaro, you can reach the famous Blue Grotto by land, or if you are a lover of wild nature and want to enjoy the spectacle of the sun setting over the sea, you can reach Punta Carena and its imposing “Faro”, the largest lighthouse in Italy after that of Genoa.

Anacapri also houses one of the most beautiful and representative churches of the Neapolitan Baroque: the Church of San Michele Arcangelo, with its magnificent majolica floor which depicts the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. Another attraction not to be missed is the Red House, with its bright Pompeian red color that distinguishes its facades, former home of the American colonel John Clay Mackowen, today it houses a permanent exhibition of pictorial works depicting Capri and Anacapri created between the XIX century and the XX century.

 

On the island of Capri, there are both free beaches and beaches equipped with umbrellas, sunbeds, showers, bars, and restaurants. Capri is a rocky island: therefore you will not find large sandy beaches, but stony coves and platforms from which to dive.

The largest beach on the island is located in the Marina Grande area: it is a stony bay overlooking the crystal clear sea. It can be reached in a few minutes from the hydrofoil terminal. On the opposite side of the island, there are the beaches of Marina Piccola, which can be reached on foot through the center or by bus. Also here there are two free beaches and various equipped establishments.

Capri by boat

Capri by boat

The best way to enjoy Capri from the sea is surely the tour of the island by boat. At the port of Marina Grande, there are various companies that offer a tour of the island. Departures are very frequent and you can choose between excursions of one or two hours that touch the most beautiful points of the jagged coast of Capri, such as Villa Jovis and the Faraglioni. Continuing south, you skirt Marina Piccola: here the coast is full of inlets, hidden bays, and caves, such as the Green Grotto, which takes its name from its emerald reflections. Most of the island tours also include a stop at the Blue Grotto for those wishing to visit it.

How to get to Capri

Capri can be reached by ship from the port of Naples but also from Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. There are also daily runs from Procida and Ischia. In summer, connections are more frequent than in winter, when most of the trips are made from Naples.

You can use the fast hydrofoil or a ferry.

 

From Naples you embark at Molo Beverello or Calata Porta di Massa; hydrofoils depart from Molo Beverello while ferries and fast ships depart from Calata di Massa. Tickets can be purchased both in advance and directly at the pier.

 

Ferries and hydrofoils to Capri also depart from the port of Sorrento. The journey takes about 25 minutes and the view is truly fantastic.

 

Also from Salerno, Amalfi and Positano, on the Amalfi Coast, it is possible to take ferries and hydrofoils. The trips are longer than those from Naples and are not so frequent, even in summer, so it is good to plan the departures and returns in order to have enough time to see the island.

 

Be careful because non-residents are allowed to bring cars or motorbikes to the island only from early November to Easter. In the remaining months of the year, it is not possible. However, Capri is so small that the car is not needed: the center can only be turned on foot and public transport is excellent and will allow you to move comfortably anywhere.

 

What to eat in Capri

“Caprese” is certainly the most famous dish on the island: tomato and mozzarella, olive oil, salt, oregano, basil. A simple and inimitable dish, famous all over the world. Caprese is perfect both as an appetizer and as a single dish. Another very popular dish are the ravioli with parmesan and caciotta cheese. Fish dishes are also famous. The meal ends with the Caprese cake, a delicious mixture of almonds and cocoa. Finally, we have the Limoncello prepared with the Lemons of Capri and served in iced glasses.

If you visit Capri in the summer, don’t miss a lemonade prepared using the juicy local lemons.

 

Where to stay in Capri

Capri Island, Italy

Certainly, Capri is not known as an economic island but finding a place to sleep is less expensive and difficult than you think. Especially out of season, the island offers accommodation in small hotels, bed & breakfasts and apartments with affordable prices for everyone. Obviously the price affects the position (panoramic or not) and the proximity to the most renowned places on the island (“Piazzetta”, shopping streets).

You can stay in Capri if you love nightlife; you love luxury shops; you enjoy doing social life and you have no budget problems.

Instead, it is better to sleep in Anacapri if you don’t like chaos; you want to see the truest face of the island; if you love nature trips and tranquility and if you want to save money.

 

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