Capri is a rocky island situated at the mouth of the Gulf of Naples. I visited the island on a day-trip from Positano on the Amalfi Coast and it was truly memorable. It’s really easy to get to Capri from Positano. Ferries ply between these two tourist hotspots several times a day and it takes only 30 minutes (20 minutes from Sorrento), making a day trip to Capri a great thing to do. We left on the 11am ferry and sat up on the deck. Throughout the 30-minute ride, the views of the imposing cliffs of the Sorrento peninsula and the villages perched precariously on the edges took centre-stage. There’s really nothing quite like it anywhere in the world.
From a distance, Capri (map) looked like a giant monster of the deep breaching the surface. It’s towering cliffs and rugged coastline, with countless caves and rock formations, are truly awe-inspiring. As we looked up at the massive cliffs, we spotted Villa Jovis, the summer home of Emperor Tiberius. During his reign, anyone who fell out of favour with him were thrown off these cliffs. The thought sent a cold shiver down my back as I imagined the terrifying fall. Those cliffs are at least 300 meters (or more than a thousand feet) high!
As the ferry rounded the cliffs and approached the small harbour of Capri, the gorgeous little town of Capri came into view. The brightly coloured houses of Marina Grande lined the harbourfront whilst high in the hills above it, the whitewashed town of Capri loomed.
Things to do in Capri
There are many things to do and see in Capri. The first thing we did upon arrival was check for tours around the island. Friends of ours had strongly recommended a boat tour around the island. We checked at a small booth at the jetty and yes, they offered island tours with or without the option to visit the famous Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra). We chose the island tour that included the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra).
The boat tour was lovely. We got to see the impressive limestone cliffs up close – the cliffs were littered with caves, crevices and massive arches. The highlight of the tour was without doubt the Blue Grotto. The ethereal blue colour of the water in the cave was absolutely unforgettable.
Back in Marina Grande, we made our way up to the town of Capri. The two are connected by a funicular railway – the easiest and quickest way up – and there are also buses and taxis. The sporty visitors can opt to walk the steep 2.2 kilometer path to the top. I didn’t even think about it for a second….not in the hot summer heat.
Once at the top, the views over the Gulf of Naples and Mt. Vesuvius were stupendous. We went on a leisurely stroll around the quaint narrow lanes of Capri that lead in all directions from the main square, Piazza Umberto I. It quickly became clear to me that Capri is an island for the well-heeled. Every big name in fashion is represented in the little streets while restaurants have pictures hanging at their doors of glamorous people (Sylvester Stallone and Danny Devito right down to Beyoncé and Jay-Z) dining there. My first instinct was to sniff out a great eatery that was reasonably-priced. I stayed off the main streets and explored the back lanes, and found a fabulous little place: Trattoria Scialapopolo, off the Via Le Botteghe. I had a simple spaghetti alio olio and a slice of chocolate cake heaven to finish off – a divine meal for a modest price.
Capri is a lovely place to just wander around for the afternoon and explore the many lanes with their beautiful fashion, art and handicraft shops. There are also various places that are absolutely worth a visit, such as Villa Jovis, the former home of Emperor Tiberius, or the Gardens of Augustus. One can also opt to visit Capri’s second town, Anacapri. Anacapri is home to the splendid St. Michael’s Church and the ruins of Barbarossa Castle, as well as the chairlift which takes visitors up to Monte Solaro, Capri’s highest peak, for some magnificent views.
Capri makes for a wonderful day trip from Naples, Sorrento or the Amalfi Coast. At the end of the day, chances are, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning sunset as you sit on the boat back to the mainland.
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I was at Naples and I saw a glimpse of Capri over the sea. We wnet to Pompeii first and our time was running out so I had to put this on hold for our next trip. I really want to see Blue Grotto so bad. Hopefully next time when I visit Italy, I can visit there and use ur perfect guide.
And, it’s not the Isle of Capri’
Day-trippers miss out. There are crowds of them. Hotel prices are high. But, as usual the location is everything.
After the day-trippers go back to wherever (Rome! I hope not) the island population drops considerably. We’re talking romantic here people.
Best way to the island directly from Rome? Take the train. Be sure that it stops at Mergellina which is the last stop before Central Naples. Don’t try to take your luggage from the Mergellina station to the dock where the ferries for Capri depart. It’s a very steep grade. You can even buy tickets on-line for the ferry from the US if you’re a planner. Unless your hotel provides luggage service, you can always find a reliable guy at the Capri port to take bags to the hotel. You do not want to manhandle suitcases into the funicular. (You’ve been warned.)
And it’s not Capri’ as in capri pants — it’s pronounced Cap’ ri — accent on the penultimate syllable as usual in Italian. Do please learn some Italian; unless you’re a young woman in which case it won’t matter.
Wow! This article is so very informative. Thanks a ton…… 🙂
Wow several thing I knew but don’t know where exactly are all there! Most of all, is that real? Wow. That’s bluer than glacier water 🙂 impressive…
Oh and I’m a fan of rocky island. 🙂 Jeju island is one of them. Hehe
Very informative post – I had no idea that 1) Capri was so starstruck and 2) you could see Mt. Vesuvius from the top. (And by the way, I totally support you taking the funicular up there and not hiking!) It sounds beautiful and is now on my “places to go” list! Thanks.
Thank you MJ, Kate & Lisa for your comments and great Capri tips. I only spent a day there but I could easily have spent a few more days there. So much to see and do!
After we explored the town of Capri, we took the bus a little higher to the town of Anacapri. From there you can ride a chair lift even higher up and get a fabulous view of the island, the mainland, and the sea. Worth the time and effort.
I adore Capri — it’s one of my favorite places in the world. Still, I can’t imagine spending merely a day there. There is so much to see, from climbing Monte Solaro to the Blue Grotto to Faro Beach, that it’s worth staying a few days!
Keith, you know this is one of my favorite places on Earth………the romance is in its natural, raw beauty!