When you think of Italian summers you probably think of people jet setting to the island of Capri. I was in awe of Capri’s beautiful rock formations on the sea and its deep blue water. Capri is easily accessible from Naples, Amalfi, Sorrento and Positano which makes it a great side trip while on your Italian vacation. Random note: We say the word Capri wrong in America. The Italians pronounce it cah-pree.
I have seen mixed reviews on whether or not to visit Capri. It is true that Capri is very crowded with tourists although I do think it makes a wonderful half day trip and is definitely worth seeing. I have heard of people spending one night on the island because they love the peace after all the tourists board their ferries back in the evening. Depending on your itinerary this could be a good option.
The boat ride to Capri is enjoyable – I mean who can complain about boating across the Mediterranean? I love being able to see the Amalfi coastline from the viewpoint of the water. It makes the cliffs look that much more dramatic.
Your boat will dock at Marina Grande which is a very touristy port city. Don’t stick around here for long! From here I took an open taxi to Anacapri where I spent most of the day. Driving in the taxi up the hills of Capri was a lot of fun!
Anacapri is a tiny town on the top of Capri with lots of little shops and cafes. It is very touristy, but that is inevitable in Capri. The two main attractions here (besides shopping and eating) are Villa San Michele and the Mount Solaro chairlift.
The cute streets of Anacapri
As soon as you get to Anacapri you will see the building for the chairlift. The chairlift goes to the top of Mount Solaro where you can see the entire island of Capri. The ride up to the mountain is so much fun! I was originally scared at the prospect of taking a chair lift to the top of a mountain. Then I actually rode it and realized that since you are following the slope of the mountain, there is never a moment where you are crazy high above the ground. It definitely calmed my nerves. The smooth ride up and the gradual views were definitely a highlight of my trip! Once you get to the top there is actually not a ton to do. There is a small snack shop and some sitting areas. It’s a great place to take incredible pictures and then head back down. (Open 9:30am-5:00pm in summer and 3:30pm in winter, 11 euro, the chairlift building is in the main square of Anacapri, they have lockers available if you need to store a large bag)
Villa San Michele
From the main square of Anacapri walk about 5-10 minutes to Villa San Michele for more amazing views. This is a small villa with narrow walkways and immaculate gardens. I do have to say that it was a lot smaller than what I was picturing in my mind, but still worth seeing. I really enjoyed walking along the covered terrace. (Open 9am with closing time varying per month, 7 euro, follow the signs from the main square in Anacapri – about a 5 minute walk, website)
Some of the most popular locations in Capri are actually on the water. They have many boat tours of all different kinds. Most tours leave from Marina Grande which makes it easy to find right after you get off your ferry. For a low cost you can enjoy a tour on large boats that pass by the sights or you can splurge on smaller jet boats (private or in small groups) that take you to swimming spots as well. I went with a large group and we took a large boat that cruised by the sights. (Although I’m sure I would have greatly enjoyed jet boating around the island!) One notable sight is the “lovers arch” which is a huge rock your boat can drive under. Tradition says that your love will be eternal if you kiss your lover under the arch. Oh the cheesy tourist traditions that exist and yet we still participate!
I know the blue grotto is also a very popular stop for boats. I did not end up making it there, but have heard very mixed reviews. You can only access it via small rowboats that will charge you an extra fee. I think each person would need to see if for themselves to determine if its a tourist trap or a must-see.
One note on the boat tour – it can get extremely crowded on the sea so try to schedule your tour for the morning or late afternoon/early evening.
Getting to Capri
I went with a large group so my boat ride was booked for me and I ended up taking taxis on Capri. I didn’t use public transportation but this is what I have gathered. Getting to Capri looks fairly simple since there are ferries departing from most of the major cities on the coast. Capri.net is a great resource for planning your trip. They list all of the ferry schedules here. The major cities that have direct ferries to Capri are Naples, Sorrento, Amalfi, Positano and Salerno. There are other smaller cities that also have ferry service.
Transportation in Capri
I really enjoyed traveling around the island in the open air taxis. They are parked at every major tourist spot which makes it easy to find one. It saves you time and you get to feel the island breeze as you drive around. If you are in a group or don’t mind spending a little more money, I would highly recommend the taxis.
If you are looking to save money and take public transportation there are options for that as well. You can take a funicular from Marina Grande to Capri Town and then a bus from Capri Town to Anacapri. The ticket office is at the pier and it costs 1.80 euro per ride or 8.60 euro for a day pass. Check out the Capri website for more detailed information and schedules.