The island of Capri has been a vacation destination since Roman times when it played host to Caesar Augustus and other dignitaries. In the 1900’s it became popular with VIP guests including past American presidents, aristocrats, and movie stars. Today, it can be visited by the general public , but is still a favorite of many high profile guests. It’s known for it’s beauty, large lemons, and the dish caprese. Keep your eyes peeled, you may even bump into a movie star! Here is my ultimate guide to visiting the island of Capri:
How to get there:
Capri is an island off the Amalfi Coast, so no matter where you’re coming from you will need to travel to Capri by boat. These are the three ways to get to the island:
Ferries run from Naples, Sorrento, Amalfi, Postiano, and Solerno. The schedule varies quite a bit depending on which season you are traveling in. You can check the current ferry schedule here.
Book a boat tour from the mainland. Many tours leave from Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi. You can either book the tour with a group or privately. More information about boat tours can be found here.
The other option is to hire a private transfer to take you out and bring you back. Information about private transfers can be found here.
How to travel around Capri:
To get from Marina Grande, where you will arrive by boat, up to the town of Capri you can travel by bus, funicular (cable car), or you can walk. Current prices and schedules for the bus and funicular can be found here.
To get from the main town of Capri to the smaller town of Anacapri you can travel by bus, taxi, or walk. Current bus schedules and prices can be found here.
There are many hiking trails around the island and everything can be reached by foot (though this will take much longer than traveling by public transportation). Maps of the island and its hiking trails can be found at the tourist center in Marina Grande.
What to see and do:
- Boat tour around the island. This is my number one recommendation for anyone going to Capri. Make sure you do a boat tour around the island! There are a variety of private tours offered as well as several large group tours. While the group tours are significantly less expensive, the private tours offer a more personal experience and the ability to see more grottos and inlets. A listing of the boat tours offered can be found here.
- The Blue Grotto. Even if you are paying for a boat tour around the island, the Blue Grotto will be a separate entry fee. It’s quite expensive at 13 euro a person (plus a tip for the raft guide that takes you in-they expect it) and the wait to get in is generally long. The grotto itself is amazing and without a doubt one of the natural wonders of the world. If you take a group boat tour the captain generally takes a vote to see if the majority want to do the grotto, so if you’re in the minority you’re out of luck. Be aware that the blue grotto is only open during calm seas. If the waves are too rough (which is common) the boats are not able to enter the grotto.
- Gardens of Augustus. The gardens are just a short walk from the center of Capri and cost 1 Euro to enter. They are small, but still beautiful. The best part of the gardens is the spectacular view that they offer. One of the best views on the island. The famous Via Krupp is accessed through the gardens.
- Monte Solaro Chairlift. The chairlift is located in Anacapri which is a 20 minute bus ride from Capri. The lift costs 11 euro per person and offers spectacular views.
- Villa San Michele. This house museum in Anacapri offers some of the most panoramic views on the island. Cost to enter is 7 euro per person.
- Hiking. There are many beautiful trails all over the island that take you to Roman ruins, hidden beaches, beautiful view points, and favorite local spots. Trail maps can be found at the Tourist Information Center in Marina Grande.
What to eat:
If you’re coming to Italy, eating delicious food is probably high on your priority list. Capri is loaded with touristy restaurants, but it also has some hidden gems. I’ll share with you the eating experiences you shouldn’t miss:
- Buonocore. Really, if you miss this place on your visit to Capri, you should be very very sad. Not only do they serve great Italian style lunches of caprese (named after the island) and countless other delicious goodies, they also have the best gelato I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve tried it everywhere)! You’ll walk right by this place if you’re not careful. It’s not touristy at all and is down a side street. Lunches here are a fraction of the cost of lunches at the touristy shops. Do not miss this place!
- Lemon granitas. You won’t get very far into Marina Grande before you realize what a “big” deal lemons are in the Campania region. They’re literally as big as your head. Make sure you stop at one of the little granita stands and enjoy a fresh lemon treat during your visit. It’s the thing to do on Capri!
- Seafood. Southern Italy is known for it’s light sauces, delicate flavors and seafood. No matter where you choose to eat, be sure to opt for these types of dishes instead of heavy dishes. Touristy places will serve both to please all palates, but you’re always better off ordering what the region is known for.
Pro tourist tips:
- Arrive as early as possible in the morning. Capri is a popular destination and gets crowded quickly. You’ll want to arrive early to both beat the rush for boat tours and to ensure that you have as much time as possible on the island.
- Check the ferry schedule while planning your day. The last ferry returns to the mainland much earlier than you might expect. You don’t want to get caught unaware and be stranded on the island for the night!
- Book tours ahead of time. Boat tours, hiking tours, etc are very popular and can get booked up well in advance, especially in the high season. Don’t leave these details to the last minute.
We were staying in Positano in April, 2016. This is what our itinerary for the day looked like:
7:10-8:00 Bus to Sorrento 1.60 E pp
8:00 Breakfast in Sorrento
8:40-9:00 20 minute walk to from bus stop to Marina Piccola for ferry
9:15 Take ferry from Sorrento to Capri (30 m ride). 18.30 E pp.
10:00-12:15 Private boat tour around Capri
12:30 Funicular up to town (1.80 E each way or 8.60 E for day pass for bus and funicular pp)
1:00-2:00 Lunch in Capri
2:00 Activity options:
Bus to Anacapri for chairlift- bus price plus 10 E pp for lift
Hiking (maps available from tourist center in Marina Grande)
Gardens of Augustus in Capri (1 E each)
Snack in Capri (Buonocore for gelato and a citrus granita)
4:35 Ferry back to Positano, 17.70 Euro
8:30 Dinner in Positano
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