Capri is a magical island but you really only find its magic when you stay over night. A day trip, being crushed by all the other day trippers and cruise ship visitors bustling down the narrow streets leaves you wondering what all the fuss is about. The island comes alive at night when the streets empty out and you can truly explore.
Marianna sitting on the majolica bench in Augustus Gardens
When to visit
I have visited in May, August and September. May we had dreadful weather (apparently unusual for spring in Italy), windy, some rain, chilly and mainly cloudy. July was very hot which hindered walking everywhere (only small areas of the island allow motor vehicles so you will need to walk most places). September was perfect when i visited, sunny, warm, dry and not too hot.
Marina Grande busy with people on the port
How to get there
You fly into Naples and catch the ferry from Naples port to the island. Id suggest you arrange transfers with your hotel as it makes it all so much easier. And if like us, in May, you arrive in a storm when most of the ferries are being cancelled you know you wont end up stranded! Remember no cars are allowed into Capri town so without arranged transfers and luggage pick up you will be pulling your luggage yourself down the cobbled streets looking for your hotel.
There are two ports in Capri- Marina Grande where you will arrive into and Marina Piccola. Marina Grande is where all the ferries from mainland Italy arrive into. It's a bustling marina with lots of crowds and chaos. There are a few seafood restaurants lining the front but i don't usually stop here. You can get either the Funicolare (tram) which takes you up the steep hill to Capri town centre for a couple of euros. Or one of the famous taxis- topless cars with fancy interiors, fun disco style or traditional vintage, all of them are different, at around €40 for a 5 min ride. It's an amazing experience just to ride up and down in the taxi though, the views are spectacular.
Things to do, including those best Instagram spots
Capri Town is free from cars, has a little piazza famous for watching the world go by and lots of white washed narrow streets to explore. Shopping here is amazing. There are many shops; some specialising in the local craft of sandal making, vintage jewellery, traditional ceramics, light weight linens and these more traditional shops are scattered among the big names such as Zimmermann, Aquazzura (the shop fit in this store is worth visiting in itself) and Dolce and Gabbana. The white cobbled streets lead down to Via Camerelle which houses all the top designer stores (Chanel, Hermes, Gucci to name a few). The famous Quisiana hotel bar front is on the same street to sit and relax after all that shopping.
The Aquazzura store in Capri
Marianna & Francesca at the Granita bar
If you walk to the bottom of Via Camerelle you will find Via Tragara which is a pleasant walk of about 10 mins down to the most stunning views of La Faraglioni. The end of Via Tragara is also the starting point of another two beautiful walks.... one down to the famous beach club La Fontelina (through the pine forests on the mountain side, takes about another 10 mins but its a steep decline and if the beach club turn you away when you reach the bottom you have to walk back up again! So i suggest you make a reservation in advance, more on this beach club later on). There is another slightly longer walk from this starting point too, around the mountain edges working your way back in to Capri town. Not many people do this walk, you have the most spectacular views all to yourself and you come across some historical monuments in the mountain caves you pass. While i am advising walks i have to mention the walk down Via Krupp (the German built path way from the top of Agustus Gardens in Capri down to Marina Piccolla) and the walk to Villa Jovis- inland- to the ancient roman palace of Tiberius. These are all things you just dont get to do on a day trip and they really show you the true beauty of Capri.
Arriving at La Fonteline Beach club by foot
The view of Via Krupp from Augustus Gardens
While in Capri town you should visit Augustus Gardens - take the path next to Hotel Quisiana and follow it round to the right- here you will find more stunning views of La Faraglioni and of Via Krupp, as well as immaculate gardens and the most beautiful majolica bench- an instagram must! On the path down to these gardens is also where you will find another instagram must... the beautiful granita bar full of hanging lemons.
Views of La Faraglioni from Augustus gardens
Anacapri is higher up the mountain than the main town of Capri and is quieter as there are not as many day trippers. You can get the taxi up to here from Marina Grande/ Marina Piccola or Capri town- expect more amazing views on the way up. Anacapri is where you will find a chairlift up Monte Solaro to the highest point in Capri... not for the faintheared! You will also find the Capri Palace hotel with its michelin starred restaurant and beautiful roof terrace views. To the left of the hotel is a long shopping street (my fave actually with lots of linens, ceramics and art) leading down to Axel Munthe villa (San Michele), another fave of mine on the island. This is a tranquil historic villa on the edge of the mountain with amazing gardens, views and history. The creator of the villa- Axel Munthe- wrote a book about the house - San Michele- the first time i visited this special place i had read the book before hand and it made my visit even more special. If you walk back down into Anacapri centre you will find more shops, majolica benches and a beautiful little church as well as Casa Rossa, an ancient ornate totally red house that is now a museum.
Shopping ceramics and terracotta in Anacapri
Inside Axel Munthe's home, Villa San Michele in Anacapri
The views from Villa San Michele
The Capri Palace owns one of the best beach clubs on the island- Ill Riccio- which if you have a reservation at you should be able to take the free shuttle bus from the Capri Palace, otherwise you can also get a taxi (its not within walking distance). The food here is amazing, not to mention the decor, views and service are all superb, along with a dessert room, dedicated entirely to desserts where you can fill your pate with as many treats as it will carry.
Inside the dessert room at Ill Riccio
On the other side of the island is Marina Piccola, a small port for private boats. This Marina is closest to La Faraglioni rocks with great views, some small gravel beaches and rocky beach clubs and really good seafood restaurants. You will find all the retro style striped beach umbrellas here too which are fab for those Slim Aarons esp photos.
Capri Hotel Reccomendations
Capri Palace - This one is in Anacapri, so it's quieter in the evenings and you may find yourself getting a taxi or shuttle bus down to Capri town each night but the hotel itself is stunning, the service and food exceptional and its a great location in Anacapri if you do want something quieter.
The roof terrace at The Capri Palace Hotel
La Minerva - Great boutique hotel with beautiful interiors in a brilliant location. Central but away from the bustle so always quiet and has lovely sea views. There are only a few rooms so book well in advance.
La Residenza - A more affordable option for the centre of Capri town, the location is amazing, right next to the Quisiana but for a fraction of the price. There is a small pool, a nice large sun deck with sea views and most rooms have been refurbed and are spacious and clean.
The room interior at La Residenza hotel
Capri Resturant Reccomendations
La Capannina - In Capri town centre; food is always wonderful and there is a great atmosphere, the waiting staff usually get out their musical instruments at some point in the evening and have a party with everyone. I have been here a few times now and every single time the elderly owner is there working.
The exterior of La capannina restaurant and home made pasta dishes at La Capannina
Villa Verde - In Capri town; Jennifer Lopez famously had her 50th birthday dinner here. The food is good- pizza is what i would recommend. There is a big courtyard garden when you go through the doors. If you stay later it also turns into a bit of a party atmosphere with the only nightclub on the island being opposite; Taverna Anema e Core
Pizza at Villa Verde restaurant
Ill Riccio - Out of town beach club (taxi needed or shuttle bus from Capri Palace hotel as mentioned above). Very special place, i highly recommend! I have only every been for lunch but apparently in the evening its great for partying here too.
La Fontelina- Out of town beach club (Water taxi from Marina Piccolla or walk from the end of Via Tragara- as mentioned above) The food here is very, very good and the people watching even better! Its the famous beach club that has kept its retro style so expect mattresses on rock floors or a deckchair (no comfy sun longer here) and expect to pay high prices for them too. You should call ahead and make a reservation as its difficult to get to and they may turn you away otherwise.
Le Camerelle - Capri town on the main designer shopping street. Good food, has some nice outside seating cabins on the street itself which are cute.
Bagni Internazionali Capri - Marina Piccolla, here you have the very best views of Marina Piccolla, sitting elevated above the sea with a breeze and views from every angle. The food excellent.
Interior of Bagni Internazionali at Marina Piccola
Food at Bagni Internazionali Marina Piccola
Da Paolino - Out of town, down towards Marina Grande, you will need to get a taxi. This restaurant is famed for lots of lemon trees, i would recommend requesting a seat in the old part of the restaurant so you get to sit under them. The food is also really very good, as is the setting. More of an evening place.
Aurora - Capri town, on a bustling pedestrian street with some other restaurants this is the oldest one on the island apparently. You will see the walls with all the pictures of stars who have visited over the years. The food is good too.
De Gelsomina - Anacapri but not walkable, you will need to get a taxi to this even if you are stopping in Anacapri itself. It's out into the countryside. I went for dinner and the food was SUPERB. Views are special too, esp as you can see the sun set from the terrace.
Il Geranio - Capri town, spectacular views over La Faraglioni rocks from the outside terrace- however there are only a few tables here so call ahead and specify to sit outside. (Tip.. It's better for 2 of you so you can both be facing the view)
L'Olivo - Anacapri, the michelin starred restaurant at the Capri Palace hotel. Formal dining, amazing food and service, overlooking the pool.
Buonocore Gelateria/ Pasticceria - You will smell this place before you see it. Hundreds flock to the gelato window everyday due to the smell coming down the streets of their fresh waffle cones being made. The ice cream is great but don't leave the island without also going inside to sample the biscuits, cakes, baked pasta and pies.
Gelato at Buonocore
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Leaving Capri, Marina Grande
P.S..... CAPRI BY SEA....... Do it!! How can i not mention seeing the island from the sea, it's a whole new perspective and lets not forget driving through the centre of La Faraglioni rocks with the horn of the boat blowing and visiting the Blue Grotto cave for the most beautiful waters. You can easily get on a boat from Marina Grande or arrange with your hotel. There is no shortage.