Capri is a charming island off the tip of the Amalfi Coast in the Bay of Naples. It can easily be visited as a day trip from Naples or Amalfi Coast towns but it’s a great place to spend a few nights soaking up the charming atmosphere after all the day tours have left and relax on the beach during the day.
To get to Capri, you can take a ferry from Sorrento, the closest town, taking 20-30 minutes. From Positano or Amalfi on the coast or from Naples there are ferries that take 45 to 80 minutes. There are also ferries connecting with the island of Ischia, known for its thermal spas. See Capri ferry schedules.
If you want to visit the island by boat on a guided day trip, take the Capri Small Group Day Cruise from Sorrento or Capri Cruise from Amalfi Coast, departing from Positano, Amalfi, or Praiano. Both are full day trips that include a boat trip around the island with a stop to swim and time on the island to explore independently.
If you’re already on the island Discover Capri by boat is a 2,5 hour small group tour by boat to the top sights including the Blue Grotto and other grottoes with a stop for swimming.
Visiting the Blue Grotto on Capri:
Probably the most popular site on the island is the famous Blue Grotto, a cave with stunning iridescent blue water, a favorite of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. To get to the Blue Grotto, take a boat from Marina Grande or a bus from Anacapri to the ticket office, then you’ll transfer to a small rowboat that takes you inside the cave for about 5 minutes. The Blue Grotto is open daily, 9-5, except during high seas or bad weather. During summer lines to enter can be very long, especially in the afternoon.
Photos by Gillian McGuire
Towns on the Island of Capri
Ferries usually arrive at Marina Grande, the island’s main harbor. At Marina Grande, there are boats to the Blue Grotto and boat rentals as well as some shops and restaurant and the island’s largest beach. From the marina, a funicular railway (funiculare) connects with the town of Capri. Buses also go to Capri and other parts of the island. Near Marina Grande are the Roman ruins of the Baths of Tiberius.
The south harbor, Marina Piccola, can be reached by boat or bus or by a 15 minute walk from the town of Capri. It has good restaurants, bathing establishments where you can rent lounge chairs and umbrellas, and sheltered places to swim beneath the cliffs along the rocky coast. This is the bay where it’s said that Ulysses was seduced by the sirens. From Marina Piccola you can see the famous Faraglioni rock formations.
The island’s main town is Capri, centered around the main square Piazza Umberto I also known as La Piazzetta. Capri is a charming town with plenty of shops, restaurants, hotels, and nightlife in the summer season. Outside town are the Giardini Augusto, gardens of Augustus, and the 14th century Certosa di San Giacomo. Don’t miss the view of the Via Krupp, a narrow road that winds down to the sea. One of the 12 villas built on the island by Emperor Tiberius, Villa Jovis, is on Mount Tiberio, about a 45 minute walk uphill. It opens at 10:00 and closing hours vary be season, closed on Mondays.
The highest town on the island is Anacapri, reached by bus, taxi, or a long climb on foot. As you would expect there are beautiful sea views and you can see the ancient Phoenician Steps with 800 stairs down to the sea. Off the main square is a street lined with shops and cafes. Visit Villa San Michele, built by the Swedish writer Axel Munthe in the late 19th century on the site of a Roman villa, now a museum with displays of art from antiquity to the 20th century. From the villa’s beautiful garden there are fantastic views.
From Anacapri, a chair lift goes to Mount Solaro, the highest point on the island from where there are amazing views.
Where to Stay and Eat on Capri
If you want to stay where the action is, stay in the town of Capri. Hotel La Palma and Hotel Gatto Bianco are both well-rated 4-star hotels in the center of Capri. Or for a more luxurious stay, Hotel Quisisana is a top hotel.
In the heart of Anacapri, Antico Monastero, Anacapri is a bed and breakfast in an old monastery. Just outside the center of Anacapri, the 3-star Hotel Bellavista, Anacapri is one of the oldest hotels on the island. Each of the 15 rooms has a private balcony.
By the sea at Marina Grande, the luxurious J.k. Place Capri is one of the island’s top hotels, with a spa, outdoor pool, views, restaurant, and shuttle service.
Gillian McGuire, author of Amalfi Coast Travel Essentials: From Positano to Minori and the Many Hidden Coves In Between, recommends Ristorante Michel’Angelo. Run by Gianluca (Caprese) and his wife Holly (Australian), the food is amazing and very well priced. They have cooking classes and picnics too! Another place she recommends is Torre Saracena, a laid back beach club with very fresh fish dishes in Marina Piccola.