The Amalfi coast is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I’ve been lucky enough to visit both Capri and Positano. In today’s post, we’ll explore Capri. It is a spectacularly lush and gorgeous place. It’s narrow paths wind through mediterranean flora and beautiful, gated estates. And it boasts not just one, but several spectacular colorful grottos- blue, green and white. Even the air in Capri is lovely- it’s scented with the fragrance of orange blossoms. It’s the definition of idyllic.
We went in late April, which was still a bit cool for my tastes. If you don’t care about the beach, though, the temperature couldn’t be better, and you won’t have the summer crowds to contend with. We flew into Naples, and from there took a taxi to the ferry terminal. Ferries run regularly, and are a quick hour trip. You’ll want to go up top of the ferry near the end of the journey to see the island come into view. It’s breathtaking, and you can see why the Roman emperors so loved this island.
There’s a lot to do in Capri for such a small island- we were there 4 days and felt like that was perfect. But you could easily make a week trip of it, if you plan in some R&R beach time, and to explore Anacapri more thoroughly. There are trails all over the island, so you could spend a day just getting lost, stopping in amazing tratorias and finding excellent views around each turn. Many companies do day trips to Positano- if you plan on using Capri as your base of operations. Below, you’ll find my recommendations for what to do, where to stay, shop and eat- everything you need to plan your Italian island getaway in Capri. (part 2 of our getaway- Positano, is here).
- Walk to the Villa Jovis ruins, along Via Tiberio. It’s what remains of the Roman Emperor Tiberius’s palace from AD 27. It’s about a 40min strenuous walk away, but well worth it for the scenery along the way and the payoff at the end- spectacular 180 degree views. On the way back, turn down Via Matermania —and hike to the Arco-Naturale.
- If you still have some energy left, hike down the hundreds to steps (almost 300 meters) to Fontellina Beach Club, where you can swim, sun and dine on fresh seafood. If you’d prefer a more independent vibe, bring a towel and claim a patch of rock on the left, once you’re down the hill. the sea is just as beautiful and it’s certainly a more economical option.
- Visit the Blue Grotto, arguably Capri’s most famous attraction, and for good reason. There are a couple ways to do this- you can go by land, or by sea. We opted to hire a boat to visit the grotto and to take us around the island. The grotto is stunning, but the boat ride around the island is almost better- it feels adventurous and also very fancy. We worked with ‘Capri Whales’ to book our boat, but there are other options available, including trips for larger groups at a more discounted cost.
- While there are plenty of lovely shops, I really preferred to soak up the natural beauty of the island. Just wander around Capritown and you’ll be laden with shopping bags in no-time, should you be so inclinded. But one shop that you cannot miss is Carthusia perfumerie. In 1380, the monks of San Giacomo in Capri created a series of scents using natural ingredients from the island- citrus, geranium, wild carnation, fig and orange blossom. The formulas were re-discovered in the 40’s, and with the permission of the pope, the secret recipes were recreated and Carthusia perfume laboratory, the smallest in the world, was founded. It’s a wonderful souvenir- everytime I wear mine I think of the lovely trip I had. My favorite is Fiori di Capri, but there are many, many scents that you’ll be sure to love.
- There are a lot of options in Capri for lodging, from more traditional hotels to villa rentals for large groups. We opted to rent a room, right off the main square- it was a lovely room and an ideal location for a home-base. Capri Dolce Vita has 3 rooms for rent, all with private bathrooms, and the owner Fabio, couldn’t be nicer- full of great recommendations.
- Lo Sfizio– our host Fabio recommended this place, and I was a bit skeptical when we stopped by- it’s a bit nondescript and has a pretty goofy looking sign out front. But WOW was I mistaken- hands down the best pizza we had on our whole holiday. I would have eaten it everyday if I could have. It’s a bit outside of town, so it’s a great stop on your way to or from Villa Jovis.
- Da Paolino for a romantic lunch or dinner. Dine under a canopy of lemon trees- the Amalfi coast is know for its lemons- and enjoy pasta and other dishes infused with lemon flavors, as well as more traditional fare. It’s a bit hard to find, especially after dark, but well worth the adventure.
- Buono Core Cafe & Gelateria– you can’t miss this one. Actually, you’ll probably smell it before you see it. They make their own fresh waffle cones, which scent the air with a mouthwatering sugary, vanilla smell. Grab some gelato, in a cone of course, and stroll along the paths of Capri town.
Oh- one last tip: take the Funiculare up (or down) the hill from the port- less expensive than a taxi and way more fun!
Photos copyright Dru Hilty & Ryder Carroll