If you plan on visiting Sorrento during your vacation in Italy, you shouldn't skip a day trip to Capri, the island gem surrounded by turquoise water in the crown of the Amalfi Coast. No matter what time of year you go, planning an excursion from Sorrento to Capri is easy. Whether you go on your own or with a small group, follow these tips to help you maximize your day and make the most of your time on this magical island. And if you're like us, and find you love it so much you just have to stay longer, spend the night and head back the next day. Evenings in Capri have an entirely different feel when the day trippers leave.
But let's start with getting there.
Getting from Sorrento to Capri
Sorrento to Capri Ferry
There are several options for getting to Capri from Sorrento: by ferry or private boat. Several ferries depart Sorrento’s port every 30-45 minutes or so for the 30 minute ride to Capri. Ferry companies have their ticket offices right in Marina Piccola at the port in Sorrento just a short walk from town. In addition to ferries, several hydrofoils and high speed jetboats also provide service to Capri, Ischia and Naples, as well as daily summer service to other points along the Amalfi Coast in Positano, Amalfi and Salerno.
By far the busiest summer ferry route from Sorrento is between Sorrento and Capri, and ferries run frequently during the high season of April through October. It's the busiest time of year and quite crowded with day trippers. We suggest buying a round trip ticket and reserve ahead of time to avoid the long lines, especially during the month of August.
TICKETS and TIPS:
- Purchase your ferry tickets at Marina Piccola in Sorrento or online to save time! Check out the ferry schedule here.
- Ferry ticket prices range from EUR 14.70 - 18.30 (around $17-23 USD).
- Sit on the left side of the ferry for the best views of the coast between Sorrento and Punta Campanella.
Private Boat from Sorrento to Capri
A Sorrento to Capri day trip is fun any time of year, but getting there in the high season between April through October typically means dodging crowds and standing in some very long lines. Even if you take an early ferry and arrive on Capri by 9 or 10 am, your day trip could end up being just 6 or 7 hours. There are several good boat tours that can turn a hectic day trip to Capri into an all-day excursion for around EURO 85 ($100 USD). It's pricier than the ferry, but includes some great activities and you'll have the whole ride to yourselves. Taking a private boat tour means your trip to Capri just got a whole lot more fun and crowd-free.
Gianni's Tours runs private boat tours from Sorrento to Capri and further down to the Amalfi Coast. Their 7-hour boat tour from Sorrento to Capri includes a boat tour of the island and also free time to explore on your own. They also run private small group tours for families or 6-8 people on a traditional small gozzo boat which are so much fun. We took a Gozzo boat tour in the Cinque Terre, which gave us a personal and more authentic view of Italy.
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What to Do on a Day Trip to Capri
Depending on what time you arrive in Capri from Sorrento, you'll easily have time to explore the town. But if you arrive early and leave later, you can add in a boat tour, an easy hike, and exploring around the island - even Aperitivo or an early dinner in the Piazzetta! Again, crowds are heavier in the busy summer season, especially at the Marina Grande port, so it's best to have an itinerary for visiting the island in mind when you disembark so you can quickly get away from the pier. Here are our suggestions to maximize your day trip to Capri.
Take the Funicular to Explore Capri town and the Piazzetta
The main town on Capri sits high up on the mountain from where your ferry or private boat tour arrives at Marina Grande. You can hire a driver to take you to town, or take the Capri cable car, also known as the funicular, which is much more fun!
TIP: Purchase your tickets for the funicular, Capri buses, and other services at the tabacco shop, or tabaccheria, at the port of Sorrento. Buying them in advance means you won't have to wait in line at the ticket office on Capri, and can start your day sooner!
Hike to Villa Jovis or the Gardens of Augustus
If you love Roman history and don't mind a leisurely day hike on Capri, grab a picnic lunch and hike to Villa Jovis (Villa of Jupiter), the Villa of former Roman Emperors Tiberius and later his abominable nephew Caligula. Starting from the Piazzetta, the "trail" follows the narrow streets of Capri to the top of the island, passing by beautiful private villas with well groomed flowery gardens - those alone are worth the walk. Keep following signs for "Villa Jovis" at nearly every corner. The long walk along the eastern edge of the Villa leads to the infamous "Tiberius's Leap", where, according to local legend, undesired guests and disobedient servants were hurled over the cliff by order of the Emperor. The view over to Naples, Pompeii, and the Sorrentine peninsula are stunning, and it's a beautiful walk under the pine trees, walking in the footsteps of Emperors.
TIP: Before you reach Villa Jovis, you'll pass Bar Jovis on your left, where you should make a mental note to stop on the way back and enjoy a cold beverage. Allow 2-3 hours.
TIP: The overlook on the right just in front of Villa Jovis is a must-stop for the best view over the Sorrentine peninsula!
Looking for a beautiful island walk but don't have the 2-3 hours to enjoy Villa Jovis? The Gardens of Augustus are much closer to the main Piazzetta in town and one of the most stunning places on Capri. It's an easy walk through quaint streets. Allow 1-2 hours.
Blue Grotto Boat Tour (Grotta Azzurra)
If a Blue Grotto boat tour is on your bucket list, make arrangements to visit as soon as you arrive on island in the morning. The queue of small boats to get inside the grotto becomes very long and getting there early helps avoid too long of a wait. Ticket offices for Motoscafisti, Laser Capri, and Capri Cruise boat charter companies are located at Marina Grande and offer tours of the island by sea and boat transfers to the Blue Grotto. Tickets cost around EUR 18 ($20 USD). These tours take about 2 hours.
TIP: The ticket to enter the Blue Grotto can only be purchased directly at the grotto from the floating ticket office and costs EUR 14 ($16.50 USD). Entry tickets are never included in boat tours or transfers.
Chairlift to Monte Solaro and Villa San Michele
From the port at Marina Grande, you can take the bus directly to Anacapri, and from there, board the Capri chair lift which takes passengers up to the top of Monte Solaro, and one of the best views over Capri and sea. Afterwards, stop in to visit Villa San Michele, just steps from the chairlift departure.
Shopping on Capri
As you might expect on CAHpri, shopping is truly world-class, so bring the credit cards. But don't wear comfortable shoes! If you want to truly experience a dose of the Capri glamour, dress your most fashionable, don your coolest hat, and look the part. Italian women dress well, and it's fun to take notes on their latest looks. Shopping in Capri offers some of the best designer brands in the world and calls for channeling every ounce of your inner fashionista. Make your way along Via Camerelle and you'll find the biggest names from the world of fashion.
TIP: Not into the expensive designer duds? Capri is also known for making hand-crafted leather sandals, and they're surprisingly inexpensive. Allow yourself enough time to get there and be measured, so cobblers have enough time to make them. Then pick them up later in the day on your way to dinner. Don't leave without a touch of the Amalfi Coast uniquely customized to you.
Dinner or Aperitivo near the Piazzetta
There's no shortage of fine restaurants on Capri, but two of our favorite restaurants on the Amalfi Coast get you just far enough away from the crowds: Buca di Baco is just off the Piazzetta and has the best Baba Rhum cake I've ever had. Ristorante Michel'angelo is a favorite for their amazing food and mozzarella bar.
- If you're short on time but still want to relax before heading back, opt for Aperitivo (Italian Happy Hour) at the Piccolo Bar. Order an Aperol Spritz and enjoy the prime location - right in the center of the action under the Clock Tower in the Piazzetta!
- For dinner, try some of Campania's most famous regional foods while you're here like fresh bufala mozzarella and stuffed squash blossoms. And of course, the perfect glass of limoncello to end the perfect meal!
Tempted to Stay the Night?
We don't blame you. We've stayed at two really lovely boutique hotels we'd highly recommend. We loved everything about Hotel La Minerva. It had a fresh Capri feel (imagine lots of blue and white furnishings, and black and white pics of 1960's movie stars hanging out on Capri). The location is also perfect near Via Tragara and the Gardens of Augustus overlooking Marina Piccola. Check rates and availability.
The hotels around La Minerva on the quieter side of the island are a bit pricier, but if you want to stay in this neighborhood, there are several like the Hotel Syrene for around $250 per night which are a good value. (You’ll find lower rates the closer you get to Marina Grande.) Check rates and more details.