Fabulous Things to Do in Capri, Italy and Why You Should Stay Longer Than One Day
If I had to choose one place in the world that feels like heaven on Earth, it would be the island of Capri. The tiny isle off the coast of Naples in southern Italy is the closest thing to what I imagine heaven must be…like Tolkien’s Rivendell or a favorite painting of mine when I was a child, Daybreak by Maxfield Parrish, which made me want to step right into the scene. Cah-pri, as Italians say it, with a slight roll of the r, is idyllic. There are enough unique things to do in Capri, Italy since it’s easily one of Italy’s top destinations… I probably should have called this A Day Trip to Capri? Are You Insane! — because without a doubt it certainly deserves much more!
We say this not because we love slow travel, but because Capri has more to offer than many realize. Yes, the island has amazing restaurants, designer shopping, and fabulous boutique hotels. It also has stunning natural scenery which you can hike, walk, and enjoy in a way you may not associate with this luxury isle. But there’s something extra here… a magical quality you won’t find just anywhere.
It was love at first sight when I first laid eyes on Capri nearly ten years ago. The island’s beautiful blend of beach-y style and casual elegance is so iconic its distinct color is known the world over as Capri Blue. Add in the ever-present scent of lemon on the breeze and breathtaking views in every direction and you have yourself a slice of paradise. Capri town and its quieter neighbor Anacapri sit perched above the azure Mediterranean, looking across the Bay of Naples to Naples, Pompeii, the Sorrentine peninsula, and the Amalfi Coast beyond. This Capri guide offers the best of what to see and do, where to escape the crowds of day trippers and find the island’s peaceful side, and why we recommend staying much longer than one day in Capri.
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How to Get to Capri
There are several ways to get to Capri and the easiest way is to fly. The airport in Italy that’s closest to Capri is Capodichino/Naples International Airport in Naples, Italy (NAP). If you’re flying into Naples, head to the Port of Naples called Molo Beverallo and take the ferry from there. Capri also has a small airport (PRJ) which is open to charter flights and helicopters if your budget allows.
If your budget doesn’t include a private heli-drop onto Capri, no worries. A ferry ride is much less expensive and lots more fun! You can certainly hire a private boat to Capri but be careful on how small a boat you hire for transport if you’re prone to motion sickness. The seas between Capri and Naples and the Sorrentine peninsula can be choppy even on the most beautiful of days. The heavier ferries are more likely to mitigate seasickness, and are the roomiest option.
Naples to Capri - The Naples to Capri ferry leaves from the Port of Naples at Molo Beverello and takes 50 minutes on the high-speed or 80 minutes on the ‘slow’ ferry. Cost of the high speed ferry ticket: €21.50 - 22.80 per person depending on the time of day (discounted fare for kids 12 and under, kids 3 and under are free); slow ferry ticket €14.80 (discounted fare for kids 12 and under, kids 5 and under are free)
Positano to Capri - The ferry from Positano and the Amalfi Coast to Capri (or vice versa) takes 50 minutes and is a perfect way to combine the two destinations.
From Sorrento to Capri - a Sorrento to Capri day trip is a 20 minute ride on the high speed ferry. Cost: €19.30 - 20.50 per person, €16.90 per person for the slower ferry which takes 30 minutes.
Looking for a soup-to-nuts Full-Day Tour of Capri from Naples? Here is a good one through Get Your Guide:
This 8-hour bestseller tour includes round trip hydrofoil transportation from Naples, a guided history tour of the island, to the Gardens of Augustus, and along the charming Via Camerelle, Via Tregare, to the village center. You’ll stop for lunch at a local restaurant, visit the village of Anacapri, and take a chair lift up Monte Solaro, explore Villa San Michele and the Axel Munthe Gardens, and enjoy a visit to the Blue Grotto (extra ticket needed to go inside). For all you get, the cost of $132 USD is a great value!
The best time to visit Capri is the shoulder seasons during Spring and Fall when temps reach the upper 60s-70s (F) during the day and 50s at night. Capri weather in the summer is hot and temps reach in the high 80s (F). But while the weather may be perfect, summer is high season when the island is extremely crowded — and why go to Capri just to hang out by your hotel pool? You might get a day of rain in the Spring and Fall but rain or shine, you’re in Capri and the weather is typically ideal. Winter here is cold and rainy with heavy fog, and most tourist businesses close for the season by late October.
Getting Around Capri
No doubt the most popular and least expensive way to travel around the island like a local is by bus. There may sometimes be a queue at the bus stop, but the buses don’t run on a fixed schedule and we’ve never had to wait long for the next one. The buses are small with seating for about 30 persons and they travel back and forth to various destinations as soon as they are filled.
Ticket cost: €2 per person, €2.50 when purchased onboard; €2 for each large piece of luggage
If you don’t like waiting for a bus, look around for a taxi. They usually hang out near the bus stop waiting for those not wanting to wait in the bus line. Many taxis are open-air and can seat up to 6 persons. The fare is usually quoted for 1-4 persons with an extra charge of €5 for the 5th and 6th persons. If you aren’t traveling in a group, make some new friends who are waiting in the queue with you and split the fare. There are always folks who don’t want to wait, especially when it’s hot. If you’re here for a quick day trip, you can hire a taxi in the Marina Grande to take you to Anacapri for around €25, the Blue Grotto or the Punta Carena Lighthouse for €40. Taxi drivers are courteous and, if you ask questions, they actually become more of a guide as they take you around from site to site. Taxis are a great way to maximize your time on a day trip.
Funicular Marina Grande
Most visitors arrive to Capri on a boat that docks in Marina Grande. To get to the center of Capri town, the easiest and cheapest option is the funicular, a cable car that goes straight up the hill to town from the marina. You’ll see the entrance easily near the marina — look for a big white arch that says FUNICULAR at the tunnel entrance in the side of the mountain. You can buy tickets to the right of the Funicular entrance on the opposite side of the street (closest to the water). Then just get in line at the tunnel entrance and wait for the next car, one leaves every couple of minutes from 6:30am until 11:00pm. The ride up the steep hill takes less than 5 minutes and is a fun way to get your visit started.
Ticket Cost: €2 per person one way
If you have a rental car on the mainland the best thing to do is just return it to the rental company and, if you’re remaining in Italy, pick-up another at your next destination when you return from Capri. Except for residents, motor vehicles are prohibited on Capri — and besides, tourists don’t need a car on Capri. There’s only one main road on the island, and it’s just so much easier to get around using Capri’s public transportation.
Certainly you can walk just about anywhere on the island if you have the time and are somewhat fit. There are places that get fairly steep going up, for example from the Marina Grande to Capri town is a steep uphill walk and takes about 30 minutes without luggage. From Capri to Anacapri is also uphill and takes an hour at a moderate pace but the scenery makes it worth the effort. Probably the most popular walk is from Capri town out to the Arco Naturale then back along the coastal path to town. Make sure you have your camera! There are also guided walking tours if you want to maximize your time walking on a day trip. If you’d rather be on your own, pick out a few places to walk to and you’ll still have time to get back for a late lunch, a glass of wine and some people watching in the Piazzetta.
TIP: If you’re staying on Capri and have luggage, there is a €2 charge for each bag you carry on the ferry. During the high season, July and August, and on holiday weekends, purchase your tickets in advance to be sure to get a seat. If you have a disability and need special assistance, contact the ferry company ahead of time to make sure your scheduled ferry can accommodate you and to request assistance getting on and off should you need it.
Things to Do in Capri, Italy
There are plenty of fun things to do in Capri from checking out the regional Italian food (known as Caprese) and wine scene (don’t forget the limoncello tastings too!) to setting yourself up with any number of tours of Capri. Here are our favorite things to see and do:
Boat to the Grottoes - Rent a Boat or Take a Capri Boat Tour
Boat tours are one of the most popular things to do in Capri, whether you rent a boat and captain it yourself, or join an organized tour. Boat tours depart from the main port on Capri, Marina Grande, then continue along the southern shoreline of the island to the famous Faraglioni rock formations, and around the picturesque lighthouse at Punta Carena. Most tours will take you past the three grottoes, though you can only go inside one — the famous Grotta Azzurra or the Blue Grotto.
The Blue Grotto or Grotta Azzurra - Most tour boats will slowly motor past the Blur Grotto but if you want to go inside, you’ll have to purchase a ticket in advance or from the ticket boat outside the grotto. Then you’ll transfer to a smaller boat that can fit through the narrow opening in the rocks (you’ll even have to scootch down flat in the boat, it’s that narrow of an opening). But once inside….wow!
The White Grotto or Grotta Bianca - You can’t go inside but on a sunny day the white of the limestone contrasts with the turquoise of the sea and is as beautiful as it gets. Your boat captain will get close enough for you to see the stalagmites and stalactites hanging from the ceiling. One stalagmite in particular near the top of the cave is said to resemble a statue of the Madonna.
The Green Grotto or Grotta Verde - At certain times of the day the emerald blue color of the water reflects off the walls of the cave for a stunning effect. Captains will back into the mouth of the cave, but if time and your tour allow, you can swim through the arch or sunbathe on the rocks.
There are a dizzying number of boats tours around Capri, but here is are favorite: 2-Hour Boat Tour of Capri (with Happy Hour)
This 2-hour boat tour takes you past the grotto and lighthouse highlights of the island, with the addition of Happy Hour — a Prosecco toast and limoncello tasting to celebrate! But we love that this also takes you snorkeling. What better way to experience Capri than with a dip in the cool, blue island waters, and you’ll be back in time for dinner! From $79 USD
Stroll Marina Grande
All boats dock and depart Capri via the Marina Grande. The mountains and hillside of colorful buildings play backdrop to rows of colorful small fishing boats, private yachts and commercial boats. It’s as picturesque as a postcard. Because there’s so much to see and do on the island, we always choose to wander around the marina when we’re waiting to leave Capri. There are small shops, cafes, restaurants and one of our very favorite places to grab a sandwich, Salumeria da Aldo. Get sandwiches, the drink of your choice and find a spot to sit on the dock. Buon appetito!
Hit the Best Beaches in Capri
Marina Piccola - In Marina Piccola there are two strips of beautiful beaches, Marina di Mulo and Marina di Pennauro, from which you have a great view of the Faraglioni Rocks just offshore. These beaches are the most popular on the island so plan to arrive early and absolutely no later than noon to get a good place on the beach or rocks to lay in the sun. The public beaches are free but there are also a few ‘beach clubs’ where you can rent a lounger and buy something to eat and drink:
da Gioia Beach Club and Restaurant - They offer a ‘light refreshment service’ if you just want to beach it. Or try some of the excellent seafood dishes at the restaurant that has an incredible view of the Faraglioni Rocks. We love the menu here.
La Canzone del Mare - Maybe best known for its restaurant, this beach club also plays host to weddings and private parties for special events. And yes, the view of the Faraglioni Rocks is just about perfect.
Torre Saracena - Our favorite Capri beach is situated in a secluded cove where you can sun or enjoy the warm water. There is another excellent seafood restaurant here with a great view of the Faraglioni Rocks.
Marina Grande Beach - Not far from the Marina Grande is Capri’s largest beach, the Spiaggia Libera Marina Grande or Marina Grande public beach. Although it might be the largest beach you’ll still need to get here early especially during the high season. There is also a ‘beach club’ here that has a private section of beach and offers beach and dining amenities.
Le Ondine Beach Club - Has a very nice deck with tables and chairs where you can order food from their very good restaurant, da Gemma. They also have changing rooms, showers and towels.
Bagni di Tiberio - This beach establishment is about a 10 minute walk from Marina Grande or you can catch a ride on a gozzo boat from the marina. They have beach cabins and a snack bar but for something more to eat there is a restaurant of the same name serving excellent seafood and local wines.
Walk Via Krupp to Marina Piccola
(Sadly, as of this writing Via Krupp is officially once again ‘closed’ for safety concerns over falling rocks.) The 1.6 km road is cut into the sheer face of the mountain using hairpin turns, and the views are nothing short of spectacular. Wondering how it got a non-Italian name? It was originally commissioned by and named for the German industrialist, Friedrich Alfred Krupp, in the early 1900s. This is a fun downhill walk to Marina Piccola from just below the Gardens of Augustus. If you’d like to spend the day at the beach at Marina Piccola and don’t want to walk, the best way to get there would be to take the bus or a taxi. The bus stops in the square near the Church of Sant'Andrea. From here, there are steps that lead down to the beach and the Sirens’ Rock where according to Greek mythology the Sirens attempted to seduce Ulysses. Take your time and take your camera.
Visit the Gardens of Augustus
This botanical garden was originally named Krupp Gardens until 1918 when the name was changed to what it is today. The gardens are beautifully terraced and hold the best flora that Capri has to offer. A popular spot for day visitors, the gardens are an easy walk from the center of Capri town via some of the most scenic lanes on the island. Along the way there are toilets, usually clean, and a small refreshment stand. Once reached, there are absolutely amazing views of the Marina Piccola Bay and the Faraglioni Rocks. If you’re staying overnight on the island plan to visit either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, before and after the crowds of day visitors. There is a modest entry fee of €1.
Hike to Villa Jovis
A 45-60 minute uphill hike will bring you to the palace of two of Capri’s most famous residents, the Emperor Tiberius, followed by his insane nephew and successor Emperor, Caligula. Completed in 27AD, it is the largest of the twelve villas built by Tiberius on Capri covering a staggering 7000 square meters (1.73 acres) atop the promontory named for him, Mount Tiberius. Sadly, the ruins were neglected for centuries so much has been lost, but now a large portion of the villa has been excavated and cleaned up. The hike is long but a great way to see a unique part of Capri. The path up is flat and gradual, and passes local residences, backyards with vegetable gardens and flowers, and if you’re lucky, the aromas coming from whatever’s on their kitchen stoves. We spent several hours wandering the grounds and had a picnic lunch while enjoying the amazing views. Even if you’re not going to picnic, be sure to pack water. Also be sure to stop at the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Soccorso located in the ruins. Built in 1610, it’s really more of a chapel than a church. You can’t miss the tall bronze statue of the Madonna. There is an entry fee of €6 per person which goes toward maintaining this incredible historic site.
Visit La Certosa di San Giacomo
If you plan on walking to the Gardens of Augustus, add a stop at this 14th century structure also known as the Charterhouse of St. Giacomo. Originally built as a monastery, one section is now used as a high school, another part for the Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach Museum, and is also often used for concerts and other events. There is an entry fee of €6 per person but you can purchase a combination ticket for both the Charterhouse and the Gardens of Augustus for a discounted price to visit both.
Sunset from Punta Carena Lighthouse
Located all the way down in the southwest corner of the island this is THE spot to view a fantastic Mediterranean sunset. The lighthouse, the second tallest in Italy, is still in operation. It might be the main attraction but there is also a beach here complete with a beach club, snack bar, and a restaurant. The best way to get here from Capri town is by bus.
Lido del Faro - Situated just below the lighthouse on rock terraces for sunning, it also has a swimming pool and a very nice restaurant.
da Antonio - This ‘club’ has a wooden terrace with tables and chairs, a pergola to get out of the sun and a snack bar with a fairly extensive menu.
Hike to the Natural Arch and Pizzolungo
The hike from Capri town to the Arco Naturale off the southeast shore of the island is fairly long with a lot of ups and downs along the path, but the effort is worth every step. The Pizzolungo might very well be the most scenic path on the island — and when it comes to Capri, that’s saying something. The path runs along the southern coast with one amazing view after another including views across to the Sorrentine Peninsula and the Faraglioni Rock formations. Start out on the Via Camarelle on the east side of Capri town. At the end of Via Camarelle look for a small ceramic sign on the corner of a building on the left with an arrow pointing the direction you want to go that says “Via Tragara e Faraglioni”. There is a short, steep lane that leads to the Chiesa Evangelica Tedesca, a church that looks very Alpine in its design and a bit out of place. You’re now on the Via Tragara and on your way.
Along the Pizzolungo which follows the coastline you’ll pass by two of the most famous villas of the island. One is the Villa Lo Studio, once the residence of the poet Pablo Neruda during his exile from Chile. But the most striking is the villa of the writer Curzio Malaparte which sits on a spit of rock jutting into the sea on Punta Masullo, and has a bright orange color. Bring water, wear good shoes, and absolutely don’t forget your camera.
Leisurely Stroll Capri
There are obviously no shortage of sights or things to do on Capri. You can wander the lanes and shops during the day, but one of our favorite things to do is to wait until after the day trippers leave. It’s then that the quiet charm of the island is best experienced. Shops slowly begin to close for the day but restaurants are still open (Italians enjoy a late dinner). Cafes and coffee shops can be found well into the evening for a glass of wine and something light or an espresso and a pastry if a late dinner is not in your plans. The vibe in Capri town changes to a warm ambience after those 20,000 visitors go back to the mainland. It really doesn’t matter where you stroll. Follow a softly lighted lane, stop for a glass of wine, or find a spot to just stop and smell the air while watching the twinkling lights on the mainland. Relaxing, yes. Romantic, absolutely.
Anacapri is the ‘other’ small town on the island sitting on the slopes of Mount Solaro at a higher level than Capri town. The two towns are only 3 km (less than 2 miles) apart and a 10 minute bus ride makes it easy to visit Anacapri for the day. It’s quieter here than down in the more touristed Capri town but that doesn’t mean that Anacapri is without its charms. It’s definitely more local here, probably what Capri was like many years ago. There are beautiful hotels, a few B&Bs, and wonderful restaurants. The shops are more artisanal than designer. We think Anacapri has a folksier feel to it. There are hiking trails to explore as well as walks through neighborhoods with gardens and olive trees. If you like visiting churches, a visit to the Chiesa Santa Sofia is a must, a very pretty small church. Don’t miss the hand painted majolica tiles decorating the park benches. If you’re staying in Capri town, Anacapri is a great day trip. Stay long enough to enjoy a quiet dinner and stroll the nearly deserted lanes before heading back.
Swim in the Mediterranean Sea
Take a good look and then dive right in. There’s nothing quite so refreshing and inviting as a cool dip in the crystalline blue waters off Capri. Maybe this is why they call it Cah-pri!
Chairlift to Monte Solaro
If you haven’t yet found that one perfect view, you owe it to yourself to take the chairlift from the Piazza della Vittoria in Anacapri to the top of Mount Solaro. It’s the highest point on the island at 589 meters (1932 feet) and easy to get to. The bus from Capri stops right next to the steps that lead to the entrance for the chairlift. If heights make you skittish and you’d rather not take the lift you can always hike up to the summit, but it will take about an hour and a half. The chairlift only takes 12 minutes. The views from the summit are like no other on the island — an amazing panorama! A one way ticket is €8 but for €11 you can purchase a round trip ticket.
Shopping on Capri is a dream if you love a little retail therapy. The shops are nicely displayed with unique merchandise you won’t find everywhere in Italy, but the prices are as you’d expect for high-end designer duds. But there are some fun shops with chic swimsuit cover-ups and graphic t-shirts where prices aren’t all that. Shopping for handmade Capri sandals — handmade Italian sandals custom-made for you while you wait — are one of the popular items to buy here. We also love the perfumes made at Carthusia Perfumery, a little gem with several locations on the island. Be sure and visit the main store near the Gardens of Augustus and Via Krupp that’s been in business since 1948 — an interesting and fragrant piece of Capri history.
Best Restaurants in Capri
There are just too many excellent restaurants on Capri to review them all but here are some of our favorites. You can also read more about our favorite restaurants in Sorrento, Naples, and along the Amalfi Coast:
This is a favorite. Their menu features Caprese cuisine at its best using fresh locally sourced ingredients and fresh homemade pasta. For something a bit lighter, check out their Mozzarella Bar to enjoy locally sourced cheeses and cured meats. Burrata and mozzarella are traditional Italian foods of Campania and theirs is off the charts, especially the smoked mozz! But honestly, we’d go just for the Torta Caprese! Be sure to make a reservation.
Buca di Bacco
We never go to Capri without a stop here either for dinner or a pizza from their wood fired oven (really good Neapolitan-style pizza). It’s a casual ambience with a menu featuring fresh fish and seafood dishes along with locally sourced ingredients. You have to try the sfilatino, Italy’s answer to the French Baguete, warm from the oven with a topping or two of your choice with a glass of wine from the excellent wine list. This is a relatively small restaurant just off the Piazzetta so a reservation is a must.
No visit to Capri would be complete without Apperitivo and some Aperol Spritzes in the Piazetta at Bar Piccolo. It’s kind of the “See and be seen” place, and where you want to be after the tourists go home for any celebrity sightings of the day!
Salumeria da Aldo
If you find yourself in Marina Grande or are waiting for a boat, locate the yellow awning at Salumeria da Aldo right on the waterfront. This place is a Capri institution with the best Caprese sandwich on the planet. The ingredients are always super fresh and just bursting with the flavors of the island. But it’s the marinated tomatoes and bread that brings it all together — aroma, texture, flavor. Don’t leave Capri without getting a sandwich here!
Best Hotels in Capri
As with the best restaurants in Capri, there are so many excellent choices for where to stay in Capri — luxury hotels to exclusive boutique stays — it’s impossible to name them all. Here are a few of our favorites:
We love staying here. The decor is beautiful, the views are excellent, and the included breakfast buffet is perfect to get your day started. The guest rooms are so comfortable and the service excellent and accommodating. The hotel is close enough to the Piazzetta for a night on the town but just far enough away for a quiet evening on the terrace. It’s also close to the Via Tragara to spend your day exploring that side of the island. Check rates and availability at La Minerva.
J.K. Place Capri
This luxury boutique hotel with a perfect location overlooking the sea. The restaurant, JKitchen Restaurant, is delicious with organic and seasonal cuisine. And their free car service into town is a big plus though La Piazzetta is less than a mile away. Check rates and availability.
Grand Hotel Quisisana
You can’t miss this hotel just off the Piazzetta. The well lit and beautiful front entrance and outdoor terrace is almost always full with people relaxing around small tables well into the evening. There’s an incredible pool and a luxurious full-service spa. Add an excellent restaurant and a poolside restaurant and bar for a relaxing day, and you have one of the very best hotels on the island. Check availability and more details.