Things to do in Capri
The complete guide
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Capri, the blue island abandoned as a mermaid in the Gulf of Naples, is synonymous of an expensive vacation. But it doesn't have to be.
In this article, you'll discover the most beautiful things to do in Capri without spending a fortune.
Its proximity to Naples and Sorrento makes Capri an ideal destination for a vacation, even for one day only.
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The Faraglioni are one of the symbols of Capri. They are three big rocks located offshore of the Capri's coast, reachable only by boat.
The highest measure 119 yards, while the one in the middle has a natural cave that can be crossed by boat.
The name "Faraglioni" derives from the Greek "Pharos," and it is due to the fact that once here were light up great fires to signaling the rout to the sailors.
Did you know that every Faraglione has a name? The closest to the coast is called Arrow, that one in the middle Star, and the farthest Scopolo.
Scopolo, together with the top of the Solaro Mountain, hosts the only specimens of the Blue Lizard, that belongs to the same family of the common lizard, but that thanks to the isolation has assumed the colors of the sea and the sky of Capri.
The Blue Grotto
The famous Blue Grotto of Capri is known since the Emperor Tiberio, he built a passage from its villa to the Cave just to make the bath.
The fame and the name derive from the unbelievable blue of the water inside: when the weather is good, the sea seems illuminated by an underwater light and myriads of silvery fishes can be noticed swimming under the water.
The entry to the Blue Grotto is possible only with small boats. The entrance is high only one yard, and you must lay down to avoid injuries.
The waiting to enter the cave, especially in high season, can reach an hour: hats, sunscreen, and water are highly recommended. The ride lasts around 5 minutes, and it is forbidden to swim and to dive.
With its 644 yards, the Solaro Mountain is the "mountain" of Capri and the ideal place to get a spectacular landscape picture. With Capri, Naples, and Salerno in front of the blue of the sea.
It is easy to admire the typical Mediterranean flora and fauna, a lot of birds species, like the Peregrin Falcon.
The best time for an excursion to the Solaro Mountain is in Spring when the penetrating perfumes of Freesia and Glycine drive you along the paths.
On the Solaro Mountain deserve a visit the hermitage of Saint Maria to Cetrella, a former spiritual place for the monks and the rests of the Castle of Barbarossa, built around the XI century and stormed by the Turkish admiral Khair-to-din in 1535, the dangerous Barbarossa.
The Villa devoted to Jupiter by the Roman Emperor Tiberio is one of the best examples of Roman architecture preserved in the Mediterranean.
It is not the only residence that the emperor built in Capri, but surely it represents one of the most pompous: it stretches for more than 4 square miles on the further east promontory.
From here the panorama embraces Ischia, Procida, the Gulf of Salerno, and the coast of the Cilento in a dreamy atmosphere.
The villa was built in the I century B.C. and the emperor spent here 12 years, administering the fates of the Roman empire from the island.
Square Umberto I, the heart of Capri, known in the world as the "Piazzetta." (Little square)
Here people gather to drink a coffee, to have a chat, to enjoy the view from the terrace, and even to make some VIP watching.
Up to the last century, the Piazzetta hosted the market, while now it is the symbol of the sweet life in Capri and the tables of the cafes are a mix of citizens and tourists.
From the Piazzetta, follow the main streets to explore Capri until you find the famous Via Camerelle, the shopping street.
In the shadow of Solaro Mountain, at just 15 minutes by bus from the Piazzetta, there is Anacapri, the wider town of the island.
Full of colored alleys and little squares, beaches, and historical sites, all to be discovered.
It is from here that departs the funicular that will bring you to the peak of the Solaro Mountain.
Or, following street Pagliaro, you can reach the famous Blue Cave, or maybe take a look at the impressive Lighthouse, the greatest of Italy after that of Genoa.
But Anacapri also guards one of the most beautiful and representative churches of the Neapolitan Baroque: the Church of St. Michael Arcangelo, with its magnificent floor that represents the expel of Adamo and Eva from the Heaven.
Another attraction not to be lost is the Red House, the ex abode of the American Colonel John Clay Mackowen, today it hosts artworks of Capri and Anacapri and a vast collection of archaeological finds recovered in the Blue Grotto.
The tour of the island
The best way to enjoy Capri from the sea is the tour of the island by boat. From Marina Grande, various companies offer this service.
The departures are very frequent, and you can choose between excursions of one or two hours.
The tour touches the most beautiful points of the coast, as Villa Jovis and the Faraglioni. Continuing toward south Marina Piccola where the coast is rich of inlets, hidden bays, and caves as the Green Cave, that takes the name from the emerald glares.
What to eat
We can't talk about Capri without quoting the Caprese: tomato and mozzarella, olive oil, salt, oregano, basil. A perfect and straightforward dish, famous all over the world.
The Caprese is perfect both as an appetizer, and as a unique dish, other things to taste are the ravioli Capresi.
Among the main course: don't lose the squid with potatoes and the soup of mussels.
End the meal the twisted Caprese, delicious cake of almonds, cocoa, Limoncello, served in frozen glasses.
To reach the center of Capri from the Marina Grande, the fastest way is by the funicular, a little train that climbs among the lemon orchards and that it will bring you directly to the Piazzetta.
The box-office at Marina Grande is not located near the funicular, on the contrary, you'll find it at the end of the arrival pier, on the right (with your back to the sea), next to the box-offices of the hydroplanes.
The funicular is closed from January to March for maintenance. In these months there is a substitutive bus service.
The funicular is not the only way to get around in Capri
Don't picture large city buses: public buses on Capri are mini-buses which carry about 10 passengers seated, as large buses wouldn't be able to navigate the narrow island lanes!
In the summer, they are almost always crowded, and there are often long lines at the bus stops, though the routes run more frequently.
The bus terminal in Capri is located in Piazza Martiri d'Ungheria (along Via Roma near the Piazzetta). The bus terminal in Anacapri is located in Piazza della Pace (also known as "Piazza Cimitaro").
If you are coming from Capri and you need to change buses for the Blue Grotto or the Lighthouse, don't get off when the driver announces "Anacapri": that is Piazza Vittoria, so wait for the next stop.
If you'd rather walk, you can almost always skip the bus and funicular.
Especially in the summer when the lines waiting to board the bus at the bus stop can stretch for a block, it may be a better option to strike out on foot. Remember that any walk you take on Capri is bound to be scenic!
Taxis are available at the port and in the town centers, but can also be hailed along the road or by telephone. Taxi drivers on Capri are usually friendly and are often excellent de facto guides for visitors who have little time and want to see the sights on the island of Capri in a short time as possible.
Taxis carry 7 passengers and are often open-top, for a great island experience. Throw on a scarf and sunglasses and feel like a Hollywood star! Fares are metered, though there are fixed fares for common routes.
For a ride around the entire island, you can bargain with the driver to come up with a rate depending upon the season, the length of trip, route, and number of passengers.
Travelers can rent a scooter to explore the island in Marina Grande, Capri, and Anacapri. Rental times vary from a few hours to an entire day or even some days, in which case you can bargain down the price.
To visit Capri by sea, you can rent canoes, rubber dinghies, or traditional wooden gozzo fishing boats with sun awnings and coolers, or speedboats with or without a skipper.
During your sail, you can stop at one of the waterfront restaurants along the coast, bring along what you need for a picnic onboard, or ask your skipper to arrange for provisions of the best local specialties, including sweet peaches, mozzarella, and local island tomatoes.
A cheaper alternative to renting a boat privately is booking an organized group tour. The standard tour of the island lasts about two hours, including a visit to the Blue Grotto on board a small rowboat.
The time it takes to visit the Blue Grotto depends on how much of a crowd there is on the rowboats, which can only enter a few at a time.
If you arrive on Capri on board your own boat, you can moor at the Marina in Marina Grande. For those who choose to drop anchor, it's best to stop at least 300 meters from the coast.
The shopping in Capri can satisfy everybody. From typical products of the place or must have of the big Italian brands, on this magic island you will find everything that you desire.
I recommend you to give a glance to the boutiques of the most excellent brands, and then lose yourself among the typical shops, discovering so many small curiosities on the island.
And, obviously, don't forget to buy a bottle of good Italian Limoncello, perfume, and a pair of handicraft sandals.
The triangle of the luxury shopping in Capri goes from the Umberto I square up to Via Camerelle and Via le Botteghe.
At Anacapri, Via Giuseppe Orlandi, where you will find many little craftsmanship shops.
Just at the Piazzetta, under the famous clock, there is the boutique La Parisienne, one of the greatest symbols of the Caprese fashion since 1906.
Proceeding toward Street Vittorio Emanuele and Street Camerelle, you can find the best boutiques of luxury. From Roberto Cavalli to Salvatore Ferragamo, from Giorgio Armani to Valentino, passing for Gucci, Dolce&Gabbana, Miu Miu and Moschino.
Don't miss this iconic shop, Capri Watch.
If you want to make an intelligent purchase, then opt for a pair of handmade sandals, a product of the island able to overcome the test of time. Jackie Kennedy was very keen on them too!
Another typical souvenir of the island is a good handicraft perfume. Walking through the island, you will notice different perfume laboratories, realized making to soak in the alcohol flowers and grass of Capri. It is an ancient tradition, started in 1400 by the monks of the Chartreuse of St. Giacomo.
The blue island is splendid under every point of view but deterring for who looks for wide beaches of sand.
Yes because at Capri the shore is high and rocky, and the majority of the beaches are constituted by pebbles or cliffs from where you can dive.
And reach them is not always easy. Often you have to walk up and down along steep stairways, or paths hide by the vegetation. But, in the end, the reward is crystalline water and breathtaking views.
Adjacent to the harbor, where the hydroplanes and the ferries arrive, there is Marina Grande, the biggest and more crowded beach of the island.
Despite the proximity to the dock, the water is always clean and crystalline. The long expanse of pebbles extends up to the hotel JK Place.
This beach is perfect for the children, but not for who is looking for a quiet place: during the central hours of the day, in fact, it is always crowded.
Palazzo a Mare
The Beach of Palazzo a Mare, located in the northern part of the island, it is also known as Baths of Tiberio.
It is very suggestive and famous because close to it there is the ancient residence of Ottaviano Augusto (still called today "Palatium.")
In the outskirts, there are the fascinating rests of a Roman building with its harbors, aquariums and imperial structures. It is a picturesque beach of mixed dark gravel and sand, overhung by a high cliff that also protects the old remnants.
The sea is beautiful, crystalline and transparent. The beach is well equipped and offers numerous services. Due to its small dimensions, in summer it is very chaotic and therefore little suitable for who seeks to relax.
The beach is reachable by sea or afoot from the Church of St. Costanzo.
Da Luigi ai Faraglioni
Da Luigi ai Faraglioni is one of the most beautiful and suggestive beaches of the island. Placed in a small bay where the rock-cliff of Monacone, form a natural swimming pool in front of the famous Faraglioni.
The beach is not for children for the deep seabed.
To reach it, you need to cross the path that departs from the Belvedere of Point Tragara. A particularity of this establishment they are the mattresses that, instead of the classic deck chairs.
It is advisable to book one or two days in advance because during the weekend is practically impossible to find a spot!
Faro di Punta Carena
Moving toward Anacapri, you'll find another place of rare beauty, the Lighthouse of Punta Carena.
This is the only beach of the island where the sun sea sets. Don't miss it!
Always at Anacapri, there is Gradola, a small cliff, intimate and reserved, frequented above all by the anacapresi, and few tourists.
Really close to the entrance of the Blue Cave, the access is free.
The beaches of Marina Piccola are among the more wanted. They can be reached afoot easily from Via Mulo.
There are different beaches of pebbles, among the most famous bathhouses there is the Torre Saracena. A little beach, located in an inlet near to an ancient Saracen tower.
It is one of the little beaches in Capri with the pebbles, for this reason, is preferred above all by the families with children.