A favorite of Roman emperors, the tiny island of Capri displays spectacular scenery and crystal waters, and is easily reached as a day trip from Naples. The two main settlements are Anacapri and Capri; their white-washed houses and narrow winding streets are jam-packed with tempting boutiques, cafés and restaurants. Many visitors take a boat trip to the Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto), a spectacular sea-cave filled with refracted turquoise light.
Capri is at the mouth of the Gulf of Naples, where the Faraglioni, two great jagged rocks, rise sentry-like out of the sea. Capri town’s heart is the Piazzetta, where the baroque cathedral watches over the café scene. An infinite list of royals, stars, politicians and other VIPs, including Graham Greene and D.H. Lawrence, have lost their hearts to Capri, either acquiring homes here or anchoring their yachts in the bay.
Capri can be very crowded during the summer, especially in July and August. If you’re looking for a more calming and relaxing getaway, avoid the summer months.
Things to do in Capri: What to See and Do
Monte Solaro: Mount Solaro, the highest peak on the island at 589m (1,932ft), surveys the streets of terraced houses winding their way uphill, brushing past olive groves and fragrant rosemary bushes. A trip to Capri is worth it just for the chairlift ride to the top of Monte Solaro; it skims the tops of the pine trees and provides fantastic views over the Bay of Naples and the Amalfi coast. At the top is Anacapri, a charming village where you can visit the Villa San Michele, built by the Swedish author Axel Munthe (1857-1949), in a superb panoramic setting. Here small terraced houses sit alongside immaculate white villas immersed in Mediterranean and subtropical vegetation.
Grotta Azzurra: If you are staying longer than a day or so, consider a boat trip to the Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto). Experience the unique blue glow of the cave, caused by the reflection of natural sunlight passing through its underwater cavity. Little rowing boats carry passengers through the opening of the grotto, so small that you have to lie flat on the bottom of the boat. Boats leave regularly from the Marina Grande the main harbour.
Things to do in Capri: What to Eat?
Capannina: You can eat either in the pretty dining room or on the green terrace of this well-known establishment, where specialties include imaginative use of fish and vegetable combinations. (Adress: Via delle Bottegha 12 – Tel: 0818 370 732)
Da Paolino: Try the delicious antipasto buffet in this restaurant serving local dishes, where you can eat outside in the shade of a lemon-tree pergola. (Adress: Via Palazzo a Mare 11, Marina Grande – Tel: 0818 376 102)
Da Gemma: Gemma’s, named after its former proprietor and society darling, has been the hangout of the bella gente since the 1930s. Savour the wonderful pizza napoletana and soak up the history documented on the walls. Highlights include fisherman’s risotto, ravioli alia caprese and maccheroncelli with potatoes and mussels. The carpaccio with porcini mushrooms is another perennial pleaser. There is an antipasti buffet and dessert- lovers have a mouth-watering choice, including traditional or fruit-laden tiramisu. The wine list is excellent. (Adress: Via Madre Serafina 6,80073 Capri – Tel: 081 8370461)
Da Tonino: For quality wine and traditional southern Italian fare, look for Tonino’s, near the Arco Naturale. They have hundreds of wines from Campania and Puglia, as well as the rest of the world. Of particular note is the millefoglie d’alici (delicate pastry with anchovies) served with peppers and potatoes mixed in a pesto sauce. The quail with chestnuts is also good. Afterwards, enjoy iced zabaione di Verduzzo (a custard pudding made with Friuli wine). (Adress: Via Dentecalla 12,80073 Capri – Tel: 081 8376718)
When dining in Capri, there’s so many fresh tastes to experience. Ever hear of caprese? If not, you’ve most likely eaten it before. It’s the traditional salad dish made up of mozzarella, tomato, and fresh basil. Capri is definitely not short on fancy restaurants. Those foodies looking for the ultimate Capri dining experience may have a hard time deciding which place to choose. Keep in mind though that dining on Capri can get very expensive. Another alternative is to visit the local markets and pick up some fresh produce, meats, and cheeses, and make your own meal while leaving the dining out splurge perhaps only for dinner. Island specialties include various ravioli capresi and torta caprese, aside from the orginal caprese salad.
The weather in Capri is usually mild. The hottest temperatures come in June, July, and August, while December, January, and February tend to be the coldest.
The closest airport is in Naples. It usually takes about an hour to get to Capri from there by boat.
Things to do in Capri: Where to Stay?
Palatium Mari: An exclusive hotel by the water’s edge, this is the only Capri hotel to have access to a beach, with gardens, terrace, salt-water pool, and a good restaurant.
Hotel Syrene: This luxurious and pretty hotel is built in Mediterranean style The terrace overlooks the cliffs, and the pool stands amid lemon trees.
Belsito: The Belsito is housed in an attractive, red-hued, 18th-century villa. It is in an excellent spot, only a short stroll from the Piazzetta di Capri and Arco Naturale. Some of the light and cheery guest rooms have balconies that overlook the Marina Piccola. The white walls blend well with bright modern furnishings. The terrace restaurant serves traditional Neapolitan dishes, including tasty seafood dishes, and there are some enchanting views of the island from here.
Da Gelsomina Migliera: This hotel provides good-value accommodation in Anacapri, near the sublime Migliera cliff- top vantage point. Originally opened as a café nearly 50 years ago, it now has excellent facilities and a wonderful restaurant. The rooms are decorated in the customary Caprese style: cool hues and tiled floors. All have television, telephone, minibar, hair-dryer and private bathroom. There are jaw-dropping views from each balcony and a large swimming pool and sundeck.
La Tosca: This is a lovely little hotel with wonderful views of the Monastery of San Giacomo and the distinctive Faraglioni rocks. The bright and cheerful entrance is mirrored in the comfortable rooms, which are generally white, light and airy. Facilities include private bath in most rooms and telephone. Breakfast costs an additional €8 per person, and can be taken on the terrace.
Grand Hotel Quisisana: Marble floors, elegant statues, chesterfield sofas and chandeliers greet you in the lobby of this well-established luxury hotel, opened in 1845. Exclusivity, quality and service are the watchwords here. The rooms are filled with a blend of cool and warm pastel shades, and a mixture of comfy modern and elegant Venetian- style furnishings. There are superb views throughout and top-class facilities, including a spa and a first-rate restaurant.
If you plan to visit Capri during the high season summer months, be sure to book your hotel or other accommodations several months in advance to ensure you’ll have a place to stay.
Things to do in Capri: Capri Tours & Attractions