Capri, Italy

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Escape to Capri

Capri has been one of Italy’s most desired destinations for millennia. It’s where emperors used to escape and today’s high-end travelers from around the world spend fabulous holidays. This has earned the island its place in some of the world’s most famous lyric poetry, and for good reason. The island’s intoxicating fragrance of flowers and delicate splashes of color conjure recollections of a millennial past. The island’s peaceful charm, good natured citizens, long colorful history, and majestic landscapes are just some of the magical qualities visitors can enjoy on this mythical isle. If you’re looking for amazing shopping, food, and relaxation, Capri should be one of the top stops on your journey.

Our Itinerary & Experience

Days 1 & 2: Travel to Capri

Normally we would take the most direct route possible, but we opted to take the opportunity to accumulate as many qualifying miles as possible to maintain our valuable flight status. For this reason, we opted for the the flight that touched six cities along the way – Chicago, Berlin, Stuttgart, and Naples. In anticipation of the amazing island views, we picked up some great wine and champagne at the airport’s duty-free shop to enjoy on our scenic hotel balcony. After a whirlwind 24-hours of flying, we were happy to stretch our legs in Naples while we grabbed a taxi to the nearby Mollo Beverello where we hopped a ferry bound for Capri. In all is about 20-30min with traffic from the main airport to the ferries.

Boat Arrival at Capri Italy Island

Ferry tickets were booked in advance using Ok Ferry. I recommend reserving tickets in advance to ensure a seat to Capri in August because it gets quite crowded. I also suggest opting for the high speed ferry that gets to Capri in about 40 minutes. There are options to charter a private boat or helicopter, but those option can be expensive for little time savings.

It is a wonderful time of year to be in Capri with all the Italians, and like Southern California it’s great for people watching. Mollo Beverello wound up providing some entertainment with its crowds while we waited for the ferry. We found a lunch shop down at the end of the pier, so we grabbed a couple glasses of white wine and ate a little prosciutto while we waited. Contrary to many stories of the rough Mediterranean sea and recommendations to take motion sickness medicine, we found it to be a rather calm and smooth ride on this August day.

Hotel la Vega Balcony View Capri Italy

At the destination port, we had pre-arranged to have porters at the dock take the luggage to our hotel. The service is a around 10 Euro, and well worth the cost as Capri is not a luggage friendly island. We found the furnicular within an easy walk from the port but it was rather crowded. I decided I did not want to wait and opted for a cab to the top for 15 Euro. The best way to get a cab if the dock is crowed is to wait in the taxi queue or walk over to the JK Place hotel and ask for one. If you go to the JK, enjoy a drink on the deck while you wait. It is a beautiful hotel overlooking the distant Mount Vesuvius on the mainland.

View of Mt Vesuvius from JK-Edit

We were picked up by the cab and a short yet very steep drive later found ourselves in the main square in Capri town. It was charming and full of life. Tourists and locals were enjoying the beautiful weather in the rather high-end village of expensive shops and cafes where everyone was drinking refreshing Aperol Spritzes while relaxing.

It has to be said that Capri is not the easiest of places to navigate for the first timer arriving on the island. It takes a day or two to get your bearings with the winding streets. After about 10 min of walking the streets, we found the street where our first hotel was located. Because our intended hotel was fully booked for the first day, we spent the first night at Hotel La Vega next door. Accommodations were sufficient, and the service was mediocre at best. The highlight was the great pool and bar where it was easy to spend some time relaxing with an epic view of Anacapri.

Hotel La Vega Pool Views

For the first night on Capri, we made reservations at Pulalli Wine Bar, which overlooks the vibrant main square, Piazza Umberto. We reserved a table on the terrace, overlooking the square. We enjoyed incredible seafood and pasta dishes while nursing some outstanding red wine recommended by the lovely server. Walking back to the hotel, the streets remained lively with shopping, eating and drinking until late. A perfect way to finish the first night on Capri.

 

Day 3: Relaxing Beach Club by the Sea

The next morning, we were invited to enjoy breakfast at our intended hotel, Hotel la Minerva, because Hotel La Vega did not have an inclusive breakfast despite the comparable price. The moment we arrived at Hotel la Minerva, we were treated like royalty – and we hadn’t even checked-in yet. From that moment onwards, we quickly understood that the eccentricities like arrival and travel around Capri are what the place is all about. Perhaps this is the very reason why the super chain hotels don’t find their way to the unique and vibrant island culture of Capri, and so our boutique experience began in earnest.

Hotel la Minerva was amazing. This hotel lived up to the hype and than exceeded my expectations. The owners, Antonino and Luigi, run the hotel like clockwork with a soft touch. Requests for reservations, recommendations were all met with a friendly smile. That afternoon, the check in was effortless as one might expect from a boutique serving only a small number of guests, and we were on friendly, first-name terms with the owners from the moment we walked through the door. Cocktails? Something to eat? A massage by the pool? Please relax your luggage will wait.

The room was large and yet very comfortable with the beautiful blue tile throughout. The large balcony opened up unto stunning 180 views of the endless Mediterranean sea. This hotel was as much charming as it was well organized. This was hotel helped give us the Capri experience we were looking for with an Italian family-run feel. I would easily give it a 5-star rating. It must be noted that island has many great hotels, but next time we return to Capri we will stay again at Hotel la Minerva.

Hotel-la-Minerva-Room

After the transfer to to Hotel la Minerva was complete, we were off to lunch at La Fontelina by the sea. One can get to La Fontelina by either foot or boat. The walk down the windy backside of Capri takes about 15 minutes. If you walk make sure you wear comfortable shoes as the path winds its way down to the sea through the myrtle and broom bushes for a good 300 meters. Alternatively, you can take a boat from the Marina Grande, where the funicular and taxis can take you back to the top of Capri. This route takes longer, but is best for those not up for the up-hill return hike.

La Fontelina Restaurant Views

Either way, La Fontelina is worth the trip because of the fantastic restaurant and beach club accommodations. We started with a great seafood lunch followed by some relaxation with a bottle (or two) of rose at the beach club. Instead of sand, some of the rocks have been flattened out, making room for lounging areas under blue and white umbrellas. La Fontelina is a great place to spend a long afternoon next to the crystal clear water over lunch and cocktails. While the restaurant isn’t cheap, it’s worth it.

La Fontelina Beach Club

That evening we enjoyed a casual meal at Ristorante Pizzeria Aurora near the town center. The restaurant served up a rich menu in light portions, which was perfect after a long, hot day. It was a great way to sit on the patio and watch the other Capri visitors pass by.

 

Day 4: Boating Around the Island

After a fantastic, made-to-order breakfast at Hotel la Minerva, we headed off for a half-day private boat tour around the island. This was one of the best ideas of the trip. Blue Sea Capri boat tour was recommend by the hotel. This was a 4-hour adventure around the island in a traditional in a classic wooden gozzo was the best way to fully see the island. You can create your own schedule – from a short two-hour tour, a half-day sail, or an all-day sail, perhaps. A light lunch or dinner on board is included. If you love southern Italian cuisine, you can book a meal at one of the many seaside restaurants on the island. For an especially relaxing sail, request an onboard massage and stretch your sail into late afternoon for a sunset cocktail and swim as the sun sets over the Mediterranean.

That morning, we met the captain at a restaurant in the marina, and started the excursion at 10:00 AM. This would give us prime time exposure to the best sunshine and island vantage points. We started by heading west from the marina with one of the first stops at the Blue Grotta. The blue glowing iridescence of the water inside the grotta was stunning. You can even swim in it if your boat captain allows it. I decided to go for a swim in the Blue Grotta and found the experience to be refreshing and wonderful. It’s important to know that the Blue Grotta can get really crowded with other tour boats with dozens of people on each boat. In the private boat we seemed to be able to bypass a lot of this situation and go into the Blue Grotta in a short period of time.

Capri Post 2

From there we boated around the lighthouse, majestic rocks of I Faraglioni, Green Grotta, and all the other island hot spots. In hindsight, this would have been a great way to start the Capri visit and then take hikes to different interior locations afterwards. If you love to swim, sunbathe, and soak in a true Capri experience, the best option is the classic wooden gozzo, which can take you to the best swim areas unreachable by foot with few people around. It is the ideal way to see and understand the island.

Blue Sea Capri Boat Tour

Following this amazing trip around the island, we had a little extra time before our late lunch at Il Geranio. We took the short walk up to the restaurant located near the Gardens of Augustus. Il Geranio was kind enough to take us early, and got us cooling down in the warm summer air with a great chilled bottle of crisp white wine while we browsed through the menu. We ordered some of the recommended pasta and seafood dishes, which lived up to the great reputation this restaurant has. Following lunch, we took a few minutes to walk around the gardens to take in the art and island views.

Capri Feature

We took a much needed rest after the day’s activities and headed over to Terraza Brunella for a sunset dinner. Located near the hotel, we took the short walk up the street and got our seat in the prime corner window location. This gave us the most picturesque view of the sunset behind Capri’s highest point. Terraza Brunella also lived up to it’s high rating for the quality of food, service, and ambience. Don’t miss a sunset dinner here for a special meal during your visit.

View from Terraza Brunella

Day 5: Relaxing Before Heading Out

Because of nearly afternoon ferry departure to Rome, we spent the morning enjoying breakfast at the hotel and getting ready to head out. Hotel la Minerva was again kind enough to arrange porters to take our luggage to the marina. This gave us an opportunity to enjoy a final walk through the town before taking the funicular down to the marina.
Departing Capri
While this was on the expensive side of destinations, it was well worth the time and effort to get there. Capri is very enchanting, leaving you wanting more. Aside from the incredible food at amazing restaurants, there are a number of natural and historic sites to enjoy. Days were mostly spent at great lunch spots, sightseeing, drinking by the pool, and enjoying late afternoon Aperol Spritzes at the heart of the old town at one of the many outdoor cafes. It is the best way to meet the locals and visiting Italians who come out when the daytime tourists hit the ferries back to the mainland.

Planning Your Trip

  • Nearly the size of New York City’s Central Park, Capri is one of the top 10 places to visit in Italy.
  • The island is divided into two small towns: Capri and Anacapri. The ‘City of Capri’ is the main commercial area. The ‘Community of Anacapri’ occupies the west side of the island.
  • Grab your Euros because that’s what spends in Capri. There are seven or eight ATMs in banks around the island. Otherwise, all major credit cards are accepted nearly everywhere on Capri.
  • Be sure to ask what the full cover charge is at bars on the island. Some charge upwards of 200 Euro just to walk in the door, but won’t tell you till you go to leave.
  • Regarding tipping, most Italian restaurants will include the service charge (servizio incluso), which is usually around 15%. Most do not tip in these cases except when the service and quality are truly exceptional. In these cases you can leave a 5% or 10% cash tip on the table as a nice gesture to the server. The same applies to taxis. While a tip is typically not expected, you can tell the driver to keep the change (tenga il resto) for great service.
  • Summer is considered the high tourism season on Capri, starting in June and ending in the peak season if August. If you prefer lighter crowds and cooler temperatures, the months of May, September, and October may be your best time to visit. It’s still warm enough for a swim, and the hotel rates are less than peak season. Like other Mediterranean island climates, the hottest months are June, July, and August (22 °-26 ° C) in the summer, while the winter months of December, January, and February are the coldest (9 °-13 ° C). There are often brief thundershowers in the summer, especially during the month of August.
  • Bring your nicest casual attire appropriate for the Mediterranean because Capri is about the show. Bring nice clothes for fine dining restaurants and drinking establishments.
  • Locals and visitors pull out some of their nicer attire for formal dinners and cocktails. Bring some dressier clothes to join the posh crowd.
  • Bring nice shorts, skirts, linen, and other light items for the warm temperatures. Don’t forget a light sweater and jacket for the cool evenings and random thunderstorm.
  • Winter can get chilly, which necessitates pants, sweaters, and warmer attire.
  • For island excursions, bring comfortable shoes for hiking and nice sandals for boating and beaching. For these situations, casual attire works well.
  • Enjoy the Piazza Umberto I town square at the top of the funicular for drinks, food, and great people watching.
  • Don’t miss out on a private boat ride around the island with swimming and exploring. Check out the amazing Blue Grotta.
  • Hike down to La Fontelina for some lunch, rose and swimming.
  • Take in the views at the Gardens of Augustus. From here you can see the Via Krupp, which is a long road traversing up the steep backside of Capri. Those feeling adventurous can take a hike up or down this windy road.
  • If you’re up for a light hike, check out Villa st michele for some incredible views or  Villa Jovis’ Roman ruins.
  • Hotel La Minerva is family-owned and operated. It shows. They were always willing to help with dinner reservations, a car, and so on. The room was very comfortable and had a breathtaking view from the patio.
  • J.K. Place Capri is the best hotel on the main harbor side of the island. The view is amazing, the rooms are beautiful and spacious, and the entire staff is friendly and helpful. The pool is stunning and the service is remarkable.
  • Hotel Excelsior Parco, a gorgeous 11-room villa, is maintained impeccably and has the perfect mixture of historic beauty and modern amenities and upgrades. The roof terrace, garden, rooms, bathrooms and balconies are breathtaking and well appointed. Very romantic and beautiful.
  • Enjoy lunch, drinks and a swim at the seaside restaurant and beach club, La Fontelina. The hike or boat ride it takes to get to it on the other side of the island is well worth the payoff of great views and delicious food.
  • Another lunch options is Il Geranio. The food was very good and the view from the terrace was stunning. Get a table on the edge of the restaurant with a view of I Faraglioni.
  • For dinner, Aurora is known for its great atmosphere, tasty food and good wine.
  • Terraza Brunella’s views are amazing. When you set your reservation, request a table by the window for a fantastic sunset dinner and glass of wine.
  • Located in the main square, Pulalli Wine Bar we found the service and food to be fantastic. We got a table on the terrace overlooking the main square. When you set your reservation, it’s worth asking to be seated in the terrace with a view over the main square of Capri.
  • Get some amazing gelato at the Gelateria Pasticceria Buonocore.
  • If traveling in high season, Capri’s port becomes very congested. Lines for the funicular (funiculare) taking visitors up the hill from Marina Grande to the town of Capri can get really long. Try grabbing a taxi. We asked a nearby hotel to call a taxi to get us to our dinner reservation on time.
  • For additional information on how to get to Capri, click here.
  • Most airline carries or their A ferry can be taken from Naples, Sorrento, and other nearby cities. We used the crowded high-speed Ok-ferry on the way to Capri, but got bumped to a slow ferry nearly causing us to miss our flight. Plan your flights with these types of issues in mind. We saw others who were not so lucky.
  • The official language is Italian. Due to the touristy nature of the island, you’ll find a number of other languages spoken there as well.
  • The feast day of San Costanzo is celebrated May 14 with a procession at sea and in La Piazzetta, Capri’s main square. On the sea there’s a sailing regatta in May and a swimming marathon in July. During summer Anacapri holds classical music concerts and an International Folklore Festival in August. The year ends with the Capri film festival in December and a spectacular fireworks display in La Piazzetta on New Year’s Eve.
  • Capri was first discovered by Caesar Augustus in 29 BC. He was so impressed by the peaceful charm of the island that he started visiting Capri again and again. His successor Tiberius built 12 lavish villas between 27 and 37 A.D. You can see the remains of the villas built by the Roman emperors Augustus and Tiberius; which depict Roman, Norman, and Arabic architecture.
  • Romans used to refer to this island as ‘the goat island’. The Latin word ‘capreae’ means ‘goats’. Although the exact origin of the name ‘Capri’ is not known.
  • According to the Greek geographer Strabo, Capri was once part of the mainland. This has been confirmed by geological surveys and archaeological findings.
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