Famous for its rocky coastline and Blue Grotto, the island of Capri makes a perfect day trip from the Amalfi Coast or Naples!
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A quick note about coronavirus and my travel content: in these crazy times, I know much of the world isn’t traveling right now. But my hope is that you keep dreaming and planning for travel, and when the time comes, you go! In that spirit, I’ll continue sharing travel tips for when it’s safe for global travel.
The island of Capri sits just off the peninsula that divides the bay of Naples from the Amalfi Coast. The island itself is gorgeous, a microcosm of the beauty of the mainland.
Capri’s location means it’s one of the most accessible parts of the Amalfi Coast from Naples. There are a bunch of ferries to many of the major cities each day, so you can use it to bounce from one location to another if that simplifies some of your transportation needs. For example, you can take a ferry from Naples to Capri, spend the day on the island, and then take a late afternoon ferry from Capri to Positano. There are two luggage storage spots on the island, and we used the one right by the main marina. This free app helps track the schedules, so download it for the most current information. But don’t forget that you wait in line to buy tickets so give yourself some cushion when arriving.
Another thing worth noting about Capri is that it’s expensive. Even by Amalfi Coast standards, which is never a cheap vacation, it’s pricey. Small wonder, because the entire place is stunningly beautiful. But that’s why I recommend a day trip rather than an overnight.
The Blue Grotto
Possibly the most famous feature of Capri is the Blue Grotto. It’s hard to describe and even harder to photograph, but the water appears to glow a bright blue in the unlit cave. Visitors ride a guided rowboat through a cleft in the rock, a bit of a surprising experience to begin with. It’s caused by the rock walls only extending a few inches below the waterline, so sunlight enters the cave via the ocean. It creates this unearthly beauty. The rowboat captains usually sing, a surprisingly beautiful cacophony considering they’re all choosing their own tunes.
Planning a visit to the Blue Grotto is a bit confusing. You can either catch the public bus to the point on the island, or arrive by boat. There are ferry-style boats that take large groups from the main Capri harbor, or if you rent a private boat you can ask them to take you. I highly recommend the latter, which I’ll share more about below.
During the height of summer, I’ve heard it’s not unusual to wait 2 hours for this. We visited shortly after travel to Italian residents reopened, so crowds were much lower than usual and we only waited about 10 minutes to go in. Real talk: I’m not sure if it’s worth it to wait 2 hours. But it is a magical sight, and other caves in the area are beautiful but don’t compare to the Blue Grotto.
Capri Blue Wave Boats
As I said, one option for getting to the Blue Grotto is by boat. When we arrived in the harbor, I knew we’d need to find one but didn’t have a specific plan.
As happens when traveling, someone approached us and offered us a boat trip around the island. For two hours, we’d circle the island, stopping to swim, see multiple grottoes, and enter the Blue Grotto if we wanted. And it would be just us.
All that added up to me expecting him to say the cost was 400€ or something. But Stefano offered 120€, with a cheaper option for 1 hour if that was too high. We jumped at it! I so appreciated that he didn’t push or oversell us, and he took credit cards, meaning we didn’t have to scramble for cash.
Seeing the island by boat is hands down the best way, and Capri Blue Wave was amazing. We got a feel for the different ecosystems scattered across the island, as well as seeing the ancient fortifications at strategic points around the island.
We rode through the iconic Faraglioni, a rock formation that Italians believe you kiss your love underneath you’ll stay together forever. He pulled over in multiple spots to let us swim, and pointed out famous homes or historic buildings along the rocky coast. He pulled the boat into multiple grottoes, pointing out the best way to see the glowing water or unusual coral.
As I mentioned, he took us to the Blue Grotto and waited when we transferred to the tiny rowboats to enter the cave. The whole experience was so simple and fun that now I can’t imagine jumping on a crowded ferry to wait your turn.
Truly, it’s my favorite way to see the island. To experience the different parts of Capri on foot would’ve taken way longer and meant that we knew what to prioritize after our little cruise!
Lunch in Capri
After our boat ride, we were famished so we headed straight up to the town of Capri for lunch!
We headed for lunch at Michel’angelo, which hit the sweet spot of elegant surroundings, delicious food, and not crazy expensive. Like all great Italian restaurants, the place is owned by a couple who stock their lemons, tomatoes, and olive oil from their family’s farm.
We both ordered seafood pastas, because that’s what you should order on Capri. Logan went for Scialatielli Michel’angelo, served on a local pasta style called scialatielli, and I chose the linguine al limone. Both were ridiculously delicious. They also offer cooking classes if you’re looking for some on Capri!
To reach the town of Capri, you have two options. You can walk up (about 15 minutes) from the harbor, or you can catch the funicular for 2€ each way. On a sweltering summer day, the funicular is a no brainer.
The funicular drops you just beside the main piazza of Capri, full of designer shops and elegant food. The island definitely attracts a crowd with large wallets, shall we say. But absolutely beautiful and worth walking around to see!
Once up there, wander over to the Giardini di Augusto. It’s a beautiful oasis overlooking the Marina Piccola on one side and the Faraglioni on the other and a beautiful spot to take a few quiet moments.
Anacapri & the rest of Capri
The island and the main town share the name Capri, but it’s not the only town. Anacapri (literally above Capri) is also supposed to be a beautiful little town, with the bonus of less tourists because they don’t always make it to that part of the island.
Unfortunately, due to bad timing with ferries, we were some of those people who didn’t make it to Anacapri or Marina Piccola. But if you can, check it out! Here are two things I want to do when we go back to Capri:
- Ride the chairlift up to Monte Solaro: it’s the best view on the island, and who doesn’t want to ride a chairlift above all that beauty?
- Eat at Da Gioia: both friends and review have said great things about this spot! It’s in Marina Piccola, not far from the coastline.
Capri would make for a glamorous weekend getaway too! But I prefer it as a day trip to maximize experiencing all the joys of the Amalfi Coast.