As I wait for the bus to depart, I look out of the window taking a deep breath and sigh!
The pebble beach next to the harbor, Marina Grande is stunning. Water with varying hues of blues with ships and catamarans docked to rest. Kids are throwing pebbles, trying to make them bounce in the sea as the waves come roaring into the beach, splashing tiny trinkets of salt water on their faces.
Capri was never planned. Capri just happened on a whim to visit the Blue Grotto in Capri, Italy. This tiny island in the gulf of Naples in Italy, charms with its craggy limestone rocks that make up the island. Capri sweeps you off your feet right from the time you watch your ferry approach the island.
The zigzag pathways to reach the town situated high above the mountain, spills out dramatic views of the island cliffs overlooking the deep blue sea, stretching far across the horizon with other uninhabited islands sprinkled here and there. If you are planning a visit to Italy, a day trip to Capri is a must! For, it has everything you want from a holiday and much more!
Though it attracts approx. 10,000 tourists a day, which is almost the same as the number of residents here – you can still find a place – all for yourself. Herds of people flock to Capri for the very same reason. Capri’s fame dates back to time of Roman Emperors Augustus and Tiberius. Today, it is one of the hot shot destinations for film stars, politicians and other celebrities.
Also Read: The Great Europe Road Trip!
Understanding Capri – Points of Interest:
Capri is a small island hugging the Tyrrhenian Sea and the approx. area is around 10 odd km squares with Monte Solaro being the highest point on the island. Capri can be a little tricky to understand in the beginning as the main town in the Island of Capri goes by the same name – Capri, which can be a little confusing for first timers. Let me brief you on some important parts of Capri Island you ought to know.
This is the main harbor of Capri Island where all the ships, ferries and hydrofoils arrive from and depart to either Naples or Sorrento. The pebble beach on the other side of Marina Grande is spared from all the hustle of the harbor and bestows some best views of the island and harbor.
As mentioned earlier, this town has gone by the name of the Island – Capri. Capri town is the central and main part of the Capri Island. La Piazzetta is the central square that is home to many cafes and bars and is always swarmed with people – be it a day or night!
Anacapri is the quieter part of the Capri Island. Anacapri has a sweet charm to it. Wandering in the side lanes, gazing at the white washed houses overflowing with vibrant bougainvillea embracing the fence – is a thing to experience which will be etched in the eternal memory. The natural beauty of Anacapri is carved with wild flowers, unruffled breeze and refreshing deep blue sea.
Warm, sunny and serene – is how we can describe Marina Piccola. Considerably quieter than Marina Grande, the Faraglioni sea stacks are a stone throw away from Marina Piccola. Pack your swim suits, have a dip in the Tyrrhenian Sea and relax on the beach.
Day trip to Capri – What to do?
Though Capri is small, there are many things to do in Capri. There are lot of ‘Must see and Must do’ sights in Capri. Some of them have been listed below. Try to do all of them when in Capri!
Capri, Italy – Things to do:
Grotto Azzura or the Blue Grotto is the main attraction of Capri. Thousands of people throng Capri to experience the boat ride into the Blue Grotto, but only a handful of people are blessed to witness this magic! Blue Grotto is a grotto/cave on the other side of Marina Grande. What so special about this cave? Well, see it yourself!
This incredible color of water is beyond belief and must be experienced to be believed. This spectacular color is a result of interplay between water and light. There is a very small opening for this cave and when the light passes through this small aperture, refraction in water forms this bright blue color.
You need to catch a bus from Marina Grande to Anacapri and then from Anacapri to Grotto Azzura. Or you can choose to directly go to Grotto Azzura in a taxi or ferry from Marina Grande. More on Blue Grotto in another post.
Monte Solaro is the highest point on Capri Island. The views from here are simply overwhelming. A visit to Capri is incomplete without witnessing the splendid vistas from Monte Solaro. You can hike up to the summit or choose the more exciting and famous Monte Solaro chairlift. For 10 Euros you get a return ticket to the summit from the base of Monte Solaro.
Just sit in the open chair, secure the safety bar and you are good to go! In 12 odd minutes, you will reach summit of Monte Solaro. Sure looks scary but the chairs move very slowly, crafting a comfortable ride.
Sweeping views of entire Capri Island with tiny houses cropping up from the land, Tyrrhenian Sea decorated by the crisscross lines formed by the ferries and hydrofoils, wild flowers tumbling out the rocks and Faraglioni sea stacks – Monte Solaro looks like a delicately knit embroidered attire.
Faraglioni sea stacks:
Towering stacks of rock structures jutting out of the Tyrrhenian Sea carved out by the erosion due to wind, rains and sea stand tall in majesty. Locally known as the ‘The Three Sisters’, these rock formations can be easily seen from coastal paths of Capri and also from Monte Solaro. If you wish to see it up close, you can pay a visit to Marina Piccola where Faraglioni sea stacks can be seen rising from the sea, in all grandeur. These sea stacks innocently augment the sophisticated prettiness of the view.
St. Augustus Garden:
While Monte Solaro offers panoramic view of Capri Island, St. Augustus garden bestows some of the interesting views of the Island. The Augustus garden is a host to terraced botanical garden, full of vibrant flowers of various kinds, demanding a romantic walk, relishing the blissful landscape. One side of the garden overlooks the Faraglioni sea stacks while on the other side, you can stare at the steep hairpin bend pathway from Marina Piccola all the way till the Augustus garden, named ‘Via Krupp’.
Capri Map – Street map of Capri, Italy
Here is a map which points out google locations of all the Points of Interest in Capri, Italy.
Take a funicular train or the public bus, get a ride in the taxi or stroll in the cobbled pathways of the town – Capri is striking in any which way you see it.
Taking the public bus is one of the most affordable and the best way to explore Capri. The bus schedules are printed in the bus stops and the buses arrive and depart at the mentioned time – not any early or anytime late. Though bus can get crowded at times, there is certain amount of fun when the bus maneuvers through the sharp curves of narrow Capri roads.
If not exploring Capri by foot, then public bus should be your best bet! Buy the ticket either at the counter or as soon as you jump into the bus and validate your ticket in the small box near the driver’s seat.
Capri is a small island and can be easily covered on foot. While most of the climbs have a lot of stairs in steep gradient, my recommendation would be to experience this the other way – i.e. instead of climbing all way up, huffing and puffing, take another mode of transport while going up and use the stairs while coming down! This way, you get the views as well as the experience!!
More on hiking paths in Capri here.
Taxis are one of the most comfortable and expensive ways to see Capri. These roofless taxis are sure a fun thing if you have some decent money to spend. Advantages being – no crowds to haggle and reaching your destination in less time.
While a ride in taxi from Marina Grande to Blue Grotto costs 45 Euros – one way, a bus ride will cost you approx. 3 Euros!!
True to its name – Funicular is fun! This mini bus like train, takes you straight up to the La Piazzetta in Capri town from Marina Grande. Lasting a few minutes, you brush past tiny looking houses, lemon groves and blushing vineyards. All is well – just beware of the long queues!!
Rent a Bike:
Cars are a rare sight in Capri, unless it belongs to one of the local boutique hotels. The roads are so narrow and curvy and are dominated by local bus, taxis and pedestrians. So, tourist cars are discouraged to keep peace in this tiny island. If you had rent a car before coming to Capri, you are recommended to park it in one of the secure parking places either in Naples or in Sorrento before embarking on a ferry to Capri.
But, this shouldn’t stop you from exploring Capri by burning some gas. If there’s no car, then there is bike! On your day trip to Capri, you can rent a bike in either Marina Grande, Capri town or in Anacapri. So, rent a bike, ride your heart’s content and explore Capri like no other!
How to get to Capri, Italy?
As mentioned above, the standard port of entry for the Marina Grande port in Capri will either be from Naples or Sorrento. While some private tour operators have, private hydrofoils operating from either Positano or Amalfi.
There are different operators with their fixed timetable who ferry ships to and fro Capri from Naples and Sorrento. Choose the one depending on your plan in Capri. Fare usually hovers around 14-20 Euros, one way.
A couple of days or more would do justice to Capri, if you can’t afford to spend so much time here, try planning at least a day trip to Capri.
Now that you know how to get to Capri and know what are the – must see and must do in Capri – Why don’t you quickly plan a trip to Capri and share your experiences with us?
Been to Capri? Or planning to there? Let us know your experiences in Capri or if you need any help planning a trip to Capri, let us know in the comment box below!