On the eight day of our trip, we took the ferry from Naples to the Island of Capri (pronounced Cap-ri). The island is 45 minutes by ferry from Naples, and if you take the 8 AM ferry from Molo Beverello, as we did, you can experience the bustling of the island on the port of Marina Grande. The hodge-podge of activity as tourists are coming and leaving the island, along with others taking a naval tour of the island, it is a sight to see. The small, but beautiful, Capri is the stuff of dreams with crystal-clear water, delicious food, and the sweetest of wines. The island encompassed one of the most photogenic 24 hours of our trip.
What to do there
The island of Capri has two main areas: Capri, located close to the port, and Anacapri, located in the hills. “Ana” means ‘on-top” in Greek, and physically the section is on-top of Capri, overlooking the beaches from the hills. While the Capri city center is known for the restaurants, shops, and bars; Anacapri is famous for it’s villas, churches, and streets.
Hacking Tip: Capri is a small island, so getting around via bus or walking is your best bet. You will see cars on the island, but do not be surprised if they spend most of their time in traffic. Bus tickets are about 4 euros each way, but get the all-day unlimited pass and it will include two rides in the funicular for 8.6 euros per person. The funicular is a great way to get from the port of Marina Grande to main Capri center. The bus connects Capri to Anacapri, but keep your walking shoes on as the best way to experience the island is by foot.
From the Marina Grande port, you can catch a bus or taxi to take you to your hotel. Our driver was gracious enough to drop us off at the room in Anacapri. He did give us a lift back to Capri city center, but the journey of 10 miles took us about two hours due to traffic.
You are here…
Alternatively, you can take the first boat in the morning from Marina Grande to the Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto). The Blue Grotto is a cave on the side of the island, containing some of the most pure blue water you can imagine. You can experience the shining sun on your face and its transformation into darkness as you enter the cave. The light from your flashlight will bounce back blue from the water. Visiting the Grotta Azzurra is one of the must-do items in Capri. You can have the option of renting a rowboat or taking a cruise with an experienced skipper to help navigate the island.
The Blue Grotto
The Piazza Umberto, the most famous square in Capri, overlooks the ocean, with the restaurants and shops located in mini hills or steps. During the summer, the tourists can overtake the center by enjoying lunch and a drink the plaza or walking along the narrow inclined paths from shop to shop. Many restaurants are conveniently located to give visitors best way of the ocean. I would recommend the Pulali Wine Bar in the square. Make a reservation for the balcony so you can see the entire square and the horizon while enjoying the best lemon cream pasta that Capri has to offer.
The famous clock tower of Piazza Umberto
After lunch, Mrs. CurryOnTravel and I walked to the Giardini di Augusto, or the Gardens of Augustus. About a kilometer (metric system…we are in Italy) from the piazza, the gardens sit high above the island overlooking the water. Many picturesque spots in the garden as the shining blue of the water meets the light blue of the horizon. The entry fee for the gardens is one euro, and it is primarily open from March to November. The beauty of the island is transformed from the water to the flowers that grace the garden. The their sweet aroma of the flowers fill the air as you breathe in the sights.
Overlooking the gardens are a series of steps or paths that connect to the ocean. The steps were commissioned by Friedrich Krupp, a German industrialist, hence the name of the path is called Via Krupp. Unfortunately we were not able to trek the path since it was closed due to falling rocks.
Gardens of Augustus
After walking through the Gardens of Augustus, we took a break at the Buonocore Gelateria, back at the piazza. One of the best gelato and cafes I have been, the gelateria offers amazing gelatos, pastries, and desserts. Try their lemon and strawberry or their pistachio and chocolate gelatos, with torta caprese, and a double espresso. The café does have separate charges for sitting on a table vs. standing, but it is worth a visit.
The espressos energized us and from the Piazza Umberto, we took a bus to Piazza Vittoria in Anacapri. The crowds were lesser in this side of the island, as Anacapri has more of the “untouched” feeling than Capri. From the bus stop in Piazza Vittoria, you can walk to the Villa San Michele. Piazza Vittoria is the main square of Anacapri, and usually the main stop for the bus from Piazza Umberto.
The Church of Santa Sofia is about a 5-minute walk from the bus stop in Piazza Vittoria. The entrance of the church is surrounded by benches where you can find locals reading or talking about the town news. Continue on to Piazza Boffe from the Church of Santa Sofia to walk deeper into Anacapri. It is common to see clothes hanging on a line, or doors and windows freshly painted to hide their age. This part of Anacapri allows you to experience an older time in the history of the island. The houses were smaller, amenities were limited, but the people were just as active as they are today.
The Church of Santa Sofia
It was late in the afternoon and after walking through part of Piazza Vittoria, we took the bus to the lighthouse of Punta Carena. Located in the southwest tip of the island, the active lighthouse sits atop a rocky bay, with a perfect view of the sunset. During the day you can dip in the waters for a quick swim, but as the dusk was settling on the island we found a rock to sit on and watch the sun slowly drift into the ocean. We did open a bottle of wine (what else?) and toasted to the island as the air grew cooler and the light faded. Our day had come to an end in Capri, but for the night fishermen, on the bay by the lighthouse, it was about to begin.
The Lighthouse of Punta Carena
How to get there
Capri is conveniently accessible by Naples, Sorrento, Positano, or Amalfi. The best ferry rates will be from Naples or Sorrento, since they are the bigger ports, but the flexibility makes planning easier.
The best time to visit Capri is during the summer, as the sun is bright and the water beckons for a dip. The island can get cold during the fall, so plan your visit by September.
Where to stay
The choices of hotels may seem limited on the island, and may be pricey for the room you may get. There are plenty of hosts, through AirBnb®, that are welcoming and can negotiate on the pricing for your stay, though most are located in Anacapri.
Hacking Tip: If you are staying through an AirBnb® host, ensure that you have a flashlight to carry with you, in the event you’re late getting back. Streetlights are rare in the streets of Anacapri, and outside of the town squares, it gets very dark. The flashlights are helpful to guide your way back to your house. It was fun twist for us as we walked on the edges of the street in the dark with the flashlight, trying to remember the right alley; something that will stay with us for some time.
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