Exploring Capri, Italy—What to See & Do

Capri is arguably the most picturesque and idyllic island in Italy.

A countless number of celebrities have recognized it as an exclusive escape—they’re able to anchor their yachts off the coast, soak in the sun and views of the Faraglioni during the day, then venture on land to enjoy the best restaurants and bars at night.

The shortlist of celebrities who have recently visited includes Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, Jamie Foxx, Leonardo di Caprio, and Ashley Park from Emily in Paris—and that’s only for one event, which J.Lo performed at the LuisaViaRoma x UNICEF gala, according to WWD. Not to be outdone, Mariah Carey is lucky enough to have her own villa.

Capri is well worth the visit, even if it’s just for the day or overnight, despite having an exclusive, luxurious (and expensive) image.

Following our visit to Sorrento, we stayed in Capri for three days and felt it was the right amount of time to explore the best of what the island has to offer.

  1. How to Get to Capri
  2. What to Do in Capri
  3. Bar & Restaurant Recommendations in Capri, Italy
  4. Where to Stay in Capri
  5. Was Capri Worth Visiting?
Street view of Anacapri, Capri, Italy

How to Get to Capri

It would be too convenient for one of the world’s most beautiful destinations to be an Uber ride away.

The only way to get to Capri is by ferry or hydrofoil*—unless you plan on arriving on a private yacht charter, in which case, *cue champagne toast* cheers to you.

We secured all of our ferry reservations online in advance which made everything much easier—it’s important to know that you are required to arrive at the port at least 30 minutes before departure** and retrieve your tickets from the stand by showing proof of your reservation number. You can take a ferry to Capri from Sorrento (20 minutes) or Naples (50 minutes).

When you arrive at Marina Grande in Capri, there are attendants who will bring your luggage to your hotel.

You will need to buy tickets at the main ticket stand to access the funicular (3-4 euros) and reach Capri’s main city center where most of the hotels are located. Technically, you can walk to the top to reach Capri city center, but unless you only have a light backpack and it’s a partly cloudy day, I highly advise against it—walking up the steep incline with non-existent stairs while carrying pieces of luggage isn’t the best way to experience Capri.

Marina Grande in Capri, Italy

*Be sure to check the updated ferry schedules online on the day of your departure because cancellations or delays may happen if the sea is too rough. Chances are that your hotel concierge will let you know at checkout—in our case, they were the ones who let us know that our ferry from Capri to Ischia was canceled. Don’t panic. Head to the port, find the ticket stand of the ferry company that you had originally purchased from and when you get a new ticket, expect that you may have to detour to Naples before reaching Capri (bigger boat). Please know that you will not receive your refund on the same day—you will be able to secure your refund after the fact by contacting the ferry company via email about the date and time of your canceled ride. This is what we did and we received our refund within 5 business days.

**If you get on the ferry and the sea is rough… breathe, close your eyes, and say your prayers. I don’t consider myself someone who gets easily seasick (thankfully I survived without getting “sick-sick“) but there was a storm system moving through the region and those were definitely some strong waves. Be prepared to take the appropriate over-the-counter medicine and pack a plastic bag if you’re prone to motion sickness.

View of Bagni Internazionali in Marina Piccola, Capri, Italy

What to Do in Capri

Capri may be a small island, but there’s a bunch of stuff to check out.

Booking a boat tour of the island is ideal—this way you can explore the famous Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto), Grotta Verde, the Faraglioni, and Capri’s coast. However, similar to the ferry, boat tours and/or access to the Grotta Azzurra may be limited if the sea is too rough.

You can still get gorgeous views of the Faraglioni by walking down to the shore. Walk towards Hotel Punta Tragara and Belvedere Tragara, then follow the path and the signs to reach the rocks—this route is also how you’ll reach La Fontelina and Da Luigi A’ Faraglioni, two of the beach clubs with unparalleled views (read: it’s a splurge).

If you’ve never heard of La Fontelina, it’s highly likely that you’ve seen it in photographs by aerial photographer Gray Malin or the legendary Slim Aarons.

La Faraglioni in Capri, Italy

Bagni Internazionali was suggested by a local who promised us that it would be a more low-key beach experience compared to the more well-known Instagram hotspots while still having access to a spectacular view of the Faraglioni. Take the bus to Marina Piccola—we walked there, but I would advise against it—and relax listening to the waves and taking in the Capri landscape.

The Monte Solaro chair lift in Anacapri offers the highest, 360-degree views of Capri. Take the bus from Capri city center to Anacapri and follow the ceramic street signs for the Monte Solaro chair lift. It may be slightly windy, so make sure that you’re not wearing a loose hat or accessory because you may risk losing it. The views of the Faraglioni and the different sections of the island are truly breathtaking. Once you’re back down to Anacapri, wander through town and grab lunch (scroll down to find the picture of the lemon grove).

Are you a non-EU citizen planning on going on a shopping spree in Capri?

This is a great opportunity to take advantage of some savings (duty-free/VAT refund) if you know that you’re going to do some serious damage. Sales associates at luxury brands regularly assist international clients who also ask for the VAT refund form, so they will be able to guide you. You can also read more about tax-free shopping in Italy on the Global Blue website.

Gucci, Prada, Miu Miu, Etro, Pucci, Chanel, Dior—the luxury brands along Via Camerelle and the main streets are exactly who you would want to see in Capri. And don’t miss Net if you’re looking for luxury streetwear, because chances are that the brands that don’t have a storefront are there.

If you’re looking to make one purchase for yourself, look no further than Canfora for handmade leather sandals. Canfora was the go-to sandal boutique of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis—the three classic styles that she used to wear are still available alongside a variety of contemporary sandals. I bought three pairs and it was a quick and easy process for beautiful custom sandals that would cost more than double if purchased in the United States. The Canfora storefront is located at the beginning of Via Camerelle in the heart of the luxury shopping district.

Bar & Restaurant Recommendations in Capri, Italy

Based on our dining experiences, I think it would be difficult to have a bad meal in Capri—scroll through the pictures and you can go and try to decide for yourself.

We went to Le Camerelle for lunch and it was the only restaurant that wasn’t planned on our itinerary. I loved the eggplant caponata (caponata di melanzane) and the gnocchi alla Sorrentina while my boyfriend enjoyed the seafood risotto.

Capri Rooftop has unspoiled views of the Faraglioni and is more accessible than other bars and restaurants. We came here three times to catch the sunset and a nightcap.

Located in Capri city center, Pulalli Ristorante e Wine Bar offers an intimate atmosphere while overlooking the piazza. We ordered octopus Genovese (polpo genovese) and sea urchin pasta (fusilli gragnano con ricci).

La Zagara in Anacapri has one of the most memorable dining spaces that I’ve ever been to—it doesn’t get more charming than sipping local wine and trying the new tasting menu underneath the restaurant’s own lemon groves.

When you’re in Capri, you can never have enough views of the Faraglioni and fresh seafood—head to Ristorante Il Geranio for the sunset and the fresh catch special.

Walking to the Michelin-rated Ristorante da Tonino felt like a mini-pilgrimage. We had received glowing recommendations to come to Tonino and after our 7-course tasting menu, we understood why it’s one of the most highly regarded restaurants. The service and the food and wine pairings at Ristorante da Tonino created such an elevated experience in their modern rustic space. If your stay in Capri allows for only one dinner, book it here.

Where to Stay in Capri

There are so many resorts and hotels with stunning views of the sea. It’s important to keep in mind that the better the view, the more expensive and the further away they will be from the center.

We chose to stay centrally located and booked at Hotel Gatto Bianco which is only a few minutes from the main piazza, the funicular, and the bus station. To my surprise and delight, the hotel does have a resident white cat named Miro. The staff members were very helpful during our stay, especially when they advised us about the ferry cancellation.

Was Capri Worth Visiting?

A definite and resounding yes! I think a simple scroll through this blog post makes it clear—the food, the wine, and the views are unique to Capri and unable to be found elsewhere. Visiting the Grotta Azzurra is at the top of my list of places to visit the next time we’re in Capri.

And while we’re at it, let’s hope for better weather to also enjoy an Aperol Spritz at La Fontelina.

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A Francophile based in coastal New England

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