The Ultimate Guide to Capri

Capri is one my “spots.”  When you have recurring dreams of a place, you know it’s in your soul.  The first time I went to Capri I was single and traveling with a good friend.  Our plan was to start our trip off in Capri and then head down the Amalfi Coast for two weeks.  We never got past Capri.  We stayed at the Best Western Hotel Syrene and had to plod downstairs every morning to ask if we could stay “just one more night.”  Fortunately for us, they said always said “yes.”  I had to wait until my 5th wedding anniversary to do go back to Capri and finish with the Amalfi Coast.  We’ve been fortunate to take the kids a couple more times and spent seven wonderful days there’s on our last visit in celebration of one of my many milestone birthdays.

Getting to Capri

From the Napoli Centrale train station, take a taxi to the port of Molo Beverello (10-15 minute drive; ask driver for fixed tariff to the port and then close your eyes!  They are known for crazy driving in Naples.)

From Naples International Airport, it’s about a 20-25 minutes drive to the port.

Molo Beverello is the only port with hydrofoils (40 min).  There is another port Calata Porta di Massa with a free shuttle providing transfers between the ports 500 meters apart.  Calata Porta di Massa offers ferries (80 min) and fast ferries (50 min).  There is no need to make advance reservations, but depending on timing you might need to wait awhile.  There aren’t very nice places around to wait so you pretty much have to stand around or sit at one of the two little (dirty) cafes.  Here is a link to the schedules Capri Ferry Schedules.  There’s no need to book in advance, but you can if you want to.  Capri Online Ferry Booking

When you arrive in Marine Grande, a porter from the your hotel should be waiting for you.  Check with your concierge before you leave home to confirm this.  Your porter will take all of your luggage directly to the hotel.  Tip him because you won’t see him again.

If you think you are going to go boating, stop in a shop with a red awning (between the funicular and the pharmacy) called L’Isola Sappori.  Capritime Boats (owner is Cindy) is at the back of this shop.  You can also email her to reserve a boat in advance.  You might want to buy some cheap beach towels and some snorkel equipment here to use while you’re in Capri.

Getting to the main part of Capri

Walk to the ticket station to purchase tickets to ride the funicular to the top of the island. You can find the ticket station to the right of the pier.  Trams depart every 15 minutes.

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Piazza Umberto, Capri

When you get up to the top you will walk right into the Piazza Umberto.  This is the central meeting area in town.  Be sure to take some time to sit and have a drink and people watch.  It’s very crowded when the cruise ships are in town, so try to avoid this area during those times.  It’s much more enjoyable when the cruise ships are gone.

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Buonocore Gelateria

 

Walk straight through the Piazza Umberto down the main walkway, Via Vittorio Emanuele II.  On the left you’ll see my favorite gelato in the world, Buonocore Gelateria.  Eat one of their made to order cones a day!  They also have very good sandwiches if you need them when you spend a day boating.

Continue walking down the hill. When you get to the Grand Hotel Quisisana turn left.  Follow it past a restaurant called Edod.  We eat here often and have a favorite waiter named Franco. If he likes you, he’ll call you Principessa. If it’s lunchtime, stop here for a bite to eat.

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The Punta Tragara

To get to my favorite hotel and for a nice walk, take the first walkway to the left past Edod to get to the Punta Tragara.  (There’s a sign on the rock wall.)

Take the walkway to the very end.  The hotel is the last one.

DSC_3036Right before you get to the hotel on the left is a lemonade stand.  Be sure to buy a lemonade slushy thing (my son’s words) and ask the lady if she’ll sing for you (if she isn’t already).

Take in the view from the hotel and the end of the walkway.

I Faraglioni, Capri
I Faraglioni, Capri

You won’t get a much better view of Capri’s famed I Faraglioni.

 

 

 

Places to eat:

 Monzu, Punta Tragara – very expensive, but well worth it.  Be sure to dine here one of your evenings.

Aurora – this used to be our favorite but the last time we ate here we were disappointed and thought it was too touristy.  They even had vendors stopping by our table trying to sell us things.

La Capannina – Classic old Capri and most likely to see a celebrity. The famous pasta dish “ravioli capresi”, prepared according to the traditional recipe

Ristorante Le Grottele – this is a MUST.  It’s very casual, outdoors and about a 20 minute walk through a quieter area of the island.  Amazing view!!!

If you go early, you can walk past the restaurant to see the Arc d’Naturale.

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Ristorante La Fontelina

Ristorante La Fontelina – this is my favorite restaurant in the world! Far, down below the Punta Tragara hotel is this beach/restaurant.  Spend a half day at the beach and make lunch reservations at the restaurant.  They have two seatings a day.  Call ahead for reservations +39 0818370845.

Very casual, beachwear but amazing food.

Hotel Brunella – you walk by this on the way to/from the Punta Tragara.  Nice, quiet spot for dinner with nice views.

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The Temptation Room

Il Riccio – This is by the Blue Grotto.  Fine dining and if you go, be sure the go to the Temptation Room for desert.  This is the best way to see the Blue Grotto.  See my note on this.

Da Gemma Pizzaria Near the piazetta, good pizza, ok atmosphere

Things to do:

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La Fontelina Beach

La Fontelina – This is the beach below the Punta Tragara hotel.  There are two beaches (more rocks than beach) below.  But this is the better one.  You have to pay to go to both plus pay for towels and chairs (bring lots of cash).

Boating – This is a must.  You can spend a half day to a full day boating around the island.  Capritime boats can give you a map of the island so you know where to go.  There are a lot of grottos around the island (White Grotto, Green Grotto, etc.) that are fun to stop at and swim into to see the colors.  Buy snorkel equipment before you go.

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The chairlift to the top of Mt. Solara

Anacapri – This is the other town on the island.  You can take a very scary bus or taxi ride to this side of the island (TIP: Don’t look down).  Try to avoid cruise ship crowds and the town’s daily siesta.  Shopping is very good in Anacapri.  Be sure to visit the church of San Michele and take the chairlift to the top of Mount Solara for an amazing view.

Blue Grotto – This is the most popular tourist attraction on the island.  If you rent a boat you will be able to boat to the grotto.  During the day the only way to get into the grotto is to pay a huge fee to have a gondolier take you in.  They may or may not let you swim in it.

But we know a better way.  You can take a taxi to the Blue Grotto late in the day.  There are a couple restaurants there and a swimming beach.  At about 6pm the gondoliers go home.  You can walk to the bottom of the steps and swim in on your own.  There are signs saying it’s illegal but everyone does it anyway (even me and I hate not following the rules).  Obviously, swim at your own risk and use common sense and caution depending on your swimming ability and weather conditions.

Afterwards, stay and have dinner at Il Riccio(There are no changing rooms, so you just have to towel off and dine wet.)

 Marina Piccolo – This is another beach on the island.  There is a nice restaurant/beach, La Canzone del Mare,  but I wouldn’t pick this over La Fontelina.  You can walk there on the Via Krupp (but it’s a long walk).

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The hike from the Lighthouse

Hiking – There’s a very long, strenuous hike along the rocky coastline from the Lighthouse to the Blue Grotto.  We did it one day but you have to plan on a minimum of three hours.

There’s another roundtrip hike from town to the Arc d’Naturale to Tiberius’ Castle.  It’s kind of hard to follow but your concierge can help you.

Tiberius’ Castle– this is a great hike/walk/run.  It’s very interesting historically and a great way to see another part of the island.

Shopping

Amedeo Canfora – go here on your first day and have them custom make a pair of sandals.  Jackie O made this place famous.

Jewelry – they sell charms of the San Michele church bells.  They are made out of different colors of Swarovski crystals.

Scarves – You’ll see a lot of silk scarves with beaded and metal hooks at the end.  They are great gifts to buy for people (especially for people who write really nice travel tip guides).

Glassware from Aurora Restaurant (they also have a store in Anacapri)

Pottery – lots and lots of this on the island.

Wine:

Falanghina from Campania – this is our favorite white wine.  All the restaurants have it.

Lemoncello – yum!

Hotels to Consider:

Five Star:

Punta Tragara – my personal favorite

La Scalinatella

Grand Hotel Quisisana – Classic, most famous

Capri Tiberio Palace

J.K. Place Capri

Four Star:

Hotel Flora

Casa Morgano – good for families

Villa Brunella

La Minerva

Luna

 

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