Never have I visited a spot that so many claim as their “favorite place EVER.” It is for this sole reason that we elected to stay on the island of Capri for two days over the popular day trip alternative from one of the neighboring Amalfi Coast towns.
May 3, 2017 – Anacapri
We woke early to catch our ferry from Positano to Capri. Our hotel organized for the Positano Porter to come scoop our luggage from the hotel and transfer it down to the port where we found it [chaperoned] 20 minutes later. [Note: Porter service only available for goods, not people. We used this service in Positano but porter services are available in the other Amalfi Coast towns. Paid 20 EUR to have two large suitcases transferred from hotel down to the Positano pier on Spiaggia Grande beach.]
Ferry routes from Positano to Capri are only available during tourist season, April through October. We purchased our tickets online ahead of time which probably isn’t necessary in May but is definitely recommended during high season, June through September. [Note: If you are traveling with luggage, there is a 2 EUR/bag fee. If you buy tickets online, make sure to visit the ticket counter to swap your vouchers for actual tickets before boarding the ferry.] Once on the ferry, the ride was smooth and quick, in total the journey took about 30 minutes. However, if seas are rough routes may be suspended, in which case it’s best to contact the ferry companies directly [e.g. TravelMar, alicost, etc.] for more information.
Upon arrival in Capri, we were greeted by a complimentary driver sent by our hotel who whisked us away to Anacapri. Of the two island towns, Anacapri is the smaller, quieter and less touristy of the pair. Anacapri is also said to be more authentic with “tiny Neapolitan tailor shops, artisan shoemakers [and] ladies sitting in the shade outside working on their knitting while exchanging gossip and news.” We found this to be true and enjoyed our time spent here over the posh and bustling town of Capri.
After an extensive tour of the hotel’s property, we walked the five minutes into the town of Anacapri. From the center of town we followed the pedestrian path towards Villa San Michele, peeking along the way into tiny shops overflowing with handmade leather sandals, locally crafted perfumes and beautifully designed dinnerware. If you continue on Via Capodimontepast Villa San Michele, take the Scala Fenicia as it begins to curve around the island towards the Phoenician Steps. It offers incredible views of the island and the Gulf of Naples below. [Note: Capri has great walking and hiking paths that reach all of Capri’s natural wonders, if you prefer to explore on foot.]
Back in Piazza Vittoria, we took the seggiovia [i.e. chairlift] up Monte Solaro for the most spectacular panoramic views [11 EUR/person roundtrip]. The trip is about 12 minutes each way and is, essentially, a single person chair with a light crossbar, not unlike a ski lift. Normally heights make my palms sweat but in this scenario, I was more concerned about losing a sandal or my phone while snapping pics than I was about falling to my death.
Whether you hike or take the chairlift to the top of Mount Solaro, it is a worthy trip. There’s a single cafe at the top with lots of outdoor seating to sit and enjoy the never ending views. I found it to be quite peaceful and relaxing up in the clouds, surrounded on all sides by the Tyrrhenian Sea. We sipped on a couple of cappuccinos in between photos shoots before taking the lift back down.
Back on solid ground, we went in search of food and had the most incredible lunch at Sciue’ Sciue’. We both ordered paninis and loved how flavorful and fresh they are but definitely consider sharing because they are giant! After lunch we explored the pedestrian street, Via Giuseppe Orlandi, and stopped quickly to admire the Chiesa San Michele before heading back to our hotel.
That afternoon we took full advantage of the hotel’s spa located in the tranquil gardens and gorgeous infinity pool while we watched the sunset over the sea. After showering, we walked to a local pizza place for dinner, Pizzeria Aumm Aumm. When I envision authentic, Italian pizza, this is it – light, fresh, thin and delicious. The food is the highlight of this basic, no frills pizzeria with a small bar, plenty of tables and a giant pizza oven. It was empty when we arrived but packed with locals as we were leaving and the Jerventus vs. Monaco football game was starting.
May 4, 2017 – Capri by Water
On our second day in Capri, we rented a small boat through Banana Sport for a couple of hours [90 EUR for first two hours and 30 EUR for each additional hour] to see the sights around the island. Since we were scheduled to pickup the boat from Marina Grande port, we woke up early to take the bus down from Anacapri. After waiting at the bus stop for 30 minutes and seeing only one minibus, too packed with people to even board, we bailed and took a taxi [20 EUR from Anacapri to Capri]. Not realizing Capri’s city center is not one in the same as the port, we ended up walking the remaining way down to the water which took an additional 10 minutes and is quite the calf workout.
On our way we picked up paninis and vino from Bar Grotta Azzurra, across from the port, to picnic with on the boat. The folks at Banana Sport were extremely helpful, they gave us great directions and tips on what to do and see, where to go and how to maneuver the boat. In total, it takes about 80 minutes to do a full loop of Capri so we had plenty of time to explore or drop anchor and relax in the beautiful Capri sun.
Heading west from the port, the first stop is Bagni Tiberio, a kid friendly beach where you can swim among the ruins of an ancient Roman villa. Next, and arguably the most famous attraction, is the Grotta Azzurra. Tie up here and be chauffeured in a wooden rowboat into the blue abyss [14 EUR/person]. We didn’t actually end up going in because the line was too long [i.e. Kevin isn’t confident navigating near other boats].
A few other cool spots to check out include the Grotta Verde, Punta Carena Lighthouse and Arco Naturale. My favorite spot was the Faraglioni sea stacks located just off the southern coast. We dropped anchor nearby for a long leisurely lunch and enjoyed the beautiful views of the rocks. After lunch we made our way back to Marina Grande but not before driving our boat under the Faraglione di Mezzo archway where we smooched for good luck!
Back on land we made our way up to Capri town by foot following the same path we took down earlier. Another option from the port is the funicular, Capri’s rail system that departs every 15 minutes and takes only four minutes to transport you to the city center [1.80 EUR/ticket].
Capri town is a bustling city compared to Anacapri and we were excited to explore all the designer and boutique shops. One thing Capri is famous for is their custom leather sandals so, naturally, I needed a pair. After weighing my options [there are many, the most famous of which is Canfora], I designed a pair at a small shop off of Via Le Botteghe called Calzoleria Faiella (55 EUR; cash only) and in just 10 minutes they were ready.
That afternoon we stopped for gelato from Caffe Caso before walking down to the Giardini di Augusto that offered us alternative views of the Faraglioni rock formations from land [1 EUR/person]. Even the walk to and from and gardens is picturesque and quite fragrant too – make sure to check out Carthusia I Profumi di Capri, a perfume shop that still uses the old fragrance methods mastered by the monks back in 14th century.
Before dinner at Ristorante Villa Verde, we sat and enjoyed a glass of wine and some snacks at da Alberto back in Capri’s famous main square, La Piazzetta. Then after dinner, we stopped for our second gelato of the day from Buonocore Gelateria which was so good and totally worth the extra calories. This time we were able to hop on a bus headed for Anacapri, no problem and were back at the hotel 10 minutes later.
Accommodations & Country Specific Details
Stay: Hotel Caesar Augustus
We loved our stay at The Hotel Caesar Augustus! It is definitely one of the nicest hotels we’ve ever stayed at. When you arrive at the hotel, you’re immediately greeted by someone on the staff who proceeds to give you a tour of the entire property and introduce you to everyone else on staff. We even met the owner and General Manager who welcomed us personally and upgraded our room to a corner suite with ocean view and terrace at no additional cost. The tour ends at your room where your luggage has already arrived and fresh strawberries grown in the hotel’s garden are waiting for you.
It’s located on the cliffs in Anacapri, so a little further out of town but we loved how quiet it is but still walkable to Anacapri or a quick bus/taxi to Capri. We booked early on Hotels.com and originally selected it because of it’s incredible infinity pool, I’m a total sucker for those! In addition to the pool, the hotel offers spa services, fine dining with a view and cooking classes which I would have loved to take advantage of if we had more time.
Overall, no detail is overlooked at The Hotel Caesar Augustus – service, amenities, accommodations, etc. We enjoyed our stay so much, we named our dog after the hotel – Augustus aka Gus!
To Capri: By ferry from Positano.
Around Capri: Capri is small enough that you can walk to most places but there are also taxis and cheap buses. As previously mentioned, there is also the rail system between Marina Grande and Capri.
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Language: Italian but had no problem finding English speakers. Our favorite Italian phrase was ‘molto buono’ or very good food!
Outlet Adapter: The standard voltage is 230 V. The standard frequency is 50 Hz. The power sockets that are used are of type L.
Passport/Visa Requirements: U.S. Passport valid for at least six months from date of departure. No visa for visits under 90 days required.
Weather: We were in Italy the first two weeks of May. While still technically spring season, it is one of the best months to visit before the towns become overrun with tourists for the high season. Our first few days on the Amalfi Coast were a little cool but the Capri sun was out in full force during our visit which made pool time and boating comfortable even though air temps were still in the 70’s.