Amalfi Coast Series: Idyllic Capri Island

Capri - Marina Piccola

If one had to find an example for the word idyllic, Capri Island would be the perfect example.  It exudes every aspect of the definition of idyllic – extremely happy, peaceful, and picturesque.

Prior to arriving on this island, I had no expectations whatsoever on how Capri Island would look like.  Fast forward, and now I’m eager to return to Capri Island.

Unlike most other places on this trip, such as Naples, Positano, and Amalfi, Capri Island deserves a minimum of two days to fully appreciate the whole of the island leisurely.  For us, we were there early in the morning all the way till the afternoon of the next day.  For those that are making it just a day trip – don’t!  The time spent here is worth so much more, and here I will tell you what exactly to do to enjoy both the touristy and non touristy aspects of this gorgeous heaven.

First of, we were fortunate enough to have our accommodation host Fabio, who mentioned that he was some sort of President of Capri Island’s council or something like that.  He gave us a map and meticulously presented to us the best things to do on the island, and therefore we were able to venture into some sightseeing that often most tourists would ignore.

I must also say that we were very blessed as the weather on the first day we were in Capri Island was perfect, as you will see below in my many many photos.

By the way, a helpful tip is that most tourists actually arrive at the island around 11am in October.  We were awake and doing things by 9am, and we found that to be incredibly more time efficient as you will see later.

Accommodation

Capri Dolce Vita (website)

Right after you go up the Funicolare, you will be in the Piazzetta, a small but busy main square.  Capri Dolce Vita is practically one minute walking from this Piazzetta.  The location is so central that buses are literally directly diagonal from the entrance!

As I mentioned, Fabio, the president of Capri Island Council or something, showed us to our room and sat us down to go through the things to do in Capri Island.  He went above and beyond by even giving us his whatsapp and asking us if everything was OK in a non pushy way.  The bedroom was comfortable and homey, and while we were only one floor away from the hustle and bustle, our windows were tightly secured enough that it was completely soundproof once you close the windows.

Capri Dolce Vita sits one floor up and so even those with huge luggages like us had no problem.  That said, it was supposedly going to have an elevator during the summer of 2018, was started construction in January 2018, and yet as of October 2018 it still wasn’t completed.

All in all though, the location, the cleanliness, and the friendliness makes this accommodation somewhere you should definitely considering when coming here if you’re looking for something small, comfortable, and convenient.  If you’re looking for something more baller, you might want to consider Capri Palace, which is located in Anacapri and is a five star hotel.

Capri Dolce Vita

Capri Dolce Vita

Capri Dolce VitaThe only complaint I would have about this place is that the shower does get suddenly hot and cold water from time to time

 

Transportation

First off, do not rent a car.  Not sure if you can even rent a car, but if you can, just do not rent a car.  The roads are extremely narrow, there are a lot of one way streets with both directions going the same way, and so you need to have lots of experience driving there to know when to give way and how to give way to other cars.  I’m literally on the bus all the time thinking how the hell do these bus drivers and taxi drivers manage to squeeze through, because honestly their car mirrors were literally one centimeter away from the wall most of the time.  Yes, that’s how narrow it was!

OK, now that I convinced you to not drive and take public transportation, what are your options then?

Well firstly, when you get off the ferry, you will be in Marina Grande (of the Capri one, note there’s also a Marina Grande in Sorrento as well, don’t get confused!)  Marina Grande is located at the bottom of Capri, so you actually need to take the Funicolare (that’s Italian, English is funicular), a cable car that brings you up to the Piazzetta, the main square of Capri.  If you have lots of heavy luggages, you may want to do a single trip and take a taxi ($$$) up there, as it may be extremely difficult to carry around while on the cable car – choice is yours.  The taxi may cost around €20-30.  The Funicolare/Cable Car is only €2.  By the way, if you want to take a more scenic route but spend a little extra time (probably 5 minutes longer), you can also take the bus from Marina Grande to Capri.  The bus will cost €2.

Funicolare CapriThe entrance of the Funicolare

Speaking of buses, all buses cost €2 if you buy tickets beforehand at ticket booths, or €2.50 if you buy the tickets on the bus.  You may also want to purchase a day pass, worth €6 from Capri ticket booth.  Note that the bus companies operating in Capri and the bus companies operating in Anacapri are two separate bus companies.  Therefore, if you buy a full day bus ticket in Capri, it cannot be used for any buses that start from Anacapri that goes to different destinations.

CapriThese are the buses.  Not a lot of seats.

Before I continue, I want to say that Capri and Anacapri are both part of Capri Island, but you can consider them as two separate places.  Both are gorgeous, with Capri being more touristy and with more high end fashion labels, but Anacapri matches that of Capri in elegance as well.

Anyway, buses from Capri go to Anacapri, Marina Grande, and Marina Piccola (just a beach, photos will show that later).  Anacapri buses will go to Capri, Faro (a beautiful sunset place) and Grotta Azzurra (the famous blue cave everyone goes to when at Capri Island).

Each of these buses have different intervals, so check the timetables.  Also, their timetables and even availability varies amongst seasons, so be sure to check out Capri.net for more information on getting around.  There’s also an app for you to download as well.

Capri

Lastly, you can choose to take taxis.  But of course, taxis in Europe are always expensive.  Take for example, a taxi ride from Faro to Anacapri, a ~15 minute ride, was going to cost us €30-40.  Bus ride from Faro back to Capri back to Anacapri for two persons was going to be €8.  The taxi prices vary as well depending on the number of persons you have, so there is no economies of scale or whatever.

Capri - Marina PiccolaHere’s a regular taxi

Capri - Marina PiccolaHere’s a fancier taxi.  I love how the taxis all have their top down.

Capri TaxiInside the taxi

By the way, for getting to Capri Island, there are ferries from Naples and Sorrento and Amalfi.  The prices differ depending on season and hour.  For us in end of October (almost or is considered off season, just before winter) it cost us less than €20 per person one way in the morning / afternoon.  Check the ferry schedule from Capri.net for more info on pricing and where you can get on and off.

CapriWe were at the top level

Capri

CapriPeople will try to sell you souvenirs from Capri Island.  I bought a hat when returning from Capri Island, although the hat was made in China.  €5 only!

CapriBeautiful weather while on the ferry

Capri

Capri

CapriHello Capri!

Also when we embarked in Sorrento, there was a valet parking lot right by the ticket counter.  The ferries also have designated times as well, so do make sure to check online the day before.  When doing valet parking, remember to keep all your valuables with you, including coins, and don’t let that spare change hanging next to the driver seat.

Capri IslandNear the port

Capri Island FerryBack on the ferry.  This time we were on a larger ferry

 

Restaurants and Food

Just before I begin to introduce to you all the amazing food we had savoured, you must know that in places such as Capri Island, not all hotels, shops, and restaurants may be open.  A lot of times, the very best of best of restaurants, like Michelin star restaurants, are only open during the high season, so be sure to do a bit of research before coming here.

CapriSome Italian pastries

 

Buonocore Gelateria (website)

Every time we passed by this place, this gelato shop had so many people queuing for its gelato.  Not only do they make amazingly delicious gelato, but they also have creative and delicious pastries as well.  I would even go so far as to say that its pastries and desserts are even better and more unique than their gelato.

Buonocore Gelateria

Buonocore Gelateria

Buonocore Gelateria

 

Ristorante Villa Verde (website)

Its website has the perfect description of the restaurant – enchanting flavours, intriguing aromas, delight of the senses.  Even their website’s music instantly sets the mood of the ambience of what you can expect from this restaurant!  Sit outdoors and bask in the sunlight for a truly wonderful experience.

Ristorante Villa Verde

Ristorante Villa VerdePhotos, with the owners / chef with a lot of well known celebrities

Ristorante Villa Verde

Ristorante Villa Verde

Ristorante Villa VerdeDeep-fried breaded mozzarella, served with cherry tomatoes, cappers, and olives

Ristorante Villa VerdeRed shrimp

Ristorante Villa VerdeGrilled Rib-eye steak, served with grilled vegetables and rosemary potatoes

Ristorante Villa VerdeShort tubed pasta in white fish lemon ragout sauce, chop bottarga and tomatoes

 

Restaurant Le Grottelle (website)

We didn’t go, but we passed by this restaurant overlooking the Capri sea while on our way to Arco Naturale.  During that time, I thought to myself, “There’s no way this dingy little restaurant that’s dark inside can be good.”  As I’m writing this, it has really good reviews by other users.  Damn should have tried!

Restaurant Le Grottelle

Restaurant Le Grottelle

Restaurant Le Grottelle

Restaurant Le Grottelle

 

Ristorante Ai Faraglioni (website)

The restaurant I wanted to go to was Ristorante Terrazza Brunella.  But as I had mentioned, some high end restaurants close when nearing or during off season, so that was one of them.  We did pass by Ristorante Ai Faraglioni and were really close in just sitting down here, but at the end we decided to go somewhere with higher ratings.

Faraglioni Capri

Faraglioni Capri

 

Michel’angelo (website)

So instead of going to Faraglioni, I decided we should head over to Michel’angelo as I remembered passing by this restaurant and seeing that it had somewhat good reviews.

This place was OK – atmosphere was a tad too dark, there were live instruments set up (although no live performance that night), and the food was OK.  They recommended their own red wine, which actually turned out to be quite good.

It’s quite close to the Piazzetta, about a 5 mins walk away.

Michel'angeloLightly fried calamari and vegetables

Michel'angeloAssorted grilled vegetables drizzled with extra virgin olive oil

Michel'angeloBreaded tuna with sun dried tomatoes

Michel'angeloPasta with truffle

Michel'angelo

 

Il Piccolo (website)

When in Capri Island, do not, and I emphasise again do not, go to any of the restaurants at the Piazzetta.

Early in the morning, we wanted to have a quick breakfast and I was not feeling croissants or bread.  I wanted eggs, or sausages, something meaty, whatever.  We decided to walk nearby to Il Piccolo, where everybody was standing for coffee.

A really helpful note – when in Italy, the price will differ tremendously if dining in or takeaway.  Takeaway including just standing around.  That’s why in the mornings you will often see Italians standing around in the restaurant drinking their espressos; it’s because if you sit down the price dramatically increases!

OK, so now we’re at Il Piccolo in the Piazzetta looking at the menu.  OK here’s an omelette that’s costing €10 and the picture looks like it got peppers and mushrooms and stuff, it better be good right?  Guess what!  It comes out… JUST AN EGG.  That tasted mediocre.  Here’s a picture of what I got for €10…

il Piccolo CapriOh my god.  Nothing inside.  And it sucks.

Luckily, the coffee and chocolate were much better, even though each drink still costed around €4-6 each.  Touristy trap I fell for =(

il Piccolo Capri

il Piccolo Capri

il Piccolo CapriChocolate croissant

il Piccolo Capri

il Piccolo CapriWe are sitting on these blue chairs people watching… although it’s 9am so there’s no one to watch

 

Salumeria Da Aldo (website)

Wait, you’re telling me to just go into this grocery store?  No no no, as of writing, it’s actually the #1 food/restaurant on TripAdvisor for Capri Island!  Yes that’s right.  Packed at the back of the grocery store, there’s a sandwich maker who famously makes some of the best caprese sandwich, and when I mean best, I’m quoting from other people online as I thought it was completely overrated to put this sandwich at the top.

The bread was too tough and I thought too much to complement with the mozzarella cheese and tomato and olive oil.  The fillings was good and enough.  If you’re a small eater, one is enough to share amongst two persons.

Salumeria Da Aldo

Salumeria Da AldoSee the back of this picture?  That’s where you go to order.  Apparently you can customise your sandwich but we didn’t know Italian

Salumeria Da AldoThe fruits and vegetables in this store are ginormous!

Salumeria Da Aldo

Salumeria Da AldoTada!  The actual sandwich.

 

Ristorante Aurora

Ristorante AuroraAnother restaurant we passed by, again with lots of photos of celebrities

Other restaurants we wanted to try but weren’t open: L’Olivio and Il Geranio.

CapriAnother Italian desserts to try – Millefoglie and Savarin alla Crema (this one is really good, highly recommend!)

 

Things to Do

OK, so here’s the secret gems I’m going to offer you to do the “not so touristy” parts of Capri Island and why you need to spend at least 2 days on this island, because there’s just so many things to do!

Capri MapThis part is Capri.  Sorry it may be a bit hard to see, but number 11 is where the Piazzetta is.  What our host Fabio suggested was to walk to Arco Naturale (right middle) then walk down, see the Villa Malaparte, continue walking the path and see the Scoglio del Monacone from different vantage points, and return to Piazzetta.  The walk is pretty tiring, taking about one hour to 1.5 hours.  You can also walk at the Via Krupp as well (number 6).  On another half day, you can spend it at the top right, where you walk to Villa Lysis (Wikipedia), “a building with a theatrical and neoclassical style… using sophisticated and expensive materials such as marble, vaults, and terraces overlooking the sea, elegant columns and capitals.” (Capri Apeiron)  Then you can go see Villa Jovis, Grotta di Tiberio, and then walk back all the way to Piazzetta.  We did not do the Villa Lysis / Villa Jovis walk as we did not have enough time.

Anacapri MapIn Anacapri, you can take the cable car (a very scary one!) to the top of Monte Solaro (589 metres).  Take the cable car back down, then you can watch the sunset at Faro Punta Carena, home to Capri’s lighthouse, number 1 blue color at bottom left.  I recommend going to the famous Grotta Azzurra, the blue cave, early in the morning.  Grotta Azzurra is number 2 at the top left.  As mentioned before, there’s a bus from Anacapri to go to Faro and Grotta Azzurra.  Of course, you can walk around Anacapri as well to check out the local shops.

 

All the things you can do as mentioned on the map:

  • Faro Di Punta Carena
  • Grotta Azzurra
  • Chiesa Di San Michele
  • Villa San Michele
  • Seggiovia Monte Solaro
  • Marina Piccola
  • Giardini Di Augusto (via Knupp)
  • Certosa Di San Giacomo
  • La Casa Rossa
  • Museo Ignazio Cerio
  • La Piazzetta
  • Marina Grande
  • Faraglioni

 

Hiking to Arco Naturale

CapriMaps to show you the direction of how to get there

CapriHere are some things you will encounter along the way to Arco Naturale

Capri

Capri

CapriCactuses

Capri

CapriSuper tight passageway!

Capri

Capri

Capri

Arco NaturaleArco Naturale

CapriBumblebee

Villa MalaparteVilla Malaparte.  Apparently my host said that the white thing on top is supposed to resemble a hammer that is supposed to be something about the Chinese Communist party?

CapriKept walking along the path.  There are many ups and downs, stairs and rocky paths.  Don’t wear dress shoes like me, have sneakers!

Capri

Capri

Capri

Scoglio del MonaconeScoglio del Monacone

Capri

Capri

 

Giardini di Augusto

Near La Piazzetta, there is a small garden also recommended by the host called the GIardini di Augusto.  Originally we wanted to visit Via Krupp, but the path was blocked due to “dangerous seasonal conditions”, and we were right at Giardini di Augusto.  It costs €1 per person to enter.

Giardini di Augusto

Giardini di Augusto

Giardini di Augusto

Giardini di Augusto

Giardini di Augusto

Giardini di Augusto

Via KruppView of Via Krupp

Giardini di Augusto

Giardini di Augusto

Giardini di Augusto

Giardini di Augusto

Giardini di Augusto

Via Krupp

 

People watch at La Piazzetta

As I had mentioned above earlier at Il Piccolo (again don’t go!), you can people watch at La Piazzetta.  I think it’s not worth purposely going just to people watch – all you see are just tourists taking pictures and gathering together.

La PiazzettaThe famous clock tower

La Piazzetta

La Piazzetta

Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri Island

Capri

CapriJust nearby

 

Marina Piccola

Nothing much to do there, but there’s a beach restaurant/bar and people go there mainly for the beach.  Be aware – the buses that go there and come back are pretty infrequent, so be sure to check the bus schedule.

Capri - Marina Piccola

Capri - Marina Piccola

Capri - Marina Piccola

Capri - Marina Piccola

Capri - Marina Piccola

Capri - Marina Piccola

Capri - Marina Piccola

Capri - Marina Piccola

Capri - Marina Piccola

 

Go up to Mount Solaro

You can take a cable car ride up.  I had no expectations, but actually while going up it was actually kinda scary to see how high you were!  Plus, the cars did not look safe at all, it seemed it was just supported by one metal rod, and there’s a metal bar that you can easily swing open, there’s no seat belts or no outer protection etc.  But the views you get were amazing.  Be careful not to drop your phone!  Oh also, the ride was like 20 minutes… nerve racking!

Mount Solaro Anacapri

Mount Solaro AnacapriThey almost closed down on us, and we were like nooo… so they were like OK.  Last ride was 4:30pm.  Since we were in a rush, the guy just directed me and said ok stand here and sit down, close the bar.  Then after a while, I was like wth!!!  It was going to be so high!

Mount Solaro Anacapri

Mount Solaro Anacapri

Mount Solaro AnacapriHigher and higher we go… yeah that’s how high I was compared to Anacapri

Mount Solaro Anacapri

Mount Solaro AnacapriAt the top of Mount Solaro

Mount Solaro Anacapri

Mount Solaro Anacapri

Mount Solaro Anacapri

Mount Solaro Anacapri

Mount Solaro Anacapri

Mount Solaro Anacapri

Mount Solaro Anacapri

Mount Solaro Anacapri

Mount Solaro Anacapri

Mount Solaro Anacapri

Mount Solaro Anacapri

Mount Solaro AnacapriAnd now riding back… can you see how fragile it looks?? >__<

 

Watch the sunset at Faro

Beautiful, beautiful place to enjoy the sunset.  You can take pictures of Faro Punta Carena, the lighthouse, and the sunset.

Faro Capri

Faro Capri

Faro Capri

Faro Capri

Faro Capri

Mona Lisa Wink Faro CapriI call this the Mona Lisa’s Wink

Faro CapriThe sun was setting at around 6pm

Faro Capri

Faro Capri

Faro Capri

Faro Capri

Faro CapriA few bars near the place where you can enjoy the view

Faro Capri

Faro Capri

Faro Capri

 

Visit Anacapri

Anacapri

Anacapri

Anacapri

Anacapri

AnacapriA huge dog just sleeping on the floor

AnacapriMoo

Anacapri

Anacapri

Anacapri

Anacapri

AnacapriLarge fruits

AnacapriThere are so many of these trees in Italy!  What are these trees?  I love how they sort of “flat out” at the top

AnacapriSouvenir shops

Capri PalaceA Capri Palace shop, distributing high end winter clothes

Capri Palace

 

Grotta Azzurra (Blue Cave)

If at Capri, it’d be wise to ask the info centre if you can enter the Grotta Azzurra, because sometimes, the waves are too big and since the entrance is too small, you may not be able to enter into it.  By the way, going into Grotta Azzurra is pretty expensive.  If you’re going from Marina Grande, you have to take the ship to get to the cave which I heard was about €15.  Or you can take the bus, so from Capri you have to take bus to Anacapri then to Grotta Azzurra.  Also be sure to go there early… some comments from Tripadvisor said they waited for at least 2 hours!  We were there by 9:45am so we only waited for about … 15 mins?  Also, the Grotta Azzurra is treated as a museum, so there is a museum entrance fee of about €14 per person.  Then, the guide / rower will ask for tips at the end of the trip.  Most just give coins, but we gave him €10.  All in all, it’s super expensive!  And you’re only in there for less than 10 minutes.

Anyway Grotta Azzurra is one of two blue caves in the world that are more easily accessible by people, the other one being Okinawa.  But while in Okinawa you have to scuba dive to see it, in Italy you won’t even get wet.

Grotta Azzurra - The Blue Grotto CapriThese boats are probably from Marina Grande transitioning into smaller boats

Grotta Azzurra - The Blue Grotto CapriBoats waiting to get into the entrance, see bottom right

Grotta Azzurra - The Blue Grotto CapriGood weather when we went, calm seas

Grotta Azzurra - The Blue Grotto CapriThis is the entrance to the cave.  As you can see, or can’t see actually, the people in the boat are actually lying down

Grotta Azzurra - The Blue Grotto Capri

Grotta Azzurra - The Blue Grotto CapriLooking at our guide.  I know what it looks like, but hey no dirty jokes!!  We had to lie down or our head would get bumped at the entrance.

Grotta Azzurra - The Blue Grotto CapriInside the blue cave

 

Visit Art Shops

Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

CapriSo lifelike, but this is not real!!

Capri

CapriCatch me to the moon

 

Walk and shop around Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

Russo Uomo Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

Capri

Grey Flannel Capri

Capri

Salvatore Ferragamo in CapriA lot of high end international brands are also located here.

Capri

Capri

Capri Island

Capri IslandBird spotted in Marina Grande, probably hunting for food

I personally had an amazing time at Capri Island and felt that Capri Island and Milan were both my favorite places in Italy for this trip specifically.  Lots of high end shops, great restaurants, lots of beautiful views, things to do, relaxing… if only some restaurants and hotels were also open, otherwise this would have been perfect!  Hope I was able to help you on your next Capri Island trip so you are more prepared!

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