Like a dream come alive from the imagination of the gods, a trip to Capri will unravel an unbelievable sight before your eyes. Famed for its serene and unique beauty, the island of Capri continues to capture the hearts and minds of traveler who arrive in search of atonement. As you approach the charming port of Marina Grande, the green slopes of Capri are dotted by white villas surrounded by lemon and orange orchards, while the narrow alleys are filled with colorful blossoms. This is a painter or a poet’s dream destination, an island that seems to have all the blessings of nature. For a passionate traveler on a trip to Capri, there are two sides of the island. First, there is the exquisite and luxurious Capri, with posh hotels and pretentious restaurants, high brand stores and elite holiday makers in search of the most stylish destinations of the world. But for those that take the time to get out of the trend and explore further, there is also a more authentic Capri, drawn in shades of blue and green, a wilder and unspoiled destination.
Thousands arrive on a trip to Capri each day of the year, all in search of their own dreams and expectations. Some arrive with shiny suitcases and smart casual outfits, ready to relax in one of the famous Capri villas, while some arrive with backpacks ready to take the island on foot. One day is never enough to do or see everything here, although the island is quite tiny and many of the attractions can only be reached on foot or by the sea. I set out to experience as much as possible during my day trip to Capri, catching the first ferry from Naples at 8 in the morning. In less than an hour, the little bay of Marina Grande and the higher villas of Capri Town were glistening in the morning sun. It was a hot and cloudless, end of March day, filled with so many beautiful sights and feelings, many of which are to hard to put into words. I walked for about 25 km in just 7 hours, trekking the length of the island and trying to burn the Capri sun into my heart.
It truly was a wonderful day filled with exceptional experiences and unforgettable moments. I often found myself alone across the forests and orchards of Capri, surrounded by colorful blossoms and stunning views of the sea. I photographed as much as I could and as best as I knew but there is still the feeling that all of these will not be enough to show the true soul of Capri. There were still many more places to see and things to do, but they will always be there for travelers who wish to discover more on their trip to Capri. Leaving the island under the most beautiful light of the sunset was difficult, with the last rays gently touching the small boats of the marina and the white villas perched atop the cliffs. Being so busy to get from one amazing sight to the next, I only took a few moments to grasp the special vibe of Capri, but the trip back to Naples was the perfect time to realize just how unique and beautiful it is.
Reaching the beautiful heaven of Capri is quite simple actually. There are frequent ferries from Naples and Sorrento that arrive at Marina Grande harbor, more so during the tourist season. A ticket for the Naples ferry is around 20 Euros per way, while the trip to Capri takes under an hour. If you are only visiting for one day, consider buying the return ticket when you arrive, as they sell really fast and you might be stranded on the island. Although I quite finished my energy around 4 pm and was ready to get back, the first two ferries were fully booked and I had to wait for the last one at 6 pm. As soon as you set foot on the island, you must have a tight itinerary, as there are many things to see and do. Right from Marina Grande, there are island tour boats offering a 2 hour cruise around Capri, with a stop at the famous Blue Grotto. The ticket for the tours are around 20 Euros, while the entry to the grotto is a separate 15 Euros ticket.
If you rather explore the island on foot, you first have to get to Capri Town by either taking the bus, the funicular or making your way uphill along a small alley that takes you to the old town square in 15-20 minutes. The small buses of the island are the only way to get between further destinations, apart from the private roofless taxis. The buses go from Marina Grande to Capri and Anacapri, Capri to Anacapri and Marina Piccola, Anacapri to Marina Piccola and Punta Carena lighthouse. Each ride ticket costs 2 Euros, but during the summer the buses get extremely crowded. Most destinations can also be reached on foot if you have the time and energy, the hardest one being the almost 1000 stairs of the Phoenician Steps between Capri Town and Anacapri. These are the main settlements of the island, with Anacapri set on the higher eastern side. There are several hiking discovery paths that connect stunning attractions and marvelous panorama points. Most of them will take 1-3 hours and it’s totally worth exploring at least two or three of them.
In Capri Town, there are a few sights worth seeing, starting with the idyllic Gardens of Augustus, with its statues, fountains and colorful flowers overlooking the sea. Nearby, the old Carthusian Monastery of San Giacomo dating back to the 14th century and housing the Diefenbach Museum with superb paintings by the German symbolic artist, many inspired by the beauty of Capri. The town’s heart stands in the small and stylish Piazzetta, where the town hall, the beautiful church and elegant coffee shops create a lavish atmosphere. From Capri Town, those who like to explore the rest of the island can start several hikes. One of them goes to the hilltop Villa Jovis and Villa Lysis (2-3 hours), the first one dating from Roman times and the latter from the turn of 20th century. Up there, the views are truly magnificent. Another path leads around the south-western tip of the island, reaching the impressive Natural Arch (Arco Naturale) and other beautiful places like the Villa Malaparte, Grotta di Tragara or the beautiful panorama of the famous Faraglioni rock formation.
Anacapri has its own set of treasures, starting with one of the most enchanting little churches zi have evere visited. The Monumental Church of Saint Michael, founded in 1719 and a splendid example of the Neapolitan 18th century school, with unique mosaic floor that depicts the Earthly Paradise. Other interesting sights of Anacapri includ the Villa San Michele with the Axel Munthe Museum, the Church of Santa Sofia, Cassa Rossa and more. There are several paths that start from here and explore the eastern part of the island. One reaches the top of Mount Solaro, the highest peak of the island. As an alternative, there is a small funicular that goes to the top from town center. One of the most memorable places on Capri is the Punta Carena Lighthouse that can be reached by bus or on foot. There is a path connecting the old towers and forts on the eastern shore (2-3 hours), from the lighthouse to the Blue Grotto. Another wilder path is known as Migliera and offers stupendous panoramas. The boat tour around the island has its own highlights, unraveling new sights only visible from the sea. There are many grottoes along the coastline, the most famous being the Blue Grotto, a natural cave that can be accessed on small wooden boats. It is unique due to the amazing shades of blue that the water reflects on sunny days. All of these are only the most important things to see and do on a trip to Capri.