Buongiorno a tutti and welcome back to Travel.Eat.Repeat! for the last part of Destination Amalfi Coast! Although the island of Capri is not technically considered part of the Amalfi Coast, I have always visited Capri after spending a few days on the Amalfi Coast…. so here we go.
There are not enough words to describe the true beauty of this Island off the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Campania region of Italy. Clear blue skies, crystalline waters, beautiful happy people and incredibly delicious food. That basically sums it up. Ready to pack your bags? Well, I am convinced that by the end of this post you will be!
Let’s first cover how you travel to Capri. If you don’t own a private gorgeous yacht (you know, those basic things in life! ha!) you will be going by boat, ferry or hydrofoil from Naples, Sorrento, Positano or Amalfi. The longest ride will be from Naples which will take around 1:20 hour on the ferry and 40 minutes on hydrofoil. From Sorrento, 40 and 20 minutes respectively. You can find further information on prices and schedules here.
I fell in love with Capri the first time I stepped foot on the island. The sight of all the majestic boats docked at the Marina Grande is something to remember. From little boats to gigantic yachts, there is a boat for every taste. And they are stunning. The real estate looks very much like Positano with houses built on the cliff with magnificent views of the Mediterranean.
As you arrive, from Marina Grande you will have the option to take a local taxi (which is truly an experience) or you may take the “funicolare” which will take you all the way up to the “Piazzetta” – main square. The funicolar will go up and down every 10-15 minutes or so and the ticket can be purchased at the ticket booth for 2 Euros.
From the moment you get to the center of town, you will be mesmerized by the amount of little shops with local products, souvenirs, ceramics, and anything you can imagine. There are cafes and little restaurants everywhere. Make sure you pay attention once you are in the center of the Piazzetta to which direction you are going – the little alley ways are narrow and there are so many stores, it is easy to find yourself trying to get out of a maze.
My favorite hotel in Capri – and in my opinion, the most beautiful one as well – is the Grand Hotel Quisisana. I was fortunate enough to spend a full week there enjoying everything one can expect from Capri. The hotel itself is absolutely stunning and the service was probably the best of any hotel I have ever stayed before. The staff was super friendly and always willing to assist you with a smile on their faces. The rooms were comfortable and offered every luxury a hotel can offer. We had towel service twice a day – I kid you not – and they treated us like royalty.
I have to mention their breakfast because again, it was probably the best hotel buffet breakfast I have ever experienced. I will start by saying everything was freshly baked in the premises. The aroma of warm bread, cakes and croissants could be scented from the stairs approaching the restaurant. Every fruit you can think of was readily available in a beautiful display. I remember eating “mini sfogliatella” every morning – my favorite italian pastry – thinking to myself “I must be in food heaven”. If you are not planing on staying at the Quisisana, make sure you stop by for a drink at one of their beautiful bars.
There are SO many ah-mazing mouth watering restaurants in Capri, I would not be able to recommend a single one. I do hope you have more than just a “one day visit” so you can try as many restaurants as possible. So let’s get started:
If you are thinking of a “beach restaurant” experience, I would suggest La Fontelina. The easiest way to describe this place is: Paradise on Earth. La Fontelina is on the water with views to the most turquoise clear waters you have ever pictured in your life. There really are no “sandy beaches” in Capri, so most of the beach clubs will be on the rocks. For only 25 Euros you can spend the day at their Beach Club and use their changing rooms and one sun lounger. Umbrellas and towels can also be rented for the day for a small fee. We chose to get there by feet, leaving from our hotel and enjoying the gorgeous views along the way.
Once you have enjoyed the sun for a bit and that hunger starts to kick in, do not worry. You are steps away from enjoying a meal of the Gods. The restaurant is on the rock right above the water and you will get a “meal with a view”. Everything fresh. Everything delicious. You cannot go wrong with anything seafood and I would suggest ordering several things for the table, this way you can sample and share multiple things. Trust me, you will not regret it. And no, you cannot skip dessert. Punto!
The best part is that after that gorgeous meal, you can either go back to your lounger and enjoy the sun, or you can burn those healthy calories on your walk back to the hotel. Oh, did I mention that even with all that eating for one week, I did not gain any weight? The reason for that is not due to amazing genes. It is simply because the food in Italy in general is very FRESH. The pasta is home made, produce is grown locally and everything is just… healthy! Not to mention the walking up and down the steps and alleyways. Yes, steps. Hundreds of them everywhere you go. It is the trademark of the Amalfi Coast, and Capri is not excluded from that.
Another restaurant you must not miss is Ristorante Villa Verde. The first thing that comes to mind is “aceto balsamic”. They produce their own balsamic vinegar and it is safe to say it is most delicious. At Villa Verde the food is a work of art. Fresh, organic produce that they grow on their property goes from garden to table. Everything is amazing. We had lunch there twice in one week and I would go back without a doubt. Do yourself a favor and make sure to buy a bottle – or two – of their balsamic to bring home.
Let’s take a pause on food and get back to a more adventurous side. When in Capri, take a trip to Ana Capri which is the highest point on the island. You will have the most spectacular views of the entire island. If you are feeling specially “fit”, you may choose to climb on foot to Monte Solaro. Situated about 590 meters above sea level, you will experience a panoramic view of the entire island on the peaceful and serene summit of Monte Solaro. I found it incredibly rewarding to hike up to the top, along hundreds of steps. The climb is not for the faint of heart. You can expect it to take you from 1 – 1 1/2 hours. To come down, give your knees a break and hop on the chair lift that will bring you to Piazza Victoria in about 12 minutes. The cost for a single ride is 8 Euros.
Last but not least, you cannot go to Capri and not visit the Blue Grotto or Grotta Azzurra. Prepare yourself for one of the most amazing experiences of a life time. Book a boat tour or if you are there with a private boat, go around the island and admire the view on your way to the grotto. Once you get there, you will have to hop onto a wooden boat which will take you inside. The grotto is a natural sea cave about 60 meters long and the opening of the cave is only 2 meters wide by 1 meter long. The wooden row boats will bring 4 people at a time. The sunlight coming into the cave reflects the bottom of the ocean and creates a turquoise blue effect. I had never seen anything more beautiful.
I do NOT advise doing this, but when I went, my boat captain said: “come on brazilian, you should swim there! You can’t come all the way here and not see it”. The waters were too rough for the row boats, so the option was to either swim or leave Capri without visiting Grotta Azzurra. No way I would let that happen so… I jumped. I was the only one who adventured into the cave. I swam from the boat to the entrance and managed to get inside the opening. I got a couple cuts due to the corals on the bottom of the entrance. Once I was inside, I was absolutely mesmerized. After a couple of minutes, my best friend – also brazilian – swam in. We were both in aw of such natural beauty. I then notice the waves hitting the entrance of the cave with much more force and in shorter intervals. I froze. Immediately I told her “let’s get out of here”. We had to time the waves in order to make our way out. We held on to the rope above our heads and propeled ourselves out of the cave. More cuts. The tide was coming against us so we had to really work on that swim back to the boat. Note that we did NOT have life vests on! ha! Don’t try this at home!
Well, I really hope you have enjoyed this little journey through Capri. From food to sea to amazing adventures, it is surely a trip to remember. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. If you have any questions or suggestions, leave your comments here and I will make sure to respond to each one. Until next time!