The island of Capri is one of those places that is probably on your must do list when you visit Naples or Amalfi coast area in Italy. I recently spent a few days in Naples so of course I had to make a day trip to Capri as well. Here’s what I did in Capri, what I’d do again and what I’d do differently if I’d visit the island again.
A day trip to Capri
Now, I don’t know whether I should start with things that I did or with things that I’d do differently. My blog isn’t one of those blogs where everything is perfect 🙂 I make mistakes while travelling: I’m sometimes so tired with the crowds or heat or whatever that I skip places I would otherwise wanted to see and this is what happened in Capri. The day I spent there wasn’t exactly as relaxing as I hoped it would be. So I’m going to be really honest about it. I’m just like any other traveler or tourist, I get tired and change plans.
Visiting Capri, one of the most important things is the mindset: Don’t try to budget travel Capri unless you absolutely have to. I always try to make the most of the money that I have while travelling and often you can save a lot by planning well. But then again there are times when even planning well won’t help, you’ll spend quite a bit of money anyway. You can’t exactly do Capri cheap. And perhaps you shouldn’t even try. In fact I think this is one of those places where you should spend a bit more just for your own comfort. You’ll understand what I mean when you read on:
How to get to Capri
You travel to Capri by a ferry. You can take the ferry either from Sorrento if you’re staying there, or Naples. In Naples the ferry leaves at the port of Molo Beverello:
You can buy your ferry ticket at the port or in advance. If you travel during the busiest summer months it might be a good idea to purchase the ticket online in advance. I recommend you buy the ticket to one of the first ferries at around 8 o’clock because it gets really, really crowded in Capri. We bought a ticket at the port which meant that we had to queue for about 20 minutes and then wait over half an hour for the ferry which left at 9.50. This is one of those things I’d do differently: I’d buy the ticket in advance and take one of the earlier ferries. Much less queueing, waiting and hassle.
One way ticket to Capri was € 22,70 per person so it is quite expensive and it took about 55 minutes to get there. I do not think that you’d save anything by booking a return ticket so I’d buy it just one way. That leaves more room and flexibility for your schedule as well: You don’t have to hurry to see everything but then don’t have to kill time on your way back either.
Arriving in Capri
The ferry will take you to Marina Grande in Capri.
From Marina Grande to Anacapri
So the ferry arrives at Marina Grande in Capri and what I did – and what I suggest you do as well – is I went to Anacapri first. Just around the corner to your right you’ll find the queue for the bus tickets and another queue for the bus. However, before you buy the bus ticket, take a look at the queue to the bus. Here’s why:
If the queue is short (not a lot more than 20 people) – go ahead and buy the bus ticket. Howerer, if the queue is long and it’s a hot day, forget the bus and just take the taxi – at least if you’re not travelling alone. That’s because the buses in Capri are tiny and the buses run around every 10 – 15 minutes. So even if the queue doesn’t seem that long you might easily end up waiting an hour for the bus.
I’m usually all for taking the local transportation but for this once, if there is a long queue to the bus and you’re travelling in a small group or even with just a friend, do take the taxi. Trust me, it will be so worth it. Standing there waiting for the bus for ages, feeling hot and upset… It will ruin your day. The taxi is open air so it will be an experience by itself. The taxi from Marina Grande to Anacapri is 23 € (from Capri to Anacapri it’s 18 € so a bit less if you’re taking that route on your way back) if there are up to 4 people travelling. There is a surcharge for 5 – 6 people or if you’re travelling late in the evening.
If, however, the queue is short then do buy the ticket and hop in! The bus from Marina Grande to Anacapri costs 2 euros.
The bus – and probably the taxi as well – will bring you to a small square called Piazza Vittoria in Anacapri. Anacapri is the perfect place to start your day. It’s a lot more quiet than Capri town and has two interesting things to see and do: A chairlift to Mount Solaro and Villa San Michele. After visiting these we had an ok lunch there. The lunch wasn’t that spectacular though and left me wondering if I’d have lunch in Capri town instead if I visited again.
Chairlift to Mount Solaro
The highlight of my trip to Capri was taking a chairlift up to Mount Solaro. The chairlift is easy to find as it is just off the Piazza Vittoria which is where you arrive by bus or taxi. The cost of the chairlift is 8 euros one way, 11 euros return. We took the return trip and it was just amazing, so peaceful and relaxing. I absolutely loved it.
There were no queues and everything went so smoothly. I read beforehand that the chairlift will take you to the top in 12 minutes but it felt longer, that’s how relaxing it was. There’s a nice café with amazing views up there. It is possible to walk down (well, it’s possible to walk up as well but I wouldn’t do it!) the mountain but as we had limited time on the island we took the chairlift back as well. It was just as brilliant going down as it was on our way up there.
Beautiful but small Villa San Michele
Villa San Michele is a short 5 minute walk away from the chairlift. I didn’t really know what to expect of Villa San Michele. There is a small tour in the house first and then you enter the garden which is really pretty. And the views are amazing as well. However, the place is really really small so I felt that the entrance fee of 8 euros was a bit steep. I do not regret going however. There were also very few people there which made it a relaxing stop and certainly no queue outside. Now, if you simply want to see the view to that direction of the island you can simply walk past the entrance. At the end or the street you’ll find amazing views towards the sea.
Anacapri to Capri town
Once again you have two options: You can either take the bus or the taxi. Take a look at the queue and make up your mind. I waited for the bus and it was so frustrating. If you want, you can try walking up to the previous bus stop, Viale de Tommaso.
I would have wanted to see more in Capri town. But by this time I was so fed up with the heat and the crowds. So I missed the Augustus gardens. I walked around the town for a while but then decided to take the funicular down to Marina Grande. That wasn’t a pleasant experience either. There were so many people crammed in a tunnel, queueing and sweating.
Ferry from Capri back to Naples
So the day in Capri wasn’t quite as relaxing as I expected 🙂 When I got to Marina Grande I went straight to the booth that sold ferry tickets and after that ran and just made it to the ferry. The return ferry at 4.10 pm was packed and I had to fight to get my family in. I managed to find seats for my parents but not for myself so I ended up sitting on the stairs with a can of soda for the entire journey. It wasn’t too bad, I was just glad we made it to the ferry and were on our way back to Naples. The ferry trip cost us 22 € per person on our way back and it took around 50 minutes to get back to the harbour in Naples.
What I’d do differently if I visited Capri again – or what I’d do exactly the same
So here’s a small summary of my recommendations if you take a day trip to Capri:
Arrive early – the crowds are too much
Take the cab to Anacapri
Visit Anacapri before Capri town
Do take the chairlift up the Mount Solaro (589 meters)
Consider having lunch in Capri
If you’re staying in Naples do not attempt to walk to the harbour. It looks like it’s not too far but it is a bit of a walk and you need to save your feet and nerves for later.
I missed a couple of sights I would have wanted to see: The Church of San Michele with the Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden painting in the floor. Gardens of Augustus in Capri town – I was just too tired and fed up with the crowds and heat by then. Blue Grotto – I was travelling with my family and my dad gets easily sea sick so we skipped this one too 🙂
A day trip from Naples to Capri or Sorrento?
If you’re staying in Naple with limited time you might be wondering wether you should visit Capri or Sorrento as a day trip.
My answer is Capri, definitely. I mean I hated the crowds but it was beautiful. Sorrento was nice as well but it was still just another town, you can’t really enjoy the scenery or how it’s built in the hillside because you’re standing there. It would have been nice to see the town from the sea. I would only visit Sorrento over Capri if I had a very limited budget. A day in Capri is a lot more expensive than a day in Sorrento.
Have you visited Capri or are you planning to?