Capri, an island in Italy’s Gulf of Naples, is famed for its rugged landscape, upscale hotels, and shopping, from designer fashions to handmade leather sandals and limoncello. The island is replete with historical monuments, natural marvels, and culinary delights that are sure to amaze any visitor. This comprehensive guide covers all the elements that make Capri a must-visit destination.
1. The Island of Capri: A Brief Introduction
Located on the south side of the Gulf of Naples in the Campania region of Italy, Capri is a small island measuring just about 10 square kilometers. With a population of roughly 14,000 people, it is a popular tourist destination renowned for its luxurious resorts, shopping boutiques, lemon trees, and above all, its scenic beauty. Capri’s weather is typically Mediterranean, with warm summers and mild winters, making it an excellent year-round destination.
2. How to Reach Capri
The easiest way to get to Capri is by ferry from Naples or Sorrento. The fast ferry from Naples takes about 40-60 minutes, and from Sorrento, it’s about 20-30 minutes. You can also take a ferry from Positano or Amalfi during the summer months. Remember, cars are severely restricted on Capri, so consider leaving your vehicle on the mainland.
3. The Iconic Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra)
One of Capri’s most iconic landmarks, the Blue Grotto, is a sea cave illuminated by an eerie blue reflection. The light comes from two sources – one small hole at the cave’s entrance, barely large enough for a tiny rowboat to pass, and a bigger underwater hole, which creates the captivating blue color. You can take a boat tour that rows you into the cave – it’s an unforgettable experience.
4. Anacapri and Monte Solaro
Anacapri, located high up on the hills, is less crowded than Capri town. It’s home to Villa San Michele, built by Swedish doctor Axel Munthe, offering stunning views of the island. Nearby, you can take a chairlift to Monte Solaro, the highest point on the island, for panoramic views of Capri and the Bay of Naples.
5. The Piazzetta (Piazza Umberto I)
Known locally as “the little theater of the world,” the Piazzetta is the bustling heart of Capri town. This tiny square, lined with bars and cafés, is a perfect place for people-watching or enjoying an aperitivo as the sun sets.
6. Augustus Gardens and Via Krupp
The Gardens of Augustus, laid out by Friedrich Alfred Krupp, are a spectacle of botanical and scenic beauty. The gardens offer a panoramic view of Via Krupp, a historic switchback paved footpath connecting the Charterhouse of San Giacomo and the Gardens of Augustus area with Marina Piccola.
7. Local Cuisine and Delicacies
The Caprese Salad, named after the island, is a must-try. Fresh buffalo mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, basil, and olive oil – it’s the taste of Italian summer. Don’t miss out on local seafood dishes, and make sure to try limoncello, a local lemon liqueur.
8. Shopping on Capri
The island is famous for its artisanal crafts. You can shop for handmade sandals, tailored to your foot on the spot, or Capri’s famous perfumes. The island is also known for its fine jewelry and designer boutiques.
The Faraglioni rock formations are one of Capri’s best-known natural landmarks. These three towering rock formations, jutting out from the sea, have been given their names – Stella (attached to the main island), Mezzo (with the arch), and Scopolo (or Fuori). Taking a boat trip around them is a memorable experience, and for the romantic at heart, it’s said that couples who kiss while passing through the arch of Faraglioni di Mezzo will have everlasting love.
10. Villa Jovis
Villa Jovis, located on the eastern edge of the island, is one of the best-preserved Roman villas in Italy. Built by Emperor Tiberius in the 1st century AD, the villa offers a glimpse into the luxurious lifestyle of the Roman elite. The hike to Villa Jovis also provides some of the best views on the island.
11. The Certosa di San Giacomo
Just a short walk from the bustling Piazzetta, you’ll find the peaceful 14th century Carthusian Monastery, Certosa di San Giacomo. The historic complex houses a school, museum, and church, offering a tranquil retreat from the crowds.
12. Marina Piccola
The island’s southern harbor, Marina Piccola, is known for its calm and warm water, making it perfect for a relaxing swim. Overlooked by the Scoglio delle Sirene cliffs, it’s said to have been the spot of the mythical Sirens encountered by Ulysses in Homer’s Odyssey.
13. Nightlife in Capri
Capri’s nightlife might not be as wild as Ibiza’s, but it is quite stylish. Taverna Anema e Core is a popular spot, known for its late-night singalongs. If you prefer a quieter evening, enjoy a sunset cocktail at one of the many lounges with stunning sea views.
14. Capri Boat Tours
Consider a boat tour around the island or to the nearby islands of Ischia and Procida. Private tours can be tailored to your interests, whether it’s swimming in secluded coves, lunching at a seaside restaurant, or touring the grottos.
15. Travel Tips for Visiting Capri
Capri can be crowded, especially during the peak summer months. If you can, try to visit in the shoulder season (April-June or September-October) when the weather is still good, but the crowds are smaller.
Remember that Capri is a bit of a luxury destination, so things can be expensive. But with a bit of planning, you can manage a budget-friendly trip. Consider taking public transportation (buses or funicular), eating at trattorias instead of high-end restaurants, and avoiding designer shops.
Lastly, wear comfortable shoes. Capri’s streets are often steep and made of cobblestone. The best way to explore is on foot, so be prepared.
Whether you come for the stunning landscapes, the historical sites, the excellent food, or simply to bask in the luxurious atmosphere, Capri promises an unforgettable visit. Buon viaggio!
Here are some basic Italian phrases and words that might be useful for tourists, along with their English, German, and Farsi (Persian) translations:
|Ciao||Hello/Goodbye||Hallo/Auf Wiedersehen||سلام (salam)|
|Buongiorno||Good morning||Guten Morgen||صبح بخیر (sobh bekheir)|
|Buonasera||Good evening||Guten Abend||عصر بخیر (asr bekheir)|
|Buonanotte||Good night||Gute Nacht||شب بخیر (shab bekheir)|
|Per favore||Please||Bitte||لطفاً (lotfan)|
|Grazie||Thank you||Danke||متشکرم (moteshakeram)|
|Prego||You’re welcome||Bitte||خواهش می کنم (khaahesh mikonam)|
|Non capisco||I don’t understand||Ich verstehe nicht||من نمی فهمم (man nemifahmam)|
|Dov’è…?||Where is…?||Wo ist…?||کجاست…؟ (kojaast…?)|
|Carta di credito||Credit card||Kreditkarte||کارت اعتباری (carte e’tebari)|