I’ve always had this romantic vision of Capri. Beautiful people. Beautiful food. And a beautiful island. Boy was I right. Yes, Capri naturally comes with one of Italy’s heftiest tourist tags, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid the island at all costs. First things first – avoid Capri and head straight up to the hills of Anacapri, where you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
I’m probably a little bit biased seeing as Italy is my favourite country within Europe, plus the fact that Capri has been on my hit list for nearly 20 years, but I LOVED it there! I understand that many people are put off by the crowds and the expense that is associated with Capri, but that really isn’t the case if you are staying in the right area and visiting at the right time.
Set up in the hills above Capri Town, Anacapri is the smaller, far less touristy side of the island that many visitors don’t always have time to see. Picture a pretty village full of local shops, small family owned restaurants, and boutique hotels. Well that’s only the starting point of what Anacapri has to offer…
1 | Mount Solaro Chairlift
The quickest way to travel from Capri Town to Piazza Vittoria (Anacapri’s main Piazza) is by chairlift. The journey takes a brisk 12 minutes to the highest point on the island and is open all year round, but with reduced hours between November – February. This might not be for everyone though, as the chairlift has single seats with nothing more than a bar that sits across your lap. I took one look at those, being hoisted up in the air, and was walking away before Adam could mutter a word in my direction. At the time of our visit, the chairlift cost 9 EUR one way / 11 EUR return.
2 | Island Hiking
Did you know that Capri has an abundance of hiking trails around the island? One morning we accidently got a little lost and stumbled across one of the back paths that took us on a three hour hike from the very peak of the island, all the way down to the lighthouse. From Piazza Vittoria, the main square in Anacapri, we walked along the backstreets past residential villa’s until we reached the Parco Filosofico. From here we walked to the rear of the park, and up to the cliff edge for some incredible views around the island, before hiking down to the Punta Carena by the lighthouse.
3 | The lighthouse (Faro)
Take the local bus to the south west of the island to visit the lighthouse which has been active since 1967. Although there isn’t much to do once you are there, it did make for a pleasant afternoon away from the crowds. You’ll find two small restaurants close by, perfect for a light lunch or an afternoon cocktail. The lighthouse is also on the waterfront, so pack your bathers and go for a swim afterwards.
4 | Lido del Faro
Capri has a rocky coastline, so there aren’t any pretty beaches to visit, however if you want to top up your tan or go for a swim, then head to the Lido del Faro. You can lay out on any of the waterfront rocks for free, but get there early as it does get busy during the summer. If you’d prefer a bit of comfort instead, then opt to pay a daily charge of 25 euros to one of the designated sectioned areas. Your daily fee will include sunbeds, lockers, and access to the only pool on the waterfront.
5 | The Blue Lagoon
Capri is undoubtedly most famous for it’s Blue Lagoon, and no visit to Capri would be complete with a visit! This tiny lagoon is only accessible by a small rowing boat during the summer months, but this is also hugely dependant on weather and water conditions. Despite visiting during the height of summer, we attempted to visit the grotto twice, but both times it was shut as the waters were too rough. Big. Massive. Sad. Face.
Many people join a tour boat that departs from the main marina in Capri Town which will sail around the island and past the entrance of the grotto. However, you’d be better off to visit the Grotta Azzurra directly, where you can take one of the small rowing boat into the grotto itself. That’s if the waters are calm enough and the boats are sailing.
6 | Sail Around The Island
A great way to see the island, and also a popular way to view the Blue Lagoon, is by joining an island cruise. Personally, I’m not a fan of being stuck on a crowded and small boat, but we did see some adverts where you could even charter your own boat to self-sail around the island. Those with a sailing license, this could be something for you and a group of friends to consider!
7 | Villa San Michelle
Visit Villa San Michele in the former home of Axel Munthe, a Swedish doctor. In his autobiography, The Story of San Michele, he wrote that the villa would contain “nothing superfluous, nothing unbeautiful, no bric-à-brac, no trinkets”. Villa San Michele is famous for its unique architectural style, extraordinary array of treasures and beautiful gardens. Tucked away up behind Piazza Vittoria, you’ll be rewarded with some wonderful coastal views from up here too.
8 | Shopping
Via Giuseppe Orlandi and Piazza Vittoria are your main spots for shopping in Anacapri. Although neither are very big, you’ll be able to find some speciality shops to pick up something unique. How about choosing your own Italian style tiles, personalised with your choice of words or designs? We found a cute homeware store where we picked up some individual door knobs, perfect to customise our own drawers at home (once our house refurb is complete!). There was also a lovely shop selling customised hand made tiles, where you could personalise any tile. A popular choice of tile to purchase was for the front of your house, displaying either your door number or house name. Whilst we didn’t have time to personalise these ourselves, we did pick up some tiles with our house number. I can’t wait to get those up!
9 | Gelato
You know what, sometimes you just need a scoop or two of gelato, and there’s nowhere better in the world to choose from a million flavours, than Italy! Anacapri has several different gelato shops, all of which offered some water mouthing flavours to choose from. My personal favourite was the rum flavoured gelato that I found, but my all time go to flavour is Stracciatella – YUM! The perfect end to an evening if you ask me!
So, if you are travelling to the south of Italy and have a few days spare, why not fit in a trip to Capri and head up to Anacapri for a wonderful few days. As we sadly didn’t get to visit the Blue Lagoon properly, I will most certainly be making a beeline back to Capri sometime soon. Perhaps I’ll even see you there!