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Capri is a storied island off the coast of southern Italy in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It’s played host to Roman nobles and an array of artists and celebrities throughout its history. Today, Capri is a popular tourist destination.
Capri is reached easily by boat from various towns on the mainland (like Sorrento and Positano, for instance). While there are lots of accommodations on Capri, it’s perfectly possible to get a fair taste of the place on a day trip as well.
The island of Capri is home to about 12,000 people. There are two main towns on the island: Capri and Anacapri. Capri is known for being more trendy and bustling, while Anacapri is more laid-back.
Most people choose to visit the island during the summer and enjoy the warm, Mediterranean paradise. However, those who visit when when the weather is colder are treated to the peace of this magical island. No matter when you choose to visit, there’s plenty to do on this island all year.
From the famous Blue Grotto sea cave to the top of Monte Solaro and the busy port of Marina Grande to the tranquil Gardens of Augustus, you’ll find lots of wonderful sights on the island of Capri.
Here’s your travel guide for what to do on Capri, Italy.
Go to the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra) on Capri
Perhaps the top thing to do on Capri is visit the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra). Does this mean it’s also the most touristy thing to do when on Capri? Yes, it probably is. And it’s often not easy to get inside and it can be expensive. However, it’s a truly unique experience that’s worth the effort.
Well-known since ancient Roman times, the Blue Grotto was a beloved place of Emperor Tiberius, who used it as a swimming hole and temple to sea nymphs. Later on, the cave was abandoned due to legends among sailors that it was haunted. Today, the grotto is a popular destination for travelers hoping to see its glowing blue waters.
How to Get Inside the Blue Grotto
The only way to get inside the Blue Grotto is through a small cave mouth. You can only enter on a small row boat that fits about four people. To get to the row boat at the mouth of the cave, you can take a larger boat from Marina Grande, the main marina on Capri, or walk down from Anacapri (more on this area later).
Getting into the Blue Grotto entirely by boat really requires three boat trips.
First, there’s the boat trip from the mainland to Marina Grande. Then you’ll have to book a tour and hop on a smaller boat over to the northwestern side of the island, where the grotto is located. And finally, you take the small row boat that gets you into the grotto.
To get to the row boats on foot, you’ll have to walk down from the town of Anacapri.
From the center of Anacapri, walk along Via Pagliaro to Via Grotta Azzurra and follow it to the end of the road. There you’ll find stairs down to the grotto where you’ll board your row boat. It’s about 3.5 km (just more than 2 miles). There is also a bus that leaves from Piazza della Pace in Anacapri and follows this route.
After you’re on your rowboat, you’ll make your way into the grotto, which is no easy feat.
You and your guide will wait at the mouth of the cave until it’s your turn to enter. When it’s time to go inside, you must lie down in the row boat as the guide pulls you through the mouth of the cave using a rope, just as the waves dip low enough.
Once inside, you’ll see what all the fuss is about.
Clear, celestial blue water glows from below you as dark, staggering cave walls tower all around and playful guides sing songs that fill the cave. All the hustle and bustle outside fades away and the peace of the cave washes over you.
When You Can Visit the Grotto
The Blue Grotto is open year-round. However, it may close to visitors at any time due to weather or rough seas.
It’s often closed during the late fall and winter (November through March), so your best chances of getting inside are during the spring and summer.
Keep in mind, though, that it gets very busy during certain times of the summer, and you might have to wait a couple hours to get inside the grotto.
Cost of Visiting the Blue Grotto
The cost of getting inside the grotto varies. It all depends on how you get there.
The price of entrance into the Blue Grotto is 14 euros, which includes the entrance fee and rowboat transport (plus, it’s common to tip the guide or skipper driving the row boat). If you book a tour or hire a boat, that will be an additional cost and will depend on the company you choose. You can book a tour in Marina Grande.
Despite all the hoopla required to get inside the Blue Grotto, it’s a magical experience worth all the effort.
Explore Town of Capri
On the island of Capri you’ll also find the town of Capri. This is the main and most popular part of town. The town of Capri is high up on a hill above Marina Grande.
To get up to Capri from Marina Grande, you can take a funicular, a bus, or walk.
The funicular from Marina Grande to Capri departs every 15 minutes and the journey is 15 minutes. Tickets cost 2 euros and you can purchase them at the arrival pier. (The funicular is closed from January through March.)
Small buses also provide transport all over the island. The bus from Marina Grande to the town of Capri takes about 10 minutes and costs around 2 euros. Buses generally run every 15 to 20 minutes.
You can also walk from Marina Grande up to Capri. It’s a journey full of beautiful views, but keep in mind it will be uphill.
Once you reach the town of Capri, you’ll find tons of restaurants, bars, shops, and galleries. The community is centered around the Piazzetta, located at Piazza Umberto I, 80076 Capri. Make sure to take a break at a cafe in the Piazzetta and people watch. Simply take your time exploring the trendy boutiques and eateries and see what you discover.
See the Gardens of Augustus (Giardini di Augusto)
A lovely place to visit on Capri is the Gardens of Augustus (Giardini di Augusto).
It’s only about a seven-minute walk from the Piazzetta in Capri to the Gardens of Augustus. This classic route takes you through the beautiful, winding streets of town.
The area is made up of botanical gardens and walking paths overlooking the ocean. It’s a beautiful place to take a walk and see some local greenery and sea views. They’re a wonderful place to visit at any time of year.
The Gardens of Augustus are open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The regular entrance fee is 1 euro from March 1 to November 15 and children get in for free. The gardens are located at Via Matteotti, 2, 80076 Capri.
Check Out Anacapri
When on Capri, make sure to visit the town of Anacapri. Anacapri is located up at a higher elevation than Capri (“ana” means “above”).
In Anacapri, you’ll get a chance to explore the more laid-back part of the island. While Capri is known for its nightlife and high-end boutiques, Anacapri is known for its more relaxed, local feeling. Here, there are plenty of charming restaurants serving up delicious food, as well as local shops to peruse. Take your time to linger over a long meal, enjoying the atmosphere and chatting with friendly locals.
You can reach Anacapri by bus or on foot. As it’s at a higher elevation, the journey is all uphill.
By bus, it’s about 15 minutes from Capri to Anacapri or 25 minutes from Marina Grande to Anacapri. Buses run about every 15 to 20 minutes and cost around 2 euros. The journey on foot will take quite a bit longer and, remember, is full of uphill climbs.
Reach the top of Mount Solaro
In Anacapri, make sure to visit the top of Mount Solaro, the highest point on the island.
You can reach the top of the mountain on foot or by riding the chairlift. The chairlift is the most convenient way to get to the summit.
The station for the chairlift is on Via Caposcuro near Piazza Vittoria in Anacapri. The individual chair chairlift transports you to the top of the mountain, passing local homes and small hillside farms along the way. The journey to the top takes about 13 minutes.
Once at the top, you’ll find stunning panoramic views of the surrounding sea and the island below. You can spend some time walking the trails and taking in the scenery. There’s a cafe at the top as well where you can pause for a drink.
The chairlift is open year-round. It can get busy during the summer, while it’s practically deserted in the winter. In March and April, the Monte Solaro chairlift is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; from May through October, it’s open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and from November through February it’s open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The ticket price is 12 euros round-trip or 9 euros one way.
If you’d prefer, you can also hike up to the top of Mount Solaro. The hike up the mountain takes anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half.
Whether you choose to walk or ride to the top, the views from the summit of Monte Solaro are a must during your time on Capri.
Transportation: How to Get to Capri and Get Around on Capri
Getting to Capri
To get to Capri, you’ll take a boat from the mainland.
You can take a ferry from Naples, Sorrento, or one of the towns on the Amalfi Coast, like Positano. Ferries run year-round from Naples and Sorrento to Capri. However, ferries from the Amalfi Cost towns of Positano, Amalfi, and Salerno only run from April through October.
Ferries during the summer are often quite crowded, so make sure to purchase your ticket online ahead of time, if possible. If not, arrive at the departure port early. In the winter, ferries are less crowded, but may face delays due to weather.
Ferry prices depend on your departure port and type of ferry. There are both slow and high speed ferries. The high speed ferries are more expensive than the slower ones. Tickets generally cost around 15 to 20 euros from the mainland to Capri.
If you’d prefer to skip the public ferries, you can also hire a private boat to take you to Capri from the mainland. This will be a more expensive option.
One you know where you’re coming from, find specific information about how to get to Capri here.
Getting Around on Capri
As for getting around on Capri, you don’t need a car. In fact, cars are not allowed on many areas of the island, and only vehicles owned by residents are allowed for most of the year. So, if you’ve got a car, leave it on the mainland.
The public buses on Capri can take you anywhere you want to go. They’re convenient and inexpensive. Most buses run every 15 to 20 minutes and cost just a couple euros.
There are also plenty of taxis on the island. You can even hire a taxi driver for the whole day if you’d like. If you’re traveling with a group or don’t want to wait for buses, this can be a good option.
Additionally, you can rent a scooter on Capri. You’ll find places to rent scooters in Marina Grande.
Finally, while it’s is quite hilly, you can also see much of Capri on foot. It can be a lovely way to enjoy all the sights of the island.
Most people may choose to head to Capri in the middle of summer, but there’s plenty to do year-round on the island. Whether you want to see the glowing blue waters of the Grotta Azzurra or panoramic views from the top of Mount Solaro, you’ll find beauty here all year. Make sure to take an opportunity to visit Capri, no matter the season.
While the warmth brings blissful sea adventures, it also brings the crowds. When you choose to brave the cold, you’ll find a tranquil island wonderland. Hot or cold, take the time on Capri when you can. Cin cin!