12 Best Hotels in Capri, Italy - Jan 2019
Your Travel Guide to Capri
Capri is the name of an island, 5 kilometers off the coast of Italy, near Naples. It also is the name of one of the two major cities on the island (the other city is called Anacapri). The two cities are united by the Phoenician Steps--a long stone staircase, built by Greek settlers, even before the rise of the Roman Empire. Although there are only a few structures dating from Roman times, the island has medieval, Baroque, and modern structures as well. The beaches, grottos, and rich variety of species of plants are all unique features of this somewhat remote destination--which make it a very desirable vacation spot.
What are the Must-Do-s and See-s in Capri?
Island Tour by Boat
One way of absorbing the island of Capri is by means of a boat tour around the island. The Classic Capri Boat Tour will take you around the island, while allowing enough time to appreciate the various grottos and other sites up close.
The Blue Grotto
Strictly speaking, the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra) is located in Anacapri--but it is certainly worth seeing. It is essentially a large cave with a very narrow entrance from the sea. The opening is only two meters wide and one meter high, so it takes a skilled rower to maneuver a rowboat into the Grotto. The oarsman who accompanies you into the Grotto will pull you in by means of a chain attached to the wall of the cave. The distinctive blue color of the water is due to the cave’s water filtering the white light that enters into the cave. The lower level of the spectrum is filtered out, so that only blue remains.
Note: Although the Roman emperors used the Grotto as their private swimming area, swimming in the Grotto is forbidden nowadays. This is because the entrance of the cave is essentially sealed when high tide comes in. Also, the waves can push a swimmer against the walls of the cave, causing serious injury.
Monte Solaro and the Chair Lift
Monte Solaro is the highest mountain on the island of Capri, at an elevation of 589 meters. It is possible to hike to the summit via one of two paths. Interesting landmarks along the hike include the Eremo di Santa Maria a Cetrella (The Hermitage of the Holy Mother of Cetrella) and Fortine di Bruto (the ruins of a military fortress, built in 1808).
There is a chair lift that takes you to the summit of the mountain in around 13 minutes--this allows you enough time to take in stunning views of the Gulf of Naples, Mt. Vesuvius, the Gulf of Salerno, and the neighboring islands and faraglioni (rock formations protruding out of the water). You also get to appreciate the layout of the island and its rich variety of vegetation.
Villa Jovis is the remains of the palace of Emperor Tiberius--one of 12 such villas that Tiberius constructed on Capri. He ruled from the palace for the last 10 years of his life. Tiberius used it both as living quarters, as well as for receptions and administering the Roman Empire. You can still see a considerable amount of the construction and the extent of the original structure. The walk from Capri City’s Piazzetta to Villa Jovis is approximately 2 hours long--but eminently worthwhile.
Although not the palace of a Roman Emperor, Villa Lysis is geographically close to Villa Jovis. But it was constructed by Jacques d’Adelsward Fersen in modern times, in 1905. Despite being built only recently, the Neoclassical architecture is still something to marvel.
Marina Piccola and Marina Grande
Marina Piccola (The Small Marina) and Marina Grande (The Large Marina) are where ferries, hydrofoils, and other boats dock when arriving from the Italian mainland. The two marinas were established as ports in the time of Augustus Caesar. The Marina Grande is the largest beach on the island, which makes it a popular tourist spot.
Villa San Michele amd Church of San Michele
Villa San Michele is in the town of Anacapri, near the Phoenician Steps. It was constructed and designed by the medical student Axel Munthe, to strengthen the ties between his native Sweden and Italy. His construction incorporates works of marble, wood, metal, ceramic, and more.
The Church of San Michele Arcangelo was constructed in 1719, and is an exquisite piece of Baroque architecture . It is famous from its mosaic floor, dating from the year 1761, depicting the Fall of Adam and his being driven from the Garden of Eden.
Via Krupp and Giardini di Augusto
Near Marina Piccola, you will find the Via Krupp--a footpath that was paved between 1900-1902. However, the footpath has been closed since 1976, due to falling rocks. But, there is also the Giardini di Augusto--the Gardens of Augustus, a rich botanical gardens constructed by Friedrich Alfred Krupp, the same designer of Via Krupp. In any event, the botanical gardens give you a 180-degree view of the south of the island.
Getting To and Around Capri
Naples International Airport
Naples International Airport is the nearest airport to the island of Capri. It receives flights from many European cities: Rome, London, Milan, Barcelona, Moscow, and more.
From Naples, there are daily ferries taking you to Capri. Other departure points are Amalfi, the island of Ischia, Salerno, Positano, Sorrento, and more. You have a choice of a ferry and high-speed ferry. There are approximately two ferries per hour from Naples to Capri--the actual ride is 50 minutes-1 hour.
Transportation on Capri
As for transportation on Capri Island, there is a bus service on the island, taking you from Marina Grande to the city of Capri, as well as to the city of Anacapri. Buses depart every 15-20 minutes, and the distances between destinations can range from 10-25 minutes.
There is also a funicular (cable car) taking you from Marina Grande to the Piazzetta. One hotel in close vicinity to the bottom station of the funicular is the Relais Maresca Hotel.