Megayachts bobbing in the Mediterranean waters, swish boutiques outfitting celebrities and top models, luxe hotels bursting with A-listers…the ‘’’glamorpuss island of Capri’’’ has been where the world’s glitterati has come to see and be seen since the Golden Age of Hollywood. Even ‘’’the beach clubs on the island and nearby Amalfi Coast are chic hotspots of designer bikinis and flawless physiques,’’’ playgrounds to the rich and famous basking by day and partying by night.
Do Capri like a VIP and book a spot at one of the island’s exclusive bagni, where you can find yourself sunbathing next to the hottest names in entertainment and fashion. Here’s how to channel that beautiful beach club bling on Capri in Italy:
The Seaside Scene on Capri
The rest of the world may spread out a towel along any old stretch of waterfront, but Capri knows how to take the beach to the next level. While the hoi polloi gathers on the pebble beaches at Marina Grande or Marina Piccola, those in the know reserve a lounger and umbrella at one of the private beach clubs dotting the coastline.
You’ll need to bring a towel, but sunbeds or mattresses, deck chairs, and beach umbrellas are provided, as well as cabanas and showers. Don’t expect stretches of sand (or even pebbles); most of the beach clubs along the island’s craggy coast are set up on wooden or concrete platforms built directly into the cliff-lined coves on the water's edge. Be sure to reserve in advance, as these chichi spots fill up quickly, and come decked out in beach finery…Italians bring the same elegant sprezzatura to the beach as they do to the rest of life.
From Bardot to Beyoncé
Capri’s beach clubs combine the ‘’’understated glam of yesteryear’’’ with the power of the ‘’’Instagram-savvy modern jetset’’’ in a magical mix that is unique to the island. Nowhere is this alchemy more evident than at ‘’’La Fontelina beach club, Capri’s most storied and famous’’’ that was once a favored haunt of Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren, and Clark Gable. Like many of the island’s iconic beach clubs, La Fontelina began as a rustic, family-run seafront restaurant and retains the “barefoot luxury” atmosphere despite the million-dollar yachts moored just offshore. Its setting just opposite the towering ‘’'Faraglioni rocks’’’ also makes Fontelina the most grammable of Capri’s beach clubs, perfect for low-key broadcasting your #glamlife. The club offers a boat shuttle from Marina Piccola or there is a footpath from Punta Tragara just a short walk from the Piazzetta in Capri town.
Old School Cool
Capri’s beach clubs have continued to draw everyone from politicians to superstars over the decades because their ‘’’laid-back, chill vibe’’’ has been a deterrent to oglers since the paparazzi first began shadowing celebrities. You may rub elbows with the French prime minister or LA’s latest hip hop legend, but to let on that you are even a tiny bit starstruck would be unthinkable in the rarified atmosphere of the lido. ‘’’Da Luigi ai Faraglioni’’’ is the symbol of this “too-cool-for-school” ethos, where actors and artists have come since the 1930s to blend in with the crowd and let their guard down for the day. Moguls and mechanics alike dive into the ‘’’gorgeous emerald green water’’’ just beneath the Faraglioni and tuck into plates piled high with seafood pasta at the beach club’s ‘’’famed restaurant’’’.
Fish Feasts and Sundowners
Italians take two things very seriously: ‘’’fashion and food’’’. The beach clubs on Capri don’t disappoint on either account, with swank sunbathers and ‘’’some of the best al fresco dining on the island’’’. Book a table with a view and relax over plates piled high with pasta tossed with shellfish, baked sea bass, seafood tartare, grilled octopus, and other delicacies. Those in the know wash down their meal with ‘’’peaches soaked in chilled white wine’’’ and sangria. As the sun lowers beneath the horizon, the beach bars start serving ‘’’cocktails’’’ so you can toast to a perfect day on Capri.
Lido Like a Local
Capri’s beach clubs may be thick with the international it crowd, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t see any ‘’’locals lounging’’’ on their dramatic terraces. ‘’’Lido del Faro’’’, for example, is a favorite among islanders who appreciate its lively atmosphere and location on the western Anacapri side of the island just beneath the lighthouse that guarantees ‘’’hours of uninterrupted sunbathing plus one of the best sunset perches on Capri’’’. In addition to its crystalline stretch of water, this beach club has a saltwater swimming pool to cool off between bouts of basking on sun loungers and downing cool cocktails from the bar. The restaurant here is considered ‘’’one of the best beach eateries on Capri’’’, so nab a table well in advance.
All About the Bass, ‘Bout the Bass
Some of Capri’s beach clubs are more restaurants that offer waterfront lounging than beaches that have tacked on a restaurant. ‘’’Torre Saracena’’’ is an iconic example, with a seaside eatery that has been ‘’’a favorite of locals and visitors since 1906’’’ and a beach club that has gradually expanded along the pebble-covered coast and on a series of wooden platforms over time. If you are more about the dining than the dipping and are looking for a less pretentious seaside outpost, this ‘’’foodie mecca’’’ is a must.
True gourmands with deep pockets make a beeline to ‘’’Il Riccio, the Michelin-starred seafront restaurant’’’ paired with the top-tier Capri Palace Hotel that serves award-winning fish and seafood from its cliffside perch near the Blue Grotto. Below the dining room, ‘’’a series of terraces connected by a winding staircase’’’ beckon for a post-lunch nap in the sun or a dip in the water just below.