Capri isn't only the name of the most famous and popular island in the Bay of Naples, but also one of the two towns on the island (the other is called Anacapri. Some of the most important landmarks on the island are located in Capri town, including the Piazzetta and the Faraglioni, and there is a wide variety of sights and experiences within the municipal boundaries: beaches, walking trails, museums, and, of course, the most glamorous shopping streets and trendy cafés where the glitterati from across the globe gather.
As opposed to Anacapri, Capri is full of clubs and has a vibrant nightlife. In addition to being more lively and crowded, this island town is also more expensive. Regardless, no day trip to the island of Capri is complete without a stroll through the town of Capri, the epicenter of this beloved destination.
The only port on Capri is located in Marina Grande and a number of ferries that run between Capri and Naples or Sorrento dock here, even in the winter months. In summer, additional ferries from Salerno, Positano, and other Amalfi Coast towns also dock here.
If you are traveling with a number of bags or very early or late in the day—or if you're traveling with a group—you may want to consider booking an all-inclusive private transfer to the island so you can reach Capri from Naples or Rome hassle-free.
How to Get to Capri Town
You can reach the center of Capri town in just minutes from the port via public transportation or taxi.
The funicolare station is located just opposite the ferry dock in Marina Grande; funiculars transport passengers between the port and the Piazzetta in Capri town quickly and cheaply. Otherwise, you can also catch a public bus from Marina Grande; buses leave about every 15 minutes and stop in the center Capri about 10 minutes later. For a more comfortable trip with no wait, you can also catch a traditional open-air taxi, but the trip between the port and town costs around EUR 15.
Though Capri is famous for its elegant boutiques and megayachts, the 'center of Capri' town is also home to a number of artistic and cultural treasures that reflect the island's long and rich history. To really delve into all Capri has to offer, including its museums and monuments, plan to stay at least a few days.
The Piazzetta di Capri, officially called Piazza Umberto I, is the cultural and geographic center of the city, where locals and visitors meet from dawn to late into the night to chat and relax. It's also the jumping-off point for many sightseeing itineraries, walks, and shopping excursions. In addition to sitting down to a (not exactly cheap) coffee or aperitivo, you can also unwind here to people watch...if you're patient enough, sooner or later you'll spot a celebrity.
In and around the Piazzetta, there are a number of important monuments, including the pretty 17th-century Church of Santo Stefano, the largest on the island, and the Centro Caprense Ignazio Cerio, a small gem of a museum that houses 20,000 ancient artifacts and natural wonders that illustrate the history of Capri island.
After taking in these two sights, wander the town's warren of tiny lanes that fan out from the Piazzetta, with their artisan workshops selling handmade sandals and coral jewelry and traditional barrel-vaulted houses just waiting to be photographed.
The Charterhouse of San Giacomo and Gardens of Augustus
Take the short and pleasant walk from the Piazzetta in Capri to other two must-sees: the Charterhouse of San Giacomo, built in 1371 and the oldest and most storied landmark on the island; and the Gardens of Augustus, a lush terraced garden with sweeping views over the Faraglioni, Bay of Marina Piccola, and winding Via Krupp.
Walks and Hikes
Capri si more than just fashion boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and luxury hotels...the town and surrounding area are also full of panoramic hikes and overlooks. A number of trails set off from the center of Capri and taking a hike or walk is a great way to spend some time admiring the natural beauty of the island and soaking in views over the coastline and Bay of Naples. Experience this more peaceful side of Capri with the easy walk to the Belvedere di Tragara (Tragara scenic overlook), with the Faraglioni so close that it seems like you could reach out and touch them. More adventurous visitors can take on the Pizzolungo trail that begins in the Piazzetta and ends at the dramatic Natural Arch.
Venture up the slopes of Monte Tiberio to reach the ruins of the 12 Roman villas the Emperor Tiberius had built on the island of Capri. Finished in the first century AD, Villa Jovis covered more than 7,000 square meters and overlooked the whole of the Bay of Naples from Ischia to Punta Campanella. To reach the ruins from the Piazzetta, follow Via Le Botteghe uphill to Via Fuorlovado, Via Croce, and finally Via Tiberio. It's a long climb, so be sure to stop and catch your breath along the way!
You can also take in one of the most unique sights on the island not far from Villa Jovis, which is a testament to the island's long history as a retreat for intellectuals, artists, and the aristocracy: Villa Lysis. The Parisian count Jacques d'Adelswärd Fersen had this villa built at the beginning of the 20th century to go into self-exile after being embroiled in a series of scandals in France. Villa Lysis, also known as “Villa Fersen”, is an elegant art nouveau residence with opulent and eccentric interiors, a lush garden with breathtaking views and a classical temple, and an opium salon that once hosted poets, artists, and writers.
Capri by Sea
No visit to Capri is complete without a boat tour around the island, a sunset sail with a toast beneath the Faraglioni, or a simple cruise to the Blue Grotto (which, along with the Punta Carena lighthouse, is part of the municipality of Anacapri). A number of boat tours and charters set off from the Marina Grande port all day long, but booking in advance is a must in the busy summer months. For more freedom and flexibility, opt for a private boat tour with a local skipper who can share history and lore about the island and show you the most spectacular spots along the coastline.
The only true beaches on the island are located in the municipality of Capri. Small and covered in pebbles or stones, these are regardless the most accessible spots for swimming and are popular among the island's families given their shallow waters and wide range of services. The beaches in the municipality of Anacapri, on the other hand, are platforms on the coastal cliffs with deep water that can be dangerous for young children.
The Marina Grande beach is the largest in Capri, set not far from the port (the water is crystal-clear despite the proximity) and composed of both a free public area and two beach clubs: le Ondine e lo Smeraldo. The beach is covered with a mix of pebbles and stones and a wide range of services are available in the area, including cafés and snack bars, restaurants, shops, minimarkets, pharmacies, etc. This beach is very crowded during the day in the summer months, though it quiets down significantly come late afternoon when most day trippers have left the island and in the early morning before the first ferries arrive.
The Palazzo a Mare beach is located nearby. You can reach this beach from Marina Grande in just minutes via boat shuttle or take on the challenging descent on foot from the Church of San Costanzo. This stony beach has a free public area and a beach club with a restaurant called Bagni di Tiberio. This is an ideal beach for visitors who aren't strong swimmers or who are traveling with kids.
In Marina Piccola, there are other beaches that are easy to access and suitable for everyone, popular for their wide range of services and breathtaking views of the Faraglioni, a perfect backdrop for souvenir photos. These beaches are ideal for early risers since they fill up fast and only get sun until the early afternoon, when the peak of Mount Solaro begins to cast its shadow. In addition to two free public pebble beaches, there are a number of beach clubs: Torre Saracena, La Canzone del Mare, Bagni Internazionali, Da Gioia, and Lo Scoglio delle Sirene.
Swimming Beneath of Faraglioni
If you want to take a dip at the foot of the three most famous rock formations in Italy, book a sunbed (well in advance!) at da Luigi or La Fontelina. Take the path down from the Punta Tragara scenic overlook or request the shuttle boat to reach these two popular beach clubs. Both have restaurants and offer afternoon boat shuttle service to Marina Piccola. The water is deep here and you have to dive in directly from the rocks, so these are not recommended for families with small children.