How to Nail Your First Capri Vacation: Things to Do in Capri, Capri Hotels, and More

The Italian island of Capri conjures images of beautiful rocky cliffs, yachts anchored along the coast, and charming narrow streets lined with designer stores, gelato shops, and perfumeries. This swanky island off the Sorrento Peninsula is popular for a reason: It offers everything from rugged natural beauty to gourmet restaurants, beach clubs, and famous sights like the Blue Grotto or Monte Solaro. To ensure that you have the best getaway possible to this dreamy destination, we've outlined everything you need to know to nail a trip to Capri.

When to Go to Capri

Coastal view of Capri, Italy

View of Marina Grande on Capri from J.K. Place Capri.

The tourist season in Capri runs from Easter through October, with peak months occurring in the summer. June, July, and August see hordes of travelers — a mix of day-trippers, cruisers, and overnight guests — due to the warm weather suitable for beach fun and swimming. At this time of year, numerous ferries run to the mainland, kids are out of school, and Capri boat tours from Sorrento ply the waters offshore. This translates to sky-high hotel prices, crowded streets, and packed restaurants.

Low season lasts from roughly November through March, though think carefully about whether its worth a visit during this time of year. Capri isn’t the best place to visit in the winter months. On top of strong sea winds and relatively cold temperatures (highs in the mid-50 degrees Fahrenheit), travelers will have to deal with most hotels and restaurants being closed. Ferries to and from the mainland are also limited and often canceled due to weather. If you’re set on visiting Capri in the winter, plan on making it a day trip and don’t expect to do any water-based activities.

For the above reasons, the best time to visit Capri is during the shoulder seasons, especially May, September, and October. Temperatures are pleasant — in the high 60s and 70s — a majority of the hotels are open, and sights and restaurants aren’t nearly as crowded.

How to Get to Capri

Capri Ferry

Ferry Docked in Capri

For starters, you might be wondering, “Where is Capri?” Good question. The Isle of Capri sits west of the Sorrento Peninsula, to the south of Naples and the Gulf of Naples in southern Italy. While being near one of Italy’s biggest cities and the popular Amalfi Coast might make you think reaching Capri is simple, there are some things to note. In fact, getting to Capri is not the easiest journey for international travelers, as it requires a plane, train and/or car, and ferry. The closest airport is Naples International Airport, but it’s small and has limited, expensive flight options.

A more popular option is to fly into Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport, where travelers can hop on an express train to Naples, or spend the night in the city and take a train from Termini Station. A whopping 78 trains run from Rome to Naples daily, a trip that takes between one and two-and-a-half hours, and typically costs under 50 euros. From Naples, daily ferries to Capri are available starting around 5:30 a.m. and ending between 8 and 9 p.m., depending on the month. For day trips, return ferries also vary by time of year, and are available until either 8 or 10 p.m.

Most travelers visiting Capri are likely exploring other parts of Italy, for instance Rome, Sorrento, Naples, and the Amalfi Coast, allowing them to add Capri when it’s most convenient. The quickest ferry to Capri leaves from Sorrento and takes just 20 minutes. Most one-way ferry rides cost about 20 euros. It’s recommended that travelers buy their ferry tickets in advance if they know which day they’ll be traveling and it’s within peak tourist months. Otherwise, securing a same-day ticket isn’t usually a problem. Note that ferries to Capri from Positano and Amalfi only run between mid-April and mid-October.

Where to Stay in Capri

First and foremost, there are two areas on the island: Capri and Anacapri. The former is the more popular hub where ferries land, offering countless hotels, restaurants, and shops. It’s also where you’ll find historic sights like Villa Jovis, an ancient temple dedicated to the Roman god Jupiter. Anacapri — on the western side of the island — sits at a higher elevation, and has a more quaint feel. There are less dining and retail outlets, yet plenty of top-notch outdoor sights. In fact, many of the island’s most revered attractions are in Anacapri, including the Blue Grotto, Villa San Michele, and Monte Solaro.

Depending on your travel style, one of these areas will likely be more suited to you. Visitors wanting to hit the beach, nightlife, and buzzing Piazzetta should stay in Capri, while more laid-back travelers wanting to take advantage of hiking, fewer crowds, and charming bed-and-breakfasts should stay in Anacapri. The 11-room boutique hotel, Luxury Villa Excelsior Parco is one of the nicest high-end options within walking distance of the beach and Piazzetta. A more budget-friendly option is Hotel Villa Sanfelice, which is a quick walk from the main square and has a pleasant outdoor pool. In Anacapri, the Capri Palace Hotel & Spa is a kid-friendly luxury property with a private beach club, outdoor pool, and sleek rooms with outdoor spaces. The nine-room Casa Mariantonia is a family-run property with a homey vibe, and all units are individually decorated and have balconies or terraces.

Things to Do in Capri

Faraglioni Rock Formation in Capri

Day-trippers to Capri will find themselves having to sacrifice certain sights, as there’s a ton to do on the island. Capri’s most famous feature is the Blue Grotto, a stunning natural cavern with water that shines an ethereal blue color from the sun. It can be accessed by boat during certain times of year (not in the winter), and most travelers make it a stop on a boat tour around the island. A boat tour of Capri is a must if weather conditions allow, as it’s an easy, fun, and often private way to see the island’s striking cliffs and oceanfront sights — including the famous Faraglioni, three towering rock formations that jut out from the Mediterranean Sea, and the Punta Carena Lighthouse. Capri boat tours from Sorrento are especially popular.

A visit to the top of Monte Solaro rewards visitors with breathtaking panoramic views of the island and sea at nearly 2,000 feet above sea level. Adventurous and fit travelers can hike up, though a funicular to the top of Monte Solaro is available for a less strenuous option. The chair lift is located in Anacapri’s Piazza Vittoria, and the 11-euro journey takes about 12 minutes. Another must-stop in Capri is Gardens of Augustus, a large botanical garden with sensational views of the Faraglioni and Via Krupp, a historic switchback footpath. You should also check out Villa San Michele. Built in the 19th century by Swedish physician and author Axel Munthe, it includes a museum with countless striking objects, lovely gardens, and magical sea views.

Of course, no trip to Capri would be complete without a walk through Piazza Umberto I (the Piazzetta), a historic square that’s home to a clock tower, restaurants and bars with outdoor seating (and people-watching), and tasty gelato that’s perfect for a hot day. Narrow streets and alleyways connect to numerous luxury designer shops — think Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Valentino — as well as places to buy perfume and leather sandals. The dining scene is similarly impressive, with numerous indoor and outdoor eateries offering fresh seafood, local cuisine, Naples-style pizza, limoncello, and torta caprese, a flourless chocolate and almond cake. Don’t pass on the tomatoes and olive oil produced on the island. They’re best sampled in the form of the namesake caprese salad.

Our Favorite Hotel in Capri: J.K. Place Capri

It’s hard to beat J.K. Place Capri, a 22-room boutique hotel that exudes elegance and draws an in-the-know crowd. This late-19th-century villa has gorgeous clifftop sea views, especially from the glamorous pool. The style throughout evokes the sunny, seaside location with crisp whites, sea-blue accents, and lots of outdoor space for quiet relaxation. Guest rooms are spacious and comfy — most have terraces or balconies to soak up those stunning Mediterranean Sea views. While the Piazzetta is between 15 and 20 minutes away on foot, the hotel runs a free shuttle to the center of town. Keep in mind that, like most hotels in Capri, the property is closed during the off season.

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