The island of Capri in southern Italy is one of the most beautiful destinations on the Amalfi Coast. Known for its lavish lifestyle that attracts the rich and famous, Capri is also home to divine natural wonders such as the Faraglioni Rocks and the Blue Grotto. Visiting Capri may seem like a dream, but if you are visiting Naples or the Amalfi Coast it is actually quite simple to get to.
I visited the Amalfi Coast in early October and was able to spend one full day on the island of Capri. I believe if you had 2-3 days you could comfortably explore most of the highlights of Capri, but given how much there is to see on the Amalfi Coast we gave ourselves 3 nights in Positano, 1 in Naples, and 1 in Capri.
Many people do day trips from either Naples, Sorrento, Amalfi, or Positano. These are great options if you just want to see the island for a few hours to say you’ve been there and see the coast of the island by boat. A lot of the major attractions such as the Blue Grotto and Faraglioni rocks can be seen with a day boat trip. But some of my favorite moments in Capri were after all the day tourists left, when the streets were nearly empty, and you could really appreciate the relaxed vibe of the island. This is why I would suggest spending one full day in Capri. And here’s what I would do.
Taking a boat trip around Capri is one of the best ways to see the island and my favorite thing we did while we visited. If you are strapped for time and want to see the most in the least amount of time, I would suggest booking a 2-3 hour boat tour of the island. If you are taking a day trip boat tour from Naples or the Amalfi Coast, you will likely be boating around the coast of Capri.
Like most of these boat trips on the Amalfi Coast, you have a few options of what type of experience you want to have. Trips will vary in time but we did a 3 hour trip and had plenty of time to go around the whole island, visit the blue grotto, and swim a few times. You can book a private boat tour (recommended if you can afford it), or join a non-private tour which will be with other groups of people. Depending on the tour, it can be a small excursion of 6-8 people or be a boat packed with people, so factor that into your decision.
We booked our boat trip through GiannisBoatTour and had a really great experience. It was just my girlfriend Monika and myself, plus our skipper Marco. Marco barely spoke a lick on English, which had its pros and cons. We didn’t learn much about Capri since he wasn’t able to communicate more than pointing to things and saying the name of them. But at the same time, it was kind of nice to have a more intimate experience while our skipper navigated the waters.
We did a 3 hour tour, which included the blue grotto, and that was plenty of time to go around the whole coast and stop to swim two times. We brought some aperol spritzes and limoncello on board with us and had a great afternoon. The private boat tour option is more expensive, and it cost us about $250 not including the tip.
Highlights of a boat trip around Capri are seeing the Faraglioni Rocks, going into the Blue Grotto, swimming in the waters and through grottoes, and viewing the island from the water including unique views of Marina Piccola and Marina Grande that you don’t get from being on land. The coastal cliffs are beautiful and vast, making for some incredible views around every corner. Our skipper also took us under the arch in the Faraglioni rocks which was a thrill.
Fun fact, while swimming to one of the grottoes I got stung by a jellyfish on my shoulder. Our skipper didn't seem too concerned and actually laughed when I was telling him about it. The stinging pain only lasted a few minutes but I had a gnarly raised sting mark from the jellyfish for about 6 weeks.
The Blue Grotto
One of the main attractions of Capri is the blue grotto. Essentially, it's a sea cave that is illuminated in blue by the sunlight. It’s a very popular activity to do in Capri. In Marina Grande you will find a ton of options for blue grotto tours. Some of them that go directly there and back can be pretty cheap. Or tours that navigate the whole island will include a stop there.
Depending on what time of year you visit Capri, the line to enter the blue grotto can sometimes be up to 2 hours. I visited in early October and only had to wait about 5 minutes to get in.
When you get to the entrance of the blue grotto, your boat will wait next to a bunch of other boats until a skipper in a little rowboat comes over to pick you up. You will transfer over to their rowboat, which can fit about 4 people, and then they will take you to the spot to pay. We paid $14 euro each and it has to be in cash. This fee is always separate, even if you are taking a boat tour there.
Once paid up, the skipper takes you into the cave. We had to lay down in the boat to not get our heads knocked off as the skipper bent all the way down and pulled us in with a chain nailed to the cave wall. There were several other boats in the cave with us. Our skipper was very entertaining, and belted out into song once we were inside the cave which was a lot of fun. You can read more about my experience of Exploring the Magical Blue Grotto here.
After taking a boat tour of the island and visiting the blue grotto, you have a few options of what to do next.
Marina grande is the main marina that you will most likely arrive at when visiting Capri. It’s a bustling area when the ferries arrive and depart, but it really delivers a quaint, island vibe. There are shops, cafes and restaurants lining the marina and a little beach area. A stroll up and down the marina is a nice way to spend some time, but I mainly used this area to get on and off the boat tours and ferries while on Capri. I’d recommend taking the funicular up to Piazza Umberto I from here to see more of the island.
Piazza Umberto I
Also known as the Piazzetta, the main town square in Capri is a cute, sheik area to hang out, walk around, shop, and get lunch or a coffee. You should definitely make your way here, even for a coffee or for lunch, to get a proper feel of the island. The streets are lined with world class designer stores and although that is not really my interest, it was fascinating to walk down the streets and window shop at the top fashion in the world.
There are also plenty of dining options in this area. We had dinner at Al Grottino and had one of the best meals of our trip. Although the streets are calm and quiet at night, the best restaurants will still be packed so make sure to make reservations in advance if you can.
Tip: Take the funicular up from Marina Grande and arrive right in the town center. It only costs about $3 and takes 5 minutes. Funiculars run about every 15 minutes each way.
I did not get a chance to make it to Marina Piccola, but if I had another day in Capri I definitely would put this at the top of my list. We passed by Marina Piccola on our boat trip and saw it from the water, which was a nice way to see it. But if you had one full day and wanted to relax, I would spend it laying out on a bed by the water in Marina Piccola. With great views of the sea and the Faraglioni rocks, this beach area should strongly be considered when visiting Capri.
The other area of the island is called Anacapri and would serve as another homebase for staying on Capri. I’d suggest staying in Anacapri if you had more than one day, as getting to and from other places on the island may be less convenient, depending on what you are trying to see. I didn’t have a chance to visit Anacapri on my trip but would love to spend time there on my next visit. It has a more local vibe with great restaurants and is located higher up in the mountains of the island.
Other options worth seeing in Capri would be Villa Jovis, Villa San Michele, Certosa di San Giacomo, Giardini di Augusto, and hiking up Monte Solaro.
I stayed at the Hotel Syrene and can’t recommend it highly enough. The location was amazing, just a 5 minute walk from Piazza Umberto I and next to many restaurants, cafes and designer shops. Our balcony view looked over the sea and the room was very nice.
Although we didn’t have time to spend at the pool, the grounds of the hotel were very cool and the included breakfast was no joke, some of the best food I had on the whole trip. It’s a bit pricey, as are most places on Capri, but I would highly suggest staying at Hotel Syrene if it's within your budget range.
One day in Capri isn’t a lot of time, but if you follow this guide you should be able to see quite a bit of the island in one day. It’s a beautiful gem on the Amalfi Coast that will make for a memorable visit.