On my trip to the exquisite island of Capri, off the picturesque Amalfi Coast in Italy, I discovered more than its stunning beaches, rugged mountains, upscale villas and resorts. I was enamored by its rich and colorful spirit.
Minus the usual wide stretches of white sand, the beaches on Capri are nothing but spots of tiny pebbles and platforms on bays between cliffs. But the sparkling sapphire waters and the spectacular vistas make them uniquely enticing.
Though private beach clubs dominate the scene, free beaches can be found right next to Marina Grande and near Scoglio delle Sirene in Marina Piccola.
In Gradola and at the Punta Carena lighthouse, you can join several locals and tourists alike in diving into the sea from ledges on rocky cliffs. Don’t worry, there are ladders to get you back up as well.
One of the most memorable visuals of Capri is the Faraglioni — the cluster of three rock formations jutting out of the ocean at the edge of the island’s coastline. A handful of restaurants and hotels on the southern coast boast views of this gorgeous landscape. But there are free lookout spots at the edge of the island, at the end of Via Tragara.
If you have only a day to spend in Capri, one of the best ways to make a day trip would be on a boat tour. Sail around the island, make a stop at a beach club for swimming, visit the Blue Grotto cave, and walk around the magnificent town center to take in the splendor.
The Marina Grande is the main port on the island. Visitors arriving on hydrofoils and ferries from the mainland must pass through it when arriving at Capri. There are a number of beach establishments both public and private near the pier along with many restaurants and bars.
Restaurants also line the town square — Piazzetta — the heart of the island, along with pavement cafes, luxurious spas, artisan high-end boutiques and local handicraft shops. It’s your go-to spot for people watching, lazy strolls, coffees, cocktails and more.
If you’re looking for romance, there are dining spots perched right on the sea’s edge with spectacular views of Naples and the Faraglioni. And make sure you don’t leave the island without trying the local Limoncello — the liqueur made from the island’s lemons. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the delicious cuisine you’ll find dotting the island.
For even more spectacular views — head to the summit of Mount Solaro — offering the best panoramas from Capri. At 589 meters above sea level, the views here extend from a pan of the entire island of Capri to the Bay of Naples, the Amalfi coast and the mountains of Calabria on the mainland.
Take the chairlift from the Piazza Vittoria in Anacapri, and in about 12 minutes you’ll be at the top of Mount Solaro, marveling at the glorious outlooks.
Alternatively, a hike up the mountain will take you about 90 minutes, but will grant you a spectacle well worth the effort.
You’ll find that Capri maybe famous as the playground of the rich, but it’s got plenty of love and tons on offer for travelers of all kinds.