The name of the fabulous Capri is familiar to many of us. Known for its picturesque landscape and Mediterranean streets, the island is a real gem in the Tyrrhenian Sea. You can see sights like the Faraglioni rock formations and the blue cave during your holiday. And of course, let's not forget the Italian beaches, as there is no shortage of them.
Capri has long been a popular destination worldwide. Famous people like Jackie Kennedy visited here, but it is also popular among artists. In addition to its natural beauty and culture, its history is also rich. Many ancient Roman ruins are on the island, including the Villa Jovis, which Emperor Tiberius built.
Map - Where is Capri?
Capri is located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, in the southwestern part of Italy, off the coast of the Campania region. It is part of the Campania archipelago, which includes several other small islands. You are roughly 20 kilometres south of Naples. The better-known Amalfi ferry is only a few minutes away.
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- Distance from Naples: 1 hour / 20 km
- Distance from Rome: 4 hours / 260 km
- Distance from Amalfi coast: 3 hours / 100 km
How to get to Capri?
Capri has no airport, so you can only reach it by water. You can get there by ferry or hydrofoil from many ports on the Italian coast, including Naples, Sorrento and Amalfi. If you are travelling from Naples, you can cross from the port of Mergellina or the main port of Naples. The ferry ride takes about 1.5 hours, while the hydrofoil takes you to the island's shores in about 40 minutes. If you go from Sorrento, the journey takes 15 - 30 minutes, while the ferry from Amalfi takes about 40 minutes.
More about the island
The island is approximately 6.7 km long and 2.8 km wide at its widest point, with a total land area of approximately 10 km2. Relatively small in size, it is nevertheless home to many natural and cultural attractions, including rugged beaches, hidden coves, ancient ruins, and bustling streets lined with shops and restaurants.
It is a popular place for weekend getaways because it is near the mainland. A few days are enough to discover this tiny jewellery box.
The island is divided into two large cities: Capri and Anacapri.
- Capri is located on the island's eastern side and is the larger of the two towns. It is known for its elegant shops, restaurants and nightlife. Landmarks such as Piazza Umberto I, Villa San Michele or Certosa di San Giacomo can be seen. The main church, Chiesa di Santo Stefano, is built on the ruins of an ancient Roman church and is a mix of architectural styles, including Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic. It is worth having a meal in one of the restaurants on the main square to tune in to the local way of life.
- Anacapri is on the western side. Smaller and more intimate. It is known for its charming streets, artisan shops, traditional restaurants, and attractions, including the Villa San Michele and the Chiesa di San Michele.
The island's coastline is also a major attraction, with many hidden coves, beaches and sea caves, including the famous Blue Grotto, recognizable by its brilliant blue waters.
Things to see
#1 Mount Solaro (589 m)
Monte Solaro, located on the western side, is the island's highest point, with an altitude of 589 meters above sea level. The peak can be reached on foot, by cable car, taxi or car. The cable car from Anacapri takes us to the top in about 12 minutes.
You can see the Bay of Naples, the Amalfi Coast and the surrounding islands from the top of the mountain. There is also a small bar and restaurant where you can relax and drink a limoncello. Several hiking trails start here, offering stunning views of the island and the surrounding sea. The most popular hiking trail is the Pizzolungo trail, from which you can see the Faraglioni rocks.
#2 Faraglioni rocks
The Faraglioni are three towering rock formations on the southern coast. They are one of the island's most iconic and well-known natural attractions. The rock group can be seen from different points of the island, for example, from the city of Capri, the Garden of Augustus, and the Pizzolungo hiking trail. A popular program is the boat tour, which takes you close to the rocks. The three rocks are Scopolo, Faraglione di Mezzo and Faraglione di Fuori.
- Scopolo is the smallest and the closest.
- Faraglione di Fuori is the largest and most remote.
- Faraglione di Mezzo lies between the two and is the most famous of the three, known for its characteristic arch that the sea has eroded over time.
In addition to their natural beauty, the Faraglions are also steeped in myths and legends. According to the story, couples who kiss under the arch of Faraglione di Mezzo will be blessed with eternal love. Over the years, many paintings, photographs and literary works have been made of the rocks.
#3 Grotta Azzurra
The Blue Cave is a sea cave on the north coast. It is one of the island's most famous and popular tourist attractions, known for its stunning blue waters and unique geological features. It was visited by famous writers, artists and historical figures, including Emperor Tiberius, who is said to have used the cave as a private swimming pool during his time here.
The cave can only be accessed by rowing boats driven by experienced local rowers. Visitors must lie in the boat as they pass through a narrow opening in the rocks leading to the cave. Once inside, paddlers use long paddles to navigate the boat around the cave and show visitors the cave's unique colours and formations.
#4 Via Krupp
Via Krupp is a winding road built in the early 20th century named after its creator, the German industrialist Friedrich Krupp, who built it as a private road connecting his villa to the Marina Piccola beach. The 1.2 km road is notable for its curves and steep slope, which follows the contour of the rugged coastline. It is also walkable.
#5 Punta Carena
The Punta Carena Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse located on the southwest tip. It was built in 1867 and stands 67 meters above sea level, making it one of the highest lighthouses in Italy. It is notable for its characteristic red and white stripes, which make it recognizable even from the sea.
It was originally built to guide ships safely through the treacherous waters of the island of Capri, known for its rocky reefs and unpredictable currents. The lighthouse is still an active aid to navigation today and is operated by the Italian Coast Guard. In addition to its practical function, Punta Carena is also a popular tourist attraction. You can climb to the top of the lighthouse, from where you can see the island of Ischia.
Villas and gardens
Capri is known for its beautiful villas and gardens, many open to the public. Here are some interesting ones:
- Villa San Michele: Located in Anacapri, Villa San Michele is a beautiful villa built by the Swedish doctor and writer Axel Munthe in the early 20th century. The villa is now a museum, and visitors can explore its beautiful gardens and terraces, as well as the stunning views of the sea and the surrounding landscape.
- Villa Jovis: The Roman emperor Tiberius built the villa on the island's northeast side in the 1st century. The villa is currently in ruins but is open to visitors.
- Giardini di Augusto: Located in Capri, the Garden of Augustus is a beautiful botanical garden created at the beginning of the 20th century. The garden is home to many Mediterranean plants. It offers stunning views of the Faraglioni rock formations and the sea.
- Villa Lysis: Villa Lysis, also known as Villa Fersen, was built in 1905 by Jacques d'Adelswärd-Fersen, a French aristocrat and poet known for his decadent and scandalous lifestyle. It is notable for its unique architectural style, which combines elements of art nouveau and neoclassical design. The villa's interior is opulent and ornate, with marble floors, elaborate frescoes and luxurious furniture.
While the island is relatively small and divided into two main towns, tourists often visit several popular towns on the nearby mainland. Here are some of the most popular cities in the area:
- Naples: Across the Bay of Capri, Naples is a vibrant city known for its history, culture and cuisine. It is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the historic centre and the nearby Pompeii and Herculaneum archaeological sites.
- Sorrento: The idyllic town near the Amalfi Coast is known for its lemon groves. It is the namesake of the Sorrento peninsula of the same name. A popular base for exploring the nearby islands, including Capri.
- Amalfi: approx. 50 km long coastline located next to the Sorrento peninsula. It is named after the town of the same name, Amalfi. It is a region famous for its lemon groves, handicraft products, colourful houses carved into the rock sides, and fabulous beaches.
There are several public transport options on the island of Capri.
- Buses: The main form of public transport on the island is the local bus system, which connects the two cities with other island areas. Flights are frequent and relatively cheap.
- Cable car: A cable car is also between Marina Grande port and the town of Capri.
- Taxi: Taxis are available on the island but can be expensive, especially in high season. Discussing the price with the driver before getting into the taxi is advisable.
- Boats: There are also many boat tours around the island.
- Walking: Walking is a great way to explore the island. The cities are pedestrian-friendly, full of shops and restaurants.
The island of Capri was formed by a combination of volcanic and tectonic activity over millions of years. The island's geological history dates back to the Triassic period, about 250 million years ago, when present-day Italy was part of the supercontinent Pangaea.
During the Mesozoic era, intense volcanic activity led to the formation of a series of underwater volcanoes. Over time, volcanic activity subsided, and the sea floor slowly rose, forming a series of limestone and sandstone deposits that make up the island's geology. During the following periods, the island rose significantly, creating the barren cliffs seen today.
- It was a favourite vacation spot of the Roman emperor Tiberius, who built several villas on the island and is said to have ruled the Roman Empire from there in the last years of his life.
- The island is also known for its lemons, which are larger and sweeter than most. It is mainly used to make limoncello, a popular Italian liqueur.
- Elvis Presley's song "It's Now or Never" was inspired by the song "O Sole Mio" written here in 1898.
- It is home to Italy's oldest bar, the Grand Cafe' La Conchiglia, which has been operating since 1822.
- Here you find the world's first hospitality school, the Ecole Hoteliere, founded in 1962 and trained the world's most famous chefs and hotel managers.
- Capri pants, a shortened style that became popular in the 1950s, got their name because they were first worn here by fashionable women in the post-war era.
- In 2022, it was chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its outstanding natural beauty and cultural importance.
- It is home to the largest collection of Roman ruins outside of Rome, including the ruins of the Villa Jovis, the former palace of Emperor Tiberius, and the Villa Damecuta, a Roman villa and burial site.
- The island is known for the famous Capri salad with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil.
- It is home to Italy's oldest perfume factory, Carthusia, which has been producing fragrances since 1380.
- A popular destination for high-end fashion and luxury shopping, many designer boutiques and luxury stores line the city streets.
- The locals speak a unique dialect - Capri - with many unique words and expressions.
- Capri is home to several natural thermal springs that are said to have healing properties and have been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times.
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