While the incredibly beautiful Italian island of Capri is known as a retreat for the rich and famous, it has also been described by many as a tourist trap, overrun by groups of day-trippers. While we weren’t part of a group as such, we were day-trippers ourselves, so off we went undeterred, expecting to encounter hordes of people and shops filled with tacky souvenirs.
Well, we were pleasantly surprised by the island and its beauty, and even managed to avoid the crowds in many places. There were some tacky touristy shops, but also some really lovely stores, especially in the village of Anacapri. It was April when we visited, but I’ve heard June, July and August are incredibly crowded – so if you’re planning a visit, you may want to adjust your itinerary accordingly!
We made an early start by catching the 8.30am ferry from Sorrento. In just over 20 minutes, we reached Capri. We disembarked at the Marina Grande, where we were immediately approached by several men asking us, “Boat ride?”, “Blue Grotto?”, “I take you to Blue Grotto?”. Every few steps, there was another keen boatman asking for our business, they were relentless.
A friend who had visited Capri had recommended a particular boat company, which has a ticket window/office right near the marina, so we headed straight there, much to the annoyance of the persistent boatmen.
After purchasing our tickets for 15 euros each, we boarded the boat for our tour of the island. I have to say, some of the other boats were quite small and looked like they were in need of some maintenance, so we felt we’d make the right choice.
Capri is just 11 square kilometres and is made up of limestone rocks and cliffs, which make for spectacular scenery. As our boat sped away from Marina Grande, we were treated to a view of the town from the rear of the boat. Just around the corner, the boat slowed to view a bronze statue of a boy waving, which sits high up on a rock, welcoming visitors to Capri.
Fortunately for us, most of the people on our boat were part of a tour group, and their leader took the microphone to give a running commentary on the island as the boat operator drove. He had a great sense of humour and a huge amount of knowledge about Capri.
The Emperor Augustus is said to have been one of the first visitors to this beautiful island, way back in 29 BC. Many others followed, among them were emperors, popes, politicians, doctors, business people and celebrities.
We stopped to marvel at the beauty of the white grotto, with its magnificent stalactites and stalagmites which almost look like a cathedral.
A few minutes later, we came to Faraglioni Rocks – a set of large, steep rocks projecting up out of the sea, one of which has an arch through the middle. From a distance, this hole looked rather small, so when the tour guide told us that we were going to drive through the arch, we were a little concerned. Thankfully, as we sped closer to it, we realised there was indeed enough space to get through without colliding with the rocks on either side (although some skilled driving was required!).
After we emerged from the arch, we looked to our right to see the famous Via Krupp, which is a winding stone pathway leading down the hillside. Named after the German industrialist, Friedrich Krupp, who commissioned this path to be built, Via Krupp negotiates a sheer 100m drop via hairpin bends, winding its way down from the Gardens of Augustus at the top of the hill, to the water’s edge at Marina Piccola.
Marina Piccola is a smaller, more exclusive enclave of villas and hotels set on the southern side of the island. Once a fishing village, this area now hosts many wealthy and famous holidaymakers and villa owners.
The Emerald Grotto was our next stop. The boat was reversed into the grotto so that we could get a really good look at the beautiful aqua coloured waters with brilliant red coral sitting just below the waterline. There is a lovely range of jewellery made with this coral for sale on the island.
Unfortunately, due to the high tide and rough seas, we weren’t able to visit the famous Blue Grotto, which was a little disappointing. We got to see the entrance, and that was about it!
We then proceeded back to Marina Grande, where the boat tour finished. We would highly recommend taking a boat tour around Capri.
Have you been to Capri? What was the highlight of your visit there? Did you get to see the Blue Grotto? Please leave your comments in the box below. Grazie Mille! 🙂
The Besties Do Italy series details how Seize The Day Project’s Lyndall and her long time best friend Jane ventured to Italy to celebrate a significant birthday – sans husbands and children. Shhh, don’t tell anyone they’ve gone!
Read more posts in this fascinating series here:
Linking up with Justin+Lauren for #WeekendWanderlust
Linking up with Albom Adventures for #WkendTravelInspiration