A day trip to Capri from Naples
Catching the ferry from Naples to Capri feels like more than just a boat ride. It’s almost like you’re being abducted by aliens and taken to another world – plucked from the chaos of the streets of Naples and dropped into a relaxed island escape.
Well, relaxed except for the crowds of tourists… but I’ll come to that shortly.
Capri has a reputation for being an island of luxury. A place where high heels are as common as flip flops, where you’re just as likely to see a linen suit as a bathing suit.
Back when Hollywood had a sense of glamour, Capri was the holiday island of choice for celebrities like Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Sophia Loren.
After some quite years, recently it has had a bit of a revival and has become popular again with divas like Mariah Carey and Beyonce.
Being on an island is part of the charm, feeling disconnected from the world, logistically a bit harder to be found or followed.
It’s certainly more fashionable than Naples, which doesn’t seem to have the same sartorial considerations as cities like Milan or Rome. But it also feels more elite than the nearby Amalfi Coast – another popular holiday destination in the area, but one that’s perhaps a little too easy to access for mere mortals.
Walking the streets of Capri’s town, you certainly see a level of style that I would consider a bit much for a coastal holiday. But I do wonder whether this is a case of dress-ups, rather than genuine fashion.
You see, almost everyone you come across on a casual visit to Capri is a tourist.
The island is relatively large (about 10 square kilometres) and I have no doubt there are pockets where the genuine elite spend their holidays. Estates hidden in the trees behind walls and gates where celebrities and uber-wealthy can stay.
I assume there are also some parts of the island where genuine locals live, most of whom probably make a living off the tourist industry in the warmer months and then finally rest in the winter.
But there is no doubt that the majority of people who are on Capri during any given day are tourists – and most likely day-trippers from Naples or Sorrento.
For those of us who haven’t put a great deal of planning into it – and don’t have any billionaire friends – it’s always going to be a superficial visit. Not that there is anything wrong with that. In fact, it’s a perfect way to spend a day from Naples.
Getting from Naples to Capri
I’ve written before about the good and bad of Naples and how, despite its faults, I still love the city.
It can get a little overwhelming after a while, though. To get some respite, I would suggest a day trip to Capri – where the sun seems to shine a bit warmer and the air feels less heavy.
The best way to get there is by ferry. There are a few companies that do the trip and they all leave from the area around the ferry terminal at Naples Port. Regardless of exactly which ferry you choose, it will cost just over €20 each way and take about an hour. In the busier months, I would suggest booking tickets ahead of time.
Spending one day in Capri
I’m normally quite active and like to spend my time in destinations exploring as much as possible. That’s not really the Capri way.
Here, it’s about relaxing, seeing what’s around the towns, and (most importantly for some) being seen around town!
Coming by ferry, you’ll arrive at the Marina Grande. The small collection of shops and restaurants here at the coastal promenade are exactly what you would expect – they’re tourist traps.
They are not awful and you could happily sit by the water and have a drink. But I would recommend heading up the hill to the main part of the town of Capri.
It is possible to walk but it’s a long and steep climb. You’re much better off buying a ticket for the funicular and taking the ride (with wonderful views) up to the top.
Once you’re in the town of Capri, you’ll realise it’s quite small. Have a wander, look at the churches, enjoy the views, and then find yourself somewhere to sit.
Eating and drinking are two of the best things you can do here and not all restaurants are as overpriced as you might expect. You’ll be able to find some affordable spots with nice views (just check the menu for hidden service charges and high cover charges before you sit down).
If you would like to spend the day somewhere quieter, another option is to go to the island’s other main town, Anacapri. It is possible to walk there from Capri but you might be better off taking the bus (there are also taxis, which are expensive, but might make sense for a group).
There is lots of hiking around Capri, including a trail up to Monte Solaro, where you’ll get one of the best views of the island. If you prefer to spend your days being sprightly, rather than drinking spritzes, then you could also consider the Sentiero dei Fortini hike from the Blue Grotto to the Punta Carena Lighthouse.
The Blue Grotto
Speaking of the Blue Grotto, a lot of people choose to spend some of their time doing boat trips from the marina to some of the coastal highlights, including the famous Blue Grotto.
I didn’t do it because I had heard a lot of negative reviews about how it is just crowded and dirty. However, a boat trip along the coast of Capri is certainly a gorgeous way to spend your time so you might like to ask around for an option that suits you best.
And, finally, I thought I would mention the beach clubs that you’ll find along the coast below both Capri and Anacapri. These are privately-owned and you’ll often have to pay either an entrance fee or for use of a table or chairs. There will also be food and drink available for purchase.
While these clubs are not the cheapest, they are a nice way to relax and do what so many of the celebrities who have visited these shores have done before you.
For my day trip to Capri, I wear the same pair of shorts, short-sleeve shirt and cap that I would’ve worn anywhere that day. Nobody gives me a second look.
But, equally, I could have dressed up in a summer suit and nobody would have looked at me strangely.
Be yourself – or feel like you live the world of luxury for a day. Capri sells a dream but it doesn’t have to cost that much to believe it.
If you would like to go with a tour (and it does take a lot of the hassle out of it and save you heaps of time), there are some good options here that I would suggest:
And I’ve also got some suggestions for accommodation in Naples, which really is a great place to base yourself while you explore the region.
There are a few very good cheap hotels in good locations in Naples. I would recommend either Hotel Casablanca near the train station or Hotel Europeo Napoli in the historic centre.
For something with a bit more style, I would recommend either the historic NapoliMia Hotel de Charme or the more modern Palazzo d'Auria ApartHotel.
And if you're looking for a bit of luxury, two great options are the Palazzao Alabardieri or the Grand Hotel Vesuvio, which has a wonderful view.