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20 Fun & Best Things to Do in Capri, Italy

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There are countless vacation destinations in the Mediterranean, but the Italian island of Capri stands out. This large, rocky island, about an hour off of the Amalfi Coast, is full of natural wonders and stunning views.

You can only get to Capri by boat, which adds to the seclusion and magic. Its most incredible landscapes are only accessible by boat or hiking trails. The quaint communities, dining, and shopping that you don’t need to sail or hike to are exceptional, too.

If you plan to visit Capri, there is no shortage of things to do. Many visitors make this spectacular island a day trip from the mainland, and while that’s certainly possible, know that there’s a ton to see and experience here – plus a healthy supply of luxury hotels! Use our list of the top things to do in Capri, Italy, to decide what you won’t want to miss.

If you like a visual perspective, here are our top ten from our visit to Capri directly from the ViaTravelers YouTube channel.

TL;DR

  • Most significant landmark – Faraglioni Rocks
  • Best park – Gardens of Augustus
  • Free activity – Natural Arch Hike
  • Activity for kids – Monte Solaro Cable Car
  • Activity for adultsBoat Tour Around Capri and into the Blue Grotto
  • Place to eat – Lido del Faro
  • Nightlife – Capri Rooftop
  • Place to stayHotel Quisisana

Things to Do in Capri, Italy

1. Boat Tour or Rental

A boat on the water off the coast of Capri, Italy with the Amalfi Coast in the background
Woodrow Matthews / ViaTravelers

We must start with one of the absolute best ways to see nearly all the sights around Capri – from the water. There are three ways to do this, each with corresponding costs and benefits.

The least expensive is to join one of the many boats that can offer you a complete tour around the island. Boat tours depart almost constantly from the Marina Grande port. You’ll get a guided experience to the most important spots, but you must deal with potential crowds and be on a fixed schedule.

The next option is to charter a private boat for your tour. This will also get you an expert captain who knows where to go and what to see, as well as the freedom to relax rather than drive. Of course, private boat trips come with a higher cost – expect to pay several hundred euros for this.

The final option is to rent a boat and do your driving. Just be careful not to get too close to the land, avoiding shallow water and falling rocks! There’s nothing like the freedom of piloting your boat across the water, though.

Regardless of the sailing method you choose, there are a few seaside attractions that you may not want to miss. Ensure your boat tour, private charter, or self-driven itinerary includes the grottos and rock formations detailed next!

See Related: Best River Cruises Around Europe

2. Blue Grotto

Blue Grotto
Takashi Images / Shutterstock

Capri’s Blue Grotto is one of its most famous features. This sea cave is on the northern shore and has just a tiny access point above the waterline among huge seacliffs. There’s a very particular way to access the cave.

You can’t take your boat in, kayak in, or even swim into this cave. The municipality of Capri operates it, as it could be dangerous to attempt without an expert. You must board one of their traditional rowboats, lie flat on its floor (to avoid hitting your head), and let a captain paddle you inside.

Once inside, you’ll be able to get up and appreciate the electric blue tones of the sea beneath you, created by the angle of light shining in and the white sand below. The water is extremely deep here, adding to the effect. It’s hard to capture in a photo.

Almost all boat tours will make a stop here and allow time for you to get into a rowboat. You can also access the rowboat boarding area from some stairs on land, in case you aren’t a boat trip person. Remember to bring cash, as the ride inside is always subject to charge.

See Related: Day Trips from Florence, Italy

3. Green Grotto

The Green Grotto (also known as The Emerald Grotto), Grotta Verde, on the coast of the island of Capri in the Bay of Naples, Italy
Lois GoBe / Adobe Stock

On the opposite side of the island, there’s a similar yet very different grotto experience. The Green Grotto is less constrained than the more famous Blue Grotto, with a larger opening and the possibility of swimming.

The way the light hits the water, cave walls, and seabed creates a stunning emerald green color. The locals say that once you see it, you will feel compelled to dive in. Many people do – swimming is safe here, and it’s a frequent snorkeling stop, where you might even see sea horses.

This grotto cannot be accessed by land, so you’ll need to get on a boat to come here. Many grotto tours, including fun kayak tours, can be quite affordable. If you’re renting, be very careful with anchoring and leaving your boat.

See Related: Things to Do in Sorrento, Italy

4. White Grotto

The cave mouth of the White Grotto on Capri Island
Woodrow Matthews / ViaTravelers

The least known grotto is on Capri’s eastern shoreline and is also surrounded by massive sea cliffs. As usual, you can only get here by boat. This grotto is unique, though, because you don’t need to get out of your boat to go inside.

The entrance to the White Grotto is very tall, allowing small and medium-sized boats and tour boats to enter. I would not recommend trying this with a rental, and you may even be prohibited from doing so – the captains that can do this know the cave well and maneuver with just centimeters between the hull and the cave walls.

Inside, white walls and stalactites give this cave a cathedral-like atmosphere, and the azure water is incredible. Take a picture of the opening from inside the cave to capture some of the colors.

See Related: Things to Do in Positano, Italy

5. Faraglioni Rock Formations

The Faraglioni rock formations off the coast of Capri in Southern Italy
Brittney Liu / ViaTravelers

While there are dozens of other stops along the water, the last ones we’ll specifically label a do-not-miss are the famous Faraglioni rock formations. If you’ve looked up pictures of Capri, this is probably what you’ve seen.

Faraglioni is an Italian word that means stacks of rocks eroded by the sea, and Capri has some pretty massive ones off its southeastern coast. These natural towers are breathtaking sights from both near and far, but visiting by boat allows you to sail through the natural hole in one of them. Our tour guide told us that if a couple kisses while under the arch, their love will last forever.

A good captain will take the boat around the Faraglioni rocks to see them from many different angles – they are possibly the most picturesque thing about Capri, and different backgrounds and distances are a photographer’s dream. Visitors avoiding boat tours can still catch spectacular views of the rocks from Capri at many different points.

See Related: Things to Do in Italy & Best Places to Visit

6. Marina Grande

Marina Grande as seen from the sea off Capri
Woodrow Matthews / ViaTravelers

Now that we’re back on land, we should definitely mention the first place you’ll actually arrive on Capri. Marina Grande is the name of the area around the island’s main port, where the ferries dock and where most boat tours depart from.

However, it’s not a place to just pass through in transit – Marina Grande is where you can find some of the most wonderful restaurants and bars on the island. Most have great views of the boats and busy promenades, and the food is authentic and tasty.

However, the best part may be the drinks – you’ll probably see everyone with a cocktail served in a giant, hollowed-out Amalfi Coast lemon or other fruit, an iconic Capri drink.

Marina Grande is great for people-watching with one of these drinks, enjoying an Italian lunch, or shopping for souvenirs. Many people like to stay here for these reasons, and there are a number of vacation rentals and hotels. I’d recommend the Relais Maresca for its awesome island views and luxurious atmosphere.

See Related: Things to Do in Maiori, Italy

7. Capri Town

Panoramic view of Capri island from Capri town's Piazzetta
sonny_2100 / Adobe Stock

Capri’s main town is situated in its center, which is considerably higher than the port. Getting there is part of the fun – you can either walk up the old stairs or take an inexpensive funicular train from Marina Grande. Of course, you could also take a taxi.

The funicular terminal is just behind the Piazzetta, a small town square with expansive views over the island’s interior and beyond. The town is full of wonderful dining, shopping, and viewpoints. Be sure to have an espresso or gelato there before strolling around the narrow streets lined with colorful houses.

All of this makes Capri town one of the most popular places to stay in Capri. There’s a huge selection of hotels, many of which are of the luxury that Capri is known for. Hotel Quisisana is one of the best, thanks to its great location and awesome swimming pool.

See Related: Things to Do in Minori, Italy

8. Certosa di San Giacomo

The Certosa di San Giacomo, or Saint James' Charterhouse, on Capri island
Julia Kostina / Adobe Stock

Address: Via Certosa, 10, 80076 Capri NA, Italy

A short walk from the center of Capri town is the Certosa di San Giacomo, or Saint James’ Charterhouse in English. This is one of the oldest buildings on the island and dates back to the 1300s.

The monastery, therefore, has a long history on the island, starting with monks who lived there and sometimes clashed with the locals. It was the target of pirate raids in the 16th Century that caused severe damage, and after restoration, it served as a military installation, a hospital, and even a prison. More restoration has aimed to preserve the structure as a museum of history and art for the past hundred years.

It’s a very inexpensive ticket to stroll through the courtyards and rooms of the Certosa di San Giacomo, and it can be a nice break from the hot Capri sun – plus, you’ll get to see some fascinating art and artifacts. The view of southern Capri from here is spectacular, especially towards the Faraglioni rocks.

9. Gardens of Augustus & Via Krupp

Italy. Capri, panoramic view of via Krupp from Gardens of Augustus
Carolina09 / Adobe Stock

Address: Via Matteotti, 2, 80076 Capri NA, Italy

Just steps away from the monastery are the stunning Gardens of Augustus, also known as Giardini di Augusto or the Krupp Gardens. These botanical gardens are unique in that they are built on a cliffside with a hundred-meter drop, which adds to the beauty of the flora with great views.

The gardens aren’t very large and can definitely be enjoyed on a quick stroll-through. The entrance fee is very fair as well. This is another great place to take pictures of the crystal-clear southern Capri waters dotted with superyachts and with the Faraglioni rocks standing in the distance.

One of Capri’s best bars, Capri Rooftop, is right next to the gardens – and shares its panoramic views. This is your spot for an afternoon Aperol Spritz.

If you look down over the cliffside, you’ll see a twisty, windy footpath leading all the way down. Via Krupp is a popular walk often combined with the gardens, as it reveals even more of Capri’s natural beauty. However, Via Krupp is often closed due to the risk of falling rocks, so choose one of the other scenic walks below as a backup.

See Related: Things to Do in Naples, Italy

10. Phoenician Steps & Anacapri

The Phoenician Steps, Scala Fenicia, up to Anacapri on Capri island
Eugenia Struk / Adobe Stock

One backup could be the Phoenician Steps, or Scala Fenicia, between the quaint town of Anacapri and Marina Grande. These very old stairs are steep, windy, and long, but the views are indescribable.

Along the way, you’ll see almost the entirety of the island’s populated center, along with the busy marina and the blue Mediterranean Sea. You can also see well over to the Amalfi Coast on the mainland. But bring plenty of water and consider the bus instead if you’re not in shape, as this is a serious staircase.

Anacapri is less touristy and more authentic, which many visitors welcome. Dining and shopping here can be a bit more affordable. If you’d rather stay someplace like this, Hotel Orsa Maggiore has beautiful views and a great swimming pool.

11. Villa San Michele

Beautiful floral passage with columns and plants overhead in garden in Anacapri, capri island, Italy
Davidzfr / Adobe Stock

Address: Viale Axel Munthe, 34, 80071 Anacapri NA, Italy

One of the first sights you’ll see at the top of the Phoenician Steps is Villa San Michele – a sight you should see even if you don’t plan on walking up. While the Blue Grotto is the most famous sea-based attraction on the island, this villa is the most popular on land.

Villa San Michele is the late-19th-century dream home of a Swedish doctor named Axel Munthe. He fell in love with Capri and constructed it on top of the ruins of San Michele Chapel.

Spread over multiple floors with panoramic views from its high altitude, it is truly a masterpiece. Dr. Munthe collected artifacts and artwork from all over Capri and beyond to be displayed.

Those pieces are still on display today, along with much more donated over the years. Visitors come to the villa to appreciate those, the beautiful architecture, the magnificent views, and the nice story. You can see it on your own with an inexpensive entry ticket or with a guided island tour.

See Related: Best Tours in Italy: Food, Walking & Bike Tours

12. Monte Solaro

Panoramic view of Capri Island from Mount Solaro, Italy
Mikolaj Niemczewski / Adobe Stock

Address: Via Caposcuro, 10, 80071 Anacapri NA, Italy

From Anacapri, you can access the highest point on the island – Monte Solaro, which is more than 1900 feet above the sea. This is a place for some pretty breathtaking views.

While you could walk up the steps to the summit (in case you haven’t had enough stair-stepping opportunities), the less adventurous will be pleased that there’s a much easier and more fun way – via an open-air cable car. It’s actually more like a ski lift, and your seat is what’s hanging above the mountain slope for the 12-minute ride.

You’ll be able to feel the breeze, take unobstructed photos, and take in all of the open-air surroundings while ascending and descending. The old fortress and clifftop views at the summit are just as great. A gelato shop is waiting at the Anacapri station for your return.

13. Punta Carena

Lighthouse "Faro di Punta Carena", Anacapri, Capri island, Italy.
Antonio Gravante / Adobe Stock

Address: Via Faro di Punta Carena, 80071 Anacapri NA, Italy

At the extreme southwestern point of Capri is the Punta Carena, one of the locals’ favorites for enjoying a day on their paradise island. In this remote spot, there are two main attractions: the Punta Carena Lighthouse and the Lido del Faro Beach Club.

The picturesque lighthouse was built in 1866 and is the second tallest in Italy. Behind it, you can also see the old defensive walls built by the British to protect the point. The lighthouse was vital equipment for sailors around Capri, as the sea floor dramatically dropped thousands of feet shortly past the shore.

Besides hosting great spots for photos and gazing at the view, Punta Carena is also where you can find what I think is the best beach club on Capri – Lido del Faro. This isn’t a wide, sandy beach like you might find on other islands.

Sun loungers, umbrellas, and a swimming pool are perched on the rocks, with sea access from there. It’s an amazing atmosphere.

Lido del Faro is a perfect place for a relaxing day by the sea in Capri, but also for some of the best food on the island at its restaurant. West-facing means spectacular sunsets, and they do pasta, seafood, and cocktails better than anyone else here.

14. Villa Jovis

The ruins of Villa Jovis on Capri island
tynrud / Adobe Stock

Address: Via Tiberio, 80073 Capri NA, Italy

At Capri’s opposite extreme is Villa Jovis, another huge piece of history for the island. The villa is actually a collection of two-thousand-year-old stone ruins that were once the residence of Emperor Tiberius.

In the 1st Century AD, he chose this position in Capri’s northeastern corner for privacy and security, thanks to the sheer drop from the cliff’s edge. A path leading to it is known as Tiberius’ Jump, as it is said that those who displeased the emperor were thrown from there. The massive complex once contained almost 60,000 square feet of space, plus large cisterns to address the lack of water on Capri.

The excavation works to uncover it were finished in the 1930s, and the site is now a unique look into Capri’s past – two millennia of it! You need to hike a bit to get here, although it can be reached in less than an hour from Capri town.

See Related: Things to Do in Split, Croatia

15. Villa Lysis

The beautiful terrace and view of Villa Lysis in Capri
romanple / Adobe Stock

Address: Via Lo Capo, 12, 80076 Capri NA, Italy

Just minutes away from Villa Jovis is another estate, though in a much more modern and complete state. Villa Lysis was built in 1904 by French Count Jacques d’Adelswärd Fersen as an escape from scandals and gossip in Paris.

An eccentric nobleman, Count Fersen built the villa in a very luxurious, opulent style. It was a gathering place for like-minded artists, writers, and poets who also wanted to escape to the serenity of the island. LGBTQ+ visitors might be interested to know that one of Count Fersen’s main purposes in moving to the villa was to be with his male Roman lover over a century ago.

Therefore, many visitors consider this place to be an icon of history. It’s also simply home to beautiful architecture, art, and views.

Tickets to explore the villa and its gardens are inexpensive, and a quick visit can be a nice escape from the sun on this remote side of the island. Summertime brings some exhibitions and performances to Villa Lysis, too.

See Related: Quiet Greek Islands for an Idyllic Escape

16. Natural Arch

Amazing natural geological phenomenon - Arco Naturale is natural arch on coast of Capri island, Italy.
IgorZh / Adobe Stock

Address: Via Arco Naturale, 8, 80076 Capri NA, Italy

One of Capri’s other fascinating natural features is a giant natural arch on its east side, not far from Capri town. It almost looks like something out of a Utah national park, but with more greenery and ocean background.

Geologists say the arch was once a cave that eroded into its current form. It provides a nice photography opportunity by creating a natural frame to showcase the blue water, but it’s a bit difficult to get the whole arch in a single frame. Adventurers who want to keep going can continue down a trail that leads lower into the cliffside.

One important note to make is that Google Maps has a “Natural Arch” pin in a very wrong location – it sits in the middle of Capri town, which is not correct. Instead, try the pin for “Arco Naturale,” down a short series of roads and paths to the east of town. It is walkable from the Piazzetta as long as you have decent shoes and some water.

17. Marina Piccola

Aerial view of the hotels, restaurants, and beach of Marina Piccola on Capri
mhgstan / Adobe Stock

Below the cliffs of the Gardens of Augustus and Via Krupp is the little village of Marina Piccola, the only one on Capri’s southern coast. You will definitely see Marina Piccola on any boat tour around the island that you take, as it’s always busy with boat traffic of its own and beachgoers on the shore.

There’s a small beach at Marina Piccola Bay that feels very private and exclusive compared to busy Capri town and Marina Grande. However, it’s also where you can find some of the hottest temperatures on the island, so make sure you’re prepared to jump in and cool off if necessary.

A number of high-quality restaurants and cafes are along the shore, many with great views of the Faraglioni rocks and the superyachts anchored offshore.

You can take the bus to Marina Piccola from Marina Grande, but try to arrive early, especially in the high season, as space here is limited.

However, it is a great place for a relaxing beach day, so don’t let that dissuade you. The main accommodation in this part of the island is the Hotel Weber Ambassador, which has a great swimming pool and Faraglioni views.

See Related: Best Vacation Dresses for Summer & Beach Trips

18. Marina Grande Beach

Marina Grande beach in world famous Capri island. Campania, Ital
Georgi / Adobe Stock

If you don’t want to deal with charges for beach clubs and fighting for a spot, your best bet is Marina Grande Beach – known in Italian as Spiaggia Libera Marina Grande.

This is one of the free beaches on the island, meaning you don’t need to pay for loungers and umbrellas to use it. However, two or three beach clubs do operate here if that’s what you prefer.

This beautiful beach is very easy to access, being just minutes from the port and the restaurants of Marina Grande. Just turn right after leaving the ferry terminal.

It’s a sandy beach with some pebble sections, and some visitors might prefer to have water shoes here to be safe. There are showers, bathrooms, and restaurant facilities on-site.

Note that Marina Grande Beach gets very, very busy in the summer months, and people set up their spots very close to one another. My advice is to walk to the far end of the beach – even if it’s a bit rockier, you’ll have more space and privacy. There’s a secret small spot between the rocks to get in the water and swim.

See Related: Italy vs Greece: What’s the Difference?

19. Shop for Handmade Capri Sandals & Designer Brands

Capri, Italy - May, 25 2018: Tourists by luxury stores in famous Via Camerelle
Gabriele Maltinti / Adobe Stock

Before departing Capri, make sure to do some shopping – it’s one of the top activities on the island. Souvenirs and cheap clothing are everywhere, but the two things that are great to buy here are Capri sandals and items from designer brands.

Both can be found on Via Camerelle, one of the main shopping streets in the center of Capri town. Canfora Capri Sandals makes and sells beautiful men’s and women’s slippers with leather soles and accessories. For decades, they’ve been making and selling this handmade traditional footwear on the island.

You’ll find designer shops like Gucci, Saint Laurent, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, and more up and down Via Camerelle. If there was ever a place to splurge on stuff from these places, it’s probably Capri, where everyone seems to be wearing something recognizable. Well, that’s how my wife justifies such a purchase, at least.

20. Day Trip to the Amalfi Coast and/or Pompeii

Praiano, Italy Coastline
Kyle Kroeger / VIaTravelers

Finally, although there is a ton to do and see on Capri, no visitor should miss the opportunity to see some spectacular sights just a few miles away on the mainland. Thanks to quick and frequent ferries, a day trip off the island is very easy.

The most popular is to see the Amalfi Coast, which sits just across from Capri. The picturesque villages of Positano, Amalfi, and Sorrento are amazing in every way and can be toured from the land or from the sea. If you have the budget, this is another place for a once-in-a-lifetime private boat tour.

Just over the mountains that separate the Amalfi Coast is Pompeii, the excavated ancient village wiped out by Vesuvius, which stands just behind it. Wandering the streets of this once-bustling city was one of the coolest things I’ve done in Italy, and I highly recommend a guided archaeological tour here.

If you can’t decide between these two options, certain day tours group Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast together, allowing you to see it all. And if you think you’ll need more than a day trip to this part of Italy, there are plenty of hotels – we like the Hotel Poseidon in Positano.

See Related: Best Pompeii Tours from Naples, Italy

FAQ

Is the island of Capri expensive to visit?

To be blunt, yes, Capri is an expensive place. Mid-range hotels aren’t as easy to find here as in mainland Italy, never mind budget options.

The many luxury hotels draw clientele who enjoy designer shopping and fine dining. If you’re watching your wallet, plan your accommodations early to secure something affordable; shop and dine in places like Anacapri rather than the touristy Marina Grande, which is more expensive.

Can you visit Capri Island on a day trip from the Amalfi Coast?

Visiting Capri for a full day, or even just a few hours, is certainly possible, thanks to the short ferry ride and the many Capri boat tours from the Amalfi Coast area. However, most visitors love the island and want to stay much longer! If you’re coming over for a day, prioritize a boat tour or rental to take you to places like the Blue Grotto and Faraglioni Rocks.

When is Capri weather the best?

While Capri enjoys mild temperatures year-round, this is a place to visit when it’s warm out, as you can better appreciate the stunning natural beauty and do water activities like a boat trip around the island. However, peak season runs from June to August, and the island can get uncomfortably crowded during those months. Shoulder season months like May and September are golden.

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