Travel // Capri, Italy. {How to avoid tourists & a bargain boat trip hack}

September 20, 2018

After our time in Puglia {which you can read about here and here if you're interested}, we drove to Naples airport to drop our hire car off and then hopped on the bus to Naples port. It goes from the airport and costs just five euros each. From here, we would catch a ferry to Capri for a night before getting a ferry across to Positano. Before we visited, we had such mixed views on Capri. When we were on the Amalfi Coast last year, we had planned a daytrip to Capri but cancelled it a few days before because we just loved Positano so much and had heard Capri would be really touristy and expensive. Yet everyone kept asking why we hadn't been to Capri and saying how beautiful it was. So this time round we thought we'd better go to see what the fuss was about. It turned out to be a really good way to get to Positano by boat as well from the airport, rather than having to pay for an expensive transfer or brave the bus with the extreme windy, roads that grip onto the cliffside. Yet, when in Puglia trying to plan Capri, we were on the brink of cancelling again! Whatever we read seemed to be really negative and we were convinced we wouldn't like it. But we had an Airbnb booked over there so decided to go. And boy am I glad that we did. It was breathtakingly beautiful, incredibly special and the perfect start to our time on the Amalfi Coast. We just had one day and night there so we planned out our day and it turned out to be amazing, and minimised the other tourists {of which it was busy but I think September is a perfect time to visit}. You can read below about our best of Capri day if you'd like or are planning a trip there...

First things first. Cornetti alla crema! Heart eyes. THE BEST when in Italy. And we'd been up since 5.30am and on a 4 hour road trip by this point so I was starving. We didn't buy our ferry tickets in advance as we didn't know exactly what time we'd get to Naples. It's recommended to in high season but we found it fine to just turn up and buy tickets for the next boat. There are two ports in Naples, one has fast ferries and the other has slower. It's worth checking this website before getting off the bus so that you know which port has ferries departing next for you to get off at.

We bought our tickets for the next ferry crossing and on we got. The crossing itself impressive with that dramatic blue landscape and Mount Vesuvius looming over Naples in the distance. Fifty minutes later and we arrived in Capri to Marina Grande. 

The ferry port is busy, but it didn't matter, as all I could focus on were the sheer amount of little fishing boats bobbing up and down, the crystal light bouncing back off the sea and the rocks behind. We were so excited to be here at last! And SO happy we hadn't cancelled.

To get from the ferry port to the main town, you can either walk {although it's steep!}, take the funicular - a cable car that runs up the mountain or take a taxi. The problem is, at peak times when lots of boats have just docked there can be huge queues for both, well unless you walk. And the taxis, although super glamorous being open air are expensive on the island. Luckily, with our Airbnb, it included a transfer to the hotel so we had a car waiting for us. The airbnb was actually in Anacapri {we stayed here for the night, a little basic but so much cheaper than anywhere else on the island and we knew we wouldn't be there for long, literally just to sleep. But it was actually perfectly fine and worked out well. Remember you can use this sign up link for airbnb for £25 for off any airbnb}, far up the other side of the island, so we asked the owner if he'd mind just taking our bags back with him and dropping us into town on his way there, we'd then get there ourselves later. He was such a lovely man that it was no problem for him, so we felt smug that we'd grabbed a quick lift up to Capri town and could start our day. 

Capri, to me, kind of didn't feel real. Built onto these stupendous rocks and with views from pretty much wherever you were on the island, it was like a film set? Or a greenscreen. It was hard to believe it was that beautiful and still real. No wonder all the movie stars loved it.

It was lunchtime by this point and we were so ready for some pizza to fuel us for the rest of the day. We'd read good reviews about Panorama Restaurant and had a delicious lunch {although probably some of the most expensive pizza we've ever eaten, but that's just Capri I guess. And I should mention that almost every restaurant in Italy sticks a cover charge on, there's no tipping expected so I guess it covers that but this place had 4 euros each just to begin with.}

The view justified it though, and there was a lemon grove garden that you walk through. It was lovely, and I'm sure they're known for far more than their woodfired pizzas.

Pizza with a view.

Walking back onto the main street and heading through Capri town, I fell in love with the pink buildings. We were headed to the Gardens of Augustus for the famous views of the Faraglioni. 

Looking back now actually, I think Capri reminded me of being in some luxury resort or a theme park. So perfectly manicured, walking through these unreal streets with beautiful gardens. Yes, that's exactly it.

The famous Capri slushes and granitas. 

I'm sure when you think of Capri, you'll picture the iconic Faraglioni rocks peeking out from the sea. There are a couple of places best to view them. You can pay a euro each to go into the Gardens of Augustus which we did, which can be a little crowded, although it was fine when we visited. Or you can pay I think seven euros to go into Certosa di San Giacomo park and you'll be alone in your selfie taking. 

Needless to say, the views were incredible. Sweeping around from Marina Piccolo to the rocks with a million boats down below. There's also an incredible zigzagging pathway called Via Krupp which you look down on, and it used to be open so you could walk from there to the marina, which we reallly wanted to do! But unfortunately, because it's built into the cliffs, the risk of rockfall is too high for it to be insured and so it's shut. 

I hope I'll remember that day for a longgg time. It was pretty close to perfect.

From there, we decided to take a walk {we're always checking our step count and try to hit a minimum of 14k a day, even when on holiday. Because we'd been in the car and on the ferry for most of the day we'd hardly done any so decided to take a couple of walks} and went exploring in search of the famous beach club Fontelina.

The walk turned out to be beautiful. I never expected Capri to be like this. With all the tropical palms and gorgeous walkways. 

Views like these {!}.

It was a steep descent to the beach club but well worth it, although my calves were trembling by the end!

It was at this point that I really wished we'd taken a boat trip. We'd thought about it, as it's the thing to do in Capri to see the island properly {although I wasn't too bothered about the blue grotto} but we didn't have all that long there and my husband has to be careful about how much time he's out in the full sun for and it would probably be another 100 odd euros. But as luck would have it, we wandered into this beach club and saw that they have a boat service to Marina Piccolo, which would have been our next destination. It saved us walking alll the way back up and then down to the marina, especially as it was a scorching hot day. I'm guessing that technically you're meant to be a guest of the beach club, oops!, but they still charged five euros so we didn't totally take the.... we had to wait for about half an hour but then just got onto the boat and were CRAZY happy that we'd got onto a boat after all! For just five euros each and with amazing views. Granted, it was only a short ride, but so fun nonetheless and just so nice to be out on the water. There were some legendary Americans on it with us too. 

The beach club, by the way, looked insane, underneath the huge famous rock stacks and the vibe v cool. If Soho House did beach clubs... I think to book you have to email at least two days in advance but it would be worth it if you had longer on Capri. 


Marina piccolo had a couple of beach clubs too, and the water was so clear.

We then walked back up from here to Capri town, in desperate need of a gelato.

The place for gelato on Capri is unanimously Bunocore where they make the waffle cones fresh in front of you and have a good mix of flavours. I went for watermelon and pistachio and it was definitely one of my favourite ever gelatos, so refreshing after a steep hot walk back up.

Loved these colours too.

Having seen enough of Capri by this point, and not bothered about the designer high end shops that some love the main part of town for, we took a bus up to Anacapri. 

Anacapri, on the top of the mountain, is the sleepy residential part. It's classic Italy and feels worlds away from that kind of theme park like pristine resort down below. We loved both, and it's quite amazing that it's all on one island, with just a steep road in between them. It's a lot less touristy up here, there are schools and cute grocery stores, and a village square like we'd experienced in Puglia with all the locals out in the early evening to play and socialise from the young up to the old.

We got off the bus a stop early to pick up some groceries for a snacky dinner and then walked to our airbnb, around 20 minutes down pretty lanes. 

Peachy perfection.

Our favourite improvised dinner/lunch out there was simply tomatoes and chickpeas. To balance out all the pizza!

Our feet were aching and so although there was the option of taking the chairlift right to the top of the mountain for amazing views, we were quite happy to go early to bed {again getting up for an early ferry to Positano to max out on our time there} and catch up on watching Bodyguard! 

We woke up to a classic Italian breakfast at the hotel, sugary croissants and Nutella, before getting dropped back to the ferry port.

Back at the pretty port waiting for our ferry, which goes via Amalfi to Positano. 

A pretty special place that's for sure. Whilst I'm sure that some people spend a lot longer on the island, others do it in a daytrip, and for us I felt like we'd seen/done everything perfectly having that half day & night. 

I'm SO glad that we visited and have these memories and photos. I also wonder if my low expectations made me love it even more. Sometimes, it's the things that surprise you in life that you end up loving most compared to those you're most excited for and then they end up being a little disappointing.

We adored Capri in the end the best was yet to come. Positano and the Amalfi Coast.

R <3 xx 

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