On the southern coast of Italy sits the magical island of Capri. Mainland Italy is not a place you ever envision needing to ‘escape’ in search of culture and natural beauty. Still, Capri provides an escape for precisely that. A visit to Capri is the cherry on top of your holiday to Italy.
The island is only small and is a similar size to the towns and cities dotted along the Amalfi Coast. However, there are lots of fun things to do in Capri, and its size makes getting around a breeze. The island has more free beaches and boat tours than you can count, plus lots of history and literary culture.
This guide will cover all the best things to do in Capri. Whether you are a solo traveler, a family exploring together, or a couple looking for romantic things to do, Capri has lots to offer you.
Top things to do in Capri, Italy
The Amalfi Coast is one of the most popular places to visit in Italy. It is no surprise either, as it is simply stunning. Don’t label Capri as just another spot on the Amalfi Coast, though.
Situated just off the coastline, Capri is often controversially included in guides to the Amalfi Coast. However, the island of Capri is a destination in its own right – full of natural wonders, luxury hotels, top attractions, and amazing views. These are the best things to do in Capri.
1. Blue Grotto
You can’t go to Capri without seeing the Blue Grotto. The Blue Grotto is one of the most beautiful natural wonders on Capri Island and a fantastic place to visit.
It is a sea cave that is illuminated electric blue by light reflecting through an underwater cavity. The contrast between the dark cave and bright blue water is jaw-dropping, and the Blue Grotto completely embodies the phrase natural beauty. The cave is sixty meters long and twenty-five meters wide. You glide through the cave, with the only light source the glowing water underneath you.
Some tours used to allow swimming in the Blue Grotto, but we caution you against this. As the Blue Grotto is set in a cliff face on the open sea, it can get quite choppy, especially at high tide. There is a risk of swimmers being washed up against the cave walls when the sea gets strong. Therefore, it is now prohibited to swim in the grotto. We think it is pretty and memorable enough to admire the water from the boat anyway.
The Blue Grotto is only accessible by boat trip, and you can rent a private boat or jump on a group boat tour. The only boats that can enter the Blue Grotto are typically traditional fishing boats, with sides so low that you can almost touch the water. The guides row the boats through the tiny, meter-tall entrance to the Blue Grotto, and you have to lay back to squeeze through.
2. Marina Grande
Marina Grande is the boating hub of Capri. Most Capri boat tours depart from Marina Grande, and it is also the welcome point for ferries arriving from the mainland. Marina Grande is probably your start, middle, and end location when visiting Capri.
However, Marina Grande is much more than a place to jump on a boat tour or catch a ferry. The marina is a small residential hamlet, recognizable by its colorful houses and the shape of Monte Solaro in the background. Once a fishing village, Marina Grande still holds a sense of small community hospitality and is a great place to spend half a day in Capri.
You can relax on Marina Grande Beach, people watch while sitting al fresco at one of the cafes, or pick up souvenirs from the local shops and stands. Marina Grande is a soulful spot, and visiting it is one of the best things to do in Capri to get a feel of the island’s cultural and community atmosphere.
3. Green Grotto
You’ll soon find out that grottos are going to make up a substantial part of our guide on things to do in Capri. It is with good reason, we promise.
Prefer your emeralds to your sapphires? Like the Blue Grotto, this grotto is a spot of stunning natural beauty. Instead of electric blue, the light reflection in the Green Grotto turns the ocean a deep, emerald green color.
The grotto is easy to enter – no ducking or laying back involved. It is also quieter than the Blue Grotto, so you’ll have a much more relaxing experience, especially if you visit Capri off-season.
Chasing colors is one of the most beautiful things to do in Capri. And, the best thing about the Green Grotto is that you can swim here. Swimming is permitted on boat tours, so wear a swimsuit under your clothes and pack a towel. After a day in the Capri Sun, a dip in the cool waters of a sea cave is the ideal fix.
4. Gardens of Augustus
Botanical gardens are always amongst the top recommended things to do, regardless of which part of the world you visit. The Gardens of Augustus are no exception to this rule.
The Gardens of Augustus were designed by Emilio Mayer and commissioned by a wealthy German industrialist Frederich Alfred Krupp. Krupp had a sizeable mansion in Capri but wanted an area of outdoor solace and a flora display. The Gardens of Augustus remained Krupp’s private property until his death in 1902, when the gardens were donated to the general public of Capri.
Now, visitors can walk the flora-filled terraces of the Gardens of Augustus for just one euro. The gardens open from 9 am until an hour before sunset on a seasonal basis, and you’ll easily spend about an hour exploring and admiring the botany and views. The Gardens of Augustus have some of the best views in Capri, and we recommend visiting the 180-degree vantage point. This lookout has views of Marina Piccola, Mount Solaro, and the Faraglioni rock formations.
If you want a gentle walk with views and botany, visiting the stunning Gardens of Augustus is one of the best things to do in Capri.
5. Villa Jovis
The word villa is misleading, as Villa Jovis is no typical residence. The attraction is the remains of a Roman palace built by Emperor Tiberius in AD 27. The ruins are incredibly preserved, and you can wander through and clearly imagine the grandeur that the crumbling bricks once held.
While Villa Jovis was unfortunately damaged by an earthquake, there are original features throughout the grounds. There are marble steps and even the remains of a water tank system that was amazingly advanced for its years.
You can explore Villa Jovis independently or purchase a guided tour. We recommend getting a tour, as there are so many minute details to overlook and so many stories about Emperor Tiberius. Some stories are quite disturbing, such as the legend of ‘Tiberius’s Leap’. On this cliff-face next to the palace, the Emperor is told to have ordered people to be thrown from the cliffs if they displeased him. Slaves, advisors, and even unwanted visitors are said to have received this brutal treatment.
Villa Jovis is a fantastic place to learn about Roman history and early architectural and early architectural advancements. Just brace yourself for the darker history as well.
6. Arco Naturale
If you love natural attractions, the Arco Naturale (aka the Natural Arch) is one of the best things to do in Capri. The unusual rock formation dates back to the Pale0lithic Age – best known as the Stone Age.
The Natural Arch is a little like the arches that you see in Utah’s Arches National Park. Except, instead of the desert, the arch frames a coastal view and the deep blue Mediterranean ocean. The arch is also made of limestone rather than sandstone, so it has an eye-catching pale gray coloring.
At twelve meters long and eighteen meters tall, the Natural Arch is an impressive sight to behold. Scientists believe that the arch is the remnants of a collapsed grotto. Still, it is equally as fun to leave the arch as a mysterious natural attraction to wonder at.
7. Beach hop at Marina Piccola
Like Marina Grande, Marina Bay Piccola is one of the most important areas in Capri. In Marina Piccola, you’ll find the entrance to the Gardens of Augustus, Via Krupp, and the Faraglioni rock formations. The resort town is known for its larger-than-life atmosphere and wealth of things to do and see. However, our favorite thing about Marina Piccola is its beaches.
If you have time for just one beach, make Spiaggia di Marina Piccola your priority. At low tide, you can explore the natural arch on the beach and enjoy the incredible view of Marina Piccola from the water.
If you walk a short distance, you can easily beach hop to Spiaggia Torre Saracena if you have time. This beach has a fantastic restaurant, and you can book tables with a view of the Faraglioni rocks – an ideal spot for lunch.
Make sure to also stop to look at Siren’s Rock. Here, mythological tales tell of Ulysses being seduced by the sirens, so take a look (carefully if you believe in mythology) and experience the spot from afar. The rock isn’t marked on Google Maps, so you may have to ask around to find its location.
8. Faraglioni rocks
Even if you haven’t realized it, you’ve very likely seen the Faraglioni rocks before. The three rocks are an iconic rock formation in Capri and have been formed by erosion over thousands of years. What were they before? Nobody really knows. The Faraglioni rocks could have been arches, caves, or a cliff face – it is Capri’s modern-day mystery.
Visiting or viewing the Faraglioni rocks is one of the most popular things to do in Capri. You can join the tour boats that flock to take visitors up close to the formation or walk a scenic coastal path called Via Tragara. The benefit of a boat tour is being able to get a better idea of the scale of each stack in the rock formation. Some stacks reach up to 100 meters, and you can actually pass through the tiny arch in the second stack on a boat ride.
By hiking the Via Tragara, you’ll get a wider perspective of the rocks. You’ll pass multiple exceptional viewpoints and be able to snap postcard-worthy shots of the formation layout.
Both ways are brilliant, so it is your choice whether you choose a boat tour or hike. If possible, why not do both?
9. Sample limoncello
Limoncello is the drink of the Amalfi Coast. However, Capri is also an excellent limoncello producer, and the lemons grown around the island are hand-picked and the main ingredient in the alcoholic recipe. Read: Italian Food: 27 Italian Dishes to Try in Italy or at Home
If you are in Capri Town, you can easily sample a limoncello at a bar or restaurant. It is typically drunk as an aperitif or digestif (meaning before or after a meal). We won’t judge you, though, so if you happen to stumble across some, give it a try anyway. Limoncello is sweet, tangy, and served in a shot glass because of its alcoholic strength.
You can find limoncello all over Capri – in your hotel pool bar or a quaint town pub. However, if you want a more formal experience, you can always book a limoncello tasting day trip. You can easily enquire at the tourist shops in Capri Town about booking tasting experiences.
10. Santa Sofia
Catholicism has reigned as the majority religion since the Romans ruled Italy. And while atheism is much wider spread in the 21st century, around 80% of the modern Italian population still identifies as Catholic. Between its religious history and present-day practice, Catholicism is a huge part of Italy’s cultural identity. No better place encapsulates this on Capri than Santa Sofia.
Santa Sofia is a 16th-century Catholic church built in the historic center of Anacapri. The church is a white-washed building built in Baroque style, with traditional wooden pews and an airy, high roofed interior for maximized acoustics and natural light.
Santa Sofia is a brilliant place to understand and experience the importance of the Catholic church in Capri and wider Italy. The welcoming community atmosphere and tenderly preserved church are warm reminders of religion’s ongoing significance.
11. White Grotto
Visiting the White Grotto is one of the most fun things to do in Capri and is a slight twist on the other grottos we’ve mentioned. Instead of being famous for its colored water, the cave is known for its chalk-white walls.
The limestone rock is a (lightly beige tinted) white, which is a stunning contrast to the blue sea. The grotto is twenty-four feet high in sections, and its ceilings are lined with stalactites. Local legends state that one of these stalactites looks like the Virgin Mary. Therefore the grotto has religious significance as well as just being another of Capri’s natural wonders.
You reach the grotto by boat, and it is accessed via a set of steep carved stairs. The cave has two levels, although most tours only include the chance to explore the lower level. This grotto is much quieter than the Blue Grotto, especially if you visit outside peak season. If you want a boat ride to a beautiful sea cave, visiting the White Grotto is one of the best things to do in Capri.
12. Piazza Umberto
If Marina Grande has the soul of Capri, Piazza Umberto has its heart. For those that don’t know, ‘piazza’ means square in Italian. Piazzas are places of action, crowds, and socializing – the perfect place for sipping an espresso and people-watching in the shade.
The Piazza Umberto is a tiny square in the shadows of Santo Stefano Church and in the center of Capri Town. Around its perimeter, cafes and alfresco tables covered with awnings are packed together in competitive companionship. Then, just outside the square, there is a scenic road with stunning views over the coast below.
Piazza Umberto is a pocket of activity in a beautiful vantage point, high above the fishing towns below. It is well worth visiting for the views alone, although the coffees are tempting as well. If you skip a siesta, visiting the piazza is one of the best things to do in Capri instead.
Everybody knows that Italy does fashion, and it does it well. What would a holiday in Capri be without the chance to pick up a luxury souvenir or at least window-shop the major Italian brands? Shopping in Capri Town is one of the best things to do in Capri.
Via Camerelle is the best street for shopping in Capri Town for designer brands. You can stop by Gucci, Louis Vuitton, DIOR, Chanel, and Balenciaga, and the shops are minutes away from each other. Whether you splurge on a purchase is up to you, but just visiting to browse is an experience in itself.
If you don’t have thousands of euros to spend, don’t worry. There are plenty of alternative shops to buy souvenirs. Canfora Capri Sandals are famous for their handmade Capri sandals, which are pricey but a worthy investment due to their durability. There are also many independent boutique stores that you can browse for deals.
Fashion lovers could easily spend half a day just shopping on Via Camerelle. Once you’ve completed the street, if your wallet and legs can handle it, you can head to Via Roma, Via le Botteghe, and Via Vittorio Emanuele. Capri shopping is dreamy.
14. Monte Solaro
Some days, you wake up and feel ready to tackle a mountain. Monte Solaro is the perfect place to unleash your drive in Capri, and you can hike the mountain in just an hour. There is a trail starting from Capri Town and a trail starting from Anacapri, so you can choose either place to begin your hike.
Monte Solaro is the highest point in Capri and is 589 meters tall. At the top, you have 360-degree views over the island of Capri – a beautiful reward for your hiking efforts. You can even see the mainland and the Bay of Naples on a good day.
Fancy the rewards without the effort? The Monte Solaro chairlift is an excellent alternative for those unable or uninterested in hiking Monte Solaro. The chairlift takes visitors to the mountain summit in twelve minutes, which is a fair exchange for a few euros. You’ll have a slow ascent to enjoy and a more relaxing opportunity to appreciate the views of Capri Island.
15. Punta Carena Lighthouse
Punta Carena Lighthouse is an active lighthouse illuminated at night to guide boats safely to Capri’s shores. The lighthouse is a beloved landmark and has become a signature symbol of Capri island. Locals view it with affectionate familiarity. Tourists rush to snap pictures of the aesthetic lighthouse perched on the cliff face.
Punta Carena is not only a picturesque lighthouse, but it is also the second tallest in Italy. The lighthouse was built in 1866 and is a staggering twenty-eight meters tall.
The best place to see Punta Carena from is II Faro, a rocky beach situated directly under the lighthouse. The red-painted building is gorgeous at both sunrise and sunset when its color is most complimented by the orange, yellow, and pink skies. Sitting at II Faro with a picnic is one of the most romantic things to do in Capri.
16. Visit Certosa di San Giacomo
Visiting Certosa di San Giacomo is one of the most historical things to do in Capri. Certosa monastery is also known as St James’ Charterhouse and dates all the way back to the 14th century. It is the oldest monastery in Capri and one of the oldest in Italy.
St James’ Charterhouse is incredibly well-maintained, and the complex is still fully functional. There is still a living quarter for monks and architectural features like columned atrium walkways. However, the monastery now has more strings to its belt. It runs the Diefenbach Museum all year round and hosts music concerts and special cultural events throughout summer.
If you visit Capri in summer, it is well worth checking what events are being held. On the other hand, the Diefenbach Museum is good to see all year round. Visiting the Diefenbach Museum is an experience that every art enthusiast should have, and the museum displays the works of Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach.
17. Villa San Michele
If the art at Certosa di San Giacomo caught your interest, the art at Villa San Michele would be captivating. Villa San Michele is an incredible art museum containing vast collections of ancient art, including a 3,200-year-old sphinx.
You can see mosaics, inscriptions, sculptures, and tiny artifacts dragged up in massive archaeological digs. The previous owner, Axel Munthe, dived for some of these artifacts. Munthe is an accredited and widely read author. The popularity of his books has amplified the museum’s popularity with his legacy.
Villa San Michele is a fascinating place to visit on Capri island. To escape the midday heat or any bad weather, visiting the museum is also a great activity, as it is entirely undercover and has enough of a breeze in summer.
18. Grab drinks at Lido del Faro
Lido del Faro is a beach club with an upscale Ibiza vibe. The beach club has cocktail bars and a saltwater swimming pool, set amongst an outcrop of limestone rocks. To mingle and party, hitting the beach club at Lido del Faro is one of the best things to do in Capri.
Getting to Lido del Faro is just part of the exciting experience. You’ll have to find a hidden footpath (watch out for helpful signposts) near Punta Carena Lighthouse and walk the defensive walls to reach the club.
Grab a sun lounger and have cocktails and snacks delivered to you all day long. You’ll have exclusive coastal views and the famous Faraglioni rock formations to keep you inspired while relaxing. Plus, the saltwater pools have massage jets and steps straight into the sea.
Lido del Faro is where to enjoy Capri Island with class. And if you are looking for an evening spot, look no further.
19. Via Krupp
Via Krupp is one of the most beautiful hiking trails on Capri Island. Its hairpin bends are easily identifiable, and the trail snakes up to the Gardens of Augustus from Marina Piccola Bay.
Like Krupp’s botanic gardens, Via Krupp was commissioned by Friedrich Alfred Krupp. Emilio Mayer was the designer Krupp chose, and Mayer designed the bends as a way to scale the 100ft cliff face. Via Krupp was in full use for the remainder of Krupp’s lifetime and is now a public track and scenic hike enjoyed in his legacy.
Via Krupp is surrounded by lush greenery, and walkers have gorgeous views over Capri island as they climb the trail. The only thing to watch out for is falling rocks. When it is deemed high risk for falling rocks, the footpath is closed to visitors, so it is also worth checking the trail is open ahead of time.
20. Villa Lysis
Villa Lysis is the most scandalous attraction in Capri. The villa was home to Jacques d’Adelsward-Fersen, who built the property in 1905 after fleeing controversy in France. Now, visitors can tour Villa Lysis and learn more about Count Fersen’s life.
Villa Lysis is famous for being luxurious and eccentric, much like Count Fersen himself. The property became a solace for him to engage in creative pursuits like poetry. It soon became a meeting hub for creative artists.
The most beautiful place in the villa is the terrace. Here, you’ll find amazing views over Marina Grande and Spiaggia Libera Marina Grande. On the terrace, the tall bronze statue of a young boy is a further ode to Fersen’s carefree and liberated attitude while in the villa. The boy balances, preoccupied, on one foot, while visitors gaze past him and out at Capri.
Villa Lysis is one of the most unusual historical things to do in Capri. If you want something a bit different, learning about Count Fersen by exploring his house is one of the most intimate ways to learn about a historical figure.
21. Scala Fenicia
Part tourist attraction and part fitness challenge, the Scala Fenicia is a set of 921 stone steps. The steps connect Capri Town with Anacapri and form one of the best hiking trails around the island.
The steps are believed to have been built in the 5th or 6th century. However, they were refurbished in 1998 so are in excellent condition. The trail has been walked for thousands of years, and you’ll be treading a well-trodden (if well refurbished) path that holds lots of cultural value.
Allow at least an hour to complete the Scala Fenicia. The trail is less than a mile long, but it is physically challenging since you are climbing for the entire route. Plus, you have views of Capri Town and the coastline to enjoy – don’t rush and stop for plenty of pictures.
22. The Casa Rossa di Anacapri Museum
If you visit Anacapri, rest assured that you won’t miss Casa Rossa. The bright red museum stands out like a sore (but fantastic) thumb.
The museum was originally the home of an American colonel called John Clay Mackowen. The use of eclectic angles and chips of marble fragments is almost Gaudi-like. Architecturally, you have food for thought before even stepping over the museum threshold.
Inside, the cultural and artistic displays continue, and you’ll find a diverse range of collections spread across the property. The four stone nymphs found in the Blue Grotto, 19th-century paintings of Anacapri, and collections of philosophical letters – you’ll find anything and everything in Casa Rossa. Anything eclectic or valuable, that is.
Casa Rossa is a fantastic addition to your itinerary for an unusual day in Capri. You can easily combine the Scala Fenicia hike with a visit to Anacapri and Casa Rossa, so consider setting aside a day to combine all three.
Visiting Capri Common FAQs
Inspired yet? Good. You should have at least a few things to do in Capri that are now definitely on your to-do list.
Before you go, though, there are some more things that you should know before jetting off to Capri. These are the most commonly asked questions about visiting Capri.
How to get to Capri
To get to Capri, you are going to have to set sail. There is no major airport on the island; the closest airport is in Naples. For the foreseeable future, at least, Capri Town will be limited to receiving visitors by boat only.
Luckily, there are regular ferry schedules. From Naples, it is a short ferry ride from either Molo Beverello or Calata di Massa. If you are on a budget, choose the slow ferry from Calata di Massa. But if time is of the essence, it is worth forking out a little more for the fast ferry from Molo Beverello.
You can also catch ferries directly from Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, and Salerno. Some towns on the mainland run extra services through peak seasons, especially during summer.
If you are short on time and happy to spend just a day in Capri, you can easily book a day trip. Capri tours depart from most towns along this section of the mainland coastline, and you can book them online or through local tourism agencies.
Many of these day trips start the Capri experience with a boat tour before dropping you in Capri Town to spend some allocated free time. You can sit to eat at wonderful restaurants, choose one of the activities from our guide, or laze around on the beach for an afternoon. A day trip to Capri is excellent if you don’t mind prioritizing a couple of the most eye-catching things to do.
Getting around Capri
Getting around the island is surprisingly simple. Capri’s size would make it completely walkable if there weren’t so many steep slopes and steps. Of course, if you have the fitness, drive, and time, getting around Capri on foot is still feasible. However, there are so many other options that you really don’t need to unless you absolutely want to. In which case, you have our total respect and can skip over this next section.
Getting around the island by public transport is a breeze. Capri has cable cars, buses, taxis, scooters, a chairlift, and boats that provide shuttle and transport services. The buses have a particularly extensive system and are bright orange – so you really cannot miss them.
The only thing to note is that Capri’s public transportation system has strict luggage allowance rules. As of 2022, a standard public transport ticket is 2.20 Euro. This ticket price entitles you to bring one item of 10kg with you. Anything over this size will require you to hire a taxi or pay a hefty fee, so it is best to hail a taxi when traveling to or from your hotel if you have lots of luggage.
Best time to visit Capri
Capri weather is idyllic, if a little hot for most Northern Europeans in the height of summer. All year-round, the island is a stunning place to visit and stay. The temperatures are mild, warm, or hot, no matter the month. It is not unusual to see locals swimming in the sea in the middle of winter – not a shiver in sight.
For a slice of sunshine, you can’t go wrong visiting Capri. But, if you have the choice, visiting Capri in spring will provide you with the best overall experience.
Spring has milder temperatures and fewer crowds. You’ll appreciate your tactical holiday booking when you reach one of the grottos and enter immediately without queueing (which can take over an hour in summer). Similarly, beaches will be less crowded, tours shouldn’t be booked out, and there is a much higher likelihood of you getting the best tables at restaurants.
If a visit to Capri doesn’t fit your spring schedule, the next best time to visit Capri is in late September and early October. During this period, the school holidays are over, and the August rush has been and gone. At this time, life in Capri is finally getting some serenity back. You should find fewer crowds than you would when visiting in July or August. Capri weather in September and October is still warm, although a few degrees cooler than in peak summer, which is also better for hiking and sightseeing.
Where to Stay in Capri
While most people visit Capri on a day trip, if you stay overnight for a couple of days, you will truly get to explore the best of Capri, here are a few hotels and recommendations for where to stay in Capri.
- Capri Town is the main place to stay in Capri. It is the largest town in Capri and is the best for nightlife.
- Marina Piccola is located next to Capri Town and is another popular place to stay. It is also the place in Capri with the best beach.
- Marina Grande – This is the most popular port in Capri and
- Pizzolungo is perfect for a luxury stay in Capri.
Capri is an incredible holiday destination. The island will impress you on a day trip and completely win your heart if you stay for more than a few days. Rome, Venice, Florence, and Cinque Terre are all destinations worth visiting. Yet Capri has a whole character of its own.
The laidback lifestyle, beaches, and dolce vita attitude make Capri a relaxing place to visit in Italy. The grottos and coastal scenery are not only beautiful backdrops for your holiday but also provide adventurous opportunities to experience exciting geology and nature up close. And finally, the history and prolific influences of individual figures make it easy to engage with the island’s story through the villas and places they left behind.
There are so many things to do in Capri. We hope that you get the chance to try as many as possible.
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