A short Guide to Capri

View from above over the Capri Port

Capri Port

Capri is one of the most beautiful little islands in the Mediterranean. It was recognized as such back in Greek and then in Roman times.

The name’s origin is somewhat unknown. Some scholars lean towards three explanation. In Greek the word “kapros” means wild boar and indeed fossils of boars have been found on Capri. Others believe that it’s origin lies in the Latin word “capresa” which means goat. Yet a third group believes that the name means “rocky” in Etruscan.

History of Capri

Street on Capri with cobble-stoned road

Capri Street

Ancient writers have noted Capri in Greek mythology as being the home of the Sirens, which were winged female creatures that had the ability to attract sailors with their singing which was very gentle, attractive and sad. It was believed that sailors would eventually die from a broken heart.

Of course these are legends, in reality rich Romans as well as emperors built vacation homes here which can still be visited today. If you’re not afraid to walk a lot, you can explore them by foot.

What to see on Capri

Capri has two cities, Capri and Anacapri. They are both exceptional in their own way. While Capri is a lot larger and filled with expensive boutiques, Anacapri is just for the eye. Both towns are beautiful and even if you go to Capri just for one day, they are amazing.

View over the sea and Capri's coast from Villa San Michele

View from Villa San Michele

Villa San Michele 

It is located in Anacapri and is said to have one of Europe’s most beautiful gardens. It was built by the Swedish doctor Axel Menthe. It’s not a large place, but the love for every detail makes the Villa Michele a place of beauty. Finish your trip to Anacapri by going here since you’ll be able to take the Phoenician stairs down to the big Marina. Also they were built by the Greek and offer breathtaking sights of the bay.

Chiesa San Michele

This little church is located in Anacapri. It’s a nice little baroque church with special Napolitan Frescos. The highlight is the floor tiles which are Mosaics depicting the Expulsion of Adam and Eve from paradise. (Admission around $3)

Grotto Azzura

Santa Sofia Church, Anacapri, Capri

Santa Sofia Church - Anacapri

The Grotto Azzura is located North-East of Anacapri and can be accessed either by boat from the grand marina or from Anacapri by bus. Some more active tourists can also walk down which takes about an hour and a half. Once down you can access the Grotto with a rowing boat. It’s about 3 feet high at the opening, 40 feet inside, and roughly 190 feet wide. The site is spectacular. Boat to the Grotta Azzura costs €9 and the rowing boat to go inside costs another €10.50. Tours finish at 2pm, also while many guides will tell you that you can swim inside, signs tell you that it’s strictly forbidden even after the tours have stopped for the day.

Villa Jovis
The Villa Jovis or “Jupiter Villa” was built by the roman emperor Tiberius and is located in the Southern stretch of the island. It’s one of the best conserved roman villas and takes about an hour and a half to walk to from Capri (city).

Getting around on Capri

Most people commute by bus, but you can also walk to most places if you have enough time. There are also Taxis and boats that can take you around. Once you arrive at the Grand Marina, you can take a bus to Capri or take the “Funiculare”, a type of tram that goes straight up the hill. You can also go directly to Anacapri by bus (each costs around $2 one way).

How to get to Capri  and back

Take the ferry from either Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, or Ischia. Ferries from Naples take about one hour and cost €16 (slow ferry) or €17 (hydrofoil) each way. The last ferry to go back to Naples leaves around 7pm . Ferries from Naples leave from Molo about every 30min, be sure to be there on time and ask people where they leave as it can be confusing and they are often not on time.

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