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A Capri travel guide – island idyll in the Bay of Naples

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Holidays in Capri take you sauntering along bougainvillea-clad laneways and exploring tranquil bays. Book a Capri hotel to watch the sun set over the Bay of Naples, and discover the island’s tranquillity when the day-trippers have sailed away.

Get your bearings

The island of Capri lies 5km south of the Sorrento peninsula, in the southern Italian region of Campania. Boats from Naples and Sorrento arrive at Marina Grande in the island’s north, and a funicular cable car ferries boatloads of new arrivals up the famously steep cliffs to Capri Town, where the island’s main hub is the café-lined Piazzetta. Another chairlift scales the hills from the separate town of Anacapri, to the west of Capri Town and south of the legendary Blue Grotto’s underwater caverns. This aerial route climbs up to the island’s peak of Monte Solaro to take in views across the gulf to Naples and Mount Vesuvius.

Capri’s beaches and coves

The luminous blue water lapping Capri is an irresistible invitation to swimmers, sail-boarders and water-skiers alike. Beach clubs hire out towels and deck chairs, or you can stretch out on the sands at Tiberius Bay, west of Marina Grande on the island’s north coast and accessible by boat. On the south coast, sandy coves flank the little town of Marina Piccola, and Bagni Le Sirene hires out canoes and motorboats by the hour.

Caprese culinary delights

Capri’s cuisine is an earthy blend of tomatoes, basil, beans, pasta and lemon-scented seafood, tailor made for alfresco dining at twilight after a long sunny day by the sea. Dine under the grapevine-covered terrace of a 250-year-old villa in Capri Town, or wander off the beaten track to Le Grottelle, overlooking the sea-carved rocks of the Arco Naturale. You’ll find the local speciality caprese salad on Capri hotel and restaurant menus – it’s a summertime favourite with creamy balls of buffalo mozzarella, slices of ripe tomato and freshly picked basil leaves drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil. 

History’s famous visitors to Capri

Visitors have travelled over the water to holiday in Capri since the days of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Emperors Augustus and Tiberius fell in love with the island’s seaside setting, building palatial residences like Villa Jovis with its terraced rooms looking over the sea. Actors, royalty and writers like Norman Douglas, Graham Greene and Thomas Mann have been flocking to Capri since the 19th century. Take a stroll along the statue-lined terrace garden at Villa San Michele outside Anacapri, restored by the Swedish doctor Axel Munthe in the 1890s, to bask in Capri’s relaxed island lifestyle. 

Hiking Capri’s hills

Capri means “island of goats” and you’ll soon see why when you tackle a hill trek or clifftop walk. Series of steps and unpaved tracks lead from Marina Piccola to Capri Town past cypress trees and gardens. The more demanding Fenician Staircase climbs steeply from Anacapri to Capri Town. This inter-island route has been walked by locals since the eighth century BC, rewarding trekkers with panoramic views over the island and sea.